Steam, a software developed by Valve Corporation, is a growing community where people can make easy purchases of games, software’s and now virtual items.
In Dec. 2012, Steam launched a beta of their community market. The Steam Community Market is where players who have earned virtual items through the games can put it up for sale for a desired price.
Currently, the beta only allows items from Team Fortress 2 and Dota 2 to be sold in the market. The Market also allows the earned profit or deposited cash to only stay within the Steam software, which they call a Steam Wallet.
Trevor Hogsten, 19, is a gamer who plays Team Fortress 2 and uses the market to buy keys from other players.
“I buy keys for a cheaper price and then I sell it for a higher price, and then I turn it around (profit earned) in order to buy games,” he said.
Mann Co. Supply Crate Keys, or popularly known as keys, are the standard currency on Valve made programs and games. Gamers who trade often can use keys as an advantage in Steam to buy games or other virtual items.
James Lavender, 20, supported the idea on the value of keys.
“Keys are items you can buy either in Mann Co. Store, and you can buy them to open crates to receive random items in the game,” he said. “They are pretty valuable, you can use the key to open crates or use it as to buy other items.”
When asked what they could do to improve on the community store’s abilities, Lavender stated, “So far I think it’s a good idea, but the only reason I don’t use it is because I don’t want to buy games with it. I wish that there was a way that it wasn’t only in the Steam Wallet but the ability to transfer (cash earned) into your Paypal account or your bank account.”
“It’s in beta so some items are available and some aren’t. When you put the items for a dollar, [Steam] put it as a dollar and six cents or something. 15% Steam Tax,” stated Jason Oakley, 30, a gamer. “I go [to the Market] for keys and for genuine and vintage hats.”
Hats are virtual items that hold value mainly in the Team Fortress 2 community. They can range from $3 to the most current estimate of $3,600.
“Some people meet in real life with laptops due to some items costing over $15,000 in order to make transaction,” said Oakley when asked if there were other ways to trade besides using the Market.
A Steam trader and gamer using the online name of Pivson, 40, stated that he does not like to use the Market. “I just looked through, and I don’t know how it works,” Pivson said.
He said that using money in the Market is as though a person is using twice the money.
Pivson uses online forums in order to buy, sell and trade items. “You need to have a rep in order to really buy and sell things,” stated Pivson when he explained how things worked in the forum trades.
“Reputation (Rep), basically, it’s to avoid scammers. So, basically, you use Paypal, and when the trade is done, you go to the person’s profile and comment on how well the trade went, and they do the same to you.”
Pivson also stated that when someone asks about your rep, you just have to show them your profile or go onto websites such as Steamrep.com.
The most expensive virtual item Pivson stated, “Unusual Burning Team Captain, there’s nothing more expensive than that shit, [a gamer] paid like over 2 grand in cash, and over a grand in items.”
“I don’t know what to say. It’s whatever. You have to make money somehow,” answered Pivson when questions of what he thought of the idea on people paying so much money for virtual items.
“I know a kid in Asia who’s 14 years old, but he’s making thousands of dollars by selling TF2 items.”
When Lavender was asked about the transactions between items, cash and virtual cash, he stated, “There really isn’t much you can do about it. Even if you want to stop it. I personally think that it is a good idea and that it is a good idea to make money, if you know how to trade and make profit out of it.
There are consequences such as scamming, if you don’t want to get scammed, then don’t do it. There are people out there who hate it because they think that TF2 items are virtual and worthless, but you know, all man for themselves, whatever they think. Some people like it, some people don’t.”