Team Fortress 2's Conversion Rate Is Huge And Confusing

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT
 

Team Fortress 2's Conversion Rate Is Huge And Confusing

image

Nearly thirty percent of Free Team Fortress 2 players are spending their hard earned cash on paid content, which both delights and confuses Valve.

According to Valve co-founder Gabe Newell, Team Fortress 2 has a "twenty to thirty percent" conversion rate - that is: free players spending actual money on in game items - compared to other games which can only manage two to three percent. What's driving such high sales? He has no idea.

"We don't understand what's going on," admitted Newell at a recent WTIA TechNW panel. "All we know is we're going to keep running these experiments to try and understand better what it is that our customers are telling us."

"And there are clearly things that we don't understand because a simple analysis of these statistics implies very contradictory yet reproducible results. So clearly there are things that we don't understand, and we're trying to develop theories for them."

Valve switched TF2 over to a free-to-play model back in June, hoping that increased sales from the Mann Co. store would replace the revenue previously generated by game sales. It proved successful, but F2P players have met some hostility from the game's established fan base, with some premium players going as far as to use server-side mods to boot F2P players from private servers. Currently, F2P players can only find, craft and carry limited number of in-game items, and they cannot trade with other players. However, buying any item from the Mann Co. store grants the F2P player the same rights and privileges as a player who bought the game before the great free-to-play switcheroo.

It makes sense to me, of course, there is something very appealing about those hats.

Source: Geekwire

Permalink

Hmm, maybe it's something to do with TF2s steam connection? If you have cash in your steam wallet, I can understand why you might buy some TF2 stuff.

It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second market in Europe. Considering how many view Russia as a country that pirates everything, it's quite the conundrum. Or maybe not, since Valve seems to have figured it out.

I wonder if other publishers will figure it out. Most likely not.

Irridium:
It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second largest European Market. Considering how many view Russia as a country that pirates everything, it's quite the conundrum. Or maybe not, since Valve seems to have figured it out.

I wonder if other publishers will figure it out. Most likely not.

tf2 is inherently a hard game TO pirate, given that its free, the individual things however are not, unless you pirate them, which will VAC ban you, meaning you can't use them. So its kind of logical.

The hats must amount to something I guess. Buy one thing in the store, and you have access to every single item in the game from then on in. Sounds like a fair deal I think, and a very good incentive to buy stuff.

Soviet Heavy:
The hats must amount to something I guess. Buy one thing in the store, and you have access to every single item in the game from then on in. Sounds like a fair deal I think, and a very good incentive to buy stuff.

HATS HATS, MOAR HATS. ;)

OT: I buy stuff in the Mann Co store, esepecially now when it was sale on pretty much everything. I get the hat I want, instead of risking it on crafting and hassle of trading, and the guy who made the hat gets my money. :p

To be honest, this is how F2P works, 1 purchase at 1.99 and full premium and access to everything. xD

Irridium:
It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second largest European Market. Considering how many view Russia as a country that pirates everything, it's quite the conundrum. Or maybe not, since Valve seems to have figured it out.

I wonder if other publishers will figure it out. Most likely not.

I didn't have the chance to visit a Russian games shop while I was there, but I've been to Lithuania and seen the markets selling pirated games on open street. But that still doesn't beat one of the only 2 official state funded shopping centres in Minsk (Belarus/White Russia) selling pirated copies of most games, including S.T.A.L.K.E.R.. I still have that pirated copy on my shelf.

I should probably be on VALVe's payroll. I can tell them what happened.

Since it only costs $5 (Minimum amount you can put in your Steam wallet) to get a premium TF2 account, Traders just make 6-10 alt accounts (Some even go as high as 25), put $5-10 dollars into the Steam wallet, then buy a $0.49 item from the store and use the leftover to buy a cheap game and gift it to their main account. Thus heavily skewing the conversion rate.

WHERE'S MY MONEY, VALVE?

