Valve and 3D printing service Shapeways have announced a licensing deal where independent creators on the Shapeways platform can make products using Valve's licensed properties for a small royalty as reported by GamesIndustry.biz.
Shapeways is a 3D printing service that allows users to upload a digital model and create a physical product in a variety of materials including plastic and metal. The service can be used to order a single prototype or batches, and some users elect to sell their goods through the company in an on-demand scheme.
Valve, the software giant behind the Steam digital distribution service and classic game franchises like Half-Life, Portal, and Counter-Strike has worked out a deal with the printing service. Creators can upload fan-created works that make use of Valve's IP and use it for themselves or even sell it in exchange for a flat 10% royalty on the goods and without any fear of facing takedown notices. For example, you could make a 3D model of your particular Soldier loadout in Team Fortress 2, send it off to Shapeways, and have a nice little statue to plop onto a bookshelf. More practical options are available as well; you could, for example, create a customized controller face for a Steam Controller.
Further details are explained in an FAQ on Shapeways' website. The license agreement extends to all of Valve's intellectual property including both software and hardware, although hardware-based goods (such as a customized case for a Steam controller) are exempt from the 10% royalty. The royalty is charged at the point of purchase and requires no additional action on the part of the user.
This isn't the first time that the 3D printing service has teamed up with a company in this kind of agreement; Shapeways has previously worked with Hasbro to bring their licensed products to the 3D-printing market.
What do you think of Valve and Shapeways teaming up to allow people to create physical goods based on Valve's IP with 3D printing? Would you prefer to create practical goods for hardware or would you be more focused on making decorative goods such as a statue of your favorite character? Let us know in the comments below!