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Is it purely a 'gotta-have-them-all' mindset, or do they actually serve some purpose?

I notice that you are able to sell them on a community market. For a test I listed one, and someone bought it for 50p. Not exactly a huge amount, but I don't understand why someone would spend real money on them.

Am I missing something?

Are they redeemable for games or money off vouchers or something 'tangible' that I'm missing?

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6  
People buy them for 50p? Woohoo, time to make £2.50 from my vast collection! –  Alex Jul 15 '13 at 9:18
    
The amount they sell for on the market varies greatly depending on the game. For example a lot of cards fetch a massive 7p. Still, every little helps. –  George Duckett Jul 15 '13 at 9:21
    
A bit of both I'd venture. –  deutschZuid Jul 15 '13 at 9:29

2 Answers 2

Crafting a badge from a full set of cards gives

  • The badge (which gives Steam XP, which in turn gives Steam Level and therefore friend list slots)
  • A Steam Store coupon
  • An emoticon
  • A profile background

So, yes, there is quite some use to the cards. Whether or not it is worth it is an entirely different discussion.

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4  
Crafting badges for Steam Vouchers is probably the only real-world benefit. Unless you want to play the markets buying cards, crafting badges and selling the profile desktops and other goodies you get as a reward. –  DavidYell Jul 15 '13 at 9:28
    
@DavidYell I'd agree, but judging from what I've read, some people really need the friend slots as well, so, to each their own, I guess. :) –  FEichinger Jul 15 '13 at 9:32
    
@DavidYell . yes I suppose extra friend slots might have a real world use. –  Rob Jul 15 '13 at 9:35
1  
Hey, I want this extra friend slot! –  iber Jul 15 '13 at 13:25
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@Zommuter By default, there is a cap on the friends list at ... I think it's 250 people. Every level grants a few more slots. –  FEichinger Jul 15 '13 at 14:08

I attempted to give a high level 3-question quiz about why you would care about Steam Trading Cards in this article:

  1. Are you excited about cosmetic customization elements in games? For instance, do you spend a long time getting your character’s face just right in Skyrim, or do you like picking out and wearing hats in Team Fortress 2?
  2. Do you find yourself comparing your Steam account to other people’s? For instance, do you look at their achievements or their profile and say “I am SO much better than them!”
  3. Do you think a few dollars is worth a minimal effort? If I told you that you could potentially make ~$5 today in Steam Store credit through Steam Trading Cards, would you be excited?

These correspond to the basic benefits of the cards:

  1. Cosmetic elements like badges, emoticons, and profile backgrounds
  2. Steam profile prestige, a few minor ancillary benefits (ie, friends list expansion)
  3. Perhaps a small chance of making a few easy bucks.

If those things are important, then you're likely to want to learn more about the trading cards, but if they aren't, you're probably safe ignoring them.

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From a purely economic perspective, I'm not sure it's really worth selling at the current (sub-$0.25) prices - they're kind of rock bottom given all the new supply. I probably wouldn't buy more, but collecting them is easy and free, so holding them seems fine. –  agent86 Jul 15 '13 at 19:00

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