New Games For Old Drops: There’s To Be A Steam Auction

Major update: Cor, this didn’t go well! Currently the Steam Winter Auction is a big “nope”. Head there now and you’ll see a message saying there have been “some issues” with it, and it’s closed until they can fix it. Those issues, we’ve heard, are that bugs meant people were getting millions of gems, and the whole economy went kaput. Of course Steam’s fervent community was going to find exploits right away, and it looks like they found the mother lode. Quite how Valve will repair everyone’s sales, swaps and crafts in the last 12 hours it’ll be interesting to find out. I expect a lot of strops.

From today, until next Thursday, Valve has just announced they’re running a Steam Auction. This is a way for users to trade (“recycle” they say) unused items in their inventories for “Steam Gems”, which can then be used to bid – from next Monday – for games in an auction. Because it’s come to this.

I’ll be honest – I find Steam utterly bemusing these days. As an online store it’s relatively simple to use. Everything beyond that, I feel like a confused old dad staring at the Skylanders pages of the Argos catalogue. I’m delighted it’s all there, and I envy those neck deep in the fun it has to offer, but I remain bemused.

So wow, when the muddle of bits and bobs that clutter up the system are now transferable into currency that allows you to bid on 45 minute-long auctions for games, I’m spinning. But that’s what’s happening. If you’ve things like trading cards, backgrounds, emoticons (there are emoticons?!), you can exchange them for gems, and then get into the madness of trying to outbid the rest of flipping Steam.

There’s going to be a lot of build up here. You can start gathering gems now, either from your current inventory, or from garnering trading cards by playing games (or, let’s be honest, just leaving them running in the background). Come Monday at 7.45am PST (15.45 GMT) the crazytimes begin. After 45 minutes, a new round of bidding will begin, and that’ll keep looping until Thursday 18th at 10am PST (18.00 GMT). For every round, one of each item on the list gets awarded.

Bids are already building up for the first round, which I suspect is likely to be the most expensive. A copy of CS:GO will currently require you to bid more than 50,800 Gems. There’s to be 100 rounds, and 2000 titles included, so 200,000 games to be “won”.

What to make of it? There’s inherent worth to trading cards, since they can be sold to other Steam users, FOR SOME REASON. But that tends to be a few pennies. So perhaps this is a good way to clear out the cupboards. Sadly it doesn’t appear to allow you to get rid of bloody “gifts” for games you’ve never heard of and no one wants, which I would pay money to be able to get rid of at this point.


  1. flashman says:

    Must have decided the Steam economy had too many faucets, not enough sinks.

  2. SAeN says:

    Valve seem to keep finding new ways to inject tedious holiday ‘minigame’ bullshit into steam.

    • GHudston says:

      I know, right? If only it were completely optional and could be ignored entirely!

      • Kolba says:

        Just as well Valve have nothing else to spend their time and resources on improving!

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          Otherwise there’d be marketing professionals ignoring game and UI development for which they’re entirely qualified!

          • Graves says:

            And we wouldn’t be depleting the already dangerously low video game gem reserves!

            … I’m sorry. I know that was bad. I just wanted to be a part of something, you know?

          • Bugamn says:

            Here, don’t feel bad, you are part of all this.

          • Ashrand says:

            as far as I’m aware though, isn’t everyone at Valve multitasking to some degree, i vaguely remember hearing an interview where a former employee complained that they would let her even hire a machinist if they didn’t have another string to their bow

      • Premium User Badge

        Leucine says:

        Yes, how dare someone comment on the subject of the article. It’s almost as if this is some kind of comment section for airing one’s opinion in.

    • MaXimillion says:

      I liked their minigames when they gave you free stuff for achievements. Now it’s all about how much you invest in the marketplace.

  3. JonClaw says:

    That explains the flood of “You sold X for 0.01” emails now…

    • instantcoffe says:

      I was also wondering about that.

      On an unrelated note, I’m sorry to say I’ve reactivated adblock on RPS; couldn’t stand those damn taboola sponsored links always showing me the best dressed female athletes or whatever. Please make dem bun.

