by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
data, digital content


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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  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 19 Jun 2012 @ 4:24pm

    So which school of voodoo is Varoufakis?

    Keynesian Voodoo

    Chicago Voodoo


    Inquiring minds want to know, given how our own Banking Cartel aka Federal Reserve has pwn3d the economics profession.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    techinabox (profile), 19 Jun 2012 @ 4:44pm


    CCP has an economist that watches EVE's economy. They even put out quarterly newsletters that in game investors watch closely. With Valve doing this as well soon virtual economist will become a real job.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jeff, 19 Jun 2012 @ 6:20pm



    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2012 @ 6:39pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Jun 2012 @ 11:30pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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