Valve Was ‘Concerned’ That It Didn’t Have An MMO
Team Fortress 2’s transition to free-to-play enabled Valve to “explore specific game and business design spaces that we felt were potentially a requirement for the long-term survival of our company” according to lead designer Robin Walker.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Walker said that Valve had concerns that it wasn’t in the increasingly-popular MMO market, but that TF2 enabled it to explore microtransactions and free-to-play.
“MMOs were the dominant story in the industry, and one concern we had was that we might not be able to survive if we didn’t build one,” Walker explained. “We were starting to feel the same way about micro-transactions as we did initially about MMOs: that our company was at risk if we didn’t have internal experience and hard data on them.”
Instead, the developer/distributor made Team Fortress 2 free-to-play and added various MMO-style elements to the experience.
“In the end, TF2 has ended up being one of the most useful tools we’ve ever built to reduce risk in our company’s future,” added the developer. “The thought that if we hadn’t done it, we’d be here today without any data or experience with service based monetization strategies is quite terrifying.”
DOTA 2 is among the titles to reap the rewards and is available as beta or free with paid DLC on Steam.