While Team Fortress 2 has seen almost 218 updates since its humble beginnings as part of The Orange Box, the next major update, nicknamed "The Uber Update" may prove to be the biggest update in the game's history. The game, which used to retail for $9.99 on Steam, currently lists the game as "free" as part of a free week. However, at the end of a new "Meet the Medic" trailer, there's one surprising revelation: the game will remain free for good. This is confirmed by their latest posting on the Team Fortress 2 blog.
The new trailer, which you can view below, drops this bombshell right at the end:
The game has had major discounts in the past, usually going down to $2.49 for a limited time. Since the introduction of paid content with the Mann-conomy Update, Valve appears to stick to their "entertainment as a service" philosophy by dropping a price requirement for their "#1 war-themed hat simulator."
In an exclusive interview with Develop-Online, Valve's Robin Walker admitted that they were toying around with the idea of funding the game solely through microtransactions. But today, the idea is now official. The game is going free-to-play.
It should also be noted that this free-to-play move will not apply to all of Valve's games. In a similar but different move for Portal, they offered the game for free to those who accepted the offer in promoting Steam's availability on Mac OS X.
By the way: if you already have the game, then great! Current players are automatically given a "premium" account, as explained here. Premium accounts are for those that have purchased the game, or purchased something in the Mann Co. store if they got the game for free. Those that play for free are limited to 50 backpack slots, can only carry standard items, have a reduced set of blueprints to work with, can only receive items from other players, and can only receive gifts.