The Gathering Begins: Steam Trading Cards Out Of Beta

Well obviously I'll never get *that* badge

I should hate and fear the concept of Steam’s virtual trading cards, decrying them as merely a cynical ploy to sell more games. Yet for some reason there’s this itch somewhere towards the back of my brain. Actually it’s less an itch, and more like a single finger prodding the part of it that makes me desire new mobile phones and graphics cards that are barely any better in practice than the ones I own already, and causing me to think want, want, want, want, want, want. I don’t quite know why. It’s something to do with the fact that there is a thing I could collect, and it’s going to happen with undue amounts of effort. Even more so, now that these win-by-playing digi-tchotchkes are rolling out of beta and into broad public availability tomorrow.

That’s a very short beta period by Valve standards. Perhaps they’ve tightened up Valve time? As a result, I’m going to alter my estimate of Half-Life 3’s release year from 3142 to 2115.

While the trading cards will indeed be out of beta as of Wednesday, sounds like Valve are planning much more for them yet. “We’ll be continuing to iterate on existing features and add new ones after the release. There are a few things we have talked about previously that we really wanted to get to, that have now been pushed till post release – Trade Offers, and the Card Binder. They will still get done we just don’t have an exact timeline on that.”

The ultimate purpose of the trading cards is a little nebulous, but if you collect a complete set of one game’s cards, you can create a badge. Once you create a badge, it’ll help upgrade your Steam profile, which means um well. Though there is a chance of ‘winning’ discount coupons. There’s also trading with other players to try and get hold of rarer cards. Some cards can also be sold for real money, which I suspect will quickly become a huge after-market. Full details at the FAQ.

Essentially, it’s a Steam-wide meta-RPG that’s brazenly evailing itself our lizard-brain fondness for compulsion loops. And while I think it’s somewhat exploitative, I also think it sounds like a whole lot more fun than Achievements.


  1. Revolving Ocelot says:

    I have read mumblings and grumblings about the Summerlings Salelings starting on Wednesday. Valve have probably prepared a ‘badges for coupons’ system exactly for the purposes of the sale. Buy game, get badge, get coupon for more game, more badge, more coupon. Much like their sales from ~2 years back when they would discount tons of indie games and give them sale ‘cheevos, with rewards.


    • RaveTurned says:

      Traditionally, Steam’s seasonal sales start on a Thursday. It’s around about time for the Summer Sale, though for the last few years these have started early to mid July. My guess is they’re launching the trading cards this week, leaving a week or two to iron out any residual kinks and allowing people who didn’t opt into the beta to poke them, and then starting the Sale with this year’s inevitable gamification gimmick heavily tied to the card system.

      You know what? I can’t actually find the historic dates of sales to back any of that up, so ignore me. Let’s just go with: Summer Sale probably soon, almost certainly will be tied to these card things.

      • Stirbelwurm says:

        @Rave: You are actually right in saying, that the sales always started on thursdays. I think we can pretty much expect the same this time around.

      • Rosveen says:

        Here are the dates.
        June 24, 2010 (Thursday)
        June 30, 2011 (Thursday)
        July 12, 2012 (Thursday)

  2. philbot says:

    I don’t know what the big Deal is with these steam trading Cards. I guess they don’t really Suit me.

    • db1331 says:

      Whoever thought these up is probably isn’t playing with a full deck.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Donruss to judgement, the Steam trading cards really are the Topps.

    • Grey Ganado says:

      You should really put more heart into it or the Valve fan club will come to you and knock you over the head with a spade.

    • TheMick says:

      Well I think the idea is aces.

    • engion3 says:


    • GadgetArcrep says:

      Some people are wishing for it to be a tremendous Flop.

      Others are hoping it will Turn out to be an enhancement.

      I know this won’t go down without some people crying a River.

    • Screamer says:

      If only I could flush these things down the toilet.

    • tossrStu says:

      Well then, just ignore them and stick to using Steam as before. There’s no need to get your knickers in a twist.

    • The Random One says:

      Valve’s just playing Tricks on us. Just have Patience if you can’t Bridge over your concerns.

  3. Misnomer says:

    “Once you create a badge, it’ll help pugrade your Steam profile, which means um well.”

    Pugrade . . . That sounds like something vaguely disturbing.

    • DeFrank says:

      Not to be confused with a pug raid. Which is a cuddly albeit slobbery affair.

