Valve has unveiled a new section of Steam that provides a place for players to sell in-game items to others using real currency. The Steam Community Market has launched in beta with support for Team Fortress 2, but will host more games in the new year. Players can use Steam Wallet funds to buy items like keys or crates; the former unlocks the latter, which contain mystery items. The implications go far beyond enhancing your Team Fortress 2 performance, however — essentially, you can now buy games with money earned from playing other games.
Steam will charge a 5 percent transaction fee on all purchases, and there are also chargeable fees specific to the game that the publisher sets: in Team Fortress 2's case, this fee is 10 percent, meaning that Valve will take a total of 15 percent of all transactions. While the beta is limited in scope so far, the impact on Steam's economy down the road could be huge.