$57 million US is a lot of money. So's $58 million, but I mention $57m specifically because that's how much Valve have paid out since 2011 to folks who made and sold in-game items for their games. It's over $57 million dollars from hats, knives, guns, staves, and swords across TF2, Dota 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. And those last two games only sell cosmetic items. And that's after Valve have taken their cut. Crumbs!
That $57+ million was earned by over 1,500 contributors over 75 countries, Valve explained in a blog post, because one big number wasn't enough. I'd be fascinated to see a more detailed breakdown one day, or perhaps find out the best-selling item, because I've heard staggering stories about friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friends.
Of course, some of those items are bought and sold to be a weird form of currency, even used for betting on pro matches. People buy and hoard items as investments. It's all very odd and exciting and The Future.
Until now, only Valve games could have the 'curated' Steam Workshops where creators submit items for players to vote on, with the most popular being officially added and going on sale. Valve called this "an unfortunate consequence of the sheer number of challenges required in order to scale to a global audience of creators and players."
Chivalry and Dungeon Defenders are only the start. "We expect more curated Workshops to become available for creators and players in various games over the coming weeks and months," Valve say.
It's a fine option to have, but is another that needs to be used carefully, adding to the list with Early Access, DLC, pre-orders, and goodness knows what else. Dota 2 and CS: GO only sell cosmetic items and still draw grumbles from some, while TF2 selling items with new abilities put a fair few folks off the game.