Valve's Novel Idea: Charge Popular People Less

Illustration for article titled Valves Novel Idea: Charge Popular People Less

In an interview with Develop, Valve boss Gabe Newell says that his company is more interested in "looking into what Valve can do with payment services than engine services". What that means is some crazy ideas on how to take your money.

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"The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone", he says. "That's actually a bug, and it's something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products."

"What you really want to do is create the optimal pricing service for each customer and see what's best for them. We need to give customers, all of them, a robust set of options regarding how they pay for their content."

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Now, this is where it gets a little nutty.

"An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.

So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice."

Oh Valve. If you'd stopped before the $100-for-voice bit, we may actually have believed you!

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Illustration for article titled Valves Novel Idea: Charge Popular People Less

Gabe Newell on Valve [Develop]

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DISCUSSION

Obvious hyperbole, but I can see a future in this. Imagine certain achievements being tied to future discounts: Get the 'Roaming Gnome' achievement, get Half Life episode 3 for 10% off! Players who really enjoy the game will naturally get the achievement—and it will increase their chance of getting the next title. Or hell. Get to the end of Portal, get a coupon for Portal 2! Play Team Fortress for X hours, get something off another Valve title. The cross-promotional and gameplay oriented possibilites are endless, they will increase the chance of regular sales (people who get savings for pretty much stuff they were doing already are bound to use at least some of them) and they push that horrible little spot in gaming where feeling like they get a reward for reaching a goal will just make them so giddy we'll be that much happier to empty their wallet. Here's one: Coach 15 players on TF2 (and get positive responses: Just set up a little was he helpful yes/no bit) and receive money off the new DoTA in the vague hopes their helpful behavior will transfer over, improving the community of both while cross-marketing.

Seems at least one likely scenario in my head. I'm not 100% convinced it wouldn't be open to some abuse on the developer side—but seriously, tell me you couldn't at least see it happening on some scale?