User-created TF2 items bring in up to $47,000 for some Steam members

And your mother told you video games were a waste of time! Valve has announced that user-created items in the new Team Fortress 2 Mann Co. Store have brought in positively massive royalties for five contest-winning Steam community members. The five community members included in the initial run of the Mann Co. Store -- Rob Laro, Shawn Spetch, Steven Skidmore, Spencer Kern, and Shaylyn Hamm -- all received royalties ranging from $39,000 to $47,000 after the first two weeks of sales.

Payments were arranged to be deposited directly into each users PayPal account, but their account limits were exceeded "within days." Though Valve worked out other payment methods for three of the creators, two of them personally flew to Seattle to pick up their checks directly from Valve.

The company points to the success of Mann Co. Store as an example of what can be achieved with its new peer-to-peer marketplace, which can be implemented in any Steam game. Said company head Gabe Newell, "Platforms that enable this kind of peer-to-peer exchange of virtual goods and services are going to be enthusiastically received." You can say that again.

In other news, we are -- all of us -- in the wrong line of work.

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Team Fortress 2 Community Contributor Payday

Steamworks Enables Peer-to-Peer Content Creation

October 21, 2010 -- Valve announced the success of the Team Fortress 2 (TF2) peer-to-peer marketplace released as part of its September 30th "Mann-Conomy" update for PC and Mac users. This feature is available to developers and publishers as part of the Steamworks suite of services.

Five Steam community members participated in the initial round of content creation. Rob Laro, Shawn Spetch, Steven Skidmore, Spencer Kern, and Shaylyn Hamm created items for Team Fortress 2 which were then made available to other community members for purchase from the in-game Mann Co. Store. Today they received checks for the first two weeks of sales, with royalties ranging from $39,000 to $47,000 per person.

"It's astounding that so many people want to purchase the items that came out of the community," said Spencer Kern, TF2 community content creator. "The response exceeded my wildest expectations. There really is no doubt at this point that there's a huge demand for community-created content in TF2 and, hopefully, more games will start to tap into this demand."

Funds from sales of community members' items were to be deposited directly into their PayPal accounts. However, within days, the revenue that their items generated exceeded PayPal's cap on the maximum deposit size. While Valve made alternate payment arrangements for the others, two of the community members flew to Seattle to receive their first checks directly.

The peer-to-peer marketplace is a new feature in Steamworks, a free-to-license collection of tools and services. Team Fortress 2 was the first game to utilize the peer-to-peer marketplace, available to players in-game as The Mann Co. Store.

"At a time when content creators are struggling with changing markets and evolving technologies, the Steam community is sending a clear message with these checks," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. "Platforms that enable this kind of peer-to-peer exchange of virtual goods and services are going to be enthusiastically received. They create an inherently greater efficiency in connecting creators and consumers."

Team Fortress 2 will provide regular updates to community-created content on the Mann Co. Store. Those interested in contributing to future updates should go to http://www.teamfortress.com/contribute/.

Developers and publishers who want to add peer-to-peer entertainment services in their own games should go to http://www.steampowered.com/steamworks/.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.