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Steam trading cards: what are they, what are they for and how can you earn money with them?


Steam trading cards: what are they, what are they for and how can you earn money with them?

Steam isn’t just a PC gamer’s mecca, it goes beyond being one of the most revered gaming venues and venues among the community. We have all used it at some time and some of us have not left this platform; but beyond playing, chatting or buying on sales, Steam includes many elements that the competition avoids and that fully involve the player. We are not talking about the achievements, something that all platforms have, but about the stickersa collectible that we have overlooked a thousand timesbut when we receive one we think, “what do i do with this?“.

Well, what if I told you that there is a lot, a lot behind one of the most unknown options on Steam. Therefore, we are going to divide this topic into 2, focusing first on what are the stickersthe guys and the market for these collectible cards; and then we’ll move on to insignia Y what are they for when customizing our player profile.

What are Steam trading cards?

The cards are a collectible item associated with our player profile and that we obtainof course, Playing to the titles of our library. Put like that, they don’t seem very different from the cards we had as a child, and it’s just that they don’t stray too far from that concept. They are collections of images with which we will show other players our vices on Steam. Each game includes a certain number of cards, and when completing the “deck”, we will be given a badge evidencing that, congratulations!, you have them all.

Of course, not all games give you trading cards. Although Steam has approximately 44,000 games, “only” 13,616 will give us “Steam Trading Cards”. In fact, to know which ones do and which ones don’t, all we have to do is take a look at the game information on the right side, in the same table where the genre of the game or the players are indicated.

If it has stickers or not, it will always appear in the right corner, just above the language

How do you get the cards? Here is the million dollar question, one as simple as it is difficult to explain due to its nuances. In this case, Steam divide your games into 2 categories paying attention to the cards to get: paid games and games free to play or free.

If you redeem a gift or a press game key, it will count as what it is: a paid game

Get cards in paid games

Let’s go with the basics: just play one of the titles you buy, and you will have half the collection in your inventory. Let’s take Elden Ring as an example. The souls from FromSoftware is compatible with this system and has 7 stickers to unlock. As we have commented before, half of the collection will be given to us just for playing; even though it’s random each hour of play is usually equivalent to a gift card.

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With half of the set done (in the case of Elden Ring, since half of 7 is 3.5, Steam counts it down and only playing will give us 3 cards), there will still be as many cards left. How do you get it? Here is the “problem”. At this point, Steam will offer us the possibility of obtaining 3 more with the so-called “Reinforcement Pack”. These sticker packs are random and they will come in handy to get closer to filling our set, but they can also be sold to other players as we will see when we talk about the market.

Image from Steam (Valve)

The “Reinforcement Packs” will always give us 3 random cards

The sum is simple, and it is that with the 3 Elden Ring stickers to play plus the other trio of the “Reinforcement Pack”, we will have made 6 stickers. Missing 1, right? The remaining (can be several) to fill the list and get a badge must be shop at the community store either to exchange with other players. This is mandatory, there is no other option to follow.

Get trading cards in free games

Here things get a little more complicated. By not paying for these titles at first, Valve does not count the hours of play but the internal purchases that we make. In my case, in Warframe I don’t have any cards unlocked because I haven’t spent any money in the game. Still, the average (again somewhat random) usually imply an expense of 10 euros in microtransactions, skins or any content in game, to obtain 1 chrome. If Warframe has 8 cards, the math is easy.

Like paid games, too you can complete the set on the steam market and earn trading cards “on the fly” by buying them from other players. In this case, by not receiving cards for playing, we can buy the ones we want or exchange them with those who need a certain collectible.

Reflective stickers and their uses

Image from Steam (Valve)

Although, as we have already seen, trading cards are aesthetic elements that have no benefit (at least not alone), there are different types: the so-called reflective stickers. These can be obtained once you pass level 10 of your Steam account (later we will see how you level up and what they mean for us), and as you can see from the Elex 2 Nyra chrome, its sale price in the Steam market, as well as its worth in gems, it is significantly higher.

What can be done with them? Here comes the decision of each one. In this case, Nyra’s reflective chrome is part of the Elex 2 badge, so getting rid of it would mean losing progress. However, selling it on the market (we will see how to do it below) would give us 2.46 euro to our Steam wallet; either we can transform it into gems and we would get 260. The decision is ours. They are our stickers.

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In this case, we are talking about a highly random card. To put you in context, Elex 2 did not take me more than a few hours in the face of playable impressions in 2022, so I didn’t spend more than 10 hours in the game. Obtaining this letter has been “by luck”.

What are Steam Gems?

We have mentioned it before and, as you have been able to deduce, they are fully associated with the stickers. The cards, as in real life, can be repeated. It may be possible, like me, to have 3 stickers of the Batmobile from Batman: Arkham Knight, so I can get rid of 2 of them without problems. Since they sell very low on the Steam market – it’s very easy to get and there’s a lot of supply, but little demand – I may decide to exchange them for gems.

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This sticker recycling gives us a certain number of gems (in this case 22, a very low number) that we can use to get “Reinforcement Pack” from other games. Of course, it is not as simple as it sounds, and it is that in the case of some gamestransform them into “Reinforcement Packs” can cost several hundredeven thousands of gems.

Image from Steam (Valve)

If we click on the gems in the inventory, we can select “Create booster pack…”

How does the trading card market work on Steam?

Let us refer to Loki chrome in Warframe. As you can see, I can’t access the store because I haven’t made a purchase on Steam in the last year (there’s too much to play and lots of gifts, what can you do). Here is the first requirement: you must have spent money with your account in a game, DLC or content available on the Steam store During last year.

Overcome that “obstacle” we do scroll down and we will see the purchase and sale price of a chrome. In this case, the Loki chrome is sold for 0.03 centswhile if we want to buy it, the expense is 0.04 euros. This goes in value of the supply and demand, and it makes perfect sense that selling it implies less income than what we spend when buying it. You have to make a profit.

Image from Steam (Valve)

The sale price depends on the supply-demand, and the badges that the community has

With each sticker, you can keep track of recent activity as well as your ads. It must be made clear that you are not selling it to Steam, you are selling it to other players. In this case, there is 75,461 Loki stickers for saleso if you sell yours they may not buy it from you or take a while to complete the transaction.

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Badges and how they improve your Steam profile

Let’s put ourselves in the place of having completed the Elden Ring trading card set in its entirety. By getting all these cards, we can “crafting” a badge for our collection. This, in addition to giving us some value as players, because we are talking about something aesthetic and prestigious (something like an achievement associated with our account, not