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Businesses The Almighty Buck Games

Valve's Newell: One-Price-For-Everyone Business Model 'Broken' 374

Fysx writes with recent comments from Valve co-founder Gabe Newell about how he thinks the traditional video game business model is flawed: "The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone. That’s actually a bug, and it’s something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products. What you really want to do is create the optimal pricing service for each customer and see what’s best for them. We need to give customers, all of them, a robust set of options regarding how they pay for their content. An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community."
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Valve's Newell: One-Price-For-Everyone Business Model 'Broken'

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  • by SharpFang ( 651121 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @05:24AM (#36150820) Homepage Journal

    STEAM world pricing.

    USA: $59.99
    Eastern bloc countries: €59.99

    Fuck you, Valve,
    I have a choice between paying 40% more than americans or not paying at all. Guess which one I choose.
    I'm all open for honest exchange, but I have no qualms against screwing you if you try to screw me.

  • by Aceticon ( 140883 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @07:18AM (#36151496)

    Three points:

    1) Why limit yourself to models that pay for something AFTER it has been produced?

    We have centuries of experience with paying BEFORE for people to produce something and that seems to have worked out ok (Michelangelo didn't exactly paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel for free and sold tickets AFTER)

    2) There are in fact successful comercial models that include free distribution of the copyrighted product. For example, Redhat makes is money from support. Similarly, some game makers distribute the game for free and make their money solely from paid subscription to access a managed online environment for that game.

    3) In computer systems DRM is more than just a means of protecting copyright. It is essentially an automated digital Agent for the seller which is present in the sold product and imposes arbitrary after-sale limitations on the use of it. With online authorization and updating, the seller can even easilly and at no cost change the allowed use of the product AFTER the buyer has paid for it and the only recourse for the buyer is (costly) legal action to recover access to those features they already paid for.

    A good real-life example of how DRM is used by the seller to change after-sale features of a product is the "Removal of Linux access on the PS3" situation.

    To use a car analogy, it's like buying a car and discovering that you have a representative of the brand on board always with you when you drive. He can stop you doing certain things (say, turning the radio on, opening the windows or having passengers on the back-seats) and will, once in a while, phone home office and get a new list of limitations he will impose. He works for free and if he suddenly adds a new limit on your use of the car you bought (say, by only allowing the aircon to be off or full-blast on) you have to go to court with it and show that the contract you signed when you bought the car actually included the right to use that function of the car which you've just been denied the use of (i.e. that the contract actually stated you could regulate the level of the aircon).

    With Physical Property like a car, the law is in your side in that you can just kick the seller's agent out of your car.

    However, with Intellectual Property laws in places like the US you actually have no easy way to do that since:
    - AFTER the sale you have to accept the EULA to use the product you just bought, which in some States as per-law means you just signed a contract that pretty much gives the Seller any arbitrary rights they want.
    - Laws like DCMA restrict your access to tools that would allow removing of seller's digital Agent(s) from a product you bought.

    Current Intellectual Property laws de facto support the right of the seller to arbitrarilly enforce and change at will limitations on a product that the buyer has already bought, something which, with products which are purelly physical, is not allowed.

    This is why Intellectual Property when it comes to products which can contain digital Agents is flawed.

  • by dcollins ( 135727 ) on Tuesday May 17, 2011 @09:14AM (#36152436) Homepage

    "Unless you're post-filtering the water coming from the tap, it's got all sorts of stuff still in the water that can be objectionable, harmful over time, etc."

    Numerous studies have found that city tap water generally safer, cleaner, has less bacteria, tastes better in blind taste tests, etc. than bottled water. The bottled water industry has numerous "bacterial and chemical contamination problems" per the NRDC.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.