Team Fortress 2, a much loved game here at Neowin, has recently had a major update. Valve have now added an in-game store where players can buy and sell items for real money. The update is officially titled as the "Man-conomy update", and has made available 17 new items created by the community. Valve is giving the creators a percentage of the profits made from selling their items. Players will also be able to slightly customize the items they purchased; offering the ability to change the name and color of their item.
Along with the store, Valve has also added a new dueling mini game:
"In any match, you can challenge any player on the enemy team to a duel. If they accept, they are highlighted in-game the way your nemesis would be, and the game keeps track of how many times you each kill each other. Medals are awarded for duels, and winning a certain number of duels gives you a free item."
PC Gamer sat down with Team Fortress 2’s lead designer Robin Walker and asked why they are selling items in the game for real money and this is what he had to say,
"We never really think about the money TF2 makes when we’re thinking about what to do.
In this case, the thing that we are trying to build is a framework for a more robust collaboration with the community on content creation. This has been one of TF2’s main drives for some time now. In other games, community creators build content after the release, and it forever remains inaccessible to most players. At the start of this year we unveiled the TF2 Contribute page, which was the first step to moving past that model, pushing community created content into the ongoing development of the game itself.
We view the Mann-conomy as the next, crucial step in the evolution of how communities interact with products. Now they’ll not only be able to contribute to the product, they will be directly compensated for their work."
Many of the games that include an in-game store are free to play and many thought this update might include an announcement that TF2 would be moving down the free-to-play road. PC Gamer concluded their interview by asking Robin why they decided not to go down that path and he said,
"We’ve considered it, and it’s something we’d love to gather data from, but our main concern is that right now the cost of purchasing TF2 again is the main cost that cheaters pay when we catch them."