Valve Adopts Greek Economist

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Valve Adopts Greek Economist

Gabe Newell brings in economics professor to fix his virtual worlds.

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Most of you would probably be over the moon if Valve offered you a job, but when Greek economist Yanis Varoufakis got an email from Gabe Newell offering him a position, he nearly deleted it. Varoufakis is glad he didn't, and now is Valve's economist-in-residence, advising on designing virtual economies for Valve's free-to-play games.

Varoufakis is no gamer, and when the email arrived he had no idea who Newell was or what possible interest this strange American might have in Varoufakis' work. To the professor, Newell was just another crackpot in a long line of loonies, and he had cause to recognize the type. His email inbox had been full to overflowing ever since he became a talking head for the news networks, an expert whose nationality and specialization made him the perfect go-to for anything to do with Greece's economic woes. Most of the flood of emails he subsequently received had been 'investment opportunities' of the dodgiest sort, so there was little reason to think that Newell's offer was any different.

"We are running into a bunch of problems as we scale up our virtual economies, and as we link economies together," read Newell's email, "would you be interested in consulting with us?" It was the virtual economies bit that kept Varoufakis interested in Newell's proposal, and so he went to Seattle to see what was actually proposed. Turns out, the offer was Varoufakis' dream come true: a chance to study an economy where every single transaction left a measurable data trail. Newell had been watching the news like everyone else, and had seen parallels between his attempts to create a workable in-game currency system for his free-to-play worlds and the quagmire that Germany and Greece are struggling in. Newell decided to get his information from the source, and so an unlikely partnership was forged.

With luck, and a lot of data mining, Varoufakis will help Valve's virtual worlds develop working economies - as he puts it, helping serve them as "gamers but also as traders, developers, participants in something much bigger than just video games." His enthusiasm is palpable, and it's a subject that will become all the more important for gaming as crafting and real-world money becomes integral to the virtual realm. This should be an interesting experiment to watch.

Source & Image: Gamasutra, Valve Varoufakis Blog

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I think I speak for everyone on the escapist when I say: Greece has economics professors?
I would have thought Gabe wanted to fix the problem.

We'll see what happens when Valve decides to unite all steam games with the hat currency. Then some poor F2P will start giving out too many hats to entice players. The hat market will devalue and I'll lose my whole investment when i discover that my cache of viking helmets and elegant tams aren't worth the hard drive space they are write on.

DVS BSTrD:
I think I speak for everyone on the escapist when I say: Greece has economics professors?
I would have thought Gabe wanted to fix the problem.

Simply because he's a Economics PhD from Greece doesn't mean the Greek government consulted him in their economic planning.

I am ashamed to say that my first reaction was "why hire a greek to watch over economy?" Racism is a contagious thing i tell you.

Anyway we probably won't hear much about his work after that nor distinguish his name among many names without jobs descriptions in credits. Why did Valve need help with hat trading again?

Ew. A Left-Keynesian.

Oh well, maybe he'll come to see the light. Maybe.

CosmicCommander:
Ew. A Left-Keynesian.

Oh well, maybe he'll come to see the light. Maybe.

I'm pretty sure that Gabe will help keep him in line. Well, he will after he sifts through years of data about hat sales.

As usual, tell me after HL2 E3 is out.

In all seriousness Greece was in bad form before they managed to get Goldman Sachs to do what they do best. Professors when consulted are often ignored because their "opinions" (backed by evidence) go against who ever is in charge's political agenda or stance for one reason or another (Left or Right the real world solution is often is the unobtainable middle); I'm very interested in professional observations on a virtual economy other than EVE.

Analysis: People love hats. Make more hats.

bafrali:
I am ashamed to say that my first reaction was "why hire a greek to watch over economy?" Racism is a contagious thing i tell you.

You say racism, I say topical humour.

This would be fascinating for any economic theorist. I would love to have this job, and I just read economics for fun. It would be completely awesome to test your economic theories on a developing economy. This should prove interesting.