    • Dezmiatu says:

      I thought they said purgrade, as in an upgrade that purges your account of all your games. A card system that did this would naturally be on its way out of beta.

  4. Kollega says:

    Valve are doing this instead of creating new games. Who else thinks they should knock it off and give us something truly fresh?

    • frightlever says:

      They’re making DOTA 2. But perhaps you mean new games as in fresh IP. It’s not like anybody wants more sequels out of Valve.

      • Kollega says:

        Yeah, fresh new IP is exactly what i mean. Or at least the rumored adaptation of Megas XLR. That’d be fine too. But as it is, Valve are stuck making sequels despite being fully able to do something new, and i don’t like it one bit.

        (As for Half-Life 3, i don’t even care anymore.)

    • FuzzyPuffin says:

      I would rather they spend some time to overhaul (a total rewrite) their crappy steam client.

      • exogen says:

        agreed. I use Steam just like everyone else, but I really hate it. The client itself is bloated and a resource hog.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        Valve are never going to rewrite the client. At best, we can expect a never-ending deluge of piecemeal updates that will do nothing much except make Steam run even slower.

        When people complain about Steam’s retched customer support, I find it handy to point out things like the trading card program to highlight why Valve can’t be bothered with customer service or client upkeep anymore.

        • AngoraFish says:

          It’s a problem with Valve’s decentralized structure.

          The Steam coder guy is more or less openly the equivalent of a hobbyist/modder, and only works on stuff he finds interesting on any particular day.

          Unfortunately, implementing tighter code, better memory management, offline mode, accessibility features and UI improvements (like being able to scale the font size) just aren’t sexy enough when compared to playing around with entirely new features.

          The other implication of Valve’s modder culture is that projects are so scattered that once the shiny gloss wears off on a new feature, like Steam badges, they simply fall into dormancy adding more useless clutter without any corresponding effort to maintain.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Aye. If anything is going to kill Valve, it’s going to be their continual lack of focus.

          • jrodman says:

            There are certainly personalities (I’m one of them) that left to their own devices will only do cleanup. They’ll take existing things and make them more robust, more functional, remove bugs, and tighten things up.

            Some people of this bent (I’m not one of them) are so brilliant that they can kick out metric tons of this kind of work across large numbers of projects, educating those who made the mistakes in design and implementation as they go.

            The problem is that Valve’s explicitly stated priorities in hiring will probably never bring these kind of people on board.

        • Mctittles says:

          Completely agree. Not only does the steam client use up 70+ precious threads when minimized to the tray, I’ve found any games that allow me to kill the Steam.exe process run much better.

          I can only imagine how their client is programmed but for their web page I don’t have to. Looking at the source I see a minimum of 30! JavaScript includes that look like code snippets grabbed from all over the further reaches of the internet. What a mess!

    • Zogtee says:

      Yes, everyone at Valve is working on this and nothing else. Nothing! It’s just digital cards all the way up to Gaben’s office.

      • strangeloup says:

        Nobody can get into Robin Walker’s office anymore because it’s full of hats. Robin may or may not still be in there.

    • Borsook says:

      Well, I’m not too fond on those cards, but I prefer them to create something like that than another game, there has never been a Valve game I liked, I just don’t play games like that. :) So let them make anything that’s not a game! yay!

      • AngoraFish says:

        Yai for game developers only ever making games that you like and nothing ever for anyone else.

    • Innovacious says:

      I know some of the people who have been working on this. They are not game developers, they are community and tech people. I cant speak for all of the people working on it, but my bets are on they are all like that.

  5. Laketown says:

    I got march of the eagles by earning and then selling trading cards, I love them!

  6. trjp says:

    £22 made from absolutely NOTHING – and I even got around to playing games I’d probably have forgotten otherwise (Offspring Fling, ARES etc.)

    I’m all for it – but with the proles in and a sale coming, I expect cards will drop to pennies ASAP

    Which means I buy them all again and keep my £22 ;)

    • Kitsunin says:

      Pretty much, haha. I finished a Defender’s Quest set (Because I LOVE that game) and was still able to buy Skulls of the Shogun just by selling around half of my (Potential) cards and using that cash.

      It’s also really neat that 10% of the 15% fee for market sales goes to the developer of the game the cards are for.

      Whoops, I mean that 10% goes to devs, 5% goes to Valve, not 1.5% goes to devs!

    • The Random One says:

      I, too. I think I made more money (well, Valve points I guess) from selling Really Big Sky cards than I paid for it on Indie Game Stand.

