TF2 Workshop Makes People Money
Team Fortress 2's Steam Workshop sales have apparently "broke PayPal" in the past, according to Valves' Gabe Newell who gave a talk on economics at the University of Texas this week.
Creating an item and submitting it to Steam Workshop for TF2 will result in the item, be it a weapon, hat or accessory, possibly being chosen by Valve to feature in the game for real. When this happens, the item creator makes money and earns from all future sales of the item in the store to other players, whilst Valve takes a small cut.
With this in mind, Newell has stated that the workshops top seller has earned over $500,000 this year alone, after Valve has taken their cut. This is a big figure for essentially modelling an item and submitting it, but apparently many creators can earn more this way than a normal day job. That said, you'll have to be very lucky to be chosen, as there are thousands of items on the Workshop.
Gabe has also said that: "The only company we've ever met that kind of kicks our ass is our customers. We'll go up against Bungie, or Blizzard, or anybody, but we won't try to compete with our own user base. Because we already know that we're going to lose." Ah the good old complimenting your customers trick, bound to score Valve some good press.
With Workshop item makers from the community managing to make money out of the whole enterprise, PayPal kind of... broke, because of the sums of money changing hands, "so we actually had to work something out with them and said, 'No, they're making hats. Not drugs" Gabe said.
Not that Valve are ashamed of using their customers to provide items for the game, they also rely on consumer input a lot these days, if the Greenlight voting and game guide submitting is anything to go by. After all, why create it yourself if your customers can do it for you? At least in the TF2 item case they are well rewarded.