I've also been surprised by the community that surrounds TF2. People are usually pretty nice about answering questions over chat, as opposed to Xbox Live where all communication comes in the form of racial slurs.
I think this is a byproduct of the demographic differences between console gaming and PC gaming. Console gamers tend to be younger (and thus less mature) than PC gamers because consoles are cheaper (the parents are paying) and more locked down (parents again).
I'm hoping that the fact that TF2 is free now isn't enough to cause a large enough demographic shift to ruin the online multiplayer experience.
It also wasn't too hard to find servers with good a "culture" where there were so many well behaved regulars it didn't really matter.
I got TF2 for free years ago with a motherboard, and I had never played an online game before. After playing for an hour or so, I decided I didn't like it, and that was that. Then a group of people started playing it at lunch at work, so I figured I would join in and that was the end of my free time...
My name is MetallicCloud, and I'm a TF2 addict.
Check the official TF2 forums and you’ll see reports of admins relentlessly banning F2P players or regular players starting landslide votekicks towards them—though this will subside after a while, same thing happened to people who bought the first items in the Mann Co. Store and those that wore the halo lament hat.
We're also just going to have to get over the desire to charge somebody $40-50 for a game that costs them $20/mo too. That just reeks of greediness.
Valve is really starting to catch on to this idea, even without the Korean/Chinese model, they've always innovated in terms of game distribution.
It doesn't even require a desktop client, which is one of the few complaints I've heard about Steam.
However, none of the games I've purchased there use DRM at all, so I don't know for sure how DRM games work with it.
I generally go for GoG first, Steam second, then stop. I've quit bothering with physical copies a long time ago.
I myself am more an old-school gamer and find it satisfying to play a game from intro to outro.
Unless of course they make those games free with a monthly subscription to play online.
Except for Minecraft. Which, of course, I've wasted good hacking hours on.
Teaching Digital Design to kids via Minecraft might be fun, I was thinking. You really have to think about the physicality of chip designs in a way that VHDL and other HDLs hide from you.
On this day in 2021, not only will there be major games on sale, but at least one of them will be in either the Starcraft, Worldcraft or Diablo franchises. While WOW might be completely subscription based, I reject outright the idea that I won't be able to go into a store, pick up a copy of SCIII (or SCIV) and quaintly zerg rush my fellow HNers.
Edit: On second thought, I'm not so sure about the popularity/utility of HN 10 years out. 10 years ago, I was on slashdot.
To install Steam on Linux:
1) Download the Windows installer from http://store.steampowered.com/about/
2) Open up a terminal and run `wine msiexec /i /path/to/SteamInstall.msi`
3) Install Steam as you would in Windows
I knew that microtransactions were a viable money maker, but not to this extent.
Also, yes, they can fund continued development solely on the hat-conomy, as crazy as that sounds.
Anecdotally, I'd heard a tale that one iOS developer thought "what the heck" and added a seemingly absurd $40 in-app tier purchase option, and it turned out to be their biggest money maker.
Also for reference:
Six out of the Top 10 Grossing iPhone apps are Free to download and rely on in app purchases. Those freemium apps are outearning practically all the paid apps in the app store.
That is to say, the server maintenance costs have been dropping, are soon to be dominated by another product, and they are willing to take a hit in the interests of their greater business.
They've also certainly made plenty of money from TF2 already, perhaps enough to support the servers for the projected life of the game.
However, I also get an instinct that part of the motivation behind this will be a major new release from Valve, but maybe not. Maybe they are taking TF2 freemium because sales have declined anyway, it will allow greater microtransaction opportunity, and provide a broader userbase for Steam and the advertisements it displays on each boot.
I think we'll see them going GOIP (Gaming Over IP, that's right, I just coined that. And what?) by the end of next year, too.
Your TV+microconsole (or your computer) becomes a gaming thin client. The game runs in the cloud, and only the sound, display, and controller actions are transmitted between the thin client and gaming server. i.e. the Netflix model
I got the microconsole for $50 with a free game, and I must say, it works surprisingly well.
My main problem is that you actually have to buy the games and then not even own them. I've already bought them once on Steam, why do I have to buy them again to play there? A Netflix-style model of per-month payments for unlimited time would be better, but having to buy the games again is a joke.
I agree with you though, having to buy games I've already bought once is annoying. But unless storefronts/publishers all agree to hold hands, sing Kumbaya, and honor each other's purchases, I don't see another option.
They use their own hardware, not EC2 or anything like that. They need gaming-level GPUs and they have their own compression hardware.
