Analyst Values Team Fortress 2 Hat Trade at $50 Million

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Analyst Values Team Fortress 2 Hat Trade at $50 Million

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Team Fortress 2's digital milliners could be raking it in.

You might scoff at people going crazy over virtual hats, but as it turns out, it's a surprisingly serious business. According to financial analyst Paul Manwaring, the value of the virtual goods in the Team Fortress 2 marketplace is somewhere in the region of $50 million.

Using a series of estimates - often rather conservative estimates that err on the side of caution - Manwaring concluded that millions of dollars worth of virtual items have been injected into the Team Fortress 2 economy since its creation in 2010. According to Manwaring's calculations, the combination of weapon drops, keys, and hats adds up to at least $52.7 million, and probably quite a lot more.

Manwaring used statistics gleaned from Steam, as well as information from other sources about weapons and the value of keys and hats, to arrive at this figure. Wherever possible, he used the lowest values he could, so not to over-inflate his total. However, he stressed that for the most part these goods would remain virtual and Valve was not going to be skiing down a cash mountain built on digital hats any time soon.

You can read Manwaring's entire article here, which includes all the statistics and estimates he used to reach his conclusion. It's an interesting read, even if - like me - you're not that well versed on financial matters.

Source: Kotaku

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Thats pretty hilarious.

I would like to see a before F2P/after F2P statistic though.

I sold my HOUWAR and like 4 buds a few months ago for 420 dollars on paypal.
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"Throughout history, men have worn hats as a way of showing how much better they are than other men. "I buy hats," a behatted man seems to say. "I am better than you!"

Or in other words, those hats do look rather magnificent... Gotta catch em all, I suppose?

It's all interpersonal trading, so Valve doesn't really get that much off of it anyways except for weapon and key sales.

Since anyone that buys a hat off the Mann Co. store deserves what they pay for it.

Doesn't help I just added $5.28 to that total.
I needed that key, and I wouldn't mind a Tough Guy's Toque and the spy's Fedora.
*Shrug*

I still think that the TF2 hat market is extortionate as fuck. Not the Valve market, the player run market.

SmashLovesTitanQuest:
Thats pretty hilarious.

I would like to see a before F2P/after F2P statistic though.

The month that TF2 went free to play, the revenue of my items tripled. Since then it's slowly gone down, but is a little higher than it was before.

Itsthefuzz:
I sold my HOUWAR and like 4 buds a few months ago for 420 dollars on paypal.

As if we needed more telling that wherever theres a lmited edition item, theres someone willing to fork out thier entire bank account for it.

I can honestly say I just don't get it. People really pay money for fake hats?

It all seems a bit sad to me.

Nice to see it's successful. However, I'm curious to see just how much of that is just from the keys, considering it's the #1 item in the store. That's the only real complaint I have with the entire Mann-conomy: it's biggest money-maker is a scam.

bjj hero:
I can honestly say I just don't get it. People really pay money for fake hats?

It all seems a bit sad to me.

people use money for fake stuff all the time. the only difference here is that they are silly hats.

A friend of mine sold his Gentlemenn's Service Medal for $200.

A friend of his sold an unuual hat for $500.

Then again, they're university students who barely get by.

Makes me wonder how much my Bill's Hat and Vintage Football Helmet are worth.

And this is how the F2P model is supposed to work. At the end of the day the hats don't have an effect on how the game plays. Its just a fun thing that people like to spend their money on.

This is how games designed for F2P used to be, then at some point they realized they could squeeze out just a little bit more money by selling stuff that directly impacts the game, which always makes the overall experience less enjoyable for everyone. Everquest 2 and LOTR online are good examples of games that are perverting the F2P model in an unhealthy way.

Make a quality game, offer the full game play experience for free, and sell fun cosmetic stuff to make enough money to keep the game going. Its proven to work.

Just one more example of Valve showing everyone how its done. Soon to be Guild Wars 2 also.

Edit: Double Post apparently. Forums run like ass now after the change.

Magnicon:
And this is how the F2P model is supposed to work. At the end of the day the hats don't have an effect on how the game plays. Its just a fun thing that people like to spend their money on.

This is how games designed for F2P used to be, then at some point they realized they could squeeze out just a little bit more money by selling stuff that directly impacts the game, which always makes the overall experience less enjoyable for everyone. Everquest 2 and LOTR online are good examples of games that are perverting the F2P model in an unhealthy way.

