Blizzard sparked a bit of controversy earlier this year when it implemented a real money auction house within Diablo III. Now Valve is starting to enter the same murky waters by offering a real money "community market" on Steam.
Valve announced today that gamers can start selling and buying in-game items on the Steam Community Market. The new service is an evolution of the trading service that began in Team Fortress 2 and eventually moved to other games. Now instead of just simply trading items, users can sell in-game items on Steam.
Fittingly, the first game to support the Community Market is Team Fortress 2. The free-to-play game already had an in-game store that was rather profitable for some creators, but now it's moving onto Steam proper so other games can take advantage of it.
"With over a half million trades made every week, the trading system has been very successful," said Tony Paloma of Valve. "Extending game economies beyond trades and giving players a way to turn gameplay into funds for new items and games is a key component for moving that success forward."
Unlike the Diablo III auction house, however, players can't turn money earned through the selling of in-game items into real money. The money will be stashed into your Steam Wallet reservers so you can purchase other in-game items or full games. It's unknown if Valve will work out a deal that will allow users to transfer Steam Wallet funds to banking services like PayPal.
You can find out more about the Steam Community Market by checking out this exhaustive FAQ.