      • Sacarathe says:

        link to

        For those who had been wondering for weeks.

        I may be a special case because of the psychological disability, but I was getting ready to dump RPS.

        • Telkir says:

          Thanks for this. Will enact right away. I’m sorry, RPS, but those “More from the web” Taboola ads are insidious clickbait of the most vile kind and have no right to be on the site.

          I know that ads in general make up the majority of the site’s revenue, but would you consider offering an ad-free version of RPS for supporters? If not completely ad-free, could you at least chop out the Taboola segment for us, instead of making us adblock them manually?

        • DrollRemark says:

          At least the Outbrain ones were small, these are ridiculous on mobile. :(

          • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

            Yep, scrolling past them on my phone is a chore—eight screenfuls of shit between each post and the comments—And on my oldish phone, scrolling is sometimes laggy and gets interpreted as as a tap for bonus fun :-(

            They are simply awful.

        • Kaben says:

          You are a legend – i have been trying to work out how to block those for ages. Clearly my google skills are lacking.

        • jalf says:

          If you’re not using an adblocker, you can do the following instead:

          Open the following file in a text editor (as administrator/root):
          Windows: c:\windows\system32\drivers\etc\hosts
          Linux: /etc/hosts
          OSX: /private/etc/hosts

          Add the following line at the bottom of the file:

          • Nereus says:

            Thanks for that! I keep forgetting about the hosts file. Easier to use than adblock and works on all my browsers.

        • Koozer says:

          Does anyone know how to block the Taboola ads only? I don’t mind the others.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    We’ll see how smart people are, but I suspect you’ll have to destroy a lot of value to win an auction – say, burn $100 worth of Steam cards to win a $20 game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      Yeah, I just checked. Gem to price ratios is all over the place, but Valve seems to be *trying* to say “1 cent of value = 1 gem.” So, for instance, a Bardbarian foil card I have is worth 50 cents on the market, or 50 gems.

      The top bid for Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel is just over 50,000 gems.

      So in other words – people are burning the equivalent of $500 worth of steambucks (minus auction fees, etc – so between $400-450) to get a game that was just on sale for $30.


      • Xocrates says:

        Thing is, that while cards are borderline worthless (I’m seeing 0.01€ ~ 2 gems), backgrounds and emoticons seem to have a fixed value, so I have plenty of items worth 80-100 gems that are being sold in the market by 0.03€

        Assuming you’re smart about it, you can get decent enough deals out of it, though for some of the highest value auctions, it does not appear to be more than you’d expect from a regular sale, but the current bid for, say, Rise of Nations (~5000) could translate to about 1.50€ which is an amazing deal.

      • Mr. Anderson says:

        You can get 100 gems for 0.03€ if you buy certain backgrounds of the steam market. So 50.000 gems are more worth like 15€.

      • heartlessgamer says:

        Don’t think your math is correct. The generic “:tradingcard:” sells for 4 cents currently and is worth 100 gems. I just bought 100 of them and cashed them in, so $4 for 10,000 points or 25 pts per penny.

      • mwoody says:

        You’re misunderstanding the system; read the article above. It’s a series of 100 rounds of rapid-fire 45-minute auctions starting Monday. The first round, though, is up for 3 days while people figure out the system and cash in their items for gems.

        So some silly people are basically showing off how many gems they’ve accumulated, and will likely cancel their bids before they complete (or keep them just for some sort of weird bragging rights). Once the event actually starts, it will get more interesting.

        • babbler says:

          From the one auction I entered (for the badge) I had the highest big and could not cancel it until someone outbid me.

      • tomimt says:

        I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a real auction, but that’s how it goes there as well. People go crazy and shout 100$ for an item that in reality has a value of 1$. The whole idea of auction works only because people are competetive and feel good if they “win” something from front of someone.

  5. Lakshmi says:

    God, this makes me feel old.

    • Anthile says:

      I had exactly the same thought.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Same here. I guess Valve has decided that those of us who, you know, have actual disposable income are not a good target. I might buy a few things here and there on their major sale events, but it doesn’t really drive what game I purchase. I can afford anything I really want.

