The developers at Valve have created some of the most influential titles in video game history, but the company’s latest project doesn’t require a controller. Valve has released Free To Play, a feature-length documentary about the video game Dota 2, on YouTube, Steam, and iTunes.
Free To Play follows several players as they prepare for the Dota 2 International Tournament, which offers a million dollar prize to its champion. In particular, the film focuses on three plays from three different continents, delving into their personal lives and their experiences within the eSports community.
Valve’s choice to distribute Free To Play on YouTube presents the film to its target audience as directly as possible. Dota 2 is a sequel to the game that inspired League of Legends, which is one of the most popular games on both YouTube and Twitch. It’s the second time in the past few months a documentary publisher has aimed for YouTube’s massive cult of gamers. Late last year, 2 Player Productions released Minecraft: The Story Of Mojang on YouTube, and the 104-minute film has received more than 650,000 views to date.
Free To Play is heading for even larger viewership. Just a day after its release, it has already racked up more than 420,000 views. While Dota 2 and Valve fans likely make up the majority of this audience, Free To Play has enough humanity to appeal to the general public, even if non-players will need some help to understand what happens in the gameplay sequences.
As with almost everything Valve does, Free To Play is a clear success. It’s not Half-Life 3, but it’s worth checking out.