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Valve Switching Team Fortress 2 To Free-To-Play Increased Revenue Twelvefold 196

An anonymous reader writes "We've frequently discussed the growing trend among video game publishers to adopt a business model in which downloading and playing the game is free, but part of the gameplay is supported by microtransactions. There have been a number of success stories, such as Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. During a talk at the Game Developers Conference this week, Valve's Joe Ludwig officially added Team Fortress 2 to that list, revealing that the game has seen a 12-fold increase in revenue since the switch. He said, 'The trouble is, when you're a AAA box game, the only people who can earn you new revenue are the people who haven't bought your game. This drives you to build new content to attract new people. There's a fundamental tension between building the game to satisfy existing players and attract new players.' He also explained how they tried to do right by their existing playerbase: 'We dealt with the pay-to-win concern in a few ways. The first was to make items involve tradeoffs, so there's no clear winner between two items. But by far the biggest thing we did to change this perception was to make all the items that change the game free. You can get them from item drops, or from the crafting system. It might be a little easier to buy them in the store, but you can get them without paying.'"
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Valve Switching Team Fortress 2 To Free-To-Play Increased Revenue Twelvefold

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  • by oddjob1244 ( 1179491 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:14PM (#39295177)
    Valve's freemium model is different. The paid content doesn't give you a huge advantage over the free content. Most of the addons are cosmetic and the weapons are balanced or worse than the stock weapons. You're still a competitive player with the free version of TF2, and if you play for a reasonable amount of time the paid content drops randomly anyway. Even if you wanted to sink a bunch of cash into TF2 to be better than everyone else, you can't. I mean, even the paid items can't be crafted.
  • by sexconker ( 1179573 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:00PM (#39295603)

    If a game is pay to win, it'll eventually lose it's customer base. You may have noticed that TF2 is explicitly trying not to be pay-to-win. I'm not a user, so I don't know, but at least they are trying. And eventually a functioning model where game designers are encouraged to improve the game while gamers can't just "pay to win" will develop.

    TF2 is absolutely pay to win.
    The goal of the game is to collect all the hats and useless crap.

    I hop on TF2 every once in a while only to find that no one is actually playing TF2. Control points? Intelligence briefcase? The cart? Nope. No one gives a shit about those things. They only care about farming shit and running around like retards.

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