Valve makes Team Fortress 2 free to play

Showing once again that it’s a cut above typical game studios and publishers, Valve has announced that Team Fortess 2 has transitioned from a retail title to a free-to-download, free-to-play game. The team-based multiplayer shooter can be freely downloaded right now from Valve’s Steam service for Windows and Mac OS X.

The guys at Develop have gotten some inside details about the move from Valve’s Robin Walker, who says the company has been considering the free-to-play model "ever since the Mann-conomy update [in September 2010]." He adds:

“It’s a belief of ours that in multiplayer games it’s generally true that the more people playing the game, the higher value the game has for each individual customer.
“The more players, the more available servers in your area, the wider variety of other players you’ll find, the greater the opportunity for new experiences, and so on.”

According to the official FAQ page on the Team Fortress website, new players who grab the game for free will have access to all of the same game modes, classes, maps, and "nearly every weapon." As soon as they make a single purchase of any value on the Mann Co. in-game store, their free account will be upgraded to a "premium" account, which will let them store more items in their backpacks, send gifts and trade with other players, and access or get blueprints to all of the game’s items. It looks like the cheapest Mann Co. items run about a dollar, so that’s a pretty sweet deal. Players who paid for the game before the free-to-play switch should already have premium accounts.

Incidentally, Valve says it has set up measures to deal with unruly players who might get the idea of spoiling everyone’s fun and registering a bunch of free accounts to sidestep bans. The company says, "We’ve built systems that’ll allow us to measure and track what these players are doing, and respond quickly."

Comments closed
    • xtalentx
    • 8 years ago

    Okay, so I played a fair amount of TF2 this weekend and the number of AFKers, spammers and cheaters was OFF THE DAMN CHARTS. Time to find some good private servers I think.

    • VILLAIN_xx
    • 8 years ago

    Although the game has its interesting take on fps. I’m kind of glad i didnt have to pay for this as i dont find my self playing hours on end. Anyways, good news update Cryil. Thank you.

    • Xenolith
    • 8 years ago

    I am one of the few people that can say they got this via the black box.

    They make more money offering it for free. The micro-transactions increase will more than make up for any lost revenue from game sales.

    Thanks to this being free, I now have two Steam accounts with TF2 on it.

    • Bensam123
    • 8 years ago

    Sort of a happy and sad moment for me… I would run out and recommend this to my friends… but all my friends already bought it… …heh

    • willyolio
    • 8 years ago

    i hope they give some bonus to people who bought the game… i don’t play that often, and had it since orange box’s release. I only have 1 hat so far. =(

      • David
      • 8 years ago

      Anyone who already purchased it gets a hat.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    “Showing once again that it’s a cut above typical game studios and publishers,”

    showing once again that the reporting industry panders to valve, can you please explain how, exactly they’re a cut above? the game uses a 10 year old engine, has microtransactions, and has for years, and WAS bundled with orange box.

    there are plenty of solid free to play shooters, and whilst this might be a pretty good one, it’s hardly the first microtransaction supported game to be “free to play”. such statements sound biased, (i hate the term fanboy, and don’t feel it’s really relevant), and give credit where i might not really be due.

      • ChunΒ’
      • 8 years ago

      Source was updated in ’07 and has been constantly updated since. Just sayin’

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        is the UE3 engine a new engine? it gets updated too.

          • Pettytheft
          • 8 years ago

          Only Valve the champions of PC gaming are allowed to not push graphics on the PC. Crytec gets blasted for releasing a game that still looks better than updated Source. They get blasted for releasing DX11 after the game comes out. Epic continuously gets berated for releasing Gears of War despite giving away tons of free tools and trying to make UE3 engine accessible to the PC market.

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      I think the difference is that many many people have had the game a LONG time, and have been getting free updates for a very long time.. and even with this move to the F2P model, there are still free content updates as well as paid ones. A game like battlefield F2P (or whatever it’s name is) is a barebones game with essentially only paid-updates/content. If you don’t pay, you never get anything new. TF2, you can be a cheapo and still get something new every couple months.

      Plus it’s more fun to kill people wearing stupid hats than to actually wear one, being a FIRST person shooter and all.

      • cjb110
      • 8 years ago

      But it *isn’t* micro-transaction supported is it? Not in the usual gimped sense that we’re used to.
      TF2 was a complete multiplayer game, now its a complete free multiplayer game, with some bonuses and silly hats if you do use the micro-transactions.

