News: The Hat Market Crash

Seizing the Means of Hat Production

Long before crypto currency was even on the scene, Team Fortress 2’s ‘unusual’ hat economy functioned in its place. Regular hats and other cosmetic items are often found in the game’s lootboxes, yet ‘unusual’ hats are very rare, and so players would essentially purchase a bunch of in-game keys in order to gamble on the contents of these lootboxes, and then flip the contents on external sites for thousands of dollars. The reason that they were able to make all this money was due to users willing to pay thousands of dollars in order to financially flex on the poor bloody proles who were not willing to funnel thousands of dollars into a free shooter. Lootbox gamblers were making fat stacks of money, the aristocracy of TF2 players were twirling their waxed moustaches at the downtrodden Steam masses, life was good – until the day when everything changed!

Steam just ruined the day of anyone who engages in Team Fortress gambling.

This week a hilarious bug has led to the utter crash of the TF2 economy. Players found that ‘unusual’ hats were suddenly in great abundance, flooding the market, and absolutely tanking their monetary value!

To those of you, laughing, mocking, and glad because of this economy crash in tf2
You are all horrible and utter trash human beings. The fact that you find it funny that people lost tens of thousands of dollars is disgusting. We’re all very sorry that you were in the 99% of players who didn’t have an expensive hat to wear on your virtual character. I wasn’t that rich in tf2, I didn’t trade a lot but i’m still ♥♥♥♥♥♥ off because of this crash. Most people just don’t understand what people lost because of this. Most people don’t understand how this will affect the player base. Unusuals were the biggest part of trading in tf2 almost nothing else was ever traded in this game. Now that everyone has one, that means no more trading. No ones going to trade unusuals now.

I think the bigger reason I am mad though is because a very very close friend of mine who has played tf2 for many many years said he will quit the game if this doesn’t reverse. I quote word for word “I don’t want to play a game that took my money.” Thank you, and goodbye.

Mmmmmm… Those delicious tears! This must be schadenfreude heaven! Perhaps you should have thought twice about using the cosmetic market of a video game for the purposes of real money gambling? Perhaps you should have refrained from placing all of your hats in the same basket? How are you enjoying those ‘unusual’ hats now that everyone has one? Valve has put a temporary hold on the ability for players to trade these recent ‘unusual’ hats while they decide on what to do about the situation, but even if the ability to trade these hats is permanently disabled it is nonetheless very hard to imagine that Valve will just delete them from player inventories, meaning that they will still be very common within the game, and thus worthless.

Bethesda Manages to Mess Up Releasing Doom

Since 1993 Doom has become ubiquitous across almost every piece of hardware more complex than a toaster. That is hardly even an exaggeration, as by now Doom must surely be the most ported video game in history. For the past year Bethesda has been fumbling and bumbling from one self-created calamity to the next, Fallout 76 alone has been responsible for more substantial faux pas than this writer has fingers. There is very much the perception that Bethesda cannot to a thing right in the current year – but surely even they could not mess up a port of Doom to current gen hardware, right?

Doom 2016 Screenshot 1 FEATURED
How do you mess up Doom?

Wrong! This week Bethesda released ports to Doom, Doom 2, and Doom 3 across PS4, Xbone, and Switch to coincide with QuakeCon 2019 – and they managed to botch it! All three of these titles were originally released as offline titles, yet Bethesda were so thirsty to have more users within their ecosystem that they required users to make account and login for authentication before being able to play the games. For the first two games the login is only required for the first time, which is ridiculous but not all that onerous, but for Doom 3 the login is required each and every time, making it unplayable without an internet connection. To make matters worse for Xboners, a version of Doom was already available for their platform thanks to 360 backwards compatibility, yet Bethesda decided to delist this version – not just from the Xbone online store, but also from the download list of owners of the game!

All is probably not lost. Shortly after the commencement of the backlash Bethesda relented and confirmed that they would reinstate the 360 version for Xboners, because of how grasping and awful it made them look. Shortly after this Bethesda also relented on the login issue, and have committed to patching out the requirement for mandatory logins. Bethesda look to have only hurt themselves here; how many more copies would have sold if Bethesda did not botch these games out of the gate?

Cyberpunk 2077 Bold Pre-Order Campaign

Publishers will try a lot of different things in an effort to get consumers to pay upfront and pre-order their game. Physical swag. Exclusive digital goodies. Even entire game levels. Everything is fair game. There is seemingly no limit to what content publishers are willing to carve out as a pre-order hook to snare consumers. Still more content is chiselled out so that specific retailers each have exclusive DLC to offer, so that no customer is able to buy the full experience.

Witcher 2 Screenshot
CD Projekt Red have been marching to their own tune ever since they started releasing the Witcher games without DRM.

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the biggest games on the horizon, so its pre-order campaign must be pretty epic, right?

No, we don’t do that. Every person that buys the game gets exactly the same in-game content, no matter if they buy it in pre-orders, on release date or 2 years later.

If a person pre-orders the game then all they will get is the game! This is a bold move, and one that has some gamers stating that they are now more likely to pre-order the game than if CD Projekt Red had gone with some convoluted pre-order scheme. Doing complex pre-order schemes may be a great way to get a downpayment upfront and to nickel and dime consumers, but surely doing this turns off a chunk of the audience from buying a game at launch. A publisher eschewing pre-order BS is a huge vote of confidence in their game, and a move that is likely to maximise the game’s sales.


  1. It was only a matter of time until there was a HAT crash. We’ve been saying for years that they are simply making far too many hats and there are only a finite number of heads. “But we can stack the hats,” people said, and yes, that’s true, but even stacking hats has its limit.

    “By the time we get to the point where there are too many hats to stack, we’ll have developed technology to allow us to stack them in multiple dimensions,” people said. Well, it appears that despite the best efforts of the Large Hadron Collider, which was built expressly for this purpose, they simply haven’t been able to keep up with the frenetic pace of hat production. Now, as we enter a Great Hat Depression, things are likely to be bleak for some time. Eventually, people will throw away enough hats that the market will match up to demand, but that’s cold comfort for those people who staked the farm on an empire of hats.

  2. I see but one possible solution – the government needs to subsidise hat growers to convert their hat crops into hat-based syrup!

  3. @SN: Perfect! Hats anywhere, on the go, or in emergencies: just have a spoonful of Syrup of Hats!

  4. I’m with you on these preorder schemes. The worst were always the ones who gated content behind preorders, as if to punish people who weren’t rabidly salivating and tripping over themselves to give money to a company who was all too desperate to take that money. GameStop always tries to hustle these collector editions, or they try to humiliate the customers by having these “midnight release parties”, which really just makes everyone there look desperate and sad. What’s even worse, is that now they have a program where people can come in earlier in the day before the release and obtain a ticket to “beat the line” so you can be the first group called on to get your game. I’m not on the boat where I fully buy into the “video game addiction” headline, but I will say these midnight release parties do not make gamers look very dignified. I like games, but I don’t want to be herded like cattle, nor do I want to jump through hoops like I’m some type of gaming golden retriever at a dog show. I’ll just come in and grab the game the next day, screw all of that BS.

  5. @Fumunshu: I went to one (1) GameStop ‘midnight release party’, for The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. The ‘release party’ consisted of making us stand in a very long queue doing nothing until midnight, at which point they started selling the game.

    I never went to another midnight release again.

  6. I went to the EB midnight release of the PS3 (I believe EB is owned by GameStop, so it probably counts).

  7. That console was incredibly expensive – 1000$AU – so not worth it!

  8. Did you just stand in a queue until midnight as well? Being Australia they probably had sausages and beer at least.

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