Thursday, January 16, 2014

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Valve Building Virtual Economy Connected to New VR Tech

Valve virtual world Oculus Rift

During a recent conversation on Reddit (background here), Valve founder and CEO Gabe Newell dropped this tantalizing hint of the company's future plans:

Right now we're into rethinking games as a connected economy of virtual goods and services, and virtual reality. [Michael] Abrash has been doing demos all day at Steam Dev Days of the work he has been doing, and it seems well received.

This is possibly academic hairsplitting, but "connected economy of virtual goods" is another way to describe a virtual world, especially when it's linked up with VR. The specific tech Abrash that Newell is referring to is a virtual reality demo using a new Valve-created headset which, as one developer described it, "[F]elt like being in a lucid dream state and very much like a holodeck". So like I said before, 2014 is the year of VR.

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Hitomi Tiponi

I think 2014-15 will be the years of integrated, wearable tech in general with Google Glass leading the field. Occulus Rift, smart watches etc. will also contribute as we move towards a world that goes beyond what even sci-fi has envisaged with integrated tech. With BitCoin virtual economics has become big news again, but 'real' economies will still be the dominant factor as they could kill such economies if they ever felt threatened.

Ciaran Laval

Steam already has a sort of virtual economy with the steam wallet, you can sell items. There's no cashing out at this point, I wonder whether that will change in the future.

Troy McConaghy

It's already possible for any 3D artist to create some new content for Dota 2 (a game by Valve), submit it to Steam Workshop, and if it gets approved by Valve, the content becomes available for sale in the in-game Dota 2 store, with the content creator getting a cut of each sale (in US dollars).

There are other games attached to Steam Workshop as well. Each handles "user generated content" differently. They don't all have in-game stores.

In the first week of 2014, $400K was paid out to content creators, by Valve. Over 90% of TF2 content is from the community - TF2 being another game by Valve. Source: the recent Steam Developer Days in Seattle.

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