Steam, it is beloved the world over and for good reason. Valve does many things right, and what it doesn’t get right, it either builds on until it is or it sees an opportunity to change the standard and make it better. This week heralds a new update that will borrow some ideas but improves upon it and makes it its own, with the launch of Steam Virtual Trading Cards.
Steam users will be able to collect cards that can be used to craft game badges which will then earn them marketable items, emoticons, profile backgrounds, and coupons. This can be further improved upon by collecting the set of cards again and earning additional items. Game badges now have XP which contributes to your overall Steam Level.
This new system will allow you to customize your profile to showcase your favorite games, items up for trade, workshop mods, Greenlight submissions and maybe a few favorite screenshots. The friend list will also be overhauled so when someone hovers over your name it will bring up your badges and Steam level with the new mini profile.
The profile is the biggest change in this cadre of options. Our own Editor-in-Heat… I mean Chief, has taken part in the beta and quite frankly it looks so much cleaner. If you wish to take part in the beta just follow the Steam Trading Cards Group and an email notification will be sent to you (but be aware, it might take time).
There is currently no information about when this new feature will go live. However, considering we took a quick first look on Big Picture in September of last year and then it was released in December; I can’t imagine this will be released anytime soon. I am personally thrilled to see these visual updates but I am cautious to accept this whole badge thing without trying it out for myself.
The only parallel I can draw directly to is Raptr, which does fall short in the feature department if you ask me, but it does have a few things I hope to see here – such as the option to sort games by genre, time played and showing me how I rank among my friends after I finish playing, just to name a few. Feel free to tell us your thoughts on the new update and what you hope to see when it does finally go live, in the comments below.