Valve's free offer can be real turn-on

Making popular video games is something Valve, a 12-year-old Bellevue, WA-based software and tech company, has down cold.

Making popular video games is something Valve, a 12-year-old Bellevue, WA-based software and tech company, has down cold. Its debut title, Half-Life, has won over 50 Game of the Year Awards, a distinction awarded by various titles and Web sites to a deserving video game. With one of its better-known offerings, Team Fortress 2, the company is displaying equal marketing acumen.

Early this month, Valve seized an opportunity to cement itself as a customer-friendly brand by offering all future downloadable content (DLC) for the console versions of the game for free. Team Fortress 2 is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

"The gamers play the game [and] want to keep playing," Valve's VP of marketing Doug Lombardi told independent gaming Web site Eurogamer at a recent event. "We have collected their 50 bucks at the start... We see it as an investment on our next product."

With the official date still to be announced for the first Team Fortress 2 console DLC, Valve does not have total say in the matter, as console manufacturers Sony and Microsoft still must chime in. But Lombardi is determined to get at least some content over to players at no cost.

"Keeping the customer happy" is what DLC is all about, noted Lombardi. That attitude will serve Valve well. And building that kind of good will is priceless.

PR play rating:
1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious

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