Have you ever launched a game like Team Fortress 2 on your PC and been harassed right off the bat? No? No… I'm not talking about Xbox Live. The PC! Computers! Urgh, why do I bother talking to you? OK, you, over there. The intelligent looking one. Yes, the guy who's playing as part of a team. How would you like to make $20,000 a week for playing TF2 as part of a team?
Valve's Gabe Newell recently spoke with Develop about the possibilities of alternate monetization in their games. This is a payment plan I can really get behind:
An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.
So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice.
Obviously, the man is joking. trollface.jpg anyone?
Seriously though, this kind of structure is what would really encourage people to involve themselves in an environment that is conducive to enjoying a game with your fellow fraggers. As absurd as the following sounds, I totally get where Gabe is coming from:
So, one thing we do have are these high value customers. We've now started connecting their Steam account to their PayPal account, and now these people aren't just paying for games, they're making money from them. And it's not just a little bit of money, it's $20,000 per week some people were making.
Their cost for Team Fortress 2 is negative $20,000 per week. You're never going to see that in a retail store.
OK, yes, this is absurdity. Absurdity as in comedy. Don't take this seriously OK? I'd hate to see what you'd do if you thought everyone was going about depositing 20 Grand in your PayPal account.
Gabe is obviously referring to the Team Fortress 2 community members who've created new hats, weapons, and items for sale in the game's online infrastructure. Those players have made significant levels of cash, it's true. But when I hear this guy talk about money coming back into my pocket, I think back to the solid year and half I spent dedicated to helping run a Counter Strike: Source server.
Bob's Pit wasn't just a GunGame server starting with glock and ending with knife. It was… well, home. I'd spend hours and hours with the same people, racking up kills and generally having an amazing time. I paid for the server rental on a regular basis. It was worth it.Not just to host an amazing server with a great latency near me. I paid out of my own pocket to spend time with people I genuinely cared about and considered my friends.
Freshman year of college was hard and Bob's Pit made it all fly by. I'll never forget the time I spent there. I still feel like I banked a lot more than I shelled out to play.