      I bought a TF2 hat. Sorry.

  7. Dominic White says:

    I’ve so far farmed and sold enough imaginary trading cards to buy a half-dozen games and a sack of DLC. I fully approve of this trading card malarkey, because crazy people want to buy my imaginary cards for store credit.

    • aliksy says:

      How are you making so much money with it? I made like $5- the median costs are all like $0.40

      • FuzzyPuffin says:

        And I bet the prices will drop like a rock tomorrow.

        • Theory says:

          Or will they? The beta has been running for a while now and has been really easy to get into; I think the influx of buyers may well be greater than the influx of sellers.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        The only people I can see making a notable amount of credit off of these things are speculators and impulse buyers who already have a gigantic library. Seeing as how the cards lose their maximum value after about a day, there’s no real advantage for regular users. It’s pretty obvious who Valve is targeting with this program.

    • Mctittles says:

      To be fair the paper money you might use is somewhat imaginary too. It only has as much value as people think that it has, as do these trading cards.

  8. Retro says:

    ‘estimate of Half-Life 2′s release year’

    personally, I’d estimate it to be November 14, 2004

    ‘it’ll help pugrade’


  9. Magus44 says:

    I really thought I’d have fun with this, but after a few minutes of playing around I really don’t like it.
    You have to spend money in this thing…
    Having limited drops sucks so bad. I thought you’d be able to trade away spares, but you only get a certain amount (never enough for a full set). The missing ones you have to pay for, or trade items… which you have paid for… Or been rewarded… by crafting badges… which you have paid for….
    I wouldn’t mind getting into it, I love the thought of having collectable items of games I’ve played. and the emoticons seem cool.
    Turns out having an economist really works!
    Maybe with more people involved it’ll change…

    • Hyetal says:

      You don’t have to pay to complete the badges. You just have to accept that you won’t get all of them without spending some money (or time).

      • Magus44 says:

        True true. I suppose I could trade my other cards away for the ones I want.
        I just thought It would be a system where there are cards everywhere and they kept dropping so people would trade heaps.
        Suppose that would destroy their economy though.
        It just seems like it’s only going to appeal to a small portion of people. Whereas when I first heard about it i pictured it being a silly thing you can do while playing.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      That is the point. Ever see some trading card/collector figures/blind bags? They purposely either make so many it’s impossible to collect em all, or accidentally/purposefully leave out/reduce the number of special last figure/cards so you never get that one.

      • Magus44 says:

        Yeah. Just that in my mind it seems like as it is now people will look at and just shrug their shoulders, instead of getting to heavily invested in.
        Where as if there were lots of cards wouldn’t people trade more?
        Will be interesting to see what happens with it though.

  10. LevelHeaded says:

    Thanks to everyone who bought my cards so they could “level up” on Steam, I’m ready for the summer sale!

  11. basilisk says:

    Honestly, I find the card system disgusting and immoral. And I refuse to participate in it, even if it meant money for nothing (and chicks for free). Valve lost tons of credit in my eyes for this.

    The good news is that this probably means the summer sale is just around the corner. The bad news is that it’s definitely going to be trading-card-centric. Oh well.

    • Bhazor says:

      Have to agree, this strays too far into the grind, exploitation and social network spamming that Zynga and co exemplified.

      • IAmUnaware says:

        But there’s no grinding, no exploitation of anyone or anything, and no social network spamming of any kind.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Grinding: If you’re an average Steam user looking to upgrade your badges, it can turn into quite the time sink . It’s the equivalent of killing rats in WoW or farming mithril in LotR Online.
          Exploitation: The system exploits impulse buyers and allows for speculators to control market prices.
          Social spamming: The entire thing is centered around community activity, so there’s obviously going to be spamming involved. Random friend/trade requests, forum begging, etc.

          • daf says:

            The grind that’s involved is having a game with cards launched (you don’t even need to play it, just have it open in the background) to collect your initial card drops, after that you’ll just get a booster at random times when someone crafts a badge, you don’t need to have any game open, I’m not even sure if having steam open influences anything, so if you call having a game open for a wile grinding I can’t really agree with you there.

            If you mean grinding items in tf2/dota 2 to get value to trade for cards that in my view is no diferent then going to the market and paying for cards with money, you just chose to make that money from a particular game instead of your job.

