Valve have announced their latest Steam experiment -
- will venture out from its beta home on Wednesday to journey across the entire community. The official release will see a selection of new games that support the feature, and will pave the way for new functionality in the future. In addition, Valve say it's the first step towards "an event we think everyone can be excited about."
Don't know what Trading Cards are all about? Here are the basics:
While playing a game with Trading Card support, Steam will periodically add cards towards that game's set into your Inventory.
Earn half the cards in a set, and Steam will stop periodically adding cards into your Inventory.
But maybe it's a free-to-play game! And maybe you could spend money on that free-to-play game! And then maybe Steam will let you have an extra card for that set? Maybe?
Or maybe you trade your precious Left 4 Dead 2 cards to complete your set of even more precious Dota 2 cards.
Or, you can just go to the Steam Market and buy the cards from people who have learned they can make actual real money from a digital picture they have been given.
Also, there are "rare" foil cards. They are exactly the same as normal cards, but
. Because Valve have seen what people will pay for Vintage hats in TF2.
Also there are booster packs - randomly awarded packs of three cards. They're dependant on the community generating badges... or something.
Oh yeah, badges! They're what you craft from a completed card set, however you choose to complete it. They do... something. I don't even know any more.
Related: I am a grumpy old man who has no time for this. Still, if nothing else, the real reason to be excited about the scheme leaving beta is that everyone gets access to the new user profile page. It's pretty spiffy looking.
"We'll be continuing to iterate on existing features and add new ones after the release,"
writes Valve man
John Cook. "There are a few things we have talked about previously that we really wanted to get to, that have now been pushed till post release - Trade Offers, and the Card Binder. They will still get done we just don't have an exact timeline on that."
A card binder? DAMMIT! Well obviously I'm now going to have to systematically collect every single card ever released.
As for "The Event", Cook only says, "Making trading cards available to all Steam users is a step towards an event we think everyone can be excited about..." As an
piece of trivia, did you know that Steam's 2012 Summer Sale started on July 12th? Little historical fact for you there, apropos of nothing.