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How to Make Money on Steam – a 4 Step Plan

Ayisha Sharma 20th Sep 2021 One Comment

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Most people head to Steam after a long day to wind down with a game of PUBG or catch up with their friends. You may think that only professional game developers can tap into the platform as a revenue stream, but there are a few legit methods with which the average player can make money on Steam.

Making money on Steam takes a lot of patience and some business savviness when buying and selling on the platform’s Community Market. However, if you’re a keen gamer who devotes a fair bit of time to the hobby as it is, you can get ahead of the pack by capitalizing off your down time.


What is Steam?

Founded back in 2003 by American gaming corporation Valve, Steam is a digital video game platform with over 47 million daily users and around 150 million users overall. It was initially created to provide updates and fix bugs in Valve games.

Since then, Steam has grown into a multi-faceted community. There’s a whole bunch of things to do on the platform besides playing games, although that’s still a classic use of it! You can chat with other gamers, discuss games in forums, view your friends’ gameplay and distribute games as a developer.

Your Steam Wallet and the Steam Community Market are crucial to making money. The funds in your Wallet can be used to buy games, in-game items and other goods on the Market. You can’t withdraw these funds to your bank account but the more you save there, the less real cash you’ll splurge on gaming. It’s a win-win scenario that helps you save money while enjoying your hobby to the max.

To help you make the most of the biggest digital distribution platform for PC gaming, here are some ideas on how to make money on Steam.


1. Collect Trading Cards

Most games hand out Steam trading cards as a reward for consistent gameplay. You’ll probably receive two to three cards per session, with the first arriving 15 minutes in and a second dropping around two hours into a game.

The cards range in value between a few cents and a couple of dollars each, although the pricier ones are less common. It might not sound like a lot but if you’re an avid gamer who dips in and out of twenty or more games, your trading card collection will grow organically.

You might even get rare trading cards with a special foil border, known as foil trading cards. These are collectables that players use to craft a foil badge, so they’re often in high demand. Foil cards can be worth ten times the price of a regular card and have even fetched $1,000 on the Market!

Remember these tips when building your card collection:

  • Games notify you about how many card drops are left, so make sure to get all of them.
  • You might receive a booster pack of three cards once you collect all the cards for a single game.
  • Trading cards from a new game are more valuable so try to play new games fairly often.
  • You can use Steam Idle Master to automate the gameplay process and trading card drops.

Once you’ve got your cards, you can automate the selling process with the help of a browser extension like Augmented Steam. The quick sell feature puts your cards on the Market at $0.01 less than the lowest listed price, which means your card will sell first.


2. Sell Game Items

Popular games like Dota 2 and CS:GO drop items during gameplay in addition to trading cards. These are often cosmetic items like new armour, character models, decals and weapon skins. Items are stored in your inventory and prices can range from $0.10 to $1,000 depending on rarity.

Don’t fret if you can’t land a rare item! You can make money from common items with a bit of business acumen. The Steam Community Market resembles the real stock market in that item prices change depending on demand and supply. When the player base of a game increases, so does the number of item drops. This increases supply and lowers prices. Try to monitor these fluctuations and sell when your items are rarer or in greater demand.

Alternatively, you can buy items on the Market when supply exceeds demand and wait for demand (and price!) to increase. Always double check the market value of both sides of an exchange before sealing the deal.


3. Hold Pre-order Content

Part of the appeal of Steam is that it’s always releasing new games! You can pre-order these games before they’re officially out. Pre-order content usually skyrockets in value over time for the following reasons:

  • Pre-order content often includes exclusive in-game items (like armour, skins and decals).
  • Most pre-order content can’t be purchased in-game after the game is officially released.
  • Fewer people have pre-order content than regular content so demand outweighs supply.

Stocking up on pre-ordered content has proven to be a hugely lucrative method, with some exclusive pre-order items fetching hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the Market upon game release.

Take the case of the Playerunknown cosmetic set – users who pre-ordered PUBG got this set as a freebie along with the game. The set now sells for a whopping $1,400 on the Market, despite the pre-order game costing just $30.

It’s best to hold on to pre-order content until the new game reaches a certain level of popularity, or at the least until it’s officially released.


4. Sell Cosmetic Crates

Cosmetic crates contain a bunch of in-game items, some of which can be very rare. You can get cosmetic crates through gameplay but crate drops tend to be rarer than trading card or item drops – CS:GO drops them twice a week, for example.

Cosmetic crates sell on the Steam Community Market for a couple of dollars each. It’s better to sell the cosmetic crates you receive organically instead of buying and selling them on the market because trading is something of a risky business:

  • You don’t know what the target crate contains so you can’t be sure that it has rare items.
  • The likelihood of getting a rare item in a crate is pretty low. For example, the PUBG Biker crate sells for $0.50 but there’s only a 0.01% chance of you getting the $150 cloth mask.
  • If you save the money you make from selling dropped crates, you’ll be able to buy a cosmetic item or a new game sooner rather than later.


So there you have it, four ideas on how to make money on Steam. Let us know how you get on!

Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.

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2 years ago

Great info for the gamers.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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