The next big thing, after using DLC contents to make lots of extra money, are in-game transactions of virtual goods for real money. Blizzard enabled the money auction house in Diablo 3 some time ago where players were able to sell and buy items for real currency. It goes without saying that the company profits from it the most, as players are charged with transaction fees when they sell items to other players.
Valve Software some time ago introduces an in-game shop to the popular Team Fortress 2 game. The shop turned out to be that successful that the company decided to make the game free to play to attract more players and increase the revenue that the game brings in significantly. Players are already able to trade in-game items and there is a lucrative market out there where rare items get sold or traded between players. The highest priced item that I know about was sold for $400.
Valve wants in, not only to rake in even more money but maybe also to give players option to securely trade items in a legitimate way.
The Steam Community Market beta launched today. It is a market where players can sell virtual goods for real money. The market is currently limited to the Team Fortress 2 game, and there also only for select items and not all items that players may have found or purchased previously.
To use the market, Steam users need to have Steam Guard enabled for their account. Steam Guard is a protective service that adds a level of security to the Steam account. Steam log ins from unrecognized systems or web browsers are blocked automatically until a one-time verification code sent to the registered email address is entered on the site.
Steam users must have had at least one transaction in the past year with the last 30 days not counting towards that limitation. Users who have had their passwords reset need to wait 15 days before they can sell items on the Community Market as an additional security precaution.
Two fees are collected in the process. First a Steam Transaction Fee that Valve gets and second a game specific transaction fee that the game publisher receives. The fees are currently set to 5% and a minimum of $0.01, and 10%.
The market lists crates, keys, tags, colors and strange parts mostly right now, with items such as weapons or hats not available at all for the game. There seems to be an abundance of crates, as more than 200,000 are currently listed on the market.
Note that Valve is limited the Steam Wallet ballance to $200 and the items that you can sale annually to 200 as well during the beta. Keep in mind that fees and restrictions are subject to change.
It is very likely that we will see additional games being added to the market in the near future, with Dota 2 being a prime candidate for this as well as games by other game publishers who want to take advantage of the market revenue opportunities as well.
To access the market in the Steam software click on Community at the top and then Market in the sub menu.
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