In a shocking announcement made late last night, Valve has made official that their critically acclaimed class-based first-person shooter, Team Fortress 2, is now the latest game to adopt the free-to-play model. You can download Team Fortress 2 on PC (or Mac) through Steam and play it as much as you’d like, for as long as you’d like for absolutely no cost. However, if you do feel like throwing Valve some cash, you’re always welcome to take advantage of the game’s microtransaction system to purchase in-game items such as the fancy hats being offered.
In an interview with Develop, Valve’s Robin Walker led the site through the process of finally adopting the Free-to-Play business model for Team Fortress 2, a decision they’ve been experimenting with for quite some time it seems.
“We’ve been toying with the idea ever since the Mann-conomy update, where we added the in-game Team Fortress 2 store. 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,” said Walker.
“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.”
Making Team Fortress 2 a free-to-play title is part of this week’s Uber Updates for the game. It’s definitely something people didn’t see coming. Valve is also promising that future updates and add-ons will not slow down just because the game is now free. And finally, for the people who bought Team Fortress 2 in the past, you’re not in the lurch. You’ll be sporting a premium account going into the new business model, meaning you’ll be recognized as the l33t player that you are with in-game items to show off that you’ve been around well before everything was free. It’s like knowing that band before they were popular.
This might be the biggest game yet to adopt the free-to-play business model. So what say you? If you haven’t bought into Team Fortress 2 yet, do you plan to download the game now that it’s free?
While you ponder the answer to that question, enjoy the latest “Meet the..” trailer for Team Fortress 2. This one spotlights the medic class.