Valve has made two of its very popular titles Portal & Team Fortress now a free to play edition for both MAC and PC.
We started with Half-Life®, the first-person, sci-fi shooter game that’s won more than 50 Game of the Year and a few “Best Game Ever” awards. We expanded the Half-Life franchise with a sequel and Half-Life 2 Episodes 1 and 2. Then we added the horror titles Left 4 Dead® and Left 4 Dead 2, the muliplayer combat franchise Team Fortress®, the #1 online action game Counter-Strike® and the award-winning puzzlers Portal™ and Portal 2.
Valve Corporation – the developers of Portal – have decided to give the game away for free under their Learn with Portals program which aims to capture the imaginations of students in order to help make teaching them science, technology, engineering and math easier and more fun.
From the Learn with Portals site:
Intrigue. Engage. Inspire.
When we heard the buzz surrounding the new role video games are playing in education, we had to throw our hat in the ring. Today, innovative educators are finding ways to incorporate Portal™ and Portal 2 into their classrooms—helping teach physics and critical-thinking skills. It’s eye-opening to see how video games can be used in amazing and unexpected ways to help educate our next generation.
One of the biggest challenges in teaching science, technology, engineering, and math is capturing the students’ imaginations long enough for them to see all of the possibilities that lie ahead.
Using interactive tools like the Portal series to draw them in makes physics, math, logic, spatial reasoning, probability, and problem-solving interesting, cool, and fun which gets us one step closer to our goal—engaged, thoughtful kids!
Portal has been called one of the most innovative games of the decade. A hybrid of FPS style and a new genre of spatial brain teasers, Portal offers hours of totally unique gameplay. Set in the mysterious Aperture Science Laboratories, players must solve physical puzzles and challenges by opening portals, maneuvering objects, and moving themselves through space in ways that used to be impossible.
Playing Portal today will teach you how to love a “companion cube”, whether a computer named GLaDOS really wants you dead, and why your friends keep telling you “The cake is a lie”.
Team Fortress 2
The game, which has been available since October 2007 and significantly evolved since its introduction, is about to make its greatest leap ever, allowing many gamers who weren’t willing to pay for the game or couldn’t afford it to play it for the first time and that too for free, as pointed out by Walker:
The more we’ve experimented, the more we’ve learned there are fundamentally different kinds of customers, each with their own way of valuing the product.
As one would expect, a profitable company like Valve will have to make money somehow, right? Indeed, but instead of charging a significant fee upfront, the company now plans to charge for in-game purchases, much like free iPhone Apps with in-app purchase options. Purchases can include accessories, although none of them significantly affect gameplay, although Valve might now feel pressured to change that.
Another way we think of it is that there are a class of players who will never pay us a dime, for a variety of reasons. We’re not upset by that, it’s just a constraint we need to design around. The interesting problem to solve is how to make those freeloaders produce value for our paying customers. Obviously, getting those free players into the game is the first step to doing that.
This change will also have a side effect of getting users who’ve never purchased a Valve game in the past to download Steam, a game manager and market place. Robin has acknowledged that this move might give Steam quite a boost and hopefully encourage new users to make real purchases in the future:
Any player who buys something in TF2′s store will then be familiar with the purchasing process used in all these other games, and that removes one of the biggest barriers to entry for them buying something in those other games, and vice versa.
Meet the team. The Pyro. The Heavy. The Spy. The Scout. The Sniper. The Medic. The Engineer. The Demoman. And the Soldier. Together they’ll introduce you to the most exciting class-based action ever created.
You will need steam to download and play the games, hence when you click download it asks you if you have steam or not… Do not ignore that.