Team Fortress 2 going free-to-play, existing owners upgraded to premium accounts

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Valve Corporation is now offering free-to-play games through its Steam digital download service and it was just confirmed earlier this week that the company is also working on an F2P release of its own. This may be it: the company has revealed that the PC version of its popular team-based multiplayer first-person shooter Team Fortress 2 is going the free route, with its continued existence supported entirely by microtransactions.

The shooter, which launched in 2007 as part of The Orange Box collection (the same one that introduced the world to Portal), just got its much publicized “Uber-Update” yesterday, following a week-long hype train of content reveals posted on the company’s website. Players who purchased the game prior to the release of the Uber-Update are automatically upgraded to a premium account, the details of which are revealed in a FAQ.

Premium account holders get “access to rare and cosmetic items through random item drops… and more powerful trading and crafting abilities.” They also get a deeper backpack to store things in, with 300 slots vs. the standard 50. Anyone can upgrade to a premium account by making a first-time purchase in the online store. The game otherwise plays the same for one and all, and nothing has been scaled back from the pay version of the game that used to exist.

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