With very little fanfare, Valve has suddenly made its popular online PvP shooter Team Fortress 2 a free game. As in, free to own, free to play, as much as you want. Forever.
It’s an unexpected move, but hardly an unprecedented one. It’s not the first time that an online game in the later days of its life cycle has been made free to play. Champions Online recently became free-to-play — and on Valve’s own proprietary digital game service, Steam. Valve’s bold claim of keeping TF2 free and up & running “forever” is perhaps the more bold part than the “free” bit alone is.
In an interview with Develop, TF2 patriarch Robin Walker explains that the move was made as part of Valve’s ongoing restructuring of their company’s policies, where they now view games more as “services” rather than “products.” Valve will still offer some customization items as in-game purchases, but nothing that’s required to play the game competitively.
So does this change mean a Team Fortress 3 might be in the works? Valve is known for keeping its secrets very, very close, so it’s anybody’s guess what they have planned for the future. Personally, I’d be a lot more excited to hear that Half-Life 3 is in-progress.