Valve: In-game store has made more money than direct Team Fortress 2 sales

It's been over 18 months since Valve shocked the PC game community by turning its popular multiplayer shooter Team Fortress 2 into a free-to-play game. Valve now makes money from the game via its Mann Co store, their in-game interface which allows both Valve and third parties to sell new weapons and cosmetic items for the game's players.

In a new interview at PC Gamer. Valve's Robin Walker, one of the original co-creators of Team Fortress, states, "The Mann Co store has now earned more than TF2 did via direct sales ... ". He did not give any specific revenue numbers but did admit that the top 10 creators of third party Team Fortress 2 items have now made at least "six figures" from their efforts.

Valve takes 75 percent of the sales of in-game items from third party makers. While that seems like a lot, Walker says that many creators are doing pretty well. He offers two examples:

The first is the 14 year old kid who got to present a $40,000 check to his parents. The second is a fellow who wanted to make models at a games company, but ended up having to do QA instead. So at nights he contributed models to TF2, and ended up earning more doing that than he did at his “official” games industry job.

Meanwhile, the official Team Fortress 2 page has announced that nine early Mann Co in-game hat items will no longer be sold in the store after January 24th.

Source: PC Gamer | Image via Valve

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I like how TF2 remains financially sustainable for them to keep updating the game on a frequent basis 5+ years later. Very impressive for a non-subscription game that began life as the third pillar of The Orange Box.

What I hate though is the pollution of items and design principles going straight out the window with some items (in particular, items tied to a promotion). There's also the item economy which I've never got into or care to.

But even with the item frenzy the game still manages to tie up my gaming time at the expense of the dozens of games purchased within the past 5 years.

It's strange that TF2 has become so popular, like you said it was a bit of an oddball for the orange box set, but then so was portal only included as more of a tech demo then anything else, and look how successful that was (somewhat thanks jonathan coulton).

As for buying items in game, I think the well dresses accessory packs that games such as TF2 provide, or in some cases such as Tribes: Ascend, where they sell unlock-able content that you can get by playing too is OK as they provide no advantage over other gamers.
While I don't really care for the look of my characters etc in games, I have paid for a few items for my girlfriend to use and she's really enjoyed them and that's added to the game for her, but doesn't give her an advantage over anyone else apart from being (in her own eyes) more cute or what ever lol.
It's when we have games like the current genre of FPS games that are Free to play yet give gamers the option to buy guns and extra ability for a time frame or even a one off payment that then allows them a distinct advantage over the rest of the non-paying gamers is when the problems start for me. It certainly takes away the 'skill' factor from these types of games that they were popularised for.
But I guess if paying to win with better weapons makes you feel good, someone with enough money to spend on a virtual inflated ego are going to buy into it. It's just a shame that with that, they also kill off the regular gamers who just get owned all the time and thus the game is left with only paying members and the ego dissipates as they don't really have that much of an advantage and they move on to another game. The game itself then dies out.

In saying that. I did buy a 'VIP' pack for tribes: ascend but it provides nothing other then what can be unlocked by playing freely anyway (its got a level up reward system for class unlocks)and the online ranked ratings will place you with gamers of the same level and amount of unlocks anyway.

thealexweb said,
From what I've seen this business model is becoming more and more popular.

Yup, unfortunately, it seems most companies are simply too greedy and will ruin their own game because of it, forcing non paying gamers to have a big huge disadvantage or simply rip people off. What's left is a game with people who're willing to pay to win but with no other gamers to play with, so the game dies off.

I have been playing TF2 for years and I can tell you those sales give you no advantage over others at all.

That is except if you get scared when some opponent wears a weird hat !!!!

ArialBlue said,
I paid $20 for TF2 and all I got was a lousy veteran badge.

Erm no you got the game. Say you paid for an object, say other people are given the same object for free, it doesn't make what you have any less.