The Steam Review

Comment and discussion on Valve Software’s digital communications platform.

Day of Defeat: Source ‘Free Weekend’

An alternative to demos? :: February 7th, 2006 :: Events, Features :: 5 Responses (Feed)
DOD:S Free Weekend Preload screen
Expect the new timer to be added to all pre-loads, with bug fixes of course.
I’ve talked before now about the concept of public events on Steam: tournaments, for instance, where anyone can watch, even if they don’t own the game in question. The primary source for the idea was Valve head Gabe Newell’s one and only post on the Steam forums, where he supported the idea of free spectation of online matches. That was in mid-2004, and up till now nothing has come of it. But the quiet success of the recent HL2:CTF match broadcast, and now the news that this Saturday Day of Defeat: Source will enter a ‘Free Weekend’, suggest that things are stirring in Bellevue.

The Free Weekend is a remarkably simple idea that probably requires very little work to make possible (though today’s coinciding platform update suggests that some tweaking, perhaps to VAC, was needed). And yet it could well herald a major shift in the way the industry views and provides trial software. After all, what is a better advertisement for your online game? Sending would-be customers out to find a server and get smashed by experienced players, which for all of Valve’s good intentions is what will happen come the 10th, or giving them the chance to spectate a pro tournament with live commentary and for a bit of extra revenue sponsorship? Perhaps you could go farther and take the social risk of charging a small fee. Thanks to the flexibility of connection-centred platforms like Steam, the possibilities are practically endless, and one of the most exciting prospects digital distribution brings to the table.

It seems highly likely that the HL2:CTF match broadcast and Free Weekend are Valve testing the digital waters, so to speak, for the popularity of the initiatives. As yet there is no concrete confirmation that anything is happening, but make no mistake: Valve’s plans, if this analysis is correct, are well worth waiting for.

5 Responses to this post:


  1. Garry Says:

    I don’t think the Free DoD:S trial could do any harm to the sales of DoD/HL2/CS:S. I’m sure they’ll get enough new customers to cover the cost of the bandwidth anyway – which is the bottom line.

    As for the would be customers getting smashed.. the servers will be full of would be customers. Besides – someone always has to lose. If losing put people off the game their players would halve every game 🙂

  2. Tom Edwards Says:

    Oh, I’m not trying to suggest it won’t be a success. There’s several thousand extra people online right now. It’s just no fun to throw yourself against the brick wall that is a mechanically-practiced clanner.

  3. RP Says:

    Actually Tom, because there are so many new players that are playing DoD:S right now, the chances of playing Vs another new player is much higher than from an every other day where most players are already fimiliar with the game.

2 Trackbacks/Pings

  1. The Steam Review » Blog Archive » Game Informer Online interviews Valve
  2. The Steam Review » Blog Archive » Do Free Weekends work?