Make a quality game, offer the full game play experience for free, and sell fun cosmetic stuff to make enough money to keep the game going. Its proven to work.

Just one more example of Valve showing everyone how its done. Soon to be Guild Wars 2 also.

These forums need a like button...

I've recently been working my through a whole bunch of free games, and I've seen some -incredibly- bad examples (Here's looking at you, Age of Conan) whereas in TF2 and a few others, I almost forget the item store is there (At least until I get killed by someone in a cooler hat than me, then I feel jealous.)

Buying items in store that make you unique without affecting gameplay = GOOD
Buying items in store that make you an unstoppable juggernaut without having to do any real work = BAD

One of these examples is Diablo 3. Can you guess which one?

Magnicon:
Everquest 2 and LOTR online are good examples of games that are perverting the F2P model in an unhealthy way.

Nods. Especially as the credit is game-locked, so you can't take LOTR credit to DDO or similar.

And F2P's are easy to spot in EQ2/LOTR, while not quite so different in TF2.

Despite all the bile raised against Valve, I think the only morally 'dodgy' thing they're doing is the pricing at the moment - and that in itself is justifiable by market economics.

Haha, I can't believe no one has picked up on the irony of the analysts name, it being the the Manco store.

Paul Manwaring = Paul "Man Wearing"

OT: Analysts are funny folks.

This is the best example of a F2P model. There are slight perversion to this. For instance, I was playing in the beta of Blacklight Retribution only to find that the unique character items that change how you look have a time limit. That was the end for me. I'm not interested in items that I lose in 3 days.

Small but rather significant point, at no point does the article actually estimate the number of people willing to pay real world money for virtual items. Thus ignoring the whole concept of supply and demand. How long do you think the price would hold up if the entire 25000 unusual hats came on the market?

The biggest problem with F2P for games like TF2 is that there is no disincentive to hack. Before if you hacked you ended up, sooner or latter, getting VAC banned. Now its, download wallhack/aimbot get VAC banned, make new account and rinse and repeat. Fortunately TF2 is old enough for most of the griefers to have moved on to other games. I was admining tf2 severs in the era of clans like Mygoat, which had a whole agenda dedicated to griefing and hacking, I'm not sure a possible TF3 would survive in that. Sever operators pay with their own money and time to keep servers up and not having VAC protecting that investment of time and money could be a flaw in that model.

albino boo:
Small but rather significant point, at no point does the article actually estimate the number of people willing to pay real world money for virtual items. Thus ignoring the whole concept of supply and demand. How long do you think the price would hold up if the entire 25000 unusual hats came on the market?

The biggest problem with F2P for games like TF2 is that there is no disincentive to hack. Before if you hacked you ended up, sooner or latter, getting VAC banned. Now its, download wallhack/aimbot get VAC banned, make new account and rinse and repeat. Fortunately TF2 is old enough for most of the griefers to have moved on to other games. I was admining tf2 severs in the era of clans like Mygoat, which had a whole agenda dedicated to griefing and hacking, I'm not sure a possible TF3 would survive in that. Sever operators pay with their own money and time to keep servers up and not having VAC protecting that investment of time and money could be flaw in that model.

they are myg0t, and yea, they are still around somewhat.

Not as bad as back in the days of CS:S and TF2 being newly released though.

OT: I have nearly three pages of hats and various items I have saved up over the years....

Maybe I should go ahead and cash in.....

How do people sell their hats and stuff anyway? On Paypal or something?

Because I have quite a few, and... I place no value on virtual cosmetics

Easton Dark:
How do people sell their hats and stuff anyway? On Paypal or something?

Because I have quite a few, and... I place no value on virtual cosmetics

Never sold any hats myself but I would assume the tf2 steam forum is the place to go to if you want to buy/sell. And holy crap 50mil? Sure Valve isn't seeing much profit from those 50mil but it isn't a bad money for a system which mainly sells hats.

Meh the player side of the economy is horrible and I kind of blame valve for it.
The whole notion of being completely random as to what is and isn't going to be a preorder exclusive forever vs what will be a preorder item and then tossed in the store really makes things screwy. Also the promotional items like the buds pretty much being the set standard for items pretty makes it the most inaccessible market ever.

The people with the buds will never trade for anything else besides unusual hats, and those with unusual hats will only trade for buds. So you end up with an infinite loop of trading and the only way in is to either buy your way in with real money or get super lucky and opening an unusual hat with a desirable effect.

gigastar:

Itsthefuzz:
I sold my HOUWAR and like 4 buds a few months ago for 420 dollars on paypal.