            Exploitation, you could say all of steam is built around exploiting impulse buying with their game sales and social spamming as well as I had to refuse friend request of tf2 traders that wanted certain items i have, so wile issues they’re not unique to this card system but inherent to current steam environment.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Well, the whole process is a grind: play (or idle) game, check to see whether new cards appear in inventory, put duplicates on market, browse friends list or peruse trade forum to look for those holding missing cards, open trade channel and trade, shop at market for more missing cards, craft complete set and get badge, start the whole thing again until badge level is maxed out.

            “Grind addiction” is what makes crafting in TF2 so successful, so it’s not surprising Valve would rely on the same process for the trading card system.

    • derbefrier says:

      Disgusting? fair enough not everyone will like it but calling it immoral seems like quite a stretch. It implies its somehow harmful to others in a way they cant control and I just cant see a good argument for that. Playing games and unlocking cards to trade seems a rather harmless and for some even enjoyable distraction and is easily ignored with no repercussions for those that don’t want to bother with it. Looks perfectly fine from where I am sitting perhaps you see something I don’t ?

    • Milky1985 says:

      Not sure if serious here.

      Yes its a bit silly, some idiots will buy games just to get cards and booster packs but its just something you can do. You get cards (and chance of getting booster packs once you have your allotment of cards for game x) by doing nothing more special than playing the game. Hard to see the immoral/disgusting bit really.

      • Brun says:

        I guess you could call it immoral in the same sense that gambling is “immoral” – but again, you can avoid gambling by simply not walking into a casino. Pretty simple really, if you have the tiniest iota of self-control.

        • Bhazor says:

          Because casinos are renowned bastions of morality with no history of enabling or exploiting addiction.

      • basilisk says:

        Not sure if serious here. Yes its a bit silly, some idiots will buy games just to get cards and booster packs but its just something you can do.

        And that’s exactly why I’m being 100% serious here. The system is designed to exploit precisely those “idiots”, and such exploitation is just evil no matter how you look at it. Particularly when you consider how laughable the prizes you get for participating in it are. It’s a strange game; the only winning move is to be Valve and rake in the profits.

        It’s disgusting and immoral the same way running a casino is disgusting and immoral.

        EDIT: Basically ninja’d by Brun there. People really should realise there’s little to no difference between a gambling addiction and a drug addiction, a heroin pusher and a casino owner.

        • Kollega says:

          And – let me be Captain Obvious here – Valve turning Steam into a casino is not a thing that anyone should want. I agree that this trading card business stinks, and that it’s not something Valve should be doing if they want to get back some of my goodwill with them.

          But they already turned TF2 into a casino, so i don’t think they’ll be backpedaling now.

        • derbefrier says:

          Ehh I guess we just disagree. I do not see how this is the equivalent of running a casino on steam. There is no risk to players and nothing to loose either. You buy a game and get some cards for playing it you can collect and trade. I mean you wouldn’t accuse other trading card companies of exploiting children would you? Would you accuse Magic: The Gathering of being exploitative with there trading card game becasue kids or even adults might spend a few bucks here and there on booster packs or buy a rare card off ebay for 50 bucks what about Baseball cards? Its quite different from walking into a casino in Vegas I would say and isn’t really a fair comparison.

          • basilisk says:

            I mean you wouldn’t accuse other trading card companies of exploiting children would you? Would you accuse Magic: The Gathering of being exploitative with there trading card game

            I absolutely would.

          • MarcP says:

            Absolutely. Magic: The Gathering is nothing but a port of the casino and gambling model to a different demographic. Arguably taken to the next level, too, with arbitrary value created out of nowhere; and, by tying all of this to a fun game, they can appeal to obsessive-compulsive personalities on more than one level, and attract other people, even those who recognize the manipulative nature of the business side but decide the game is good enough to make it worth it, with moderation.

        • darkChozo says:

          Do you feel the same way about physical TCGs? Or, say, Xbox Live achievement point whatevers? DLC? Steam sales?

          I mean, I know where you’re coming from, and I’m seriously asking this, not just providing gotchas or anything. Personally, I wouldn’t buy into this, but I will buy prettier pictures for my video game characters, or buy games that I may well not play [to completion] because they’re cheap, or spend some time doing things I otherwise wouldn’t do so I can color a picture and move some text to the “completed” section of my screen.

          I guess that my point is that there tends to be some weird taxonomy of value when it comes to what and what is not acceptable to charge for. Proper gambling is a bit of an extreme example because of the magnitude of the potential harm done and (at least in the US) the traditional association with organized crime.

