Recently, the Team Fortress 2 team has announced the Steam Trading Beta, which will allow players to trade in-game items to each other through other participating games via Steam. The addition of this feature will provide players with their own item inventory as well as those of other players.
Steam has released a FAQ that covers several questions such as the following:
What items can be traded?
Team Fortress 2 items and Steam Gifts can currently be traded in the Steam Trading Beta.
Will there be other games that support trading?
We’re working now with other game developers to incorporate both Trading and Inventories. Portal 2 should be reasonably soon and we hope to have several third-party games in the next few months.
What do you mean by trading Steam Gifts?
Any game you’ve purchased from the store as a gift, or received as an Extra Copy, can be traded to other users. They can be used to trade for other Gifts, or for items in Team Fortress 2. We’ve added a new checkout option to the Store when purchasing a gift so you can save it for trading or sending later, to support users who want to save games for trade fodder.
What restrictions are there on trading Steam Gifts?
Trading a Steam Gift is very similar to sending a gift to someone; just that once it is traded that user can then either trade it again, or open it for themselves. There are no restrictions on territory.
Analysis: Obviously, the new service isn’t intended to bring used games to Steam, which isn’t surprising considering the current volatile situation that the console market is in. I’m glad to see that the extra copies you get from game preorders or gifts you never wanted can be given to other people if they want it instead. However, this does not bring up any concerns with DRM or account information needing to be traded to another player since the games in question were never claimed in the first place. The only cause for concern with this announcement is, will the games you trade in for other in-game items be worth it? That is going to be a hard line for Valve to walk, but if any game studio can look at challenge and over come it, it’s obviously Valve.