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Report:  Portal 's Valve Creating Free-To-Play Game
Report: Portal's Valve Creating Free-To-Play Game
June 20, 2011 | By Frank Cifaldi

Following up on last week's news that microtransaction-based free-to-play games will be coming to its Steam service, Valve has confirmed that it, too, will release its own title using that model.

Speaking to French website Barre de Vie, Valve spokesman Doug Lombardi was characteristically cryptic, simply saying "yes" when asked if the company had its own free-to-play projects in the works.

Some have speculated that the company's upcoming Dota 2 may be sold under this model, referencing the fact that Riot Games' popular League of Legends -- a strategy game clearly inspired by the original "Dota," Warcraft III mod Defense of the Ancients -- is a free-to-play game.

Valve's Steam storefront currently offers five free-to-play games: Ijji and Redduck's A.V.A., Perfect World's Forsaken Worlds MMORPG, Atari and Cryptic's Champions Online Free For All, Hi Rez Studios' Global Agenda: Free Agent shooter, and Three Rings Design and Sega's Spiral Knights MMORPG.

"Free to Play games offer new game genres and game experiences for customers, while offering developers and publishers new revenue opportunities and the ability to reach customers in areas of the world where the traditional packaged goods model is less popular than F2P," Valve director of business development Jason Holtman said in a statement last week.

Valve did not immediately respond to a request by Gamasutra for clarification.

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Aaron Truehitt
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I wonder if it has something to do with Alien Swarm.

Maurício Gomes
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I think it is Dota 2 that probably will behave like League of Legends

Joshua George
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If so, I don't see as many people leaving HoN(Heroes of Newerth) as orginally anticipated. Having to pay/grind for the DoTA champions you want unlocked past the free base would be a turn-off for some.

But we will see.

Joel McDonald
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Portal's Valve? Portal is bigger than Valve now, huh?

steve roger
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My family and I just don't play these free to play games. Anytime that I have, I just get turned off by all the road blocks that lead directly to pay to play. The whole "free"pitch just is so meaningless to me. Yes, I am aware that there is no investment to start.

Jesse Tucker
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It really depends on how the pricing is being broken down. What if you could, for example, play a free Street Fighter game with all of the original lineup from Street Fighter 2?

At that point, you're being presented with a wide range of characters to master and a very viable lineup. You can play all of your old favorite characters, and can be on even footing with other people who have paid to unlock newer characters. Even if you never buy anything and play the game for free, you're still providing a valuable service to the game community by being competition for paying customers.

You can do free to play without unnecessarily applying monetary/time pressure on your players if you're smart about it. It just seems that a lot of developers are too greedy or unsure of themselves to allow their players to have a completely satisfying experience without forcing them to pay or put in serious amounts of time.

Jeremy Reaban
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Yeah, they are very misleading.

I am shocked there hasn't been any sort of government crackdown on them. But there will be eventually (not something I am looking forward to, but it will be brought upon themselves...)

Capcom's Smurf game is probably the worst offender. But many are gambling based - instead of buying a virtual item, you buy a chance at an item. But the odds aren't given, so you have no idea.

And pretty much all of them have their difficulty increased so as to encourage most cash shop use as possible.