      Also why does the age of the engine matter? Is it or is it not capable of displaying the game at 2k resolutions at 60fps on most modern systems? It might be useless to try to write BattleField 3 with it, but that’s not relevant in the slightest.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        of course it’s relevant. a new engine has larger costs, as it needs to earn back production costs. to counter the example above that “it was a full cost game, and now it’s free, the age doesn’t matter”, have you ever played quake live? oh no you’ll say, that’s too old, it’s hardly the same thing! but you’re wrong. it’s exactly the same thing. it’s just a bit OLDER. this game is 4 years old, running a decade old engine. the game is OBVIOUSLY microtransaction supported, other wise, they wouldn’t be making it free. I assume that retail sales had fallen, and in an attempt to continue the revenue they made it free to play, which has a few advantages:
        – allows new people to come in and spend money on microtransactions, which i would guess are the only revenue coming in for the game, and,
        – encourage new people to buy into valve’s steam service. “hey man, check out this free game, ya, you just got to dl this thing first”, then they’re using it, and purchasing more shortly.

        and it’s not JUST hats. weapons are there too: “modes, classes, maps, and “nearly every weapon.” ”

        so… game balancing requires money… how is that different from other free to play fps…? except it’s maybe slightly less…?

        My point is not that tf2 isn’t a good game, it’s not my fav, but it’s a fine game. My point is that they’ve done nothing different from any other company, trying to milk their products for all the money they can, but because it’s valve, THEY’RE HEROES. that’s the issue.

        If you’re going to vote me down, at least say why. what is wrong with my points? help me understand, so i can learn! : )

          • lilbuddhaman
          • 8 years ago

          Valve are “heroes” in the sense that it took them this long to start milking customers. In this day and age, that’s an accomplishment.

          And after paying $1 you have access to the entirety of the game’s weapons…so the point is a bit moot balance wise. It could go sour ( and probably will ) but at the moment their system is a “fair” F2P model. Something which can rarely be said about F2P games.

          • David
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]My point is that they've done nothing different from any other company, trying to milk their products for all the money they can, but because it's valve, THEY'RE HEROES. that's the issue.[/quote<] Except nothing has to be paid for to be obtained. Unlike other F2P games there is zero need to buy anything. I've never purchased anything in game and I've been playing since release. They're not heroes, but they have more consideration for their fans than most developers. That certainly makes then a cut above.

          • dashbarron
          • 8 years ago

          I think you are on point SSK. A lot of people claim Valve as uber-heroes all the time and I just don’t see how what they do is different or better from other companies a lot of the time.

          Old engine is old engine. Just because it is patched and updated doesn’t mean it can compare to a newer and improved engine, despite that it may still look “decent” and play at high frame rates (because it’s an old engine on modern hardware).

          I see how and probably why they made it F2P compared to a game like BF3 this year which would charge money.

        • Silus
        • 8 years ago

        Right…it’s only “not relevant” for Valve. Every other game developer gets flak for it. Only Valve doesn’t. Double standards are rampant…

      • OneArmedScissor
      • 8 years ago

      “can you please explain how, exactly they’re a cut above?”

      People love technology monopolies which inevitably leverage their position to control the future development of their market. Oh, I’m sorry. You want me to [i<]explain[/i<] that? I'm going to need a bottle of everclear and some crazy pills.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        people are weird. I don’t understand why people are so crazy. i’m -13 on the conversation, and the only reply is “it took them this long to milk their customers”, and that’s supposed to be a good thing? I don’t get the irrational thinking.

          • DaveSylvia
          • 8 years ago

          In an industry where companies like EA and others are ruthless, being a normal company helps you stand out from the crowd. Does that make them a “cut above”? By comparison, yes.

          As for the Source engine, yes it’s 7 years old but it’s not like they haven’t updated it slightly. And I still think the face and eye expressions are as good or better than any other engine!

          • TheEmrys
          • 8 years ago

          How many popular, high quality games have been made free in the last 5 years?

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 8 years ago

            According to the industry, every single player PC game (cuz they get pirated.)

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            Let’s see:
            League of legends, this one, obviously, trackmania, Savage 2: A Tortured Soul, S.T.A.L.K.E.R…..

            there’s more, but that’s what i know off the top of my head.

            If we’re going to include games that are still updated, there’s warsow, and all of the other old id engine games.

            there’s this list:
            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_commercial_video_games_released_as_freeware[/url<] which doesn't have that many in the last 5 years, and they're freeware, not free. there's also this one, to which tf2 now falls, excepting that it's a fps, but it's certainly got micro-transactions: [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_massively_multiplayer_online_games#Free_play_with_micro-transactions[/url<] I think it's strange that people think valve is amazing for releasing a game to be supported by microtransactions, once the retail dries up, but id releases all their old engines, and yet people just complain about how they've "lost their soul" and "arrogant". THAT's my issue. the double standard.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            id isn’t id anymore, they’re Bethesda, and we have yet to see if they’ll release engines for free.

            Also, if you can’t see the difference between an engine and content, you’re blind.

