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Valve gives green light to community merchandising deal

3D printing service Shapeways has partnered with the games giant to produce and sell fan art designs

Valve has teamed up with 3D printing service Shapeways to bring to community designed merchandise to market.

In a new partnership, independent designers can submit their Valve fan art to the Shapeways marketplace and sell it without the fear of legal takedowns hanging over them. This can be anything from toys and models to hardware accessories for the Steam Controllers and Steam Link.

Any pieces based on Valve properties such as Dota 2, Portal, or Team Fortress 2, will be subject to 10% royalties.

Shapeways CEO Tom Finn said: "We're thrilled that Valve has decided to embrace and empower its fan community in this way, and we're confident it will pave the way for a new movement in companies engaging with fandoms."

The production and sale of home brewed 3D printed models has typically been a divisive one for IP holders. According to the Economist, Shapeways has worked with Hasbro in the past to bring products from the My Little Pony franchise to market, earning royalties from the sales. On the other hand, Disney and Nintendo have been far more protective of their properties, with Disney even adding reflective material to its products, making it harder to 3D-scan them.

With millions of people playing Dota 2 and CounterStrike: Global Offensive every day, plus the highly merchandisable properties like Portal and Team Fortress, this could be a very lucrative move for both Valve and Shapeways.

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