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Steam is beginning to embrace Free-to-play

By on March 26, 2012
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Steam is beginning to embrace free-to-play games in what has been a bastion of upfront paid-for games.

Of course, Valve has had a very successful entry into F2P with Team Fortress 2. TF2 saw revenues increase 12-fold when it went free-to-play, and has a very high conversion rate.

So it is incredibly pleasing to see a game I have been working on for nearly three years become the second most-popular free-to-play game on Steam. Stronghold Kingdoms comes from Firefly Studios. It is an extension of their Stronghold franchise, bringing the castle-building sim into the free-to-play world with a massively multiplayer strategy game.

We’ve been live for 18 months on their own website at, so it’s great to see people still being excited to discover the game on Steam.

Congratulations to all at Firefly.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve:
  • Thank you for your reply. Just started playing the game.

  • My role was to help the company determine business models and to focus on Acquisition/Retention/Monetisation.

    We decided on free-to-play with microtransactions, and it’s been a great journey.

  • You are making the point that it might be 12x very low revenues. That is indeed possible.

  • Congratulations, I’ll make sure to give the game a try. If possible, could you elaborate on your involvement in the development of this game?

  • You have labored so hard over the years. You deserve it.

  • surely TF2 reveneus were rock bottom by that point though? an old game that had been promoetd and plugged to death for seemingly a thousand years. Is there anyone left who had not bought it?

  • We’ve had a great response from Steam users and welcome them to the engaging world of Stronghold Kingdoms!