            Finally, source has been available for free to modders for years.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            I can see the difference, but, if you can’t see the difference between opening the source code, and modding, you’re blind.

            They HAVE released a number of engines, whether the new engine opens is the question.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            Source is open source.

            The only difference is the license. Valve doesn’t let you use the Source engine to make money.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            That doesn’t make it open source…. According the wikipedia article, it is in fact proprietary, and NOT open source.

            [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_engine[/url<] just so you know. it might be free to use, but it's not open source.

            • BobbinThreadbare
            • 8 years ago

            You can download the source code and modify it.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            that still doesn’t make it open source. you can edit the ue3 engine, and make games, even up to 50k in revenue before they charge you. it’s still NOT open source.

      • d0g_p00p
      • 8 years ago

      Want some cheese with your whine? Leave it up to dumbshopking to complain about a video game company giving away a premiere title for free. I swear people find ANYTHING to complain about anytime game companies do something great for the community. If you don’t like TF2 and it’s “10 year old engine” then go find some other F2P games which I can tell you has no where near the support or polish you will find with TF2. You must be Krogoth’s dupe account or something.

      10 year old engine, ell oh ell.

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        I have no issue with the game being free, perhaps reading is tough for you, so i’ll write it in easy to understand words:
        company do same as everyone else, normally, but called amazing, other companies do same, get called bad. bias = πŸ™

        you’re a tard. perhaps if you knew how to comprehend, you’d understand they just made the game a free to play game, supported by microtransactions. Like the other 10000000 out there. you going to call riot games AMAZING for making LOL? what about the 50,000 f2p mmo’s?

        I wasn’t complaining about valve, i think they’re fine. i was complaining about the ass kissing they get from enthusiasts. people like you.

        If you have any ACTUAL counter points, (requires comprehension, and SOME level of intelligence), then feel free. otherwise, quit QQing. you’ve contributed nothing.

          • Anomymous Gerbil
          • 8 years ago

          Don’t be a patronising douche-bag, SSK.

          For a start, to patronise someone implies you’re coming form a position of superiority, which given the average content of your posts on TR, you are clearly not.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            hmmmmm. that’s silly. nobody EVER counters me. they simply say “it’s SSK, i don’t like him, cause he doesn’t agree with me. F that guy.” F that. that’s bull. you got something to say, besides “omg you post stupid stuff”, the give’r, but you don’t.

            you’re a patronizing douche. I wasn’t at all. i actually called him a tard, there was no fake kindness at all. check out the word in the dictionary. i think you meant “Don’t be a mean douche-bag” You’re a smart man, I know that. I’m not trying to be an ass, but HE STARTED IT! πŸ˜‰

            I make 2 kinds of posts, silly ones, which are clearly silly, and serious ones, which are accurate. I’m rarely wrong when I post, and if i am, i’m the first to agree. If you can’t sort that out, then i’m πŸ™

            nobody has answered ANY of the points i’ve made, except to say “everyone else is worse, so they’re great by default”, which is a poor argument. Don’t be silly, AG.

            • Sencapri
            • 8 years ago

            The reason why Valve is getting praised and supported with high regards is because of the way they handled micro transactions. Valve pretty much gave you a REAL “free” game that has all of the benefits of buying the game with real money but micro transactions don’t interfere with game play they’re just little add on hats or weapons that don’t unbalance the game. Now like other companies that handle micro payments are usually a MMORPG type of game and they would speak to you in an advertisement “hey, our game is free come and play” but in the REAL world it says “we’re a little vague on the part of being free you need 20$ to level up level 20”

            • KoolAidMan
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]I'm rarely wrong when I post[/quote<] Yes you are

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 years ago

            hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahah

            • DaveSylvia
            • 8 years ago

            Thats exactly the problem! If its a legit counter to your arguement you dismiss or discard any other rebuttal and do it with as much douchebaggery as possible (Yay made up words!).

            And! Do you know of any other game companies that have released 4 year old games for free? That are high-quality and not indie?

          • David
          • 8 years ago

          You keep ignoring the fact that few (if any) developers offers a COMPLETE and regularly updated game for free. Unlike the others you mentioned, everything in the store can be obtained by simply playing the game.

            • bthylafh
            • 8 years ago

            He isn’t ignoring anything. He’s trolling.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Because almost all other games out today suck. When the baseline has been lowered so much you take what you can get. Name a free FPS that is actually good, let alone on the level of TF2… or even pay ones for that matter.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        BC2 ….

        • Silus
        • 8 years ago

        Such an easy answer to that one.

        Enemy Territory. Completely free from the start and it’s still very popular today.

      • Pettytheft
      • 8 years ago

      Thou has blasphemed Holy Valve. Die in a pillar of fire!

