Steam bets on in-app purchases with free-to-play games

By on June 15, 2011, 1:00 PM

Valve has taken the wraps off a new section on Steam reserved for games following the 'Free-to-play' model. Although the company has hosted promotional free-to-play weekends before, with games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops or Team Fortress 2 for example, this marks the first time Steam will offer games that are free to download and keep, supported solely by micro-transactions.

A total of five free-to-play games are launching on Steam this week: Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent and Alliance of Valiant Arms (AVA). The company will be highlighting each game and giving away special in-game content through a "F2P game of the day" feature on Steam, starting with Spiral Knights on Wednesday the 15th and concluding with AVA on Sunday the 19th.

"The introduction of Free to Play games is another example of the constant evolution of Steam," said Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve. "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."

As you'd expect, there are no subscription fees or upfront payments. Of course, after getting a first taste, the idea is that you'll be encouraged to buy virtual items to enhance gameplay in some fashion or unlock certain levels of a game. All transactions will be handled by Valve's Steam Wallet back end, which is already used widely by Team Fortress 2 players.

User Comments: 10

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Guest said:

TF2 became shitty game because of the stupid hats and item store.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

wonder why i havent heard of any of these games, have i been living under a rock?

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Did a quick scan through Metacritic to see what the story was on these games as I frankly hadn't heard of any of them. Seems to be your standard, indie-type games. A couple of FPS, a couple RPG, a couple hybrids. None of them received overly good reviews and a couple were below average (Spiral Knights was the worst rated).

(shrugs) I may check out a couple when I'm bored some day. But doubtful - I still have 20+ games I've purchased on Steam sales that I haven't even touched yet.

yRaz yRaz said:

trillionsin said:

wonder why i havent heard of any of these games, have i been living under a rock?

Don't worry, only one I recognize is Global Agenda. I own global agenda but I don't know what the free agent part is about. It's a fun game good for about 20 hours of game play, I recommend it to everyone. If anyone was into the Starsiege Tribes series you'll love this game. Again, don't know what the free agent part is about, steam doesn't say what the difference is on the store page.

pcnthuziast said:

If I ever feel like frittering away my monthly GB cap, I may try one... oh wait. lol

Saturday said:

At least it's not negatively affecting anything. More options and free content for the service that keeps getting better

Muggs said:

I played Champions online when it was 1st released and they are beyond nickle and diming you to death with the F2P version. Plus that game got real old real fast. I plan on picking up global agenda with free agent. I always wanted to mess with the game but didn't want to waste the money now with F2p I can see what it is all about. Not sure if I will get it off steam or just through the Global Agenda website. Not sure what the benefit is with using steam.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I played Spiral Knights for a bit. They wanted me to spend $59.95 ($129.95 value!) for some energy and crap. Ridiculous. But at least I got a free TF2 hat out of it, lol.

Guest said:

Alliance Of Valiant Arms is a great game. Very cool to have it on Steam, now I can rid myself of Reactor (IJJI's Steam clone).

treetops treetops said:

Funny I thought they already had free games. They should take some games from gametag they had some good ones. Also it would be epic if they get a street fighter 2 multiplayer without the lag.

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