Valve Introduces the Steam Community Market

Valve Introduces the Steam Community Market

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Those Team Fortress 2 hats you've saved up may actually net you a profit.

It's been almost a year-and-a-half since Team Fortress 2 went free-to-play, and it seems to have been a successful move. Valve's popular multiplayer shooter continues to rake in crazy amounts of cash despite the non-existent price tag, which has encouraged the developer to experiment further with its pricing models. Now players can beta test one such experiment: the Steam Community Marketplace. The concept is exactly what it sounds like: Steam users can sell their hard-earned Team Fortress 2 items to other players for an increase of funds in their Steam Wallet. More importantly, if the beta run is successful, Valve may extend the Community Market to include in-game items from other titles in its catalog.

"With over a half million trades made every week, the trading system has been very successful," Valve's Tony Paloma said in a statement. "Extending game economies beyond trades and giving players a way to turn gameplay into funds for new items and games is a key component for moving that success forward."

For the duration of the beta, only consumables and tools are available for purchase and sale, including paints, keys, crates, and even Mann Co. Tickets. As of writing, there are just over 60 Team Fortress 2 items listed, but behind the items are be hundreds of sellers offering prices as low as a quarter. Valve takes a standard 5% Steam Transaction fee from each purchase, as well as a game publisher fee for Team Fortress 2 currently set at 10%.

If the Steam Community Market is a success, its future could go well beyond paints and keys. The game publisher fee alone is a strong incentive for other publishers to integrate their games with the Community Market once it exits beta. And why stop there? Taken to extremes, the Market might even allow Valve to implement used digital games sales while providing publishers with a cut of the profits. There's a lot of potential for an online marketplace like this, although at the moment, I expect most fans will just be happy the day used TF2 hats go up for sale.

Source: Joystiq

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I'm actually quite pleased this is going on. Curious to see how it will affect the TF2 and Dota 2 economies (when that comes out).

Color me curious. I haven't done a thing with Diablo's real-money auction house though. Then again, maybe I can unload a couple of crates and finally get that Officer's Ushanka I've been wanting...

Since this is Valve, no backlash? Right...

That's cool, I guess. Can't say it's a feature that I'd use, but it could be interesting if it catches on.

darkszero:
Since this is Valve, no backlash? Right...

Backlash for what?

darkszero:
Since this is Valve, no backlash? Right...

Well its like the Mann Co. Store, except youre buying someone elses duplicates so you would probably be getting it for even cheaper.

And if it goes the full nine yards to selling used digital games then Steam has won the PC digital distibution race... again.

I may play a bit more of TF2 now so that I can try to get some more credit for steam.

Oh my god, it's official.
Valve is creating an actual hat-based economy. With real money involved.

darkszero:
Since this is Valve, no backlash? Right...

For one thing Valve doesn't appear to be artificially creating inflation by reducing drop rates ala Diablo 3's RMAH.

darkszero:
Since this is Valve, no backlash? Right...

Could be because the items being purchased have minimal impact on gameplay, where as the entire purpose of certain other games with real money involved is to find items.

Not to mention that by having the Mann Co Store, Valve ensures that the items being sold on their marketplace won't reach exorbitant prices.

I've already added a bit to my wallet through the market, hopefully it is enough to help offset whatever I feel the need to get during the winter sale in a week or so.

Valve: King of the Leech

Seriously. First they become a retailer, then start trying to sell people useless items in games, then go so far as to start selling and adding DRM to mods of all things, now they're taking profit from people selling their junk to eachother.

How are these guys less penny pinching than everyone else again?

 

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