Valve on Steam Trade-Ins

An interview with Valve's Gabe Newell on Eurogamer talks with the Valve boss about a variety of topics, such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and the future of the company. An item of particular interest, as noted by GameSpot, is his answer to whether he foresees ever allowing gamers to trade-in used games on Steam. Here's his response:
We need to hire an economist, because we keep bumping up into these issues. You're starting to look at weird issues like currency and inflation and productivity and asset values and liquidity of asset categories. We just wish we were smarter about this stuff. We're reading frantically. We're brushing up, and all we're doing is convincing ourselves that we're more stupid. Half the time people are saying, oh, well, illiquid assets inherently have a penalty, so this argues for trade-ability, that we're essentially becoming a Russian currency model in the 1970s. Everybody races off to try to read papers on the implications of that.

We think we want to move in the direction where everything is an item of exchange. We just aren't totally sure how to do that right. We're sure there are economists out there who understand this really well. We feel like we're this third-world developing country. We've discovered rocks! And we've discovered sticks! And there's this other thing out there and we should move our economy in that direction. There must be somebody at the World Bank who can tell us what we ought to be doing. We just don't know what that is yet.
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Re: Valve on Steam Trade-Ins
Aug 27, 2011, 06:11
Dev
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Re: Valve on Steam Trade-Ins Aug 27, 2011, 06:11
Aug 27, 2011, 06:11
Dev
 
Nate wrote on Aug 27, 2011, 03:04:
If you can re-sell your downloaded games then the developers and publishers will start charging more up front. They will also start doing other things to make you want to purchase new rather than purchase used.

Gabe must know this. Its not complicated. I expect never to be able to re-sell a downloaded game. Doesn't bother me.
a) Depends on how it works. If gabe gives a cut of each trade in to the publisher they will jump up and down for joy that they'd get a cut. And if valve doesn't sell "used" copies as well, just offers steam wallet trade in credit, that solves the selling used copy thing that gamestop likes to do and the pubs and devs all get upset about.
Valve would have to work out the logistics of the CD key thing, games with layered copy protection and limited activations would have a problem getting tied to another account, whereas ones with just steam protection probably wouldn't. Plus there's games where you use that serial to register a special forum account (egosoft did/does that for instance) that would have to be looked at.

b) gamestop with its used game sales has already driven publishers to do things like that. Its called DLC.

c) Yes, it IS complicated. In addition to the few issues I mentioned that I can think of off the top of my head, there's problems with trying to make sure they don't cannibalize other sales. It would be partly fixed with only offering credit and no "used " game sales, but they'd still possibly have less "new" money coming into the system. It wouldnt' be worth it if doing this decreases the "new" money coming in. Gamestop addresses this by charging near retail prices for used copies and giving crap credit for trad-ins, so they screw people coming and going on used game sales and constantly have a large influx of "new" money. Incidentally this cannibalization is the reason why companies tend to sell digital copies for almost the same price as retail copies when they are released. They don't want to cannibalize retail sales. Regardless of what Gabe knows or doesn't know, or if he's playing dumb, this IS a complicated issue. Doing it wrong could be a huge logistical nightmare and kill valve as a company.

Stolk wrote on Aug 27, 2011, 02:07:
Or that it makes no sense that I have to re-confirm my age to view a screenshot of a game I already own, but the program has no problem giving automatic access to my credit cards for any purchases with two clicks?
One of the MANY things that irks me about steam. WTF do I have to enter that continually? Let me put in a birthday into my account and remember it from them on, OMG.

Oh and how about letting me do a search in my user list, port that game library list search function over, probably take like 15 mins.

Valve needs to hire some dedicated UI guys instead of just letting everyone work on stuff thats interesting to them.

This comment was edited on Aug 27, 2011, 07:06.
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