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In a lengthy Gamescom interview with Eurogamer worth reading, Valve CEO Gabe Newell spoke of the studio weighing up the possibility of game trade-ins on their digital distribution platform Steam. Newell laments the studio’s lack of know-how on the subject though, but told Eurogamer they want to bring in people with the expertise to help Valve work out the kinks and have a trade-in system work to their favour.
“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.
This discussion came off the back of the Eurogamer querying Valve’s intentions with the recently launched Steam Trading beta, which intends to allow players to trade items from games with other players with the potential to trade items from one game for items from a different one. Steam users can try out the beta now by going into their Steam settings.
“ What we’re trying to do is ask ourselves, how can we design stuff so everybody benefits from other people playing the game? You start off saying, how in the world could somebody playing CS: GO benefit somebody who’s playing TF2? Then you say, well, if there’s economy and crafting and things like that that are going across games, then everybody’s going to benefit. So, that’s where we’re headed with that, to try to understand better what sort of cross-game network effects we can create, in the same way with the social networking features, there’s scale value for doing that. But you’d also like to see the trading benefits of having multiple games participating in a trading system.”
For now, Valve are toying with the idea of game trade-ins on Steam. It looks to be a very complex idea, so don’t expect any concrete plan to take shape for a while.