The Steam Sale is still pretty fresh in our memories and they are already throwing something new at us...
This time, instead of using 'real' currency, you are using gems which can be earned by trading in Steam inventory items. You can then use those gems to bid on one of a huge number of games. If you are the highest bidder when the auction closes... you win that game! Sounds simple huh?
Unfortunately, it's not quite as straight forward as you might like.
Firstly, finding anything you want and can actually afford is an absolute nightmare. There is no way to sort the list of 1998 titles by 'Current Bid' and with Steam restricting the visible list to 15 titles... that's 134 pages of games to trawl through to find something worthwhile!!! There is a search feature, but that's not much help if you only have a limited number of gems to spend.
Secondly, there is the sheer number of gems you need if you really want to participate (at least during this opening round). I had a good clear out of my inventory and managed to scrape together just over 3000 gems. Looking at the list, don't expect to pick up anything remotely interesting for less than 10000 gems, with titles like Skyrim and Counter-Strike Global Offensive currently listed at over 30000 gems. Given that most 'common' inventory items give you between 20 and 100 gems, that is a LOT of items, although there is quite a rush on the market place for cheap items worth 100 gems at the moment... why not just save yourself the hassle and BUY the game. And it is a hassle and you have to trade in your items. one. at. a. time (complete with confirmation prompt). It couldn't be more painful.
The scariest part? Someone currently has a bid on the "2014 Holiday Profile", which is a limited time feature for your Steam profile, ending on the 16th of January, for 117100 gems! Yes, you read that right... over a hundred thousand gems... AND THE AUCTION STILL HAS NEARLY THREE DAYS TO RUN!?! How, on earth, did this person manage to not only find enough inventory items to trade in... but also find the time to do so?! And why would anyone want to dedicate quite so much to a limited time Steam profile... does anyone even look at them?!
Of course, there is a chance that there is something fishy going on... especially given that Valve has already had a false start with the holiday auction and had to take it offline to resolve some "issues" with the gems. Let's hope that if that is the case, Valve are quick to deal with it.
In the meantime, head over to http://steamcommunity.com/auction and take a look.
UPDATE: Checked in on the auction for the Holiday Profile again today... it's now at 1205100 gems. That's right... 1.2 million gems. That's the equivenlent of 12000 backgrounds at 100 gems each. If the gem system isn't completely broken, the person bidding either has way too much time and/or way too much money!tags: auction, deals, rant, sale, steam, valve
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