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I know that people can buy and sell the new steam cards, but I see items for some games (TF2 and DOTA2) being sold for well over $10.00. Are these items that people have found in game and then are able to sell on the marketplace or are these items that they have bought with real money and are now trying to resell for real money?

I'm a bit confused - can I expect to make steam money off of items which drop in game?

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The Market is still under development. More items are likely to be added later.

One way to put an item up for sale is by going to the Marketplace and clicking "Sell an item".

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This will show you the eligible items for each game (and steam, overall). change the game filter by clicking on the game you want to see items for.

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You choose the amount you want for it, then Steam will add a bit (as well as the game in some cases).

There are rules, however.

  1. Items purchased from the TF2 or Dota 2 Store may take up to seven days before they are eligible for trading or sale in the Community Market. Depending on how recently you began making purchases, these items may not initially appear eligible

  2. You need a purchase through Steam on the account older than 30 days (without any one-year periods of inactivity which would reset your eligibility). This purchase could be for wallet credit alone. A CD key activation is not sufficient.

It is possible to make a little money off the Marketplace. I sold a few trading cards and had $2.50 to buy System Shock 2 with :)

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Are these items that people have found in game and then are able to sell on the marketplace or are these items that they have bought with real money and are now trying to resell for real money?

It is a combination of both. It depends depends on the game. For TF2 the items can be found, awarded as a pre-order gift, or received from a crate (they key either traded for or bought from the store)

can I expect to make steam money off of items which drop in game?

Do not expect to make much steam money. The items that are common do not sell for much. Only items that are extraordinary rare/hard to get sell for more than pennies.

  • 2
    Don't knock pennies. Those things can add up. I've seen Office Space :) – Batophobia Jul 15 '13 at 17:23
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People may find these items outright, or they can find Mann. Co. Supply Crates/Chests, then unlock them with a purchased key. The keys are $2.50, but the value of the item could potentially be more, so they try to sell on the market.

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Aside from keys/crates/cards, most of the items sold are genuines (which you usually get as rewards for pre-ordering other games) and unusuals (which have to be unlocked from crates, which require a key, which costs real money). You can sell some strange weapons and tools as well, which are dropped, but they tend to sell for very little.

About 1% of crates contain an unusual, the rarer of which are worth lots of money. You could buy lots of keys and lots of crates and hope to make a profit in the long run, but the fact that there are others doing this, combined with the laws of economics, means that your expected net income would be very small.

(In fact, there is a whole TF2 black market where keys bought/sold using stolen credit cards. Because of this, your expected net income will actually be negative)

So yes, you can make a very small amount from some of the random items which are dropped. But no, you shouldn't expect to sell any of them for anywhere near $10. Those are typically the ones unlocked from crates (which cost keys = money), and you can't expect to make an overall profit from them (unless you get very lucky in your first few crate unlocks).

  • @Downvoter: Why the downvote? – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jul 15 '13 at 16:46
  • I'm not the down-voter, but you can also sell "Vintage" items and crates. – Batophobia Jul 15 '13 at 16:52
  • @David: This is not meant to be a full list of items that can be sold on the market; that is a different question. It's a list of items you might hope to make money with, and the reasons why you actually shouldn't expect to make that much. Vintage items can only be obtained through buying/trading for them, and don't typically sell for much. For those reasons, they're not worth mentioning in this answer. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jul 15 '13 at 16:56
  • I thought your answer was alright, but the OP is not asking "Can I make a butt-load of money in Steam Marketplace". It is entirely possible to make enough money to buy an old game or indie game with the small bit you make from Marketplace sales. Especially now, in the time of almighty Great Summer Sale :) – Batophobia Jul 15 '13 at 17:07
  • @David: Fair enough; I've edited my last paragraph to reflect that fact. – BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft Jul 15 '13 at 17:16

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