Valve, the makers of everyone’s favorite digital distribution service, Steam, has added a game trading feature to the latest Steam Beta. It allows people to trade extra gift copies of games (and, interestingly, TF2 items) between accounts. What’s intriguing is that the move is essentially a flat-out endorsement of trading virtual TF2 items for real world goods.
Valve has also added a feature to view people’s TF2 items on their Steam Community profiles, which is something that will logically be followed with a hat counter on their main page (in the future, that is).
To some people’s disappointment, however, they’ve not included the trading of used games. Really, though, we couldn’t realistically expect that given the can of worms it would open, and the ability to trade gift copies (cutting out middlemen like SteamGifts) is something that the service has needed for a while.
Valve has included a helpful FAQ which we’ve faithfully reprinted after the break.
How do I get into the Steam Trading Beta?
From the Steam Client, open Steam->Settings and select the ‘Steam Trading Beta’ option. The Steam Client will then need to restart in order to download and apply the change.
What items can be traded?
Team Fortress 2 items and Steam Gifts can currently be traded in the Steam Trading Beta.
Will there be other games that support trading?
We’re working now with other game developers to incorporate both Trading and Inventories. Portal 2 should be reasonably soon and we hope to have several third-party games in the next few months.
What do you mean by trading Steam Gifts?
Any game you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy, can be traded to other users. They can be used to trade for other Gifts, or for items in Team Fortress 2. We’ve added a new checkout option to the Store when purchasing a gift so you can save it for trading or sending later, to support users who want to save games for trade fodder.
What restrictions are there on trading Steam Gifts?
Trading a Steam Gift is very similar to sending a gift to someone; just that once it is traded that user can then either trade it again, or open it for themselves. There are no restrictions on territory.
Does Steam Trading mean I can sell my used games?
No, only games that have been bought as a gift, and thus have never been played, can be traded. Once the Steam Gift is opened and added to your game library, you won’t be able to trade it again.
How do I see my Inventory on the Steam Community?
Once you have opted in to the Steam Trading Beta, you can select Community in the Steam client, then on the right is a link to View Inventory.
Who can see my items?
Your inventory obeys your existing regular privacy settings – public, friends only, friends of friends, or private.
Who can I trade with?
Right now you can initiate a trade with anyone in a Group Chat or on your Friends List who has also opted into the Steam Trading Beta.
How is this different from trading in Team Fortress 2?
We’ve improved the display of changing which items are in the trade, and significantly increased the number of items that can be traded in one session. We hope these improvements will help with confusion or users trying to deceive others in the trade.