Gabe Newell returns to issue of charging players based on how likeable they are

Valve: DOTA 2 will be a new kind of free-to-play

Valve will pursue its experiment with the free-to-play games model with a new plan to release its upcoming game DOTA 2 for free, the company’s managing director has said.

Gabe Newell claimed Valve is not applying a wholly conventional freemium model for the online action strategy game.

Usually, freemium games are made available to everyone and later monetised by selling optional in-game items.

But in an upcoming interview with Seven Day Cooldown, Newell said the game would be “free-to-play [but] it’ll have some twists”.

"The issue that we’re struggling with quite a bit is something I’ve kind of talked about before, which is how do you properly value people’s contributions to a community?” he said, reflecting on a discussion he had with Develop last year.

Last year Newell told Develop that “the games 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".

He continued: “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.

“So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.”

It appears Valve is putting this plan, or a similar initiative, into action.

He told Seven Day Cooldown: “We’re trying to figure out ways so that people who are more valuable to everybody else [are] recognized and accommodated. We all know people where if they’re playing we want to play, and there are other people where if they’re playing we would [rather] be on the other side of the planet.

"It’s just a question of coming up with mechanisms that recognize and reward people who are doing things that are valuable to other groups of people."

[The Seven Day Cooldown interview was serialised to The Verge]

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