Valve made an interesting update to the Steamworks SKD yesterday, adding the Steam Inventory Service for developers to utilize.
The added APIs and tools allow developers utilizing Steamworks to add support for the inventory system that games like Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2 have been utilizing for some time. While the program has been utilized by some developers other than Valve, this is the first time it has been made available for wider use.
In the announcement post, the following was written:
With this service, a game can easily drop items to customers based on playtime or can grant items based on specific situations or actions within the game. These items can be marked as tradable through Steam or sellable via the Steam Marketplace. Developers can also configure recipes for crafting different combinations of items that result in more rare, unique, or valuable items.
It’s a great tool that I am hoping will catch on with more developers with this update. It be great for a game like Borderlands 2 to allow you to trade and sell your excess loot on the community market or special masks drop in Payday 2 after playing for a certain length of time. As long as the developers don’t make it integral to game design, like Diablo 3‘s failed auction house, I think it will make for an excellent way to make Steam’s service even more robust.
For now, keep a close eye on your favorite games in the coming months, as we simply need to wait and see if this new feature catches on.