So what use could Valve have for a large-scale virtual economy? Ahh, the speculation...

DVS BSTrD:
I think I speak for everyone on the escapist when I say: Greece has economics professors?
I would have thought Gabe wanted to fix the problem.

Greece does have economic professors.

The Greek government decided it would be more cost effective to hire people who would do it for less.

As someone who spends at least twenty hours a week trading in TF2, I just came a little.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.378852-Valve-Hires-In-House-Economist

No love for the 2-day-ahead tip?

OT: I'm interested to see what he does for a market where they can't make any more of the top-tier currency (Bill's and Buds)

The Pink Pansy:

DVS BSTrD:
I think I speak for everyone on the escapist when I say: Greece has economics professors?
I would have thought Gabe wanted to fix the problem.

Simply because he's a Economics PhD from Greece doesn't mean the Greek government consulted him in their economic planning.

Not even that - he got his PhD in the UK.

TheBobmus:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.378852-Valve-Hires-In-House-Economist

No love for the 2-day-ahead tip?

OT: I'm interested to see what he does for a market where they can't make any more of the top-tier currency (Bill's and Buds)

Sorry mate, I never saw that forum post. First I heard of Varoufakis was when I read the Gamasutra piece.

I'm interested in seeing what Varofakis has to offer, but then Valve has always been an idiosyncratic beast; this could end up going in any number of fun directions!

I have to admit, I chuckled when I saw his nationality given the current news... Topical indeed.

I do of course realise that he's most likely perfectly capable and that not all Greeks are responsible for the current state of their economy

But yeah, lucky guy. I imagine most people here would sell their own grandmothers to be approached by Valve.

One month later:

Preliminary report: Through careful study of the economical system in Team Fortress two, I have made an amazing discovery. The thriving economy of this game has made me realize that all economy should be based on the trade of hats! I must go to Greece and tell the government. Our hatmakers will rejoice!

What I find interesting about this story is that as game design continues to evolve, experts from an increasingly wider array of fields are needed.

I think it would be the peak of awesome/hilariousness if some gamers try to mess with everyone by forming the equivalent of a virtual marxist economy online. Then try to... I don't know, liberate the "poor oppressed" Gold/Crafting-Resource farmers.

I know they're probably referring more towards prices on their online store then a game with an actual, working economy, but a man can dream... Granted those dreams are of the chaos that would ensue once the Virtual Capitalists and the Virtual Communists go to war, with maybe Anon jumping in as the "Anarchist Wild Card" faction.

Valve has finally caught up with CCP. Tho CCP's economist is Icelandic, and their economy has been totally flawless.

So clearly there's no pattern for economist's nationalities that get hired for video games. ;)

CosmicCommander:
Ew. A Left-Keynesian.

Oh well, maybe he'll come to see the light. Maybe.

yes, maybe you will see the light.

As for catchng up with CCP, its a whole different deal. CCPs economist runs the ingame economy, this one is going to run the real money one for valve. Nationality doesnt matter, as long as hes a good economist.

Strazdas:

CosmicCommander:
Ew. A Left-Keynesian.

Oh well, maybe he'll come to see the light. Maybe.

yes, maybe you will see the light.

Yes the light of glorious

free markets.

CURSE THE DAMN RED SCUM, TRYING TO DESTROY THE FREE MARKETS.

The Pink Pansy:

DVS BSTrD:
I think I speak for everyone on the escapist when I say: Greece has economics professors?
I would have thought Gabe wanted to fix the problem.

Simply because he's a Economics PhD from Greece doesn't mean the Greek government consulted him in their economic planning.

Yes, but it wouldn't be much of a joke with that disclaimer at the front.

monev44:
Valve has finally caught up with CCP. Tho CCP's economist is Icelandic, and their economy has been totally flawless.

Depends on your definition of 'flawless'.

This is one of those feel-good stories that leads to fruitful results, even on a practical scale.

Woodsey:

The Pink Pansy:

DVS BSTrD:
I think I speak for everyone on the escapist when I say: Greece has economics professors?
I would have thought Gabe wanted to fix the problem.

