Steam, the popular digital game store and platform by Valve, has now officially launched a new trading feature that had been beta testing for a while.
The new feature allows gamers to trade games and in-game items, further expanding the scope of their social network. Valve’s own games Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2 now include this functionality, allowing those who play these games to trade in-game items. Steam recently launched a number of Free-to-Play games and even made Team Fortress 2 Free-to-Play recently.
Like most of the features of the Steam platform, these features are available for any third party developer who wishes to integrate them as well. In fact this feature is already available in another third-party Steam Free-To-Play game, Spiral Knights.
Those on Steam will now notice a new link in their Steam community profile that will let them view their Inventory online.
The Steam games trading feature is particularly interesting. What it effectively allows one to do is store Steam gifts in their account, which can then be sent to others. This seems like a great way to take advantage of the numerous sales that Steam has, by purchasing gift copies that can be given away later rather than immediately. There has already been an official way to do this by gifting yourself the game copies. Now however you can simply store a game in your account for trading later. The recipient of the game can likewise choose to gift / trade the game further on, or “Unpack” it to his / her account to play it. It is important to note that this system does not allow selling of second-hand / already played games; once a game is unpacked in one’s account, it cannot be traded further.
If you already have Steam installed, you should get Steam trading, and other improvements via a client update. Otherwise you can create and account, and play a number of Free-To-Play games by downloading the Steam client from here.