The same goes for the full-price titles on OnLive. The playpack is different, it's the same flat monthly fee model as Netflix. And you can also rent the full-priced titles for a short period of time instead of buying them.
Some games can be bought. So long as the OnLive servers run, they're yours and you don't need to pay a monthly fee (as with Steam games).
Some games can be rented. For a few dollars you can get full access to the game for a time-limited period (24 hours or a few days). The first 30 minutes can usually be obtained free as a demo.
Some games are available in a playpack. This pack has a monthly fee like Netflix. So long as you keep paying the monthly fee you can play any of the games in the playpack (there's about 50) as much as you like.
The release of free TF2 actually made me realize how there may never be a TF3 -- or at least, not for many, many years. There's little reason to. The gameplay is very good and the engine they are running on is in no way a limiting factor.
The only thing TF3 would have to offer is graphics, and with TF2's "cartoonish" style, I have to wonder what there really is to improve upon there.
Valve is now in the content delivery network business and just happen to have a department that produce video games.
Gabe Newell is a founder of Valve Software and I believe he is a true visionary in the industry. Steam would likely not be what it is today if it weren't for his leadership at Valve.
edit: Steam adoption+in-app purchases. Good call.
It's a gutsy move, to be sure.
That being said. The advantage of making TF2 free-to-play are huge. Firstly, the hat-conomy generates plenty of revenue on its own. More importantly, TF2 could quite easily become a gateway drug for casual PC gamers to use steam. More users playing TF2 means more users looking at, say, Terraria for 10 bucks, or Left 4 Dead 2 for 20, or some other relatively recent game at a ridiculous price during a sale.
I really doubt many people are buying TF2 by itself anymore. Anyone who hasn't played it will almost definitely pick it up as part of a bundle.
I would also guess that Valve has something big up their sleeve to be willing to give away such an important money maker, but I have no backing for that other than instinct. Now what would be really awesome would be open-sourcing TF2.
Regardless, as people said the sales of TF2 have probably mostly dropped off, distributing the game for free costs nothing (well, it costs hosting and bandwidth but I don't suspect those costs make up any significant percentage of Steam's total costs, so effectively the hosting is free) so they have barely any income to lose and a massive fanbase and ingame transaction economy to gain.
Since they opened the in-app store a few months ago, they've made tons of money. TF2 now sells individual hats for up to $13, more than the retail price of TF2 during many periods. At this point, it becomes obvious: expand the market by making it free to play.
I love the robustness of TF2, and Valve has been awesome about continuously providing new content for free, but, it's something to consider.
But as a player who dearly misses vanilla TF2, how is Valve going to combat the influx of greifers and hackers? What stops someone from running TF2 in a VM and continually making new accounts?
I wish there was a way to bring back TF2 as it originally was (no hats, no gimmicks). But I guess the transition to gaming as a service was inevitable. Valve has been going in that direction for a long time.
I hope they do make a proper Half-Life 3.
If you mean the much more serious VAC-evasion by creating new accounts, they mentioned they would be cracking down on those, but no so sure about the specifics.
Aimbot is still an issue as you can make throw away accounts. If a game supports the concept of "high player level" servers it's less problematic.
I won't deny that the other weapons are tons of fun to play with, though. (Everyone has to play a Demoknight at least once!). But you will be competitive without a single drop. The guns are balanced well.
The Medic video just came out yesterday:
The cartoon-y style definitely takes the edge off though.
Brilliant move. Steam has consumed a lot more of my money than any other store like it, and TF2 is a fantastic hook.
Q. Who has a premium account?
If you've ever spent money on TF2, you have a premium account. This includes purchasing the game before it was Free-to-Play, activating a retail version of the game, or making a purchase in the Mann Co. in-game store.
Q. How is a free account different than a premium account?
Premium accounts have a few extra features, including access to rare and cosmetic items through random item drops, the ability to store more items in your backpack, and more powerful trading and crafting abilities. Otherwise, the gameplay experience will be identical for both accounts.
If Steam is required, it's a gimmick and a joke.
What exactly is your critique of Steam, just that you are fundamentally opposed to DRM? I do agree that it's something that I don't really want automatically starting up with my computer (even though I'm a pretty heavy gamer, I don't use the steam friend chat or anything) but as a platform and a piece of software it doesn't seem too trashy.
A lot has changed since then, but some folks might not yet be aware of it.
Unless it's in writing as a condition of your purchase, and the code is in escrow somewhere, it ain't happening.
But considering how much you'd lose if Steam went away I can see why people are nervous of using them versus buying CDs.