      They’ve cluttered up what was once a fairly decent, clean interface with the recent redesigns. All this does, is help drive me away from looking at Steam any more often than I have to.

      • Jools says:

        See, I want to agree, but the problem with these stupid gimmicks is that there’s always real money to be made if you can manipulate things early enough. I’ve effectively made $40 with like, maybe, 25 minutes of effort. It’s not a lot of money in any absolute sense, but I do contracted software development and I can tell you that that beats the hell out of my actual rates. Assuming I was going to spend that money on Steam anyway, I was better off buying and selling some nonsense on the Steam marketplace than I would have been doing actual work. If trading card values drop to around half thanks to this nonsense, then I’ll probably end up with around $100 in games for free by the time the sale rolls around.

        I’d love to pretend I’m just above this shit because I have real money to burn, but I’m not going to turn down a pile of free games for basically no effort. What I’m saying is that Valve is kind of ridiculous and these gimmicks are always really stupid.

        • SominiTheCommenter says:

          If you do contract work you are paid in cash. As is, actual money that can be used anywhere.
          By playing the Steam meta-game, you can only spend it there. It’s like going to a casino to play with their slot machines. The house always win.

          • Hedgeclipper says:

            Yes but, if you’re going to spend it on steam anyway it doesn’t matter – and your work pay gets taxed – how many people are declaring what they’re getting from Steam?

        • Lakshmi says:

          I was in no way knocking those who want to invest their time to get deals – but I personally don’t have the patience.

        • jrodman says:

          You may see it as no effort and enjoy the activity. I view it as an unwanted gamification of a store that encourages me to avoid the store.

    • Perkelnik says:

      Old, annoyed and confused…
      link to

  6. Stargazer86 says:

    This isn’t their holiday sale, right? I mean, I can’t be the only one thinking that this is pretty dumb? They’re still going to actually have another sale before Christmas like previous years, I hope? This is just the little mini-event that goes along with it?

    • Graves says:

      Internet Scuttlebutt suggests that there will be a real winter sale, starting Dec. 18

      link to

    • BisonHero says:

      The page about the auction literally says: “The Auction runs 15 Dec @ 10:45am to 18 Dec @ 1:00pm when the Holiday Sale begins.”

      • Graves says:

        Yeah, but how often does one get the chance to type scuttlebutt? Like, 2-3 times a day TOPS.

        • Premium User Badge

          phuzz says:

          Next time you change your password, put scuttlebutt in the middle of it, then you’ll get to type it loads!

  7. Ditocoaf says:

    Valve are the master of obfuscated, “gamified” systems that convince people to spend more time and/or money on their merchandise than the merchandise is worth. Every christmas, they roll out a new kind of slot machine or money/time sink.

  8. PsychoWedge says:

    this is such lunacy. so CSGO is currently at 45k gems. what is that in money? we should consider that you need backgrounds and emotes to get a decent amount of gems because cards get you only shitty 10 gems. let’s see: my backgrounds and emotes are worth between 60 and 100 gems with the overwhelming majority clocking in at 80, so let’s take 80 as average. you get one background and one emote for every crafted badge. CSGO needs 5 cards for the badge, each is sold for 5 cents. that’s 25 cents for 160 gems. that means I need roughly 281 badges to get 45k gems, wich will cost me roundabout 70 euros. For CSGO.

    Now, of course we don’t need to craft badges to get backgrounds and emotes, we can also just buy them. So let’s say we buy 565 backgrounds for 3 cents each (which is the price at the moment of writing, emotes are priced 3 cents too). that amounts to roughly 17 euros. For CSGO, I have to repeat myself.

    I’m not the craziest of trading card collectors but over the last years I’ve been buried in ~100 backgrounds and emotes. I’ve never sold any of these nor bought some. So I could have like 8000 gems which means I’d still have to buy 465 backgrounds for 14 euros to be able to even be able to bid. And 8k doesn’t seem to get me anything because everything is so pricy. even fucking old games like Star Wars Battlefront are going with 12k gems atm. I guess the best thing will be to just sell the gems because we all know how people are. They’re going to buy this shit like it’s an official marvel made hentai comic of all their female superheroes.

    ah well, CSGO is at 80k gems as of right now. it fucks the mind right into the spine…

    • mwoody says:

      Seriously, go read the article above about how this actually works.