          • basilisk says:

            You are right, of course. The lines are very fuzzy, and it’s really up to everyone to decide what they consider acceptable and what they don’t. Personally, if I were to write a formula or something, I’d require a decent ratio between what you put into it and what you get out of it, and some degree of effort on part of the one who ultimately benefits from it financially. And this formula doesn’t really work here.

            One user selling a profile background (i.e. one jpeg and a line of HTML code) to another for 9€ of which about 2€ or so ends up in Valve’s pocket – I think that’s pretty deep in “exploitation” territory. And that’s just one random real example.

            Of course no one forces you to do anything, but that’s a line of defence gambling dens have been using for millennia. It’s still not very convincing.

          • jrodman says:

            Physical TCGs have many of the same problems. I myself at 19 spent probably 300 dollars on Magic the Gathering. This seems loony to me now at age 38. Luckily I realized that the influx of the cards made the game unfun for me, and dropped out. I knew people who spent thousands.

            This obviously comes out of compulsion. Any business model which is making most or any significant percentage of their money feeing on this kind of compulsion is doing wrong. The only question is how much wrong are they doing and what level of social harm it generates. Any moral human should not choose to engage in such behavior.

        • Milky1985 says:

          Its not gambling and its not a casino however so your point is quite frankly rubbish. You get cards for playing games that you have spent money in, that’s it, nothing else. You can sell them if you want, keep them, taunt your mates if you have the one s/he doesn’t have and they want. In no way is it gambling, its the same as anyone who collected football stickers as a kid went through, and even better for this one, its an extra to something your already buying!

          That and looks like it supports the devs as well, as part of the cash for a purchase goes to the dev (about 1p per purchase of a card at 20p but its still 1p) but lets ignore that, god forbid something like that give a bit of the cash back to the devs of the game :P

          Your not putting your cash on the line, your not betting anything so any comparisons to casinos are straw-man like at best , its in no way the same.

          • basilisk says:

            It’s a mechanism utilising the well-described and well-developed completionist and collector tendencies of the human brain together with its innate inability to correctly process probability, all for monetary gain. Of course it’s not technically a casino, but in broad strokes, it’s the same thing. Exploitation is the key word.

            And yes, physical trading cards are every bit as evil as this. It just gets an extra level of ridiculousness when it’s digital, and yet another when it’s done by a company that has so many excellent sources of revenue they really do not have to add another that is, at best, pretty shady.

        • harbinger says:

          This is very easy to answer actually, when for instance you are buying games there is real value and man-hours/years behind them. On the other hand these “cards” and “collectibles” are basically worthless. Backgrounds? Nothing more than a Screenshot you see on any site at any other time.
          Nonetheless they are abusing compulsively obsessed people to pay huge amounts of money just so they can “complete” the set, if this wasn’t the goal of their little “game” they wouldn’t have made it as exploitative as it is e.g. they could have reinstated a general drop rate and not have limited the “cards”, only allowed one “Level” instead of five or made them non-marketable.

          As it stands right now it reminds of a similar albeit more exploitative “card gaming system” called kompu gacha that was banned/regulated in Japan by the government very recently because some people have spent thousands of US$ without getting any price: link to

          They are basically exploiting weaknesses in the human brain and they’ve even talked a lot in the past about how they employ experimental psychologists to that end, and linking the PC gaming industry with compulsive obsessive behavior and/or gambling, especially by the largest distributor of Digital games available for the sole purpose of profit/greed isn’t something that I think will benefit the industry in the end. link to

          Valve has unfortunately done this a lot lately and seems to be straying more and more into that specific path since Gabe Newell is a strong believer in “value” for basically worthless virtual objects that have near to no cost in making or replicating and seems to be willing to push the entire PC Gaming industry more into that direction.

    • JamesTheNumberless says:

      Even the free chicks get you with micro-transactions eventually. It’s all pay to win at the end of the day.

    • Emeraude says:

      Regardless of where you stand on the morality issue, it will be interesting to see legal systems’ justifications as of why it is or isn’t so, and how it should be taxed and dealt with accordingly.

    • Calabi says:

      I agree as well. Theres a degree of exploitation and manipulation with this. Valve are very clever they know exactly what they are doing, they can iterate through the possibilities to maximise the money they get. They have all these things hooked into the selling of games, if other companies figure out how to manipulate people as well as Valve then the world will be in a lot of trouble.

