Make Money on Steam

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The average gamer spends over 7 hours each week playing video games. What if you had the opportunity to make money while you play games.




Well Steam, one of the largest online gaming platforms, has made it pretty easy for their customers to make a little extra cash playing their games. You won’t make enough to quit your job and retire, but it could offset some of the costs for your games.


In this article, I’ll show you the 5 best ways you can make money on Steam.

What is Steam

If you’re not a gamer, then you are probably wondering, “What is Steam?”. Well, Steam is one of the world’s largest video game distribution services, and it’s owned by Valve Corporation. The platform was launched in 2003 as a digital content distribution channel.


With nearly 30,000 games, Steam has evolved into the ultimate destination for online gaming. But if you’re a gamer, then you already know this and is probably one of their 90 million active monthly users.  


Over the years, Steam has rapidly expanded its platform. The company now features a storefront where users can trade and sell game character accessories. Also, Steam can host user-created games to be download and purchase. 

All of these features opens the doors for users to make money on Steam while they play.

Ultimate Guide to Make Money on Steam

Chances are you’re not going to get rich making money on Steam. 


But if you’re going to spend thousands of hours each year on the platform, you might as well make some money doing it.


Most of the opportunities to make money on Steam are through the Steam Community MarketplaceAnother option is through SteamWorks, which helps users develop and publish their games on Steam.

1. Sell Your Steam Trading Cards

If you play Steam enough, then you probably have a bunch of trading cards sitting in your inventory. But you probably don’t want to spend the money in order to complete the trading card set.


Here’s a thought:

Instead of having dozens or even hundreds of trading cards taking up space in your Steam inventory, you can sell them on the Steam Community Marketplace.


The amount of money you could make won’t be enough to buy a game like DOOM Eternal, but you could earn enough to enjoy a weekend playing one of those indie games on sale. 


Now, before we get into the strategy, there are a few facts to keep in mind.

Taxes and 200 Item Sales Limit

First, try not to exceed 200 transactions on the marketplace in a year. If you do, Steam will require you to provide your personal information (name, address, and social security number). 


This information will be provided to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to determine if taxes are owed on the money you made. Therefore, you should sell your most expensive cards first just in case you hit your 200 transaction limit for the year.

Beware of opportunity costs

If you have any plans to level-up your profile on Steam, then you should hold off on selling your trading cards.


This is because it will be a lot cheaper to finish a trading card set if you already have a few cards. The last thing you want to do is regret selling your cards later. If you are able to complete a set then you could earn 100 Steam Profile XP each, which increases your level.

Step-by-step Guide for Selling Your Trading Cards

If you are still ok with selling your trading cards, below are the steps you can take to sell them out of your inventory:

  1. Go to your Steam Profile. You can find this by going to your name at the top of the screen and select “Profile”.  
  2. Click on your profile level indicator. This can be found on the right side of your profile name.
  3. Click on the games you want to sell to view their trading card information.
  4. Once the games are selected, click “Sell these cards on the market”.
  5. Review the cards you selected to ensure everything is correct. Steam automatically fills out the market price for each card. This allows you to quickly sell your cards for the current price.


Click that you agree to the terms and select the “create listing” button.


The process may take some time, but this is currently the only way to sell your trading cards in bulk. Once the cards sell, the proceeds will be put into your Steam Wallet where you can use the funds to buy more games.

2. Sell Dropped Items In Your Steam Inventory

If you are a frequent gamer, you can easily find your time rewarded by some game developers. Many of these rewards can equal a nice chunk of cash.


Steam allows game developers access to their Steam Inventory Service tool. This allows developers to enable items in your Steam Inventory easier.


This means that a game developer can easily drop items into your inventory. They normally do this while you are playing the game as a reward for playing a long time or because you pre-ordered the game. 


The developer can mark the items as tradable, which allows you to trade with other users on Steam. Or they can also label the items as marketable, allowing you to sell them on the Steam Marketplace.

Steam Free 2 Play Games With Inventory Items

You can find games with marketable items easy by going to the Steam Community Marketplace and selecting the name of the game. Not all games will give marketable items freely. 


Some games may require you to make an in-app purchase in order to unlock marketable items. Or some may just give you items that are only marketable via in-app purchases and give you unmarketable and non-tradable items through regular drops to your inventory.


To get you started, here is a current list (as of this posting) of free 2 play games with inventory items:


The names on the list above are not updated regularly, so some names may become outdated.


If so, you can check out this ultimate guide for Games With Steam Inventory Items. If you like to collect inventory items, this is the guide for you.

How To Sell Items in Your Steam Inventory

First, your account cannot be limited.


Secondly, your account must have at least 15 days of Steam Guard protection.