    • trjp says:

      It’ll get cheaper as the auctions proceed – round 1 will be the silly one.

      I dumped all my crap and got just over 5000gems – I’ve got 20 decks ready to throw-in (I was assuming I’d have to wait for the sale but apparently not)

      It seems to me that every deck you convert gives about 2-300gems-worth of stuff – so 60,000 gems is roughly 200 decks’s of reward crap – and a deck is about 50p’s-worth of cards so that’s £100!!!

      Except that to fall-off a LOT as the auction continues

    • trjp says:

      On the flip-side of that tho – I notice you can sell Gems in Sacks of 1000 and people are only offering about 11p for 1000 gems – which means 60,000gems is £6-odd

      Economics – don’t try them here…

    • Jason Moyer says:

      You can buy a sack of 1,000 gems for 3 cents, so the current rate is about 33,000 gems per dollar. That makes most of the bids seem a little less ludicrous. The current high bid on the new Lara Croft game is around 50,000 gems, which is basically $1.50.

      Also, it costs 1,000 or less to craft the booster packs I’ve looked at. So really, you could spend say, 99 cents on gems, use those gems to craft 33 booster packs, sell those cards, rinse/repeat/???/profit.

      • Jeck says:

        It seems you can’t buy sacks of gems anymore.. so now what is the most profitable way to get gems? What are the 100-gems-worth emoticon and wallpapers at 3 cents?

  9. Snargelfargen says:

    Someone tell me when this pays more than my salary. Until then, I’ll spend my free time playing games.

    Actually, I’d still spend my free time playing games even if mucking about on the steam marketplace could provide a living. There’s a reason why it’s called free time and not work, after all.

  10. kwyjibo says:

    Do I want to convert my cards into this new one-time only fictitious currency and then compete against others in a bidding war? Or do I want to convert my cards into actual steam wallet funds so I can just buy the things I like when I like.

  11. lomaxgnome says:

    It’s chaos right now, some people had bugs giving them millions of gems and have flooded the market.

  12. mwoody says:

    It’s interesting… it’s pretty clear what Valve’s intent was: to beta test the code for their new promotion while at the same time letting people bid and play around with the auctions for a few days, all before any auctions actually complete. That’s clever in that they can find loopholes and exploits before any items are actually doled out.

    In practice, though – as evidenced by the misinformation in these comments, above – what’s happening is people are seeing the top auctions with 100k gem amounts on the front page, seeing what a single trade-in is worth, and wrongly assuming that’s representative of how the promotion will actually work. It’s good engineering brought low by poor marketing.

  13. RanDomino says:

    I think I have about 280 gems worth of random crap, but I’m not entirely sure because it’s bugged out and stopped letting me sell after the first 70. Looking at the tens of thousands required for anything remotely interesting, I’m going to file this under “definitely not worth my time”.

  14. Lanfranc says:

    Oh great, I mean, it’s not like digital retailing wasn’t problematic enough regarding comsumer protection already. Let’s make it an auction as well for the extra complication, why not?

    Seriously though, is this actually an auction in a legal sense? It’s just some bullshit marketing, right? Or is it? I’m confused.

  15. trjp says:

    So I have a few decks ready to hand-in (dropped or bought with money from other cards I’ve sold) – I kept them because I assumed there would be some reward for converting them DURING the sale but it seems that doing it now and converting the rewards to gems would be wise instead?

    or do you think the other foot will drop in the sale and they’ll be better kept for that?

    Hmmm – decisions…

    • Jalan says:

      You’d be better off just selling them. The odds of you winning anything in the auctions are going to be so small when pitted against people dumping money into gem hoarding that you’d gain more by just marketing any cards you don’t want.

      I imagine once they get the booster pack crafting deal up and running the exchange rate on gems will be incremental depending on booster rarity (otherwise everyone will immediately leap to the rarest boosters to try and cash in or crash the market on them) making recycling for boosters a losing effort unless you find yourself drowning in duplicate cards/emotes/etc.

