I could have said that I called it, but I didn’t see it coming. Valve has announced today that Team Fortress 2 now full of BR’s Free-To-Play.
In what seems like a stroke of genius Valve is letting you play all of the Team Fortress 2 you want for free, forever. The game will now be sustained via the Mann Co in-game store which sells vanity items and weapons for all of the TF2 classes. Whether they will continue to produce content for the game is unknown.
Along with this Valve has also outlined new free and premium accounts. Premium accounts go to anybody who has purchased the game/activated a retail copy, or has purchased an in-game item from their Mann Co. Store. Premium accounts will also have access to more space for their gained items, blue-prints, and full access to trading. Oh and you get a hat.
TF2 is by no means a new game, going on four years it has sustained a very robust user base, those newbies who are joining for the first time on a free account will be helped by the new coaching feature. If a free account upgrades to a premium account and indicate which friend has helped them the most, that player will then be rewarded with an in-game item for helping a new player get on the right track. Valve has also mentioned, but not explained new systems put in place to keep watch on all those new accounts.
This seems like the next logical step for a game like TF2. With full implementation of an in-game store, and a reward system that only requires you to play the game, Valve has a good thing on their hands. The game will remain largely the same with the exception of the new accounts. Since implementing the new item store last year it seems like this would be what the game needs to keep going strong for a good while longer. [TF2 Blog]