What Steam Greenlight Means for Developers

First and foremost, my apologies for being absent last Thursday. It was something of a busy week, the latter of which was spent fending off sickness (which I’m still not entirely certain I’ve conquered.) Regardless, I’m back, and with any luck, I can get back to posting regular content.

Today’s fare is going to be rather light, admittedly, but later in the week I’m going to discuss the ruling in the EU earlier this month about the resale of open data licenses (and what it says about the absurd copy protection we’re forced to suffer through.) Similarly, next week I’ll be discussing how the medium of gaming has grown up, and what still needs to be done if it’s to be taken seriously – I’ll be making references to some of my earlier articles here. So, there’s some good stuff on the way. Stay tuned, folks.

For now, let’s talk about Valve’s latest venture.
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Item Trading In Steam Is Now Live

Steam’s trade system is finally live, and every Steam community profile now has an inventory page, showing what items someone has collected in each of the games they play with a persistent inventory system. What’s more, it’s not just items you can trade, either- you can trade games, as well.

Unfortunately, for those of you who have an old game you don’t want to play any more, you can’t just trade any game in your library. Only items that have been gifted to you and duplicate games are up for trade. (I myself have had an extra copy of Half Life 2 sitting in my Steam library for as long as I remember, it’s the only game I see in the trade menu).

Currently, the only games that support trading are Team Fortress 2, Portal 2, and Spiral Knights- though Valve has said they’re working with several developers at the moment to incorporate the feature into other titles in their library. I’ve a feeling the trade feature’s going to be restricted to multiplayer games that have an inventory system- City of Heroes, Monday Night Combat, Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War II….you get the idea.

Another feature apparently added by today’s update- though I’m not sure it’s actually new- is something known as ‘friend tagging.’  No, you can’t tag people on your friends list in your screenshots quite yet-the feature is designed to help your organize your friends list.  The feature basically lets you organize your friends list into groups. Right click on a friend, and click ‘tag as…’ to tag them.

Valve’s posted a trading FAQ with more information, and a trading policy with your basic precautionary stuff that anyone who hasn’t killed all their brain cells with hard liquor should probably know already- don’t trade items for money, pay attention to your trade so you don’t get scammed…basically, don’t be stupid.

Me, I’m just happy I don’t have to launch TF2 to trade stuff with my friends anymore.

Also, on a completely unrelated note, Warhammer 40K: Space marine launched yesterday, and it is awesome and you should all buy it.