I’m going to start by saying it was pretty obvious that Dota 2 was going to be free-to-play in some form. I even wrote a piece a month ago that outlined why it would be silly for them not to. Leave it to Valve however to add some sort of twist to the current free-to-play model, as Newell said in a podcast with Seven Day Cooldown, “It’s going to be free-to-play – it’ll have some twists, but that’s the easiest way for people to think about it.” Most likely these “twists” will involve some form of monetized content we haven’t seen in the genre so far, kind of like how they made hats in Team Fortress 2, there will probably be an extra layer of character customization other than skins.
This was really a no-brainer for Valve. Their two biggest competitors League of Legends and Heroes of Newerth are both free-to-play, and the original Dota, which is free, is still alive and kicking. This decision wasn’t just made because of their competitors, at GDC this year Valve outlined how turning Team Fortress 2 into a free-to-play game actually increased the game’s revenue twelve times over. It seems that players are willing to pay more overall if the core gameplay is free and if the content itself is monetized properly. It also helps if the game is popular, which Dota 2 shouldn’t have to worry about either.
Now that Valve has announced Dota 2 will be free-to-play it most likely means that release isn’t too far off. It’s about time too as Dota 2 has become the second biggest tournament game in the world, second only to Blizzard’s Starcraft 2. Considering how much more cash a popular free-to-play games makes, it won’t be long before Dota 2 is the number one tournament game in the world, at least when it comes to the prize pool.
As we approach release, Valve and Mr. Newell will most likely continue to tease us with their monetization plans, but this was the news most were waiting to hear. Now that we know Dota 2 will be free-to-play that makes it an official member of the MOBA/Action RTS genre, a genre that is full of nothing but free-to-play titles. If you haven’t received a beta key yet don’t worry, news like this means release, or at least more beta keys, are just around the corner.
Source: The Verge