If you are a lover of Team Fortress 2, then you’ll recall that Valve launched an in-game store for virtual items, Mann Co. Store. The coolest thing about this marketplace is that it allowed users to buy items for the game that they didn’t feel like earning over the course of time. So basically, the items could either be earned for free, or bought to skip all that grinding.
As part of the launch of this new business model, Valve participated in the Polycount item contest, where users competed to see whose items could make it into the game. Well, it turns out that the five winners not only got their items added to the game, but also to the Mann Co. Store, where other users could purchase them… and Valve gave the content creators a 25% revenue share.
It added up pretty quickly. Each of the winners was flown to Valve’s offices in Washington and given five figure checks that ranged from $39,000 to $47,000 apiece. That’s a chunk of change for creating hats and goofy weapons. The craziest part of all of this? That’s only from the first two weeks of sales. Considering the large user base of Team Fortress 2 and people’s penchant for wanting cool stuff, I’ll bet we can expect those numbers to increase for years to come. The funniest part of all of this is that Valve was going to just deposit the sum into the winners’ Pay Pal accounts, but it actually exceeded the deposit limit, so they just flew them up instead.
This is something really impressive on Valve’s part. I know that people tend to jump all over the Valve bandwagon, but these guys continue to innovate in a gaming industry that tends to do the same old, same old. This is a terribly clever way to monetize a several year old game, while rejuvenating its user base and the community surrounding it. In fact, Gabe Newell was recently quoted as suggesting that almost half of Valve’s employee base has been pulled directly from the community. In the future, Valve hopes to bring even more user content to the store including maps, user guides and more.
What a great story, huh? What other games would you guys like to see this kind of user and developer created content for? Have any of you bought anything from the Mann Co. Store?
Source – Gamasutra