As if we needed more telling that wherever theres a lmited edition item, theres someone willing to fork out thier entire bank account for it.

It's not like the core PC gaming demographic is exactly the poorest.

Regardless of how some TF2 players want to ignore it, there's an economy with those items.

I sold a Team Captain, the Saint's Row 3 promos and a Naughty Crate for Borderlands GOTY. That game is 30 dollars. And I got it for FREE.

the Team Captain I traded for, SR3 promos I got since I wanted SR3, and Naughty Crate dropped.

There's a living to be made on this economy. And some people are living by it.

A part of me just died right now. I want to be a game dev someday and make great games but why would I want to pour my heart and soul into a game when this is the kind of person that I'm making games for. It's like taking the time to make a perfect replica of the Mona Lisa and then selling it to a mentally handicapped person who's going to hang it backwards in the bathroom.

Luckily I realized that I don't give a fuck because making games makes me happy and that's all that matters. Enjoy your economy players as for me I'll just think of them as static meshes and textures that you're fighting over and laugh my ass off.

Valanthe:

Magnicon:
And this is how the F2P model is supposed to work. At the end of the day the hats don't have an effect on how the game plays. Its just a fun thing that people like to spend their money on.

This is how games designed for F2P used to be, then at some point they realized they could squeeze out just a little bit more money by selling stuff that directly impacts the game, which always makes the overall experience less enjoyable for everyone. Everquest 2 and LOTR online are good examples of games that are perverting the F2P model in an unhealthy way.

Make a quality game, offer the full game play experience for free, and sell fun cosmetic stuff to make enough money to keep the game going. Its proven to work.

Just one more example of Valve showing everyone how its done. Soon to be Guild Wars 2 also.

These forums need a like button...

I've recently been working my through a whole bunch of free games, and I've seen some -incredibly- bad examples (Here's looking at you, Age of Conan) whereas in TF2 and a few others, I almost forget the item store is there (At least until I get killed by someone in a cooler hat than me, then I feel jealous.)

I'd also like to add Vindictus to the crowd. In its present state you can play the entire game without paying a dime. If you want some convenience or vanity items, you can bet your bum they're available. Other than that though, it's as free and fun as no hands peeing, also something I'd suggest you try.

O.T: I played the hat trading game for a bit, and never a spent sheckel. It was all consuming though. I even went so far as to item farm every wednesday night. I spent A LOT of time in those trading forums.

$50 million, huh? If Valve is taking just 1% of that, they could pay the salaries for five people from the hat trading alone.

The_root_of_all_evil:

Magnicon:
Everquest 2 and LOTR online are good examples of games that are perverting the F2P model in an unhealthy way.

Nods. Especially as the credit is game-locked, so you can't take LOTR credit to DDO or similar.

And F2P's are easy to spot in EQ2/LOTR, while not quite so different in TF2.

Despite all the bile raised against Valve, I think the only morally 'dodgy' thing they're doing is the pricing at the moment - and that in itself is justifiable by market economics.

Do you mean the 10$ policy for new items? If so, I don't find it too 'dodgy' since they can be dropped and they go down after a while anyway (unless they're hats).

jonyboy13:

Do you mean the 10$ policy for new items? If so, I don't find it too 'dodgy' since they can be dropped and they go down after a while anyway (unless they're hats).

I was more referring to the pricing structure of =Euros - and the ritual fleecing of the Aussies.

The_root_of_all_evil:

jonyboy13:

Do you mean the 10$ policy for new items? If so, I don't find it too 'dodgy' since they can be dropped and they go down after a while anyway (unless they're hats).

I was more referring to the pricing structure of =Euros - and the ritual fleecing of the Aussies.

Oh, that. Well, like you said, it sort of justified. Everyone else do it anyway.

bjj hero:
I can honestly say I just don't get it. People really pay money for fake hats?

It all seems a bit sad to me.

Ditto. It's not as if the hat improves the game, it's not a powerful weapon or an ability. The only thing I've bought on a play for free game is a better rifle in BattlefieldP4F, which has served me well. I don't mind paying a few quid for a better rifle, but hats should be in the domain of the end user and mod community - maybe a bit like Trackmania cars. Hats should be fun, I usually expect more fun for my money than a damn hat!

Ok, ok, ok..
There are people dying on the side of the street as we speaking and we spent 50 million at virtual goods hats.

I LOVE THIS WORLD!

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