Posted Mon Feb 9, 2015 at 10:53 AM PST by Brian Hoss
A double-edged sword.
Valve's Steam Inventory has been powering games like 'Team Fortress 2' and 'DOTA 2' for years. Such games, in spite of not necessarily being originally designed with user-created pieces of flair in mind, have allowed for an entire economy of items to exist within the game and ultimately sustain and add to the games' popularity in a community-driven way not seen before. Why is this important? Because where the system has been a huge success in Valve and certain Valve partner games, a new set of Steamworks APIs in the Steamworks SDK will enable any developer publishing on Steam to add a trading system to their game that will be underpinned by Valve.
With this service, a game can easily drop items to customers based on playtime or can grant items based on specific situations or actions within the game. These items can be marked as tradable through Steam or sellable via the Steam Marketplace. Developers can also configure recipes for crafting different combinations of items that result in more rare, unique, or valuable items.
The aspect that makes this doable for even the smallest developer is that the tools "allow a game to enable persistent items that have been purchase or unlocked by individual users without having to run special servers to keep track of these user's inventory."
The Steam Inventory Service is now currently in beta, but users should expect entire waves of games built around the system. It's coming soon, and while trading hats may not appeal to everyone, trading in-game weapons or unique items and the like is going to be hard for many users to resist.
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