      • trjp says:

        The best path is ALWAYS to just sell the cards – making decks is only useful if you want Steam Level (more boosters but almost certainly not enough to cover the cost)

        That said – I’ve had plenty of money from cards (about £90’s worth of games from cards since Beta) and still managed to get my Steam Level into the 30s – so I might make a run for 40 to increase my booster chance again…

        It’s not the profitable choice but – well – you get dragged-along by the thing??

        p.s. some cards are unsaleable – esp if you’re selling in a higher-value currency like the £ where almost everyone else can undercut you – so you may as well hand those ones in for XP?

        • Jalan says:

          I wouldn’t say always – there are cards that are worth diddly no matter what currency you’re dealing with. In which case, like you say, there’s good reason to complete the set(s) and craft them into badges.

          That said, the return on booster pack drops doesn’t become profitable until you reach level 50 and beyond. Even then, depending on how big your game library is, you run the risk of getting saddled with a bunch of equally cheap boosters (who needs 20 TF2 boosters? who would buy that many?!) that won’t make you comfortable in the profit column quickly but some pence is better than no pence (that’s a saying, right?).

          Personally, I’m hoping this is the harbinger of the second series of cards to roll out in 2015. Valve, in their own mysterious and un-subtle way, seem to have found a perfect sinkhole for all the unwashed series 1 cards and other related doo-dads that never have active buy orders but always seem to have sell orders and it would be the perfect way to elevate the rarity of the first series while introducing a whole slew of new ones with the next.

  16. GHudston says:

    Valve continue to amaze me in their ability to create new ways to infiltrate people’s wallets. You almost have to admire it, really.

    • Kempston Wiggler says:

      If only that creatiivity was still being poured into game development….

      • SominiTheCommenter says:

        Then they would turn into EA. Keep the wallet assault and the proper games separated.

      • captainparty says:

        If only they could use different peoples skills for different purposes.

  17. Golden Pantaloons says:

    Gems huh? Ugh, I’m getting GW2 flashbacks. Must…. buy… quaggan backpack skin…

    To be honest, I found it sort of cathartic to disintegrate the cards for really bad games that I ended up playing for some reason.

  18. B.rake says:

    Wondering; what are the best games people have acquired entirely with Steam trading card proceeds?

    So far I’ve managed They Bleed Pixels, which I haven’t played much of but seems like a solid platforming beat ’em up and a couple Pinball FX2 tables ( think it was the original Star Wars pack, pretty decent). I guess that’s not terrible considering the hundreds of dollars I have thrown at Valve.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      One of my friends got some super rare DotA2 item and made something like £100, which paid for several games. My flatmate plays a lot of TF2 and seems to be able to make about that amount over a year of selling stuff on the marketplace.
      Is suspect that playing a lot of one of the more popular games such as DotA, TF2, CS:GO etc will net you some cash, but it’s not worth giving up your job for.

    • Jalan says:

      Dragon Age: Origins, but at a discounted price not regular. Still not bad, considering I usually just dump card funds into completing sets or picking up the occasional TF2 item from the market so I don’t have to deal with those ugly things called… people.

  19. Baines says:

    et’s be honest, just leaving them running in the background

    Last I recall, people don’t even run games in the background anymore. Instead they use a program that pretends to run the game. You don’t even have to install the game first.

    I can only assume that Valve flat out don’t care that people will be abusing the system hard in attempts to win auctions. I can only see it existing as a method of getting unused trading cards out of people’s inventories (since interest in cards plummeted faster than games added them), and as a research process on human behavior.. It can’t be that Valve actually intends to run a ‘fair’ auction, because even Valve cannot be that oblivious.

    • Jalan says:

      After the grand Machiavellian rigging of the treasure hunt (or Summer Adventure – the one with the map and pink/red/etc. team colors), I think Valve care quite a bit. They even went as far as tossing in a clause in their FAQ saying that if they got even the slightest sniff of something off on this one that they’d be taking action against offending parties.

