Industry trade website Develop-Online has revealed in an interview with Valve's Robin Walker that Team Fortress 2 is now permanently free to play, and will solely be supported by in-game item purchases.
TF2's switch to F2P was rumored and expected, but perhaps not this soon. Walker says that Valve had been exploring the idea since September 2010. "We've been toying with the idea of making Team Fortress free-to-play ever since the Mann-conomy update," Walker said. "The data we got back from that update leads us to believe that TF2 would be more successful as a completely free product." Read the rest of the interview with Walker at Develop-Online .
Prior to today, Team Fortress 2 was in the middle of a "free week." The game's Über Update should deploy later this evening.