Valve is testing out their new community marketplace for Team Fortress 2. The community market will eventually extend to other games, but for now it's limited to Team Fortress 2. It's very similar to the Real-Money Auction House in Diablo III, except it's not limited to just one game or any single set of items.
A position-unspecified Tony Paloma of Valve commented about the new marketplace, saying...
"With over a half million trades made every week, the trading system has been very successful,"... "Extending game economies beyond trades and giving players a way to turn gameplay into funds for new items and games is a key component for moving that success forward."
I'm not sure how I feel about this. Valve is legit, so I trust them. Also, a community-ran economy is pretty cool, as gamers can make money doing what they love and other gamers can buy items for games that they love. It feels like a win-win situation, right? Well, after the Diablo III fiasco my shades have been dyed in a corporate-tint of tainted skepticism.
It's hard for me to jump for joy when all I can think about is “no refunds” and “no returns” and all the chaos that comes thereafter when gray-area transactions fees and restrictions come into play.
For now, though, the marketplace is only in beta for Team Fortress 2. Valve will take a minimum $0.01 transaction fee from the buyer, and there will be separate publisher transaction fees for each game. So for Team Fortress 2 there is a 10% transaction fee on top of the Steam transaction fee of $0.01. That's not too bad, so long as the taxes don't start racking up...like a sellers fee, a developers fee, a content creators tax, a distribution tax, a buyers tax, a licensed content tax, etc., etc., etc.
For now the you can test out buying and selling items via Steam right now in Team Fortress 2. To learn more about the new Steam Community Market, feel free to read through every detail on the Frequently Asked Questions page on the official Steam website.