My adventure as a Steam trader.

Posted by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

Welcome to my first actual blog about trading steam games!

So a little over a month ago, I have discovered the madness known as steam trading. There's a giant community out there trading games back and forth, making money, playing games, and what not.

An example trade from /r/SteamGameSwap

Now going off the picture above^, I'll walk through some general needed information. In this case, the user has [H] 4.5 TF2 keys. He is wanting [W] Starbound. If any of you are unfamiliar with TF2 keys, they're these things. As a follow up...

An example of conversion.

1 refined metal is 1/6 of a key. So when a user has 4.5 keys, he actually has 4 keys and 3 refs. (Am I confusing you yet?) Each key is valued at ~2.40 purchasable from the steam market or within TF2.

So where does this all come into play? Well, people trade keys for games! Simple as that. It's also very easy to make a profit and essentially get games for cheap or even for free. This last week,Starbound caught my eye. I invested in purchasing 5 keys for trading games for $10 a while back. I successfully traded 3 TF2 keys for the Mass Effect Collection. Right off the bat, this is a good deal for me. The Mass Effect collection currently costs $40.00 at retail. But of course you never buy game as retail if you want to grab a deal. Steam traders all go off prices at steamsales.rhekua.com. This site shows the lowest sale price of anygame. Showing thatMass Effect Collection costed only 9.99 at it's lowest. This was how I was able to purchase it for 3 keys. With this game now in my inventory, I was able to turn a profit and trade this away for 4 keys. (See where I'm going here?)

Then here is where the real fun begins. I traded 4 keys > Starbound. Then proceeded to flip it for 5 keys, with a 1 key profit. I did this 3 times. Accumulating a profit of 3 keys. I finally gave in and traded 4 keys for starbound for me to keep. Essentially, I payed only 1 key for this game, which is equal to ~$2.40. So yeah, trading is awesome.

However, Key trading is not all about turning a profit. You can get games cheap this way. For example, as many as you may or may not be aware, Just Cause 2 multiplayer mod is finally being released after months of being worked on. I loved this game on my Xbox 360, so I wanted to get this game on steam so I can play the mod. The retail price of this game is $15. Nothing I wanted to pay, however, this game did go on sale for cheaper. For $2.99 to be exact. I was able to find a buyer within 10 minutes and traded for it for 2 keys. As you see, it has it's benefits for sure.

Currently, after happily trading for Starbound, I am waiting to turn a profit on more games. If I keep this up, I should be able to get a plentiful of games just by trading. Pretty crazy stuff right?

So that's it for my blog, hopefully I made sense. If anyone has questions or want's to get into the Trade business, don't hesitate to comment below or PM me personally.

#2 Posted by audioBusting (1511 posts) -

Dang, that's some mad trading action. I wish I've got some of that back when I had more time than money.

#3 Edited by ThunderSlash (1691 posts) -

I used to be a pretty big trader a few years ago. The best deal I got was trading a Dota 2 Beta that I got off of the Winter Coal event for a Valve Complete pack. And since I had all the Valve games I wanted, I traded that pack for a copy of Skyrim when it was new. I also dabbled in getting TF2 metal and trading those for keys, and then converting those into Steam wallet money. I haven't done it in a while because the value of metal keeps decreasing, even with the changes to how drops work that Valve made this summer.

I've since stuck to just selling Steam Trading Cards for extra Steam wallet money.

How's the trading community these days? Still lowballing?

#4 Edited by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

@thunderslash: The trading community seems pretty alright. If anything, it has a fair amount of users who seems to make this into a business. They would fill up the trading sites with long lists of games. 200+ It get's pretty annoying since none of their prices are usually fair nor do they care to haggle.

#5 Posted by connerthekewlkid (1826 posts) -

How's the trading community these days? Still lowballing?

Is that even a question?

#6 Edited by Rorie (2858 posts) -

I sold some cards! I made 40 cents! I have a foil Gone Home card that no one is buying at my asking price!

I figure I could make maybe another two bucks if I bothered to go through all my cards and sell them, but from an opportunity cost perspective I'd be kind of foolish to do so. They need to have a "match lowest price" button for this stuff so I could just click through them all in one go.

Staff Online
#7 Posted by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

I just traded Portal Bundle for 3 keys. I purchased it for 2 keys and 1 refs. So just as example about how the trading business is always happening. Bringing my total amount of keys to 6 :D

#8 Posted by TruthTellah (8826 posts) -

#9 Posted by BeachThunder (11854 posts) -

@rorie said:
They need to have a "match lowest price" button for this stuff so I could just click through them all in one go.

Absolutely. It's a huge chore checking what the price is then going back to your inventory to sell a card. Rinse. Repeat.

I haven't done any trading trading, but I've done a lot of selling. I think I've done reasonably well with selling cards, so far I've made $67 in magic Steam dollars.

#10 Edited by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

@rorie said:

I sold some cards! I made 40 cents! I have a foil Gone Home card that no one is buying at my asking price!

I figure I could make maybe another two bucks if I bothered to go through all my cards and sell them, but from an opportunity cost perspective I'd be kind of foolish to do so. They need to have a "match lowest price" button for this stuff so I could just click through them all in one go.

Personally, I like keeping my cards. How else would I get awesome emoticons like this?

#11 Posted by EXTomar (4687 posts) -

There have been murmurs that part of the "sharing" stuff Valve was originally about trading games but they couldn't over come the legal problems. Imagine if you could trade licenses to old games for other old games. Or hell, trade an old game for keys.

#12 Posted by RazielCuts (2952 posts) -

'I had no idea my interactive entertainment was worth so much money!'

#13 Edited by Humanity (9062 posts) -

@sexytoad: I sold cards and managed to buy two full games for it. Of course this meant idling in games a lot and that is a bit lame but still worth it.

#14 Posted by RonGalaxy (3127 posts) -

Ive never gone crazy with it, but Ive traded a bunch before. The best deal I ever got was getting a bunch of CS:GO beta invites (tradable) when they were first released, kept 1 for myself, gave 1 away to a friend, and traded 1 for a preorder of Torchlight 2. The preorder of torchlight 2 came with the first game (which I had already), which I traded for dustforce. Got 30 dollars worth of games for a BETA valve gave to me for free, granted they werent giving them away to everyone at that point, and were actually kind of limited. A few months later you couldnt even trade them for a tf2 crate, they were so common. Kind of felt bad for the guy I traded with

#15 Posted by Flacracker (1660 posts) -

I would be careful about this. The reason you can get the game for so cheap is that the people trading games away for keys are usually Russians. See, Russians get games for super cheap because they pirate so much. They are the ones making a true profit. There is a thing in the Steam user agreement that pretty much says you will get banned if you try to circumvent regional pricing. I don't know if this counts as that or not though. I have seen people online say they have gotten banned for trading games but they might have been doing it through paypal, not the steam service.

#16 Edited by hustlerlt (321 posts) -

My only advice is buy low and sell high.

#17 Posted by Dezztroy (789 posts) -

See, Russians get games for super cheap because they pirate so much.

Yeah, that's not at all how things work.

#18 Edited by SexyToad (2760 posts) -

@flacracker: it is against their code for using a VPN or other tool to purchase from the Russian store. Trading however, is virtually harmless by itself.

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

Beware, you are proposing to add brand new pages to the wiki along with your edits. Make sure this is what you intended. This will likely increase the time it takes for your changes to go live.

Comment and Save

Until you earn 1000 points all your submissions need to be vetted by other Giant Bomb users. This process takes no more than a few hours and we'll send you an email once approved.