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The DotA2 Treasure Key costs $2.49 / £1.49 (~$2.48) / 1.79€ (~$2.45) at "retail". However, most of the listings on the first few pages of the Steam Community Market entry are around $2.60. It's not just a fluke: I easily sold four of my keys for $2.60 last night. Why would anybody buy them for higher than retail?

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  • (FYI, don't go buying keys and expect to get rich quick. Valve takes a hefty bite out of your profits. I only sold my keys because I bought them at a discount a while ago.)
    – Archagon
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 22:54
  • Indeed, the key costs 1.79€ and community market prices start at 1.90€. Selling these for 1.90€ only gets you 1.66€, though. Still, I wonder if there is any reason to buy those keys besides "they didn't know about the official store".
    – Nolonar
    Commented Jan 23, 2014 at 23:39
  • The simple explanation? They don't know any better. I am not sure how we can possible answer this question.
    – Ramhound
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 1:44
  • Another question is why someone pays 6€ for a chest that is sold for 0.01€...Or why someone sells "dragonclaw hook" for 3€ while other offers are around 100€.
    – Mentales
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 2:12
  • Ramhound, I thought maybe I was missing something obvious. Exchange rates? Taxes? Other countries? I dunno.
    – Archagon
    Commented Jan 24, 2014 at 3:43

2 Answers 2

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People really do buy those more expensive keys,and they even do it in hundreds.

Sale for dota 2 key on jan 24

Possible reasons are :

  • Not knowing about Dota 2 store,by a mistake,done by new players,people that think keys can be dropped and sold only on market...Or as means of trade/exchange with a friend.

  • There are records of some newly introduced keys being more expensive than other keys in some countries for short periods.So people that buy it in country A can sell it at higher price to people in country B where people still profit by buying those overpriced keys.

Left image has price of all keys equal,the right one has the new key somewhat more expensive than the others.

5.49 R$ is about 2.43 $ which means even though the key is more expensive than the other ones on the right side it is still cheaper than the keys on the left side.

enter image description here enter image description here

  • Valve as corporate entity is obliged to follow bunch of laws,and since they serve people internationally they have to follow even more laws that are different for each country.After those laws,taxes and currency exchange rates keys or items might end up cheaper or more expensive in some countries.

    People selling on community market are ignored by IRS and taxes put on by their country (except the share steam takes),at least for their first ~150 sales after which they have to fill out a form of residence.Which means people can end up selling things cheaper than valve can to some other countries.

  • There are also whole articles about illegal keys/items,and faulty or stolen credit cards...basically hackers,and thieves trying to "wash" their money over the steam.They can sell it at lower prices than steam store,or even at higher prices (like the previous statement) where they profit even more since they don't care about the share valve takes.

  • If you try to buy items on steam with too new/old credit card steam can flag you payment method as "unsafe" and all items bought while flagged will be untradable for a certain period of time,but steam market items will be tradeable.So people from previos statement and some traders could profit.

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  • at least for their first ~150 sales 200 sales actually, and Valve starts bugging you about it at 175.
    – Powerlord
    Commented Oct 8, 2014 at 14:22
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[Edit] Dota 2 keys are no longer for sale, which explains why they are now consistently above $2.50. However, my old answer (below) still applies to TF2.


Old answer:

I admit it: I've bought TF2 and Dota 2 keys off the market for over retail-price before.

The reason is that I don't play either of those games, and don't have them installed, but still need keys for Steam-trading.

So to buy a key, my options are:

  • Install the game. Wait for the 8+ GB download to finish, then wait some more while the installer runs and the game loads up. Then learn the interface, and jump through whatever hoops are needed to use the in-game store.
  • Or, pay an extra $0.02

My choice was pretty obvious.

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  • This has nothing to do with DOTA 2, but more with TF2. Both economies work different ways
    – childe
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 4:22
  • 1
    @lumbricuslubricant: Of course it's the same for Dota 2. Why do you think it would be different? Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 15:45
  • 1
    TF2 and DotA2 keys are often interchangeable on Steam trading sites.
    – Archagon
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 19:26
  • DotA 2 keys have much wider variety then TF 2 keys... and some of them arr not available now through in game store.
    – Kim Minseo
    Commented Sep 5, 2014 at 13:41
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    @KimMinseo: Actually TF2 keys have always had a wider variety. However, in both games there is one key that is a "normal" key that is considered the standard one used for trading. Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 2:18

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