Valve: Optimal Pricing Better than Licensing Source
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."