Simply because he's a Economics PhD from Greece doesn't mean the Greek government consulted him in their economic planning.

Yes, but it wouldn't be much of a joke with that disclaimer at the front.

Yes, but it was an unfunny joke made in bad taste without any thought put into it, regardless of the disclaimer.

The Pink Pansy:

Woodsey:

The Pink Pansy:

Simply because he's a Economics PhD from Greece doesn't mean the Greek government consulted him in their economic planning.

Yes, but it wouldn't be much of a joke with that disclaimer at the front.

Yes, but it was an unfunny joke made in bad taste without any thought put into it, regardless of the disclaimer.

Oh no, an observation made regarding current affairs. Look at the inhumanity.

This sounds like a covert way of saying "Valve's Getting Into The MMO Business; We Have Our Best People Working On It".

Woodsey:

The Pink Pansy:

Yes, but it was an unfunny joke made in bad taste without any thought put into it, regardless of the disclaimer.

Oh no, an observation made regarding current affairs. Look at the inhumanity.

Oh no, a comment that wastes space and doesn't add anything to the discussion at large trying to masquerade as intelligent and informed humor. If you don't have anything original or worth saying, don't say it; the offending post doesn't make any sort of worthwhile commentary while heavily implying that, because this particular person is an expert in economics, and happens to be from Greece, he is partly responsible for the current economic crisis in that country.

The Pink Pansy:

Woodsey:

The Pink Pansy:

Yes, but it was an unfunny joke made in bad taste without any thought put into it, regardless of the disclaimer.

Oh no, an observation made regarding current affairs. Look at the inhumanity.

Oh no, a comment that wastes space and doesn't add anything to the discussion at large trying to masquerade as intelligent and informed humor. If you don't have anything original or worth saying, don't say it; the offending post doesn't make any sort of worthwhile commentary while heavily implying that, because this particular person is an expert in economics, and happens to be from Greece, he is partly responsible for the current economic crisis in that country.

No, it doesn't. You're just being over-sensitive. As evidenced by no one else giving a shit.

CosmicCommander:

Strazdas:

CosmicCommander:
Ew. A Left-Keynesian.

Oh well, maybe he'll come to see the light. Maybe.

yes, maybe you will see the light.

Yes the light of glorious

free markets.

CURSE THE DAMN RED SCUM, TRYING TO DESTROY THE FREE MARKETS.

Yes because Keunesian view is so going to destroy free markets [shakes head]. maybe you shouldnt argue the things you dont know.
Not to mention that your glorified free markets works "so well" to avoid money based class diferenciation.

Strazdas:

CosmicCommander:

Strazdas:

yes, maybe you will see the light.

Yes the light of glorious

free markets.

CURSE THE DAMN RED SCUM, TRYING TO DESTROY THE FREE MARKETS.

Yes, because his Keynesian views are so going to destroy free markets [shakes head]. Maybe you shouldn't argue the things you don't know. Not to mention that your glorified free markets work so well to avoid inequality.

Dude, you really need to see when I'm blatantly being facetious. I know this is the internet and all, but I thought it was pretty evident to all I was being silly. You're just being condescending and rude towards myself.

If you think I'm really going to be that simplistic, then perhaps you really need to invest in some humour and/or common sense.

P.S., I fixed your terrible English.

Witty Name Here:
I think it would be the peak of awesome/hilariousness if some gamers try to mess with everyone by forming the equivalent of a virtual marxist economy online. Then try to... I don't know, liberate the "poor oppressed" Gold/Crafting-Resource farmers.

I know they're probably referring more towards prices on their online store then a game with an actual, working economy, but a man can dream...

I dunno, ever played Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom or one of its predecesors? Those games didn't exactly have realistic economies.

Captcha: bad egg. Are you accusing me of something, Escapist?

And a few days later I find pocket lint while playing Team Fortress 2. I wonder if Yanis is testing the in-game economy to see how people react to junk items.

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