      • Baines says:

        The rigging of that Adventure was itself a blatantly obvious possibility. Indeed, the original collusion was driven by people who wanted to make an unfair system created by Valve into a fairer giveaway. The eventual collapse of the collusion was also a blatantly obvious possibility, with one team intentionally painting another team as a target with plenty of “That team tried to rig the system, so let’s all band together and make sure that team doesn’t win again.” while quietly trying to gobble up additional wins itself.

        Again, either Valve lives in a completely different reality, or they had to have seen it coming and decided to run the event anyway. Valve has a history of acting like everyone there wears rose-colored glasses, that people are always good natured, and that nothing ever goes wrong. But honestly Valve so consistently acts that way that it becomes unbelievable that the people at Valve are really that mind-numbingly oblivious.

        Heck, Valve even acted as enablers of skeezy trickery when they included market sellable crafting rewards that let you switch teams. There had to be at least one person at Valve who realized how people would see and use such items. Either everyone at Valve is completely oblivious, or people at Valve knew and did it anyway, either to just watch how people act or to rake in on marketplace sales.

  20. Timbrelaine says:

    An auction of digital goods using currencies so meta it would make Aristotle’s head spin; I feel tired just having read about it.

    And John, you do know you can hide games in your library, right? What on earth do you have lurking in your library that you need to pay to delete?

  21. Kitsunin says:

    On a totally unrelated note, I just noticed BlazBlue: Continuum Shift Extend has received a PC port. My favorite AAA fighting game is seeing the light of PC gaming day. Too much excitement.

  22. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    Oh god John I’m so with you on gift games! I don’t know what “The world’s first ZOMBA!” is, and I don’t wanna know, but I somehow own it and am reminded of this fact every time I browse my inventory.

  23. Palindrome says:

    This didn’t last long, it has already been taken down so that various exploits can be fixed.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      I’ve suspected there is a card duplication exploit. Looking through the market some months ago, I found one account that had something like 50 full consecutive pages of a single card (The Doctor from Expeditions: Conquistador) for sale.

      I would hope there is a db unique ID associated with every resource, and that drops (in game and booster packs) have some basic sanity check for frequency. But even with the possibility of a high volume trading bot that had purchased almost every card of that type for sale by mistake or something, or people abusing Humble Bundle for Steam keys, that looked suspicious.

      Tried reporting it as suspected abuse to Steam, no answer.

      • Great Cthulhu says:

        Could have been a botter. Before the marketplace allowed you to place bids, it was rife with those. They used software to buy up all cheaply priced items within milliseconds and then resold them at a higher price. Any actual humans were forced to pay the higher price, since you simply couldn’t buy as quickly as the bots.

  24. J. Cosmo Cohen says:

    Apparently people were able to duplicate 1000 gems into millions or some such. That really didn’t take long.

  25. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    But….I literally last night decided to cash in all my trading cards for pennies so I had a spare cash for next week’s sale. Auctioneering sounds like a faff, but presumably cards values have shot up overnight. D’oh!

    • Jalan says:

      Card values are pretty much the same. It’s the backgrounds/etc. that had suddenly seen all the lowest priced sales vanish as people thought “hey, cheap gems!”

      The card prices that matter during the holiday sale(s) are always the holiday specific ones. Thus far, they aren’t looking so hot this time around either.

      • Mr. Anderson says:

        I have a few cards in my inventory and some of them lost actually a lot of their value in the last 12 hours.

        • Jalan says:

          The ones that were already relatively low-priced are going to be fodder to undercutters since everyone is going to gravitate toward the cheapest sets overall to repeatedly craft badges and, in turn, secure more holiday cards.

  26. tigerfort says:

    And Steam auctions are currently offline because “there have been some issues”. The market seems to be temporarily unavailable as well….

  27. LionsPhil says:

    I’m still going to keep selecting my TF2 crates and hitting “delete”, Valve.

    • wyrm4701 says:

      I see you’ve also discovered the only sane action regarding crates.

    • basilisk says:

      I wish you could do that with cards. Or somehow opt out of this system altogether.

