Gabe Newell - head of Valve - has come out and said that annoying and 'jerk' players in multiplayer games should be 'charged accordingly' to reflect their actions. Read on for all the details.
Talking to the Sports & Entertainment Marketing Class at Tippecanoe Valley High School, the Valve CEO explained how multiplayer games like Team Fortress 2 and Counter-Strike are often seen to have two predominant figures that frequently appear in game, that being the friends that everyone likes, and the other being 'jerks'.
"Those two sets of people are creating two sets of value for everybody else, and they should be charged accordingly. The person who when he/she starts playing and a bunch of other people join their team, you might even think of giving the product to them for free. The person who is hated and everyone else leaves, you might want to make that person watch a bunch of ads to help compensate for the negative externalities the create."
Newell suggested that unorthodox players could go and set up their own servers where other people who shared their gaming tendencies could come together, whilst players that were universally praised could "receive some affinity or status; 'a friend of the developer', or they should have some other benefit."
These sort of ideas all come from Valve's investigations into discovering "how you can create a custom package for each person," which seems a pretty solid idea considering the many different types of gamer that play individual titles.
Whilst these ideas are just that, we can expect to see any experimentation in Team Fortress 2. Gabe explained how TF2 has been the company's experimental title, and how they've learnt interesting things about their player base through experimental features. "Everything we're doing with TF2 is designed to teach us more about what they [the players] and what they don't like," explains Gabe. "The number one most purchased item in TF2 was the most expensive item in the store. The second highest unit volume item in the store was the cheapest item in the store."
What does this teach Valve? "That we have to run a lot more experiments," laughs Newell. But none the less, this is a statistic that Valve probably didn't see coming. From the amount of grumbling on forums around the internet in regards to micro-transactions, you'd expect the most expensive item to elude the top spot.
In less shocking news, Gabe revealed in the conference that his favourite game the company had produced was Portal 2. "It's our most confident design we've done so far."