      • Silus
      • 8 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more. The Church of Freeman is always working to spread their word and it’s a shame to see review/tech news sites suck on Valve’s…well, you know…

      • clone
      • 8 years ago

      I liked TF2, it was dated the day it was released but TF2 much like Portal was supposed to be less tech and more fun and in that it excelled, what I really like about this announcement is that they’ll continue to support and monitor cheat and grief players.

      I used to play Unreal 2004 and loved it right up until aimbots became mainstream, I was pretty annoyed when Epic didn’t care and it caused me to walk away from the Unreal franchise, Valve kept balance in mind even with micro transactions and to be honest while Valve hasn’t done any 1 thing new here what they are promising in the entirety is new.

      I avoided EA games that gave gamers an advantage if they paid for it even tiny advantages because the concept to me is wrong nuff said and a big plus for Valve that they avoided that pitfall.

      I haven’t bought anything off Valve since Orange Box but I still like and respect what the company and putting TF2 after all this time fully supported into the wild is great.

    • Vasilyfav
    • 8 years ago

    I’ve had TF2 since Orange Box, but I can’t find any reason to play it anymore. The gameplay’s really gotten stale, despite their best efforts to keep the game alive with a bunch of class-related fluff.

    Only came back once after the first month for the pyro pack and wasn’t impressed.

    Sure glad I didn’t spend the 30$ some people did πŸ˜›

      • RickyTick
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah me too, had it since Orange Box. Played a few rounds but it just wasn’t for me.
      Like derFunk said, “pretty cool to make it free”.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah… but compared to what? What else out there has better gameplay? Games suck now days, there isn’t a whole lot to choose from in terms of multiplayer games with a lot of replayability that aren’t grindtastic MMOs.

        • Vasilyfav
        • 8 years ago

        Maybe that’s why I’m replaying Baldur’s Gate and Fallout 2 for the umpteenth time.

        Also playing CSS occasionally which paced better to my liking.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Does anybody interested in this game not already own it? Meaning: They’ve already made their retail money off of it. They’re not giving anything up.

    Still, pretty cool to make it free.

      • bittermann
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah, I think that’s the point of offering it free now…Trying to get new users to buy in game items.

      • Swampangel
      • 8 years ago

      I’m glad it’s free so that I can suggest it at lan parties. Whenever we try to move on from our usual Battlefield game, we find out that someone in our group doesn’t have L4D2 or SC2 or whatever and doesn’t want to shell out $10-20 to play a game once.

      • TheEmrys
      • 8 years ago

      I’m interested and I never bought it. Shoot, they still charge for Day of Defeat: Source and that’s a much older and much more niche game.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        The game is 4 years old. You can’t possibly be THAT interested or you’d have it.

      • Bensam123
      • 8 years ago

      Yup, my thoughts exactly. I bet they make more money off of microtransactions from the store then they do off of sales now days… and that’s why they decided to go F2P.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      I was interested but never bought it. Compared to say…L4D1/2 which I own, when I’ve played a secession or two and I want to switch to another game, TF2 is too similar to make me want to play it. My reasoning was why buy a game that is rather similar to two other ones I already own?

      But I’ve downloaded the game now. πŸ™‚

      • Silus
      • 8 years ago

      Never bought it and have no interest in playing it now that it’s free. I have much better multiplayer games to play, even if multiplayer isn’t really my thing.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I’m not sure how I feel about this game since I already bought it. I guess I’m happy at the same time as upset. I think the hat thing is an annoying. I wish that I got more for throwing down the 30 bucks to play this game all those years ago. Maybe half off any valve product would be amazing for the original purchasers.

      • TheBulletMagnet
      • 8 years ago

      Think about all the other online multiplayer fps on the market. Modern Warfare, Call of Duty, Battifield, etc. You pay $60 for the game brand new and then after a year, maybe year and a half of updates, a new game comes out. The community moves on, the servers dry up and you have to shell out more money to move on to a new game because the one you’re playing is dead.

      Team Fortress 2 came out back in 2007. If you bought it back then you got it as part of the orange box compilation, which had FIVE full games in it. Plus Team Fortress 2 has been regularly updated for the last 4 years. It still has a strong and active community. So you got your 30 bux worth, quit crying.

        • Vasilyfav
        • 8 years ago

        Well for games like BF2, the community is a lot more longer lasting than for pop-garb like CoD.

        I can only hope BF3 community will be just as proactive and permanent.

          • travbrad
          • 8 years ago

          Yeah I wouldn’t lump Battlefield in with those other games. I fired up BF1942 about a year ago and there were still plenty of servers and people playing (8 years after it’s release).

            • David
            • 8 years ago

            He still has a point about updates though. NO other game has seen the amount of content updates TF2 has. And for free.

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