Valve Discusses Charging Customers Based on Popularity

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Valve Discusses Charging Customers Based on Popularity

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One of Gabe Newell's theoretical Steam payment methods would charge more for players that are awful people.

There are a few standard payment models for videogames today that include retail, monthly fees, and microtransactions. Valve boss Gabe Newell recently called these models "broken," revealing that the company is looking into new ways of charging customers based on the customers themselves.

In a lengthy interview with Develop, Newell said: "The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone. That's actually a bug, and it's something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products."

Rather than pricing a product based purely on what that product is worth, Newell talks about pricing a product based on what the customer is worth as well. "Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them," Newell continued. "Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave."

"So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get DotA 2 for free, because of past behavior in Team Fortress 2," Newell added. "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."

Newell also went over how Valve is already charging high-value customers "negative" amounts, such as those that were paid royalties for creating Team Fortress 2 items. "Their cost for Team Fortress 2 is negative $20,000 per week," he said. "You're never going to see that in a retail store ... It's people who make hats get paid. People who are really popular play for less, or free."

Could this be a method that actually reduces the number of people whose internet anonymity causes them to spout an endless number of obscenities and racially motivated comments just because they were gunned down by a sniper? It seems like it might. Not that internet jerks would disappear overnight, but money could be a strong motivator to make someone pat a fellow player on the back instead of tea-bagging him.

Source: Develop

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This sounds like a good system, but surely this would become griefed. What happens if I happen to have a really crappy connection and then I drop out a bunch of times. I don't want other people to have to pay extra for other games.

Or if it was like a reporting system where you report a person being really offensive. That'd just end up being misused all the time...

But it's an interesting concept. I'd love to see where it goes and how this idea develops.

Interesting idea...

It will probably cause tons of rage, though.

But what about console-tards like myself?

In seriousness, This is a industry changing idea and could work brilliantly. I would imagine some company would take this idea and fuck up. No prizes for guessing

Interesting concept by Gabe. I don't personally like it, especially since there is going to be some bitching on the forums about it, but I can see it working.

It's a really nice idea, but I can't see it working. too open to abuse.

but if anyone can work around that, it's valve.

interested i am but i mean who dosnt love a good trolling every once in awhile

Tom Goldman:

Could this be a method that actually reduces the number of people whose internet anonymity causes them to spout an endless number of obscenities and racially motivated comments just because they were gunned down by a sniper? It seems like it might. Not that internet jerks would disappear overnight, but money could be a strong motivator to make someone pat a fellow player on the back instead of tea-bagging him.

And then Valve wouldn't make nearly as much money, and they'd get rid of the system, and everything would return to like it was before.

Honestly, this sounds like an idea you come up with when you're up crazy late, suffering from sleep deprivation, and think "...that's brilliant! Why hasn't anyone thought of that?" Followed by waking up the next morning, remembering the idea, and thinking, "that has got to be the stupidest idea I've ever thought of."

The best idea for video game pricing still belongs to Shamus Young. Simply charge full retail price at first, then drop the price gradually for the next few weeks or months, rather than over the next few years. Resulting in games being around $10-$15 about six months after launch.

Personally I find it give more incentive to play to people who are able to create anything around a game, what happens to people that may be like me that just play a game and not really interact a lot with people or don't have any preset skill to create, I don't usually grief and most of the time I just past without notice so how would I be rated?

In a game where there 30 people playing there only maybe 1 or 2 really distinguishable people among them either goodly or badly otherwise they are just there to play and have fun without really communicating other than the basic information of strategy if any implies

Wasn't this discussed ages ago?

I'm pretty sure you've even run a news story on it before.

While I do enjoy the prospect of playing online games without having to hear stupid comments towards others because the person is a jerk, at the end of the day, I just get this weird feeling like some game companies are going to just abuse this kind of system to make it so only fans loyal to the series without question get the cheaper prices. Is anyone else thinking that too, or is this tin foil hat only lowering my IQ?

I like the idea in theory, but I don't see how it can be implemented well. I don't want games to turn into a popularity contest.

... People are either taking this seriously, or they are very good at pretending.

This is an....interesting idea, but the system could easily be abused. People could "thumbs down" bomb them or something, there could be unjust reports of being a jerk, it creates a large divide between player base, and what constitutes as "jerky" behavior comes down to a number of personal factors. Hell, maybe the guy just had a bad day, and now he's being punished for that.

VALVe already gives the really good guys (the hat makers, modders, etc...) plenty of benefits. I think this system would only make people hate those "higher-ups" or could just have an influx of shitty mods sent to VALVe. I don't see how dividing the "good" players from the "bad" really helps sales. Everyone is a customer, you don't want to patronize potential customers by saying "hey, you're a jerk, you have to pay twice as much unlike the good guy who gets it for free". The jerk is most likely not going to pay, and you've lost two sales.

This is actually a great idea. Its motivation to be a nicer person.

Mind bogglingly bad idea.

Its like a gigantic smack in the face to your core demographic.

But from a corporate sense it is logical... its an excuse to overcharge the largest portions of your population and reward a small handful of people, thus generating more money per copy.

