"Jerks" who stink up servers should be charged extra for games, whereas "likeable" users who are fun to play with should get them free, Portal 2 developer Valve has suggested.

The comments came in a discussion between studio boss Gabe Newell and Develop about how best to charge customers for its output.

"The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone," Newell explained. "That's actually a bug, and it's something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products.

"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. Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave.

"We should have a way of capturing that," he continued. "We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.

"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."

Valve's latest effort - the brilliant Portal 2 - launched on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 last month. Next up is PC RTS sequel DOTA 2, due later this year.

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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