Former Valve economist calls Facebook’s metaverse ‘a Steam-like digital economy’ with Zuckerberg as its ‘techno-lord’

Former Greek Finance Minister and former Valve employee economist Janis Varoufakis gave a long and loose interview on the Crypto Syllabus website. They focused on blockchain, its potential, setbacks, and where blockchain stands in the broader policy context of surveillance and economy. Readers of PC gamers should pay particular attention to his account of the time he spent at Valve. In the early 2010s, Varoufakis accessed Valve’s data on the early Steam player market. He used it to advise the company and his economic research.

Explaining Valve’s original idea, Varoufakis said: “10 years ago, the metaverse was already working in the gaming community. Valve’s game has already produced an economy big enough for Valve to get excited and terrified. Some digital assets that were previously distributed for free (via game drops) started trading for tens of thousands of dollars on eBay before anyone even thought of NFTs.”

We understand that Valve’s predecessors are stepping into uncharted territory with the digital economy and want to get them under control before they get out of control. Like PC Gamer’s Natalie Clayton, Varoufakis sees a link between these emerging digital markets and the current NFT turmoil.

In an interview, he said: “10 years ago, gaming communities like the ones I studied at Valve now have functioned as a full metaverse. Gamers are fascinated by games, but once “in” they make friends. Zuckerberg’s ambition is to bring billions of non-player Facebook users into a digital social economy like Steam. How can we resist the parallels with the digital realm where Zuckerberg dreams of becoming a technology?”

All interviews are worth reading. Discussions of Varoufakis’ time with Valve, and especially his comments on the game. He leads to implicit reflections on the nature of our economy and exploitation. Either way, we thank another expert who joined the choir that the metaverse is bullshit.



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