  12. Spoon Of Doom says:

    So, anybody here knows if those are available in Germany, and how? The German documentation on them seems unfinished (lots of text not fully translated), but it is there, but I can’t find them anywhere – not under badges, not inventory, not anywhere. Not even “in progress” ones or something, even though I’m opted in to the Steam beta. Any hints?

    • Auron says:

      Well, I’m not German, but I’m definitively in Germany, and they are available. If you haven’t got an invitation, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

  13. says:

    My Trading Card beta still can’t be launched, even after uninstalling AVG. I just don’t get it.

  14. trjp says:

    I had a brilliant idea of how they could make this much more interesting, your Steam Level would become both useful and something you’d want to improve and it would become genuinely interesting to take part in.

    Then I remembered this is Valve – the company who trade on old games and offer their customers surveys instead of anything interesting so I shelved it.

  15. goettel says:

    I must be too old for this, but: really, anybody give a fuck about these ?

    • TechnicalBen says:

      Apparently quite a lot/few people with money as these are tradable and scarce. But as no laundering possibilities are visible, it must be their desire for the cards, and a few peoples false hopes in a paper ticket bubble.

    • Malibu Stacey says:

      I don’t give a fuck about it either & I’ve been in the beta for over a month. Joined to see what it was all about, didn’t exactly set the world on fire. I only have 5 cards from Dota 2 as none of the games I’ve been playing recently other that it have cards implemented & I have better things to do with time than play a game I’ve already completed multiple times (e.g. HL2, Portal 2) just to get cards.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        If you want more cards, you can idle. As far as I know, every game that has trading cards attached to it will drop them while the game is running, regardless of whether you’re playing or not.

        • bills6693 says:

          I have to say, I (guiltily) tried this – ran several games that had trading cards, at the same time, all idled. The play time counters went up, but no cards dropped. Over an hour.

          Then, later that evening, I play one of the games (actually play it). The cards started dropping.

          Maybe it just had to cross a threshold but it seemed odd to me that for 80 minutes nothing, then when actually playing the games, they start dropping every half hour or so.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          In between your anti-VALVe/Steam rhetoric sessions I think you missed my point Skittle.
          I don’t give a fuck about the cards. At all. Why would I idle a game just to get something I don’t have any interest in? I’d much rather be playing Dota 2 or Crusader Kings 2 or AI War or Warlock: Master of the Arcane or one of the dozens of games I’ve not yet got around to playing.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Hey, I gave you an alternate way of getting your hands on some easy Steam Wallet credit, but I ultimately don’t give a fuck about whether you give a fuck about trading cards or not. You’re welcome.

            Anyway, you could always idle one game while you’re playing another. That way you’re wasting time and doing something constructive all at once!

      • The Random One says:

        It did give me a great excuse to get around to playing the workshop Portal levels that had been gathering dust in my queue.

  16. TechnicalBen says:

    Artificial artificial scarcity. That is all I have to say. Mind blown, sad face.

  17. Rao Dao Zao says:

    Surely the headline should be… “Gathering Steam”?

  18. Mitthrawn says:

    I was able to sell all my cards for about 25$ on steam and was able to sell some of my rare tf2 items for another 65. This is a great system for someone like me who has a large steam library that i don’t really fully use. I see it as a great secondary benefit to steam and another of their fun meta game experiments (similar to the potato sack for portal 2). Honestly it gives me a reason to dive into these games that I’ve fallen off of, or try some that I just haven’t had time for (borderlands 2/ CS: GO).
    I think the hand wringing and concern if a bit much. If anything, you should be complaining about the key system in tf2 and dota. That actually IS gambling, and is much more prone to exploiting weak people than this is.

  19. somnolentsurfer says:

    OMG. Half Life 2 just updated! Trading card/Summer Sale/HL3 announcement tie-in ARG!

  20. Delicious Narwhal says:

    Assuming you don’t partake in the absurd metagame, this basically seems like a needlessly complicated loyalty scheme. Buy 9 loaves of bread, get them stamped off on your card and #10 comes free.

    Except instead of being free, you’re spending the blood profits from selling worthless cyber-trinkets to some rube.

    On the one hand: ethical grey area. On the other hand: Marginal Savings!

    • The Random One says:

      Marginal Savings will be playing this Sunday. Absurd Metagame will open.

  21. kalirion says:

    Some cards can also be sold for real money

    Um no. All the cards can be sold for Steam Wallet money. Which is simply “store credit.”

    Granted, if you regularly make purchases on Steam, it may as well be real money.