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Valve: Optimal Pricing Better than Licensing Source

By - Source: Develop | B 33 comments

Valve wants to fix the industry bug of charging everyone the same price by rewarding the friendly gamers.

Recently Valve software bossman Gabe Newell indicated that there weren't any plans to bring Steam to the mobile sector. In fact, he suggested that game developers give Epic Games' Tim Sweeney a call to license his Unreal Engine 3. Now a week later, it seems that licensing Source really isn't a priority at all, as the developer is seemingly focused on the Steam platform and creating a new pricing model.

"We’re happy if people want to use our tools," he admitted in an interview. "We’re also super happy if people want to use Unreal Engine. We’ve worked hard with the guys at Epic Games to integrate Steamworks into Unreal Engine, which we think will be a great solution. Our philosophy is always about creating the best value for our customers, but also our partners, and right now I think there’s more value for us to pursue things like the microtransaction part of Steamworks."

By ignoring things like the microtransaction infrastructure and primarily focusing on promoting Source as a development tool, the company wouldn't be using its time efficiently, he said. "We’re more looking into what Valve can do with payment services than engine services."

One of Valve's primary goals is to fix the current industry bug where every gamer is charged one price. To change this, the team wants to give customers a robust set of options regarding how they pay for their content. One example he provided was to reward the players who are good to the community.

"In practice, a really likable person in our community should get DOTA 2 for free, because of past behavior in Team Fortress 2," he said. "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."

This isn't the first time Newell has spoken out against online jerks. He made a similar comment while speaking to U.S. marketing students back in February about the importance of Valve fans. He indicated that in the future, friendlier online players would be rewarded with price perks.

So with all this focus on the Steam platform, does this mean Valve has no plans to develop Source 2? For now, the next-generation engine isn't on the radar. "There are lot of advantages on iterating on a mature and stable and shipped codebase, as opposed to starting over again," he said. "I think, when you see a game like DOTA 2, you'll see how developers can get a lot more out of Source than most companies can get from a scratch-built engine."

He also doesn't think the team will reach an architectural tipping-point that will require the creation of a new engine. "I mean, if [Intel's canceled GPU] Larrabee had shipped that would have probably necessitated some fairly dramatic changes in order to take advantage of it. But, so far we've been able to keep the engine moving ahead, robustly. I mean, I think it looks great."

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  • 5 Hide
    NatureTM , May 17, 2011 10:08 PM
    "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."

    I guess only the rich will get to be assholes now. Talk about games getting more realistic!
  • 7 Hide
    gokanis , May 17, 2011 10:22 PM
    Yes, buttheads should pay more. But, I can see the discrimination lawsuits piling up over that. I like a voting system where you can ban anyone from the server for good. After awhile, jerks and cheaters will have to play with themselves (so to speak).

  • 0 Hide
    jalek , May 17, 2011 10:42 PM
    Discrimination suit? Nobody has a "right" to a specific price or maybe I need to sue a car salesman over a deal I didn't get. Trolls are not a protected class. Australians can't even sue for being overcharged for games due to location discrimination.

    I can already guess the methodology, so the vast majority of people won't even see this except for some kids asking everyone to be their friend and to rate them highly.
  • Display all 33 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    zkevwlu , May 17, 2011 10:43 PM
    Discrimination lawsuits usually target discriminators of race, gender, age, etc. I don't think it'll hold up in court of it's discrimination against voluntary behaviour. Bars have the right to throw you out for being obnoxious and causing a scene, restaurants have the right to refuse service if you come in without a shirt, so similarly Valve have the right to charge you full price on a game for being a gianormous knob.
  • 0 Hide
    tommysch , May 17, 2011 10:45 PM
    Censorship? Release the lawyers!
  • -2 Hide
    blurr91 , May 17, 2011 10:46 PM
    Microsoft already tried this by charging different rates of Windows to different OEM. Guess who got sued?
  • 2 Hide
    bdcrlsn , May 17, 2011 11:28 PM
    How about they focus on getting Episode 3 done?
  • 0 Hide
    Assmar , May 18, 2011 12:18 AM

    Two answer your question: No, that's not anything like censorship at all.
  • 5 Hide
    SirGCal , May 18, 2011 12:28 AM
    blurr91Microsoft already tried this by charging different rates of Windows to different OEM. Guess who got sued?

