Last week, a report surfaced that Valve was working on a free-to-play project. Today, that project was revealed as being the PC edition of the popular shooter Team Fortress 2, which was initially shipped as part of the compilation The Orange Box in 2007. Since then, the Windows version of the game has undergone many updates, the latest of which will apparently transform it into a microtransaction-funded title.
"We've been toying with the idea of making Team Fortress  free-to-play ever since the Mann-conomy update," Valve software developer Robin Walker told British magazine Develop. Introduced last September, the Mann-conomy system let players spend real-world cash on in-game items, ranging from weapon kits to outfits for the soldier, sniper, scout, pyro, and spy classes.
According to Walker, microtransactions will be the sole source of funding for Team Fortress 2 going forward. The game is currently offered as a two-week free trial on Valve's online service Steam, with all pricing having recently been removed as part of an extensive update. Develop reports that Valve will forgo any other funding option, such as advertising or a premium subscription model.
[UPDATE] Valve has now officially announced that both the Mac and the PC versions of Team Fortress 2 will be free-to-play on a permanent basis. The debut trailer for the new version of the game is below.
For more on Team Fortress 2, read GameSpot's full review.