Free-to-play is becoming popular in the PC gaming market for good reason.
While speaking to a group of students at University of Texas, Gabe shared his belief that the Steam community is responsible for some of the most desirable addon content, citing Team Fortress 2 as a premier example. He said:
To be really concrete, ten times as much content comes from the userbase as comes from us. We think that we’re super productive and badass at making TF2 content, but even at this early stage we cannot compete with our customers in the production of content for this environment.
Handing some of the development power over to the community hasn't only been beneficial for Valve, either. Many content creators, especially 3D modelers, are making a killing. He added:
The most anybody has earned in a single year is $500,000, so they’re making content, selling it to other customers, and we have a revenue share with those people and their takeaway is $500,000.
Most people never even make half of that in a given year, let alone from designing video game content independently. There's a huge opportunity here for both parties, and Valve intends to continue to explore it by implementing it in every hallmark game it creates, starting with Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 but certainly not ending there.
If you're looking for a job and love video games, think about working in 3D modeling. Valve takes a 25% cut, but the rest would be yours.