If anyone has to deal with a never-ending onslaught of mouth-breathing, socially-maladjusted, fun-murdering trolls, it’s Valve… and they also seem to know what to do with them. It’s a controversial plan that’s far from flawless, but Valve is looking to charge players based on how well-liked they are by other players. If Valve has their way, the pleasure of telling me what my mother says during sex or which part of the male anatomy I like on my tonsils will cost you real money.
Details about the implementation of this idea are scant: Will other players rate you? Independent moderators who oversee the games? It’s hard to tell, but Valve’s Gabe Newell is not okay with the status quo and feels that new systems have to be imagined and implemented. He calls the current model “broken” and has had quite enough. Here’s a bit from Develop:
“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.”
There’s certainly room to game the system unless some smart checks and balances are put in place (a ratings system could, for instance, allow coordinated gangs of jerks to “punish” others by systematically voting them down). It does beg the question, however: Would this system be worse than what’s currently in place? It’s not as if we’d be leaving a better method behind.
Yes, this business model definitely has its weak points… but you can be sure the biggest and most vocal detractors will be the very same ones most likely to end up paying the jerk tax.