Valve Hires In-House Economist

Valve Hires In-House Economist

imageValve has hired economics professor Yanis Varoufakis to manage the economies amongst their various games.

Yanis Varoufakis is Greek, and a self-confessed "total ignoramus of the world of video games".
Oh, and he's also an author, economics professor and a prominent contributor to the debates on the recent economic crises in Europe and the United States.

Born in Athens, 1961, he moved to England to read Mathematics and Statistics and holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Essex. He is currently Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens and Visiting Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. His previous academic appointments include the Universities of Essex, East Anglia, Cambridge, Sydney and Glasgow.

It was his blog on the Eurozone crisis that caught the eye of one man in particular - president of Valve Software, Gabe Newell:

"I'm the president of a videogame company (www.valvesoftware.com).
We are running into a bunch of problems as we scale up our virtual economies, and as we link economies together. Would you be interested in consulting with us?

I have been following your blog for a while... Here at my company we were discussing an issue of linking economies in two virtual environments (creating a shared currency), and wrestling with some of the thornier problems of balance of payments, when it occurred to me "this is Germany and Greece", a thought that wouldn't have occurred to me without having followed your blog. Rather than continuing to run an emulator of you in my head, I thought I'd check to see if we couldn't get the real you interested in what we are doing.

Gabe Newell, Valve, Seattle, WA USA"

Valve is not the first gaming company to hire an economist for such purposes - CCP has a whole team managing EVE Online - and it is unlikely to be the last, given the growing trend in F2P games with items to pay for.

Source: Valve Blogpost

Anyone else remember this quote form a eurogamer interview Gabe did? Because I sure do.
.
.
http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-08-25-valves-gabe-newell-interview
Eurogamer: Will it eventually lead to players being able to trade in games on Steam?

Gabe Newell: We need to hire an economist, because we keep bumping up into these issues. You're starting to look at weird issues like currency and inflation and productivity and asset values and liquidity of asset categories. We just wish we were smarter about this stuff. We're reading frantically. We're brushing up, and all we're doing is convincing ourselves that we're more stupid. Half the time people are saying, oh, well, illiquid assets inherently have a penalty, so this argues for trade-ability, that we're essentially becoming a Russian currency model in the 1970s. Everybody races off to try to read papers on the implications of that.

We think we want to move in the direction where everything is an item of exchange. We just aren't totally sure how to do that right. We're sure there are economists out there who understand this really well. We feel like we're this third-world developing country. We've discovered rocks! And we've discovered sticks! And there's this other thing out there and we should move our economy in that direction. There must be somebody at the World Bank who can tell us what we ought to be doing. We just don't know what that is yet.
.
.
Full game trading on Steam in the near future me thinks!

SajuukKhar:
Full game trading on Steam in the near future me thinks!

You can already do that, I'm pretty sure. Buy as a gift and it'll be in your Steam Inventory, ready to trade for all those keys you wanted.

TheBobmus:

SajuukKhar:
Full game trading on Steam in the near future me thinks!

You can already do that, I'm pretty sure. Buy as a gift and it'll be in your Steam Inventory, ready to trade for all those keys you wanted.

He means trading games you alreay activated and played.

Valve hires economist, ODs on hat funded cocaine and hookers.

Seriously, the wording here has me confused. Unless hats and crates are actually going to infest other games or steam itself, I don't understand.

BernardoOne:
He means trading games you alreay activated and played.

This is what I meant.

It's about time, the economy in TF2 is ludicrous, having items like the earbuds be worth over $100 dollars is a big problem. But then again I wonder if Valve really cares about things like that because having a completely broken economy like that in a game just drives users to fill their pockets through micro transactions.

So Yanis...what am I supposed to do with this pocket lint?

Anyone else think this dude is testing out how TF2 players react to junk items?

That's it, I'm making more Dota 2 hats.

Good god, everybody buy shares in Hats and Metal, quickly!

 

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked