Have you ever had a leftover or gifted game sitting around your hard drive, and wished to yourself, "Man, I sure do wish I could trade this to a friend for a sweet in-game item in Team Fortress 2!"? Then friends, does Valve ever have a sweet new offer for you!
Today marks the launch of the Steam Trading beta, a new system within the Steam client that allows users to trade everything from random in-game items to full games with each other at the drop of the hat. Unless of course the thing you're trading is a hat. Then you probably shouldn't drop that.
Users can opt in by going to their settings tab and selecting the "opt into Steam Trading beta" option. Once you're in, you can set up a trade with anyone on your friends list that has also opted in, or anyone residing within a group chat you happen to be in. Currently, the only title that supports in-game item trading is Team Fortress 2, but Portal 2 is expected to receive support next, and Valve aims to add support to several third-party titles as well. As for full games, any game that has been gifted to you, or came as part of a package release as an extra copy can be traded away, meaning it's now easier to regift than ever before.
The idea of trading digital copies of games does present an interesting theory. While the current scope of Steam Trading is limited to games that haven't been opened on a users' PC, what's to stop this concept from morphing into a method of online used game sales? Yes, issues like install keys, DRM, and whatever else probably make that a difficult prospect beyond the scope of games purchased within the Steam client, but even still, it's an interesting concept to think about.
Regardless, that's probably a ways off, if it ever happens at all. Right now, you'll just have to stick to trading hats for unwanted gifted copies of AquaNox 2: Revelation. Seriously, if anyone wants this copy of AquaNox 2, I will just give it to you. I sincerely have no idea how my dad even found that thing on Steam, let alone thought I would want it.