If your account meets these requirements and you have at least one marketable item, then start following the list below:

  1. Login to your Steam account
  2. Go to Community at the top and click on Market in the dropdown menu
  3. On the next screen, click “Sell an Item”.
  4. Find the items you want to sell and click Sell at the bottom.
  5. Put in a price you will accept, click the agreement box, and then Ok.
  6. Verify the information you entered is correct, then click Ok.
  7. Click Ok to acknowledge the additional confirmation notice. 
  8. Go to your email or the Steam Guard app to verify. 
  9. After you confirm with Steam Guard, your item will be ready to sell on the Steam Community Marketplace.


You will get an email once your item sells and the proceeds will appear in your Steam Wallet.

3. Sell Games on Steam for cash

Selling games on Steam is not the same as selling a physical game. With a physical game, you can easily sell it on Facebook Marketplace. Or if you don’t want to deal with people, sell it on Decluttr (highly recommended) AND you get paid the next day… how cool is that!


Anyway… Selling games on Steam is not as easy as selling one of your PS2 or Xbox games.




Simple. They don’t want you to because it cuts into their sales. If you can get a game for half the price from someone selling it second-hand, why would you buy it full price from Steam?


The only way to sell your games on Steam without getting banned is if the game is in your inventory and has not been added to your library. 


Another way is to sell your entire Steam account. However, buying and selling Steam accounts is prohibited and it will get you banned and the account locked permanently.


You have a few options after you purchase a game on Steam. You could:

  1. Add the game to your Steam library 
  2. Add the game to your Steam inventory
  3. Send the game to a friend as a gift or to trade


Adding the game to your library allows you to actually play the game. Even if you haven’t played the game yet, simply putting it in your library is irreversible and you can no longer gift or sell it.


By adding the game to your inventory you get access to the game key, which can be used to give a gift to a friend or to sell it.


Gifting your game key is pretty simple, just go to your inventory, select the item you want to gift and click Send gift. Input the email address for the person receiving the gift and a message, if you want, then click Send.


Steam will send the game to the email you indicated immediately. That’s it.

To sell your game key, you can use Gameflip. They offer the best deals and you can get the most for your games.

4. Sell Cosmetic Crates

Popular games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds are known to drop cosmetic crates that can be worth a lot of money.


For just playing the game, Counter Strike will drop two crates in your inventory each week. All you have to do is gain experience from playing any of the official game modes. 


Normally, the drops from Counter Strike will only have a marketable value of a few cents. However, newer crates added to the game are more popular and valuable and can sell for a few dollars in the first couple of weeks. 


There are in-game purchases you can buy for the game called “operations” which will give you the chance to get more rewards each week, some of which could be worth hundreds of dollars.


You can also earn a lot each week by playing Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) regularly. You can accumulate Battle Points slowly by playing PUBG. When you place higher in the game and take out more players, the game will reward you with additional points. 


Once you reach 700 battle points you can buy a crate.


But here’s the catch:


Every time you buy a crate, the price of the next crate doubles. Mondays are when the crate prices reset. You can often sell your PUBG crates for between $0.20 and $2.


You can use the steps previously mentioned to sell your crates on the Steam Marketplace.

5. Distribute Your Own Original Game on Steam

If you’re really serious about making money on Steam, then creating and selling your own game on Steam Direct is the way to go.


Steam Direct is a platform designed to provide a more streamlined, transparent, and affordable way for new game developers to sell direct to consumers and get exposure. 


Unlike previous methods where you would make money selling on the Steam Marketplace, having your game sold on Steam Direct will require an investment of both your time and money. 


Firstly, in order to get setup you’ll need to pay the $100 product submission fee for each game you wish to distribute on Steam. The fee is non-refundable, but you’ll get that back once you make your first $1,000 with your game


After you pay your application fee and complete the registration paperwork, you will be granted access to Steamworks, a platform of tools to help developers create their games. 


Once you get access to Steamworks, start designing and building your game.


When you sell your game, Steam will take 30% of the sale price. Now, 30% off the top may sound like a lot, but it’s pretty much the standard in the gaming industry. Not to mention you’re basically designing, building, and selling your game for only $100, at the most. 


But what if you have no experience creating games?

Learn to Code for Game Development

If you’ve always wanted to build your own game but didn’t know how or where to start, check out Team Treehouse. They can teach you the skills needed to become proficient in game coding. 


The cool thing about Treehouse is that they offer a one-week free trial. This gives you an opportunity to go through the courses before deciding to fully commit.


Another option is Codecademy. They offer courses that make learning code fun and easy. Codecademy gets it right with a mix of fun lessons, practical exercises, and rewards for your progress. 


The best part about Codecademy is that it’s free. They do have pro plans starting at $20/month but you don’t need it to start learning to code.

Final Thoughts

As I said before, you’re not going to get rich making money on Steam. But if you’re a kid dependent on an allowance from your parents, it could be a significant amount of cash


But if these strategies to make money on Steam left you wanting more opportunities, then checkout this article on how you can make money posting ads.


Well, at least now you are aware (if you weren’t already) of the different ways you can take advantage of the opportunities to make money on Steam.

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