    That is an entirely different situation. Even to the levels of companies vs individuals. It does not apply to this situation.

    assmarTwo answer

    "To", not two. But yes, it is not censorship... Not even close. Infact there is no word right now for what this would be considered. But still, act like a jerk in public, get arrested and pay your fine, or worse... From that respect, I don't see much difference here what-so-ever. I'm all for the idea.

    Internet jerks just because they are on the internet have no (insert your favorite derogatory body part here)... I laugh my butt off when the kid from Kansas (or where ever it was) got arrested for hard-core badmouthing an FBI agent's kid. Then they play all innocent... You're not innocent, you just got busted! DUMB***! You get what you deserve... If only more would...
  • 1 Hide
    thechief73 , May 18, 2011 12:33 AM
    bdcrlsnHow about they focus on getting Episode 3 done?
    I second that idea!
  • 1 Hide
    schmich , May 18, 2011 12:55 AM
    Haha Valve over their heads once again. A lot of talk from that company and very little walk. Sure once they do take a step it's a classy one but in between...lets just say they shouldn't have access to "voice".
  • 5 Hide
    Trialsking , May 18, 2011 2:37 AM
    It not like the internet asshole has to pay more. Its just the people with better online reputation will pay less. But this is the US, so people can file lawsuits if you sneeze wrong. Oh come save us ACLU, from nice people getting games for free!

    God forbid some hard working modder get a free copy of a game as the thanks for his mod that has given us all 100+ hours of more replay value. I think that would be awesome idea. I wish I could mod 100th as good as some of the FREE mods I have used. I say give all the cool modders free/reduced priced games!
  • -1 Hide
    Anaxamenes , May 18, 2011 2:55 AM
    I have always preferred rewarding good people over punishing bad behavior. I look forward to seeing what Valve has in mind, because it is a positive way of making the web better for gamers and hopefully everyone.
  • 3 Hide
    Gamer-girl , May 18, 2011 3:00 AM
    I can already see this is going to be an abused system especially if it is going to be voting based, unless they monitor everything from game play to voice and text chat.

    People would just ask their friends to give them good votes so they can get better discounts. They will just randomly vote bad, for example in a shooter game (MW2 in this case). Bad rep if you:

    - camp in one place too long
    - if you noob tube
    - if you hard-scope
    - if you repeatedly kill the same person
    - if your really bad or really good
    - etc

    I'm not sure how it is in the states but in new zealand some off them et really miffed by the above.
  • -3 Hide
    blurr91 , May 18, 2011 3:49 AM
    sirgcalThat is an entirely different situation. Even to the levels of companies vs individuals. It does not apply to this situation.

    How is that different? You're making up arbitrary rules for your customers to follow. Those who play ball will get a discount. Those who do not will be charged full price. Sounds the same. If Valve follows through, there will be a class action lawsuit against it. Valve's legal team better be very good.
  • 2 Hide
    joytech22 , May 18, 2011 6:39 AM
    I like that idea, the only people who don't like it are pretty much asses anyway, or rage really hard.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 18, 2011 6:46 AM
    if no source2, no hl ep3 :( ((((((
    focus valve, focus!
  • -1 Hide
    RogueKitsune , May 18, 2011 7:03 AM
    Its great they are focusing providing customers(good ones at least) with good service on steam, but I would like to see some more games(half-life 2 ep 3) from them. Preferably ones that run on a brand new engine
  • 3 Hide
    theroguex , May 18, 2011 8:28 AM
    Aaaand what about those of us who don't play online via Steam? I've never once played Team Fortress 2, even though I got it with the Orange Box. I was into Half-Life for its single player game, but now it seems like Valve doesn't give a shit about us. Yes, I played the hell out of Counter-Strike when it was cool. And Day of Defeat, when it was cool. Team Fortress was never 'cool' in my book, so I didn't play it. I've never played any other Valve multiplayer... so I get screwed?

    Instead of rewarding players for being not-jerks, why don't you address the REAL price issue: Charging the EXACT SAME PRICE for digital downloads as you do for retail content. That's just plain robbery.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , May 18, 2011 11:26 AM
    This is currently illegal in the UK. Everybody must be offered the same price.
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