The Steam Holiday Auction page currently reports that Valve Software is facing issues with Gems and has temporarily shut down auctions. The company didn't say when the auctions will resume, but instead it claimed that elves are banging out the issues. Santa did not provide a comment.
Valve Software introduced the Steam Holiday Auction on Thursday night. Steam gamers can turn unused inventory items such as trading cards and backgrounds into a virtual currency called "Steam Gems." These Gems can be used to bid on nearly 2,000 game codes (100 copies of each).
According to an FAQ, the first auction ends on Monday, December 15. There will be a new auction every 45 minutes until Thursday, December 18 at 10am PST. At the end of each round, the top bidder will be awarded one of each title. Participants can keep track of their bids in the My Bids section of their account.
"Select a game from the Auctions list and enter your bid. Gems are removed from your Inventory when they are used to bid and will be returned to your Inventory if the bid is canceled," read the FAQ.
Shortly after Valve opened the bidding gates on Thursday evening, reports began to surface that some players have found a way to duplicate their Gems. This not only gives them an advantage when bidding on a game, but it provides extra cash in the secondhand Gems market.
"Sorry, but there have been some issues with Gems and the Steam Holiday Auction has been temporarily closed," Valve stated. Additional reports claim that Valve removed Gems from every participant's inventory and then placed the Gems back into the accounts of gamers who acquired them legitimately.
Valve's FAQ reports that once the auctions have ended, participants can use their unused Gems to create Booster Packs. However, due to Valve's silence on the matter, there's no indication that the Auctions will move forward as planned. Will the first auction still end on Monday, or will the company revise the schedule accordingly?
The duping incident is unfortunate, as it ruins the experience for gamers who have legitimately converted their items or have spent real money on Gems. Those involved with the duping are likely feeling the swift swing of Valve's banhammer right about now.