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Dumb Ideas - Monetizing a Team Fortress 2 Server

I like to play Team Fortress 2 in my spare time. If you don’t know what it is, and are too lazy to read the Wikipedia article, TF2 is an online first-person shooter based around team combat. An amusing distraction, nothing more. That’s why I was a little surprised when I found someone trying to make money off of it.

Let’s talk about servers

To play TF2, you have to connect to a server that is hosting the game. There are hundreds and hundreds of servers, most of which are usually empty. For a server to be considered desirable, it has to have low latency, a good selection of maps, and a high player count (most larger servers allow 32 players at once). I found one such server earlier today and connected. After playing for a bit, I noticed that every minute or so, a server message would appear across the bottom of my screen:

$5 per month for a reserved spot.”

Ok, I can understand having a favorite server, but I can’t imagine anybody paying to have a free pass in whenever they want. It’s not like servers are in short supply. From my location, I can access several dozen servers under 100 ping (one tenth of a second response time), and 90% of them always have a free spot open. Paying for a reserved spot would be a waste of money.

If you think that’s bad, here’s something worse: Servers asking you to advertise with them. Just like the example above, some servers are set to send out a message every few minutes alerting players of available advertising space. Just think, for only $50 a month, you can reach potentially dozens of people per day! Up to 32 people at a time will see your text ad until they get bored and leave. Think of how much traffic you’ll receive!

Okay, sarcasm off. The only time advertising on a TF2 server via in-game messages would ever make sense is if you had a niche gaming site or forum, and you were trying to attract new members. There just aren’t enough people that pass through a game server on a day to day basis to justify spending that kind of money on a text ad spot.

On the other hand

TF2 has an system where you can paste a graphic on the wall at any time (called ’sprays’). Most people use this feature to plaster naked women and shock images (goatse) all over the place, but if, for some reason, you want to reach out to the first-person shooter crowd, this would probably be the way to go. It’s free, it’s noticeable, and it’ll probably have a greater impact than text ads. You won’t get much attention by advertising this way, but hey, it’s something.

Oh, and before you ask: Since I’m sure a few of my readers play TF2, Heavies rule. Cry some more.

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3 Responses to “Dumb Ideas - Monetizing a Team Fortress 2 Server”

  1. SeverRentalsROCK Says:

    But what you dont understand is that there is someone along the line paying for the service. CLANS! Not the joe-blows who say they play like yourself but are not true to the online games enough to be part of a clan It is those hundreds of clan groups that host the Servers that you play on and it is those clans asking that you donate because a server that has decent tick rates will run you around 80.00 a month USD. You should put your foot where your mouth is! For those of you that read this post Dont be fooled by this guy ignorance… and if you are searching for your best bet when it comes to Server Rentals trust mplayerservers.com they offer extreme service and support, and host the most popular online games. such as TF2

  2. Fragimus_Max Says:

    You’re article is so off-track it’s not even funny.

    Monetizing anything, just for the sake of monetizing it, is self-defeating. But monetizing a server for a game that you love and know a lot about can be pretty successful.

    It’s not just the server that bring in the revenue, though. And this is where the “love” comes in… You must build a community of player around that server, and not necessarily a clan. It can be a mapping community, and art community, a community based on games released by a single developer… and the list goes on.

    Never underestimate the power of creative marketing - especially when it’s coming from someone with more passion for the subject matter than you.

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