When trading was first introduced to TF2, most fans didn’t imagine it’d grow into a full-blown Steam economy, spanning multiple games, systems, communities and currencies. It’s pretty crazy, and sometimes I look at it all and just say “wow“. Don’t get me wrong - I say “wow” to a lot of things when I look at them (sometimes even when I don’t look at them), but Steam trading? That’s definitely something to say “wow” to.
I’ve always wanted to find out exactly how Valve managed to make everything come together and function in such a harmonious way. I’m also interested in how these gaming economies can interact with Valve’s monetization practices – or, to be more precise, the way Valve prices their games and services. Well, either Valve is spying on me or I have the most generic ideas ever, because Valve have come up with a way to enlighten us all regarding those exact topics!
Back in April, Valve opened a new section of their site devoted entirely to employee blogs. Their first blog was “Ramblings in Valve Time“, by Michael Abrash (better known as the god of programming). In fact, just a few days ago, Mike released his second blog post, titled “Do What You Love“, which tackled the most important question of all: “What do I do with my career?”. And it tackled it in a very interesting and insightful manner, and I strongly advise you all to check it out.
But we’re not here to talk about that! No, sir – we’re here to talk about Valve’s second ever developer blog, titled “Valve Economics“. Written by Yanis Varoufakis (an experienced academic economist, author and professor), the blog opened little over an hour ago. Its first posting is called: “It All Began With A Strange Email”, and in it, Yanis tells us all about how he came to work at Valve (yes, it was the Gabe fiat), and also provides some background on how and why being a professor of economics at a video game company can be so special and interesting.
Starting today, Yanis will be releasing weekly reports of Valve’s various projects, concepts, and experiments directly concerning their so-called ”social economies“, on the Valve Economics blog. So if you want to find out more about the philosophies underlying Steam trading, keep your eye (or RSS tracker) squarely on Valve Economics.