I think it's quite simple, really--TF2 is worth it. So many FTP games are made to be FTP, so they were made on a lower budget and their gameplay often shows that. But TF2 was made to be a full, standalone game. Combine that with Valve's dedication to quality and player experience, and voila. You have a game worth dropping some change on.

Though I think a more interesting statistic would be how many FTP players buy more $5. That is, more than what is required to get full service.

Kopikatsu:
I should probably be on VALVe's payroll. I can tell them what happened.

Since it only costs $5 (Minimum amount you can put in your Steam wallet) to get a premium TF2 account, Traders just make 6-10 alt accounts (Some even go as high as 25), put $5-10 dollars into the Steam wallet, then buy a $0.49 item from the store and use the leftover to buy a cheap game and gift it to their main account. Thus heavily skewing the conversion rate.

WHERE'S MY MONEY, VALVE?

I think you're misunderstanding the situation. The article says most games that are FTP can only manage to get 2-3% of their FTP players to actually pony up the money for full service. The other 97-98% never pay any money. TF2, however, is getting 20-30% of the FTPers to pay. It's not a matter of how much they spend--it's a matter of whether or not they're spending at all.

I think it would be fairly obvious, I mean you would have to be an idiot not to understand.

Currently, F2P players can only find, craft and carry limited number of in-game items, and they cannot trade with other players. However, buying any item from the Mann Co. store grants the F2P player the same rights and privileges as a player who bought the game before the great free-to-play switcheroo.

If you offer the game as F2P and then fuck over and alienate all of said F2P players untill they buy something you are going to have a large portion of them buying shit.

bahumat42:

Irridium:
It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second largest European Market. Considering how many view Russia as a country that pirates everything, it's quite the conundrum. Or maybe not, since Valve seems to have figured it out.

I wonder if other publishers will figure it out. Most likely not.

tf2 is inherently a hard game TO pirate, given that its free, the individual things however are not, unless you pirate them, which will VAC ban you, meaning you can't use them. So its kind of logical.

Valve may have solved the piracy problem, the problem of long term support, the tricky microtransaction balance AND managed to keep everyone on side. Gabe is a wizard.

Why it works is simple;

1. TF2 is an amazing game with a lot of content, but you don't feel like you HAVE to buy certain content to be competative. I STILL use stock gear for some classes and i have enough items to start a large war.

2. TF2 is great value, whether you play for free, bought it recently or bought it at launch with the res of the orange box it was a stellar deal. Owners of the game get acess to frequent drops, crafting and trading which means they never really NEED to by things. But the long term vlauve of the game makes them WANT to buy things.

3. The items are REALLY cool, both in terms of trying out new stuff or just their asthetics.

4. You can't pirate thhe game since it is free and you can't hack items since the game is set out with a very effective anti cheat system and items only really exist within steam's severs.

It's very simple Gabe:
They're telling you they love to play your game

I have the definitive answer right here: the simple fact is, people are spending much more on this game than others with comparable transactions systems becaHL2.exe has stopped working

Well the cheapest items go for 50 US cents, so that's a fair price to pay to get the rest of the game. I'm surprised it's only ~20-30 percent and not like 60, to be honest. I guess alot of F2Pers just don't want to/aren't allowed to spend money on that, full stop.

I quite like F2P players.
image
They make such beautiful targets.

The_root_of_all_evil:
I quite like F2P players.
image
They make such beautiful targets.

I'm a F2P player and I decided to get better so the originals wouldn't notice.

Irridium:
It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second largest European Market.

Uh...Geography fail?

Lilani:

Kopikatsu:
I should probably be on VALVe's payroll. I can tell them what happened.

Since it only costs $5 (Minimum amount you can put in your Steam wallet) to get a premium TF2 account, Traders just make 6-10 alt accounts (Some even go as high as 25), put $5-10 dollars into the Steam wallet, then buy a $0.49 item from the store and use the leftover to buy a cheap game and gift it to their main account. Thus heavily skewing the conversion rate.

WHERE'S MY MONEY, VALVE?

