Team Fortress 2 will now be supported entirely by its in-game store.Attachment 43
Alongside the announcement of the Uber Update
earlier this week, Valve announced that Team Fortress 2
would be free to play for the next week. Unlike when the game has been temporarily made free in the past, the ability to buy the game was removed from its Steam page. This led to speculation that it might be going to free to play for good; Steam recently began offering
F2P titles, so it seemed possible. Sure enough, Robin Walker has revealed in a Develop
interview that Team Fortress 2 is now free to play -- permanently. The game added
an in-game store last September to sell items (weapons and aesthetic-only hats) made by Valve and users. Allowing everyone to freely play the game increases the number of potential customers the store can see, so it's not as if this move is simply giving up money.
"We've been toying with the idea ever since the Mann-conomy update, where we added the in-game Team Fortress 2 store," Walker said. "Over the years we've done a bunch of price experimentations with the game, going all the way down to $2.49 in our random one-hour Halloween sales. The more we've experimented, the more we've learned there are fundamentally different kinds of customers, each with their own way of valuing the product. Now that we're shipping it, it feels like a fairly straightforward next step along the 'Games as Services' path we've been walking down for a while now."
The store alone will be what supports the game; Valve won't be adding a subscription option or any advertisements to bring in additional revenue. Random item drops -- a way to get almost any item from the store without paying a dime -- won't be affected, which is one subtle change cynics might expect to be made.
As someone who still frequently plays TF2 and enjoys the updates and availability of items on the store, I'm excited to see an influx of new players. The amount of support Valve has given the game since its launch in 2007 is incredible, and this hopefully means the free DLC won't be stopping anytime soon.