Nathan Mayer (Associate Editor)
Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve Corporation, gave a speech this week at the LBJ School of Public Affairs detailing his company and their approach to the games business. Among the many facets covered by the talk, one interesting idea that was brought up was a unique approach Newell is interested in pursuing for user-generated content.
Expanding on the market already established in the multiplayer game Team Fortress 2, where hats can be created and sold by community members, Gabe described a system where users could generate content for multiple games such as items, animations, and even levels, and sell them in their own stores. Similar to how the hat market works, revenue would be shared, and checks would be in place to maintain ownership rights. Rather than relying on something like a Source SDK, a method which Gabe described as a failure, the system would incorporate an 'MMO-like' structure where users would be tasked with creating objects in a fun, user-friendly environment. Regulation of the market would rely primarily on the community, with Gabe citing Reddit as an example of how unwanted content can be filtered.
In addition, Gabe wants Steam to evolve into a 'network API-like' standard, where rather than going through Valve's authorization system, games could instead be published directly by developers. Gabe admits that such a system could be at risk for harmful software such as malware, and that a system would need to be in place to protect against that.
Gabe's forward-looking ideas are certainly radical to say the least, and this isn't the first time he's spoken about it. In a recent interview with The Verge, he stated that "user-generated content has to be an important part of our thinking." This latest speech however gives more details on how this idea would actually be implemented, and shows an outside-the-box and free-market style approach to the future, a mentality that has made Valve a very successful company.
You can watch the full lecture in the video below.