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How to Make Money on Steam

by Timothy Gagnon

With 90 million active users, Steam is one of the world’s most popular video game platforms. But did you know that Steam is more than just a platform to buy and download video games? You can actually make money on Steam!

Steam also has a player user-driven marketplace where users can trade or sell in-game items ranging in value from a few cents to thousands of dollars. For example, the Dragon Lore skin for the AWP in CS GO costs $2,085 USD, and it has over 10,000 buy orders. There’s even a set of in-game gloves that is valued at $1846 USD.

It might seem silly to spend that much money on an in-game weapon skin, but trades like that occur all the time in the gaming industry. So this begs the question, how can you make money on Steam? And is it worth your time?

Can You Make Money on Steam?

The most obvious way to make money on Steam is to develop a game and sell it via Steam Direct. If you’re not a developer, you can also make money by selling trading cards, in-game items, and exclusive skins, on the community market. Let’s take a closer look at those options and see how to make money on Steam. 

Before we start, what you need to know is while you can earn money on Steam, the money is locked to your Steam account, which is called your Steam Wallet. Currently, there’s no way to withdraw Steam Wallet funds to a bank account, not even Steam gift cards. 

While you can’t withdraw Steam Wallet funds, you can spend them on the platform buying new games, in-game items, skins, and more.

You can also use your Steam Wallet funds to buy games for friends, which is an easy way to get a friend to play a game with you. In other words, while it’s not real money, it can be put to use on the platform. The funds stay on Steam. 

How to Make Money on Steam: 

1 – Develop a Game or App for Steam Direct

While not everyone has the skills to develop a game, this is the way to make real money from Steam. Steam allows anyone to publish a game on their partner platform called Steam Direct for a $100 product submission fee. Once accepted, it’s up to you to make a professional store listing and drive interest to your product. 

Steam takes a percentage of the total revenue the game or app generates, based on its total sales volume. The good news is you don’t necessarily have to develop a triple-A game with amazing visuals to see success. 

There are plenty of indie-developers who do quite well on Steam selling games for under $5. You can also sell apps on the platform. Not a developer? No worries. 

2 – Sell In-Game Skins and Items on the Marketplace

Have you been spending a bit too long on a certain game and accumulated a wide range of items? When you frequently play games like CS GO, it’s easy to build up a collection of skins, cases, and other items that can be sold in the community market. 

There are also plenty of free games that will randomly drop items or crates on players for activity, so you can actually make a profit. 

How to sell items on Steam: 

  1. Open Steam
  2. Locate Your Profile Inventory
  3. Click on a Game
  4. Select an Item, Check if It’s Marketable (“View on Community Market”)
  5. Select Sell Item and Enter a Fair Value
  6. Wait Until Someone Buys the Item
  7. Funds are Automatically Added to Your Steam Wallet
  8. Repeat the Process

Granted, the vast majority of items won’t sell for much, usually under $1, but if you have a large collection, it’s fast money for your Steam Wallet. You might be surprised how much money you can get back from selling the items you earned from your gaming sessions on Steam. 

Exclusive items and skins from new games also tend to sell for higher on the Steam marketplace. 

3 – Trading Cards

Besides skins, you can also sell trading cards. Trading cards are earned when you complete achievements in games, usually single-player games. You can either sell trading cards on the community market or convert them into gems to work towards a booster pack. 

When you get a booster pack, you’ll receive three random trading cards, with a chance of one special rare card called a Foil Card, which has 10x the value of ordinary cards. 

The value of a card will vary depending on how difficult the achievement is to earn and the game, some cards are much more valuable than others. Most Steam users agree that selling the cards directly on the community market is more valuable than trying to collect gems and create booster packs. 

Strategies to Avoid: 

1 – Buying Keys, Opening Crates  

Once you play around with the Steam marketplace, you’ll probably notice you can buy keys to unlock item crates for a chance to receive an exclusive and valuable skin. 

The problem is this method is similar to gambling and 9/10 you will lose money. While there is a very small chance you’ll find a valuable item, we do not recommend opening crates as a way to make money on Steam. 

2 – Online Steam Skin Trading Platforms

On that note, be wary of Steam trading websites. These are websites that link to your Steam inventory and allow you to trade skins with other players for a chance to win something valuable. 

While there are legitimate skin trading platforms, we haven’t had any luck with them, and there are lots of scammers out there. 

Do be on alert for other Steam users asking to trade items. Steam allows users to trade, and even gift items, but you’ll need to be aware of the value of your items before you hand them over for something that is inferior, or you’ll risk losing your valuable inventory. 

It’s For Steam Wallet Funds 

Wrapping it up, the Steam community market is definitely worth checking out, and while you can sell a host of items, it’s not exactly money in your pocket. The money stays on Steam, and it can go towards other products on the platform. 

We wouldn’t recommend selling items on Steam as a way to earn income online, it’s more for adding some extra funds to your Steam Wallet. 

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