Team Fortress 2's digital milliners could be raking it in.
You might scoff at people going crazy over virtual hats, but as it turns out, it's a surprisingly serious business. According to financial analyst Paul Manwaring, the value of the virtual goods in the Team Fortress 2 marketplace is somewhere in the region of $50 million.
Using a series of estimates - often rather conservative estimates that err on the side of caution - Manwaring concluded that millions of dollars worth of virtual items have been injected into the Team Fortress 2 economy since its creation in 2010. According to Manwaring's calculations, the combination of weapon drops, keys, and hats adds up to at least $52.7 million, and probably quite a lot more.
Manwaring used statistics gleaned from Steam, as well as information from other sources about weapons and the value of keys and hats, to arrive at this figure. Wherever possible, he used the lowest values he could, so not to over-inflate his total. However, he stressed that for the most part these goods would remain virtual and Valve was not going to be skiing down a cash mountain built on digital hats any time soon.
You can read Manwaring's entire article here, which includes all the statistics and estimates he used to reach his conclusion. It's an interesting read, even if - like me - you're not that well versed on financial matters.