I think you're misunderstanding the situation. The article says most games that are FTP can only manage to get 2-3% of their FTP players to actually pony up the money for full service. The other 97-98% never pay any money. TF2, however, is getting 20-30% of the FTPers to pay. It's not a matter of how much they spend--it's a matter of whether or not they're spending at all.

I understand the situation. My point is, the vast majority of those accounts aren't people who just love the game so much that they wanted to upgrade.

They're mostly metal traders. Unusual hats go for $200-2,500 REAL MONEY. People actually pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a virtual hat with a particle effect. Other FTP games don't have that, which is why their conversation rate is so low while TF2's is mindbogglingly massive.

I just think Valve are very good at dangling carrots, both within games and when it comes to selling stuff. I mean, comparatively loads of the new weapons are really shoddily made and animated. The Soldier still doesn't actually put anything into the Direct Hit. The Demoman shoves grenades into a space to the left of where they actually need to go on the Loch-N-Load. When a new weapon is added, it's a surprise when it's given a kill-icon from the start. Everything seems to clip with the player model.

These things annoy me, even while I'm paying for them...

Scrumpmonkey:

1. TF2 is an amazing game with a lot of content, but you don't feel like you HAVE to buy certain content to be competative. I STILL use stock gear for some classes and i have enough items to start a large war.

2. TF2 is great value, whether you play for free, bought it recently or bought it at launch with the res of the orange box it was a stellar deal. Owners of the game get acess to frequent drops, crafting and trading which means they never really NEED to by things. But the long term vlauve of the game makes them WANT to buy things.

3. The items are REALLY cool, both in terms of trying out new stuff or just their asthetics.

4. You can't pirate thhe game since it is free and you can't hack items since the game is set out with a very effective anti cheat system and items only really exist within steam's severs.

I believe points 1 and 2 are the best points. Valve actually produces quality games and at a reasonable price, increasing the likelihood people will actually purchase the game. One of the most used, and dumbest, of piracy justification is "it's not worth my time/money". "Good news!" Says Valve. "We made a game worth giving a shit about!".

Interesting... Well, I haven't spent any money yet... I wonder how long I've been playing...

lets see... 200 hours

W. T. F.

Random Argument Man:

The_root_of_all_evil:
I quite like F2P players.
image
They make such beautiful targets.

I'm a F2P player and I decided to get better so the originals wouldn't notice.

Won't work. They still call me a F2P when I'm above them in the scoreboard, carrying a Southern Hospitality, Widowmaker and Short Circuit and wearing a Pink "Old Geezer".

Rule of Thumb: If they're lower on the scoreboard than you, mute player :)

The_root_of_all_evil:

Irridium:
It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second largest European Market.

Uh...Geography fail?

D'oh!

Meant second largest market in Europe.

Sorry, words confuse me. Don't worry, I'm only 20, I'm sure I'll figure them out eventually.

bahumat42:

tf2 is inherently a hard game TO pirate, given that its free, the individual things however are not, unless you pirate them, which will VAC ban you, meaning you can't use them. So its kind of logical.

TF2 isn't Valve's only game (series) though.

There's Half Life, Portal, Counter-Strike, Left 4 Dead, and Day of Defeat. All those cost money. Plus there's Global Offensive which is coming out. I'm assuming he means second largest market for all their games, not just TF2.

Scrumpmonkey:

Valve may have solved the piracy problem, the problem of long term support, the tricky microtransaction balance AND managed to keep everyone on side. Gabe is a wizard.

Why it works is simple;

1. TF2 is an amazing game with a lot of content, but you don't feel like you HAVE to buy certain content to be competative. I STILL use stock gear for some classes and i have enough items to start a large war.

2. TF2 is great value, whether you play for free, bought it recently or bought it at launch with the res of the orange box it was a stellar deal. Owners of the game get acess to frequent drops, crafting and trading which means they never really NEED to by things. But the long term vlauve of the game makes them WANT to buy things.

