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Valve Gives Developers Power To Create In-Game Steam Inventory Drops Like Team Fortress 2

by Mike Futter on Feb 06, 2015 at 07:57 AM

Most Steam players are used to the little green notification that appears in top right of the application window. Coming out of a new game typically means you’ve got something new in your inventory (likely a trading card). Soon, this pop-up could get more interesting.

Valve has announced a new Inventory Service for developers. The company says the new features, which are now in beta for Steamworks developers, will allow games to put items in your Steam inventory based on different factors. 

"The Steam Inventory Service maintains a per-game list of items that have been defined for that game by the developer," Valve's Alden Kroll tells us. "So, it basically makes it easier for other developers to accomplish similar systems to what is present in Team Fortress 2, where customers can buy items or get items dropped based on in-game events or time. Those items can be crafted and could indeed impact the game, as they are all items that the game will understand and recognize."

Users can create items for eligible games via the workshop. To date, users have reaped over $57 million in payouts through the Steam Workshop platform. In order to take advantage of these new features, the player-created items will need to be intentionally implemented.

"The items need to be added to the game by the developer along with necessary code to understand how the items interact with the in-game world," Kroll tells us. "This system is independent from the Steam Trading Cards, and the use of Inventory Service will vary from game-to-game as developers use it in different ways and with different kinds of content."

[Source: Steam]


Our Take
This system has enormous potential. First, developers could further bolster the community entrepreneur relationship (which recently expanded to non-Valve games). It also means that Valve is giving players more reason to stay on the Steam platform for those games that support this new initiative. This innocuous announcement could herald a new wave of interactions in games that reap long-term rewards for developers through enhanced and prolonged engagement.