I actually really like this idea. I mean, the extra $100 thing is outrageous, but other than that? It rewards the hardcore and the friendly gamer whilst shooting the jerks in the foot.

Now we need a system like this for consoles. C'mon MS, I want Stacking for free!

This seems like an april fools, a very weird way of working, but its got a glimmer of a good idea buried in their somewhere.

I can imagine lots of people being charged unnecessarily and complaining.

ummm, interesting... very interesting. I can see this system could still be abused and its only a matter of time until some hacker figures out how to get all of his games for free, it's only a matter of when:

LavaLampBamboo:
This sounds like a good system, but surely this would become griefed. What happens if I happen to have a really crappy connection and then I drop out a bunch of times. I don't want other people to have to pay extra for other games.

Or if it was like a reporting system where you report a person being really offensive. That'd just end up being misused all the time...

Yeah, basically this^^

This can never work... how would it work? Who decides what? Everyone knows popularity polls are easly scewed from outside sorces. A person may geta hair up his butt about some other guy and lobby a bunch of his e-friends to screw him over. Is Valve going to have people montering every online match watching and rating ones behavor? You have any idea how many people they'd need to hire...how many "that wasn't me my kid brother/friend/dad logged into my account..."

It's an intresting idea, but it'll never work and end up being WAY more trouble then it saved.

So, how would this work? Would you have to go onto the Steam profile of someone and then give them a Like, Dislike or Meh rating?
I don't think that many people would really feel like bothering to do that just because there a couple friendly people on the server who make the game more enjoyable, people would be far more likely to only bother using the system when there's someone that they don't like.
And still, what about the pleasant people who don't really worsen the game, but just don't seem to stick out at all, wouldn't they end up being ignored entirely or only get voted on when there's someone they dominated or is just spamming down votes for the heck of it?

So, being a person who doesn't care for online play, I'd have to pay more because of it?

I like the idea...but it will never work. With countless players, there's no way to accurately quantify how big a douche someone is and adjust the cost of the game accordingly.

I can see this working as a punishment/reward system for exceptional cases...but as an over-arching business model? Nope.

Because there is no potential for abuse in such a system at all. Nope. After all, nobody on Xbox Live would file a negative review on another play for something the player didn't do such as trash talking simply because they got beat in an online game, and that kind of behavior would never carry over to other platforms.

Oh wait.

I think this is really something that would work for Valve, they can afford to make risks like that...but why treat customers differently? I just don't see anything wrong with a simple kick/ban function.

EDIT: Plus, why would a publisher want less sales? Especially considering current economic strains already.

In theory its a nice idea

In practice? Not only no, but hell no. There are so many avenues for abuse, and in the long run you'd just end up pissing off a lot of players. On top of that, as bad as those assholes who spout nonesense are, you shouldn't force them to pay more. I love the positive = pay less aspect, but negative = pay more is just a bad business model I think.

I kinda like the idea, maybe I'm a little impartial because I have a really magnetic personality and general can get a dead silent server to chatting like best friends in 10 minutes. But I would definitely love to get benefits for just being myself in games.

What if you're an outstanding individual but you're just buying your first Steam game? Surely you'll have to pay full price since they have no way of knowing how valuable a customer you are.

I think it would work better if everyone paid full price but Valve introduced ways in the game or community of earning points to spend in their store - that way, your game is cheaper as you're kinda getting money back on it (albeit money that's still technically Valve's). How you would earn points, I have no idea, but I think it's a better system. Whatever system they choose to employ, it will need to go through extensive grief-proof testing hehe.

I don't troll online and I'm pretty amiable to play with. But hell fucking no to this idea. Hell fucking no. I'm sure this is just theoretical and like many ideas, may never see an actual launch. But if Valve--or any other company--does that, it has lost my business.

MisterM2402:
What if you're an outstanding individual but you're just buying your first Steam game? Surely you'll have to pay full price since they have no way of knowing how valuable a customer you are.

I think it would work better if everyone paid full price but Valve introduced ways in the game or community of earning points to spend in their store - that way, your game is cheaper as you're kinda getting money back on it (albeit money that's still technically Valve's). How you would earn points, I have no idea, but I think it's a better system. Whatever system they choose to employ, it will need to go through extensive grief-proof testing hehe.

...that actually sounds like a much cooler idea! Nice thinking.

Assassin Xaero:
So, being a person who doesn't care for online play, I'd have to pay more because of it?

No, the idea is you just wouldn't get to pay less than usual like the people who would play online and are liked by most of the community but you also wouldn't have to pay more than usual like the people who play online but are disliked by the community.

Soooo... trolls can now grief me by making me pay more for video games? Really? And someone thought this would actually be a good idea? I mean, I can see why it might be nice to reward upstanding community members, but punishments are just silly...

I was wondering when the steam store was going to have achievements.

This is bad for everyone, nice players, mean players, developers, everyone.

An asshole won't buy the game because his price went up, then the good players will have fewer people to play against, they stop playing the game and don't buy more steam games for the same reason. Simple...

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