Valve Software said on Wednesday that the Steam Community Market is now in beta, and Team Fortress 2 is its first guinea pig.
According to Valve, this new addition to the popular DRM platform is designed to expand the Steam Economy beyond trading. Thanks to this new market, players can now buy and sell in-game items with other players for Steam Wallet funds.
"With over a half million trades made every week, the trading system has been very successful," said Tony Paloma of Valve. "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."
As previously stated, the Steam Community Market will initially support Team Fortress 2. Users will be able to show off their items on the Steam Community and sell or trade their items to others. Valve said it will add Market support to other games in the New Year.
"For the initial launch, the Market will be limited Team Fortress 2 consumables and tools, including paints, keys, and crates," the company explains in the FAQ. "Your eligible items are marked as 'Marketable' in your Steam Inventory. After the beta, we may expand to include additional items from Team Fortress 2 as well as items from other games."
Items purchased are subject to transaction fees, the company said. This is collected by Steam and used to protect against nominal fraud incidents and cover the cost of development of this and future Steam economy features. During the beta, this fee will be 5-percent (with a minimum fee of $0.01), and may be increased or decreased in the future.
The Market also requires the use of Steam Guard. It's enabled for 15 days "to help protect your items and Steam Wallet funds from being misused by somebody who may have illicitly obtained your password."
Popular items already listed on the Market include the Mann Co. Supply Crate, the Crate Key, a name tag, a Tour of Duty ticket and loads more. For more information about the Steam Community Market, read the FAQ here. If you're feeling frisky, you can also join the (unofficial) Steam group established by Tom's Hardware forum members by heading here.