3. The items are REALLY cool, both in terms of trying out new stuff or just their asthetics.

4. You can't pirate thhe game since it is free and you can't hack items since the game is set out with a very effective anti cheat system and items only really exist within steam's severs.

Hm... it's almost like he's treating it as a... service. Something every publisher is trying to push, yet completely failing to deliver since they try to charge for anything they possibly can and stopping support for a game after a year or so.

Game publishers don't seem to realize that services in this sense means a game with a CHEAP entry point, and constant free updates to give it a long life-span with support by micro-transactions from items anyone can get normally so nobody feels like they're getting ripped off.

Selling something for $60 then selling DLC for all kinds of crap and locking out multiplayer for used buyers does not a good service make.

...sorry, kind of went off a bit there.

Is that number pre or post F2P? Could be that a lot of players just figured to buy one item to get the premium stuff?

The_root_of_all_evil:
I quite like F2P players.

They make such beautiful targets.

Oh sure. Perfect targets, for the other team.

image

I'm not sure we need three snipers, guys... Okay, if we're going to have three snipers can they watch different approaches? Okay, if they're all going to look at the same approach can they at least not stand in front of each other?

Satsuki666:
I think it would be fairly obvious, I mean you would have to be an idiot not to understand.

Currently, F2P players can only find, craft and carry limited number of in-game items, and they cannot trade with other players. However, buying any item from the Mann Co. store grants the F2P player the same rights and privileges as a player who bought the game before the great free-to-play switcheroo.

If you offer the game as F2P and then fuck over and alienate all of said F2P players untill they buy something you are going to have a large portion of them buying shit.

Except they don't. I play it F2P and every class is perfectly capable of doing damage as a free player. Sure, it'll take me a bit longer to get a dead ringer or a wrangler, but I'm still capable of being a good spy and engineer without those. And hell, after two days of playing, I got everything I needed to be a demoknight (Chargin' Targe and Scottsman's Skullcutter). It might be a bit harder to get hats but I'm fine with the Headless Horsemann's head and the Spiral Sallet.

I don't think it's the hats that are driving sales. Think about it. What's the #1 bestselling item in the Mann Co. store by far?

The Mann Co. Supply Crate Key.

Those little bastards are the proof of Gabe Newell's evil genius. Providing players with a box which forces them to pay for a partially disclosed "or especially rare!" item is half the reason why the Mann Co. store is doing so well. Since each one-use key is a total rip-off at $2.50, it's only inevitable that these are the lion's share of the revenue. Since most of the obscenely popular "strange" weapons come from boxes, it's only made the situation worse for consumers and better for Valve.

MOAR BAWXES!

Irridium:

The_root_of_all_evil:

Irridium:
It's also interesting how they note that Russia is their second largest European Market.

Uh...Geography fail?

D'oh!

Meant second largest market in Europe.

Sorry, words confuse me. Don't worry, I'm only 20, I'm sure I'll figure them out eventually.

I think he meant that Russia is not in Europe, but in Asia, something which is both right and wrong.

They're both.

I think it's partly because the items are so appealing, and partly because it's really, really, really easy to buy things. Steam and Steam Wallet are ruthlessly efficient systems.

Grey Carter:
Snip

I think I have an answer, the 50 Item limit.

I am a F2Per, and I am running up hard against the 50 item limit. I am having to covert to scrap metal or delete any unwanted items, and it is very hard to give up items I have used a lot. People are just getting a hat so they can keep what they have and get more items.

E-Penguin:
I think he meant that Russia is not in Europe, but in Asia, something which is both right and wrong.

They're both.

I'm just going by what Newell said, which is "Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market".

The European part of Russia is the second largest then.

I picked up TF2 because it was F2P, I enjoyed it a lot, so I was happy to upgrade to a Premium account simply to support the move.

I'm not surprised that a large number of new accounts are doing this. While the F2P limitations aren't burdensome if you want to try out the game for a while I could see them chafing if you want to participate much in the community.

 Pages 1 2 3 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here