Valve Hires Economist-In-Residence To Explore Data From Virtual Economies

from the excellent-news dept

We spend an awful lot of time talking about the economics of digital information, and how it challenges economics that are solely focused on “scarcity.” And we’ve written plenty about how Valve Software has taken a really data-driven approach to its offerings — often going against “conventional” thinking, but having the data (and revenue) to back up those decisions. So it’s neat to see that the company has hired economist Yanis Varoufakis to be its “economist-in-residence” where he’ll be exploring the data and sharing some of his findings with the world on a new Valve blog (which doesn’t appear to have a Twitter feed… though hopefully they’ll fix that). I tend to think it’s a good thing when smart companies recognize how they can use real economics (and smart economists) to help them do cool things, so I’m looking forward to what Varoufakis has to say…

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Companies: valve

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Comments on “Valve Hires Economist-In-Residence To Explore Data From Virtual Economies”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Before I was a network engineer that dabbled in programming, I was a dual major in psychology and computer science. My main goal was behavior psychology testing on humans, which is possible due to computer simulation with video games. Credit goes to Dr. Donald Hantula:
Since then I have strictly stuck my head in the sand with networking, but the experience was well worth the effort. I hope that both Dr. Hantula, Mr. Varoufakis and others do learn from online worlds, which I think has the potential to revolutionize many fields of science.

Anonymous Coward says:

Misleading / misunderstanding

I have to say this post sounds a bit confused. ‘Virtual Economies’ usually refers to the trade and other economic parts of a game, while the article sounds like it hopes for analysis of Valve’s real-world business. Just because they sell digital, they of course are not virtual sales, or a virtual economy, but a very real economy.
Given that Mr. Masnick is obviously quite a smart fellow, I believe this is due to an acidentally misleading article rather than a real misunderstanding on his part.
Still, I think this is quite an important difference: Studying the virtual economies inside the games (traded in game money of some sort) ist of course a very much simplyfied model of economies, with some outside influence not present in real world economics (like money sinks / money springs), but I still believe insight into fundamental principles can be gleamed from that. And in a really data driven and empirical way unavailable in real economies as well explained by Mr. Varoufakis.

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