Poll Question 292 – Could Half-Life 3 be a Freemium game?

2nd March 2013

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

A few days ago, Cliff Bleszinski (he of Unreal and GOW fame) wrote a nice piece about micro-transactions in the gaming industry.

And then a today, I saw this piece by Rory Cellan-Jones on the BBC about games and the Freemium business model and couldn’t help but wonder:

Could Half-Life 3 be a Freemium game?

Valve has a history of surprising us, most recently they f%^ked with Half-Life and destroyed a lot of people’s work and stopped a lot of mods from working.

Okay, that was perhaps a bad example, because most of the time, they are good surprises.

I can easily imagine a HL3 meeting where all sort sof ideas are suggested, discussed, laughed at and then voted on. Why not this one?

Can you imagine the huge press they would get if they announced HL3 would be free?! It would be everywhere, even on the non-traditional websites and news outlets.

That alone might be worth it for Valve.

But, and here is the kicker, how would they make money? From selling stuff in the games of course. No, not hats, but definitely weapons, suits with special abilities, all sorts of things.

Yes, I know it’s a single player game and that sort of stuff hasn’t been done before (at least to my knowledge, which I readily admit is not very extensive) but if anybody can do it Valve can.

I’m open to new ideas and if it was implemented fairly and openly, then I say let’s give it a try. I might even buy some things myself.

I can certainly see the idea of purchasing items for friends and family a cool thing.

Besides, talking about whether it’s possible, lets see if we can figure out what sort of items could be sold or how it could work.

Time to Vote


  1. I doubt they would do something like this, but in the off chance they would I would bet they would, instead of selling weapons and stuff like that, try to incorporate adds into the game somehow.

    I don’t think it’s really be done before and I don’t understand why ? I wouldn’t mind seeing an ad on the login screen of an mmo if it meant their in-game stuff would be cheaper or possibly free, and I doubt many people would find that such a bad thing. It gives people a complete game for free and still gives money to the company and keeps the servers up and going. And I’m sure there are plenty of people that would like to advertise their product on games like league of legends and the like.

  2. I have to say that it would really p*** me off no end, to have a game constantly goading me for money. Or if it gives me by default the free “HoboHEV” that collapses if a metrocop farts within 10 yards of it, with the constant invitation to buy serviceable gear. The gear available should work properly from the start! I refuse to be blackmailed – I would rather just buy the flippin” thing and have it work properly, or do without. It all smacks far too much of “Hats” for me – it’s a game, not a laundromat dryer, it shouldn’t need constant feeding!
    Besides, it’s a moot point anyway – HL3 will never be released; Gabe’s eaten it years ago, & only a few well-gnawed bones remain..
    (I will gladly eat my hat, should Gabe choose to issue anything more than a few winks and daft references to ricochet 2. I am fairly confident I won’t be reaching for the sauce bottle any time this decade..)

    1. I know what you are saying but I am sure they would release it with fully serviceable equipment. It might just be more cosmetic changes. or fancy effects.

      Personally, I don’t think they would do it, but with Valve you never know.

  3. Greenman


    Just no Phillip.

    I have lost some respect for you. Q_Q

    Bad Phillip

    1. I never said I wanted it to be freemium, I just asked the question.

      1. Greenman

        Even asking that kind of question, it hurts. :[

        1. Sorry to cause you so much Half-Life 3 pain and despair.

  4. It’s more of a multiplayer model, but you never know how Valve might try to shake things up. I kind of hope they don’t though.

    I would prefer to keep the single player simple and keep the multiplayer “freemium.”

    Freemium fits multiplayer because it is a more social experience. Making it free allows friends to join a game without having to buy anything, and microtransactions for cosmetic items let people customize how they appear to their friends and the world.

    Cosmetic items don’t have the same social impact in single player, and gameplay-affecting DLC is…well, it’s just unpleasant. The community would feel even more like Valve is trying to squeeze money out of its customers (There were some pretty bad vibes when Mannconomy was announced) and the gameplay experience (an immensely valuable part of Half-Life) would be different between players, affecting how well Valve can fine-tune it…I doubt it would go well.

    I would prefer that they don’t take the risk, and they probably won’t, but Gabe seems to like trying new things, despite the risk, so there is always that small possibility that they would try it. Heck, maybe it’s taking so long because they did try a change so drastic, and scrapped it because it wasn’t working out.

  5. To apply the free to play model to a single player would make monetisation tricky, cosmetic items for starters would have significantly less appeal if no one sees them, they could sell story missions but that is likely to just annoy fans the more favourable option would be selling side missions (the likes of lost coast) could be an acceptable option but I don’t see that as being a worth while investment of resources from Valves perspective.
    The final option would be to sell weapons (and maybe companions) to the player but with a narrative driven game I don’t really see it working that well.

    So yeah, possible but unlikely.

  6. I would hate that so much, it would completely destroy any kind of immersion. I’d much rather pay full price than be constantly asked for more money to improve things. The only way it might possibly be okay is if they released “bonus missions”, like smaller episodes, for a fee some time after release. But that’s what we have mods for right?

  7. Hec

    Well you know what they say: everything in this life is possible… So I think this may be.

    But anyway after 6 freakin years waiting for the next Hl everything they relase could be at least worthy…

  8. Herr_Alien

    Even if micro transactions get implemented so that they don’t ruin the game play, I don’t think it’ll happen.
    Single Player has limited replay value; relying on micro transactions for SP is just not going to make it – chances of Valve recovering the initial investment are just too close to 0.

  9. 2muchvideogames

    heh phillip, so I see valve’s screwing HL got you too huh

    1. Gabe enjoys wielding his multi-cast omni-screw-u, it makes him feel big. One update farqs many, almost like a disease, a sort of virus.. hmm, wait.. aren’t there laws against infecting people with unsolicited, destructive malware?

  10. Freemium and singleplayer is no-go. If Valve would do this with HL3, the respect I have towards them would be gone forever. This would also mean I would never buy anything again from Steam.

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