      • Ryuuga says:

        Or at least opt out of messages about it. No, I don’t want to know if I got a card or some other faff. Please, steam user interface, stop jumping up and down and shouting about it.

      • Baines says:

        If you really don’t want cards, and don’t want to bother selling them for a few pennies, then dump them off onto a trading service like Steam Card Exchange or just randomly dump them off onto friends. Maybe someone might want them.

  28. Ham Solo says:

    I don’t care for this card stuff. I just see my “inventory” getting more and more cluttered and I don’t want any part of it.

  29. Boult Upright says:

    I had a campaign of gathering and selling cards for the Winter Sale and it was working well…. until the Autumn sale came along. I secured some decent games, but a repeat this week to secure a few bucks won’t be as fruitful with this new initiative. An initiative I will pass on as well.

  30. honuk says:

    pretty sure that economist they hired a couple years ago is the only person at valve bothering to show up for work anymore.

    I think I’ll pass.

    • AngoraFish says:

      It is quite extraordinary, given the copious amount of game developer talent that Valve have swallowed up, how few games they have actually managed to release.

      • Baines says:

        Particularly since Valve doesn’t seem to be putting that much work into running Steam, either. (And trying to put in less.) So what are they actually doing?

    • trjp says:

      He left a while ago – no explanation but he’s not on the staff…

  31. gbrading says:

    The Steam “economy” is utterly bonkers, but I must confess I have made a fair profit from selling the frankly useless Trading Cards, which I then use to reinvest in buying games. This auction is just another method Valve continue to turn Steam into a Randian Objectivist utopia. Indeed, it appears that the people who run Steam are the only people at Valve doing anything, given the complete lack of information on Ricochet 2.

  32. bill says:

    I was already totally confused by the trading cards and all of their multiple variations (tradeable, non-tradeable, etc..)
    No idea what they are for, or what I should do with them.

    Now we also have gems?

  33. Eery Petrol says:

    I applaud Valve’s pioneering effort in building an economy within their platform. The hired economists’ work is showing. Steam is acknowledging that everything has value and allows its users to harvest and apply this. Letting a game run for Steam cards is the exact same mechanism of applying processor power to mine currency that is used by BitCoin, gradually fuelling Steam economy and drawing in external economies (i.e. ‘real’ ones). Now the ways to spend value keeps expanding and expanding to reflect a community growing in size, complexity and demands. Instead of blocking these demands or waiting for the community to find outside solutions, Valve offers them internally and takes their share. They make a business model feel like Play-Doh.

  34. gschmidl says:

    A thing dumber than bitcoin has finally been invented. Congrats.

  35. Kaben says:

    I dont understand all the hate for the cards – i just put them on marketplace when i recieve them and make a few pennies. Putting them on the market takes seconds and you can even do it from the shift tab interface so you dont have to stop gaming if you dont weant to. Its free money because there are idiopts out there that will pay for it.

    Im just happy that everyone will be scrapping their cards for gems. Once the sale is over, people who are interested in making sets will have to pay more because there will be far less of each card on teh market. This makes me happy because i get more for each quicjk sale and its definitely Valves intention. By clearing the decks it means teh economy for cards will jump up, netting them far more commission.

    Best course of action is to ignore the gem auctions and the ride the wave of inflated card prices after the sale ends.

  36. JoeFX69 says:

    Well, Im no soothsayer, but I knew there would be major issues as soon as I saw this promotion. Did they not learn from the Coal debacle?

  37. Eebahgum says:

    Should have just started the sale early. Haven’t got the patience to be fannying about with an auction.

  38. jezcentral says:

    Can you use this to get rid of backgrounds and emoticons? Now that WOULD clear some rubbish out of my inventory.

    • Similar says:

      That’s what I did, and I was lucky enough to sell the gems while a sack was still at 0.30 Euro (rather than the 0.03 it dropped to a couple of hours later). Of course, now it seems like you’d just be stuck with the gems instead, but maybe you’ll have enough to get booster packs or something. If nothing else, the gems only take up one slot in the inventory.

  39. derbefrier says:

    Yeah I am too old for this shit. I have a few trading cards which I always save for steam sales and it allows me to maybe get a free game every once and a while but that’s the extent I mess with this crap. Once I saw bids already in the 10s of thousands I laughed to myself and thought. “Thank god I have money and don’t have to deal with this bullshit”

    If I was 15 years old with no money again I would so be on this. But now I would just rather skip the hassle and give them 5 or 10 bucks and be done with it.

  40. Jalan says:

    I got the lone gem back that I put into an auction simply to level up the badge. Many have reported that the gem millionaires have seen their ill-gotten gems vanish (rightfully so) and boosters gained from them disappear as well. I’m sure some people saw a smidgen of profit before Valve had to intervene and shut the gravy train down though.

  41. Distec says:

    This and their previous “Summer Adventure” sale have soured on me. I really liked Valve’s sales events when they were tied to playing and buying games. Their recent focus on badges and the marketplace with teams and fake currency bullshit suck a lot of the fun out of participating.

    I wish they’d drop this shit.

    • Baines says:

      Valve takes a cut of every marketplace sell, and card/crafting related events cause a spike in market sales, so Valve has an incentive to keep doing such events. Even the normal ‘exploits’ continue to see Valve making profits through marketplace sales.

      The difference with the auction exploits is that the gem exploit was extreme enough to crash the market that Valve was trying to revive, so they had to step in fast.

  42. LOSERS says:

    Another run in with a bunch of LOSERS/THIEVES that can’t have a legit life and need to exploit the shit out of everything and I mean EVERYTHING. ofc there are police, moderators, etc… game anti-cheat programs to help keep these LOSERS from gaining an advantage but the funny thing is, these LOSERS don’t get an advantage even if they think they do by using cheats for example.

    I see it everyday in multiplayer games where a player is haxin’ there way through legit players and thinking they are beating them but in truth, they are empty wins/defeats and will never get the satisfaction of a true feeling of completion. You can win the battle but will never win the war. Must suck being a loser?

  43. Contrafibularity says:

    Those issues, we’ve heard, are that bugs meant people were getting millions of gems, and the whole economy went kaput.

    Are we still talking about Steam here?

  44. Golden Pantaloons says:

    After mulling this over for a few days, I have to say I’m a little bit worried about the direction Steam is taking. Their whole storefront is starting to look more and more like a F2P MMO cash shop.

    That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the direction they have been taking the last few years with ever-occuring time-limited events that require some sort of special currency or collectible is (to me) almost identical to the steps developers start to take when the F2P ship starts to sink.

    They bombard users with repetitive “new” content that requires either a large investment of time or money, and the clock is always ticking. The developement of Guild Wars 2 about a year after release until now is an excellent illustration of this point.
    Why on earth Valve would feel the need to do this with a product (Steam) that is doing extremely well and will probably continue to do so for years to come, I simply don’t understand.
    I found the first couple of big Steam events rather fun, but by now they just make me feel tired.

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      “Why on earth Valve would feel the need to do this with a product (Steam) that is doing extremely well and will probably continue to do so for years to come, I simply don’t understand.”

      Greed, my friend, pure ole’ greed. Or maybe stupidity — I get the impression that Valve isn’t bothering to hire the best and the brightest anymore.

  45. Shardz says:

    Since Steam has become a swap meet in its own right, I don’t see a problem with pawning your crap on someone else for $1.

  46. malkav11 says:

    Well, they rolled back the cheating, but as far as I can tell I’d still have to actively buy huge amounts of stuff off the market to have any chance at winning any of these games up for auction, and there’s no apparent reason to bother when I could just wait for a decent sale and have a guaranteed bargain.

    (Though, really, that’s my perspective on auctions in general. I could go to a lot of effort to try and get a real bargain despite people at large generally being way more spendthrift than I am, and probably fail, or I could just wait for an actual sale and get it guaranteed.)

  47. Press X to Gary Busey says:

    Valve’s understanding of the holiday spirit: Pay-to-win 1% eliters and opportunists hogging the good stuff and the other 99% fighting for the scraps under the table.

    • jrodman says:

      Look on the bright side. They’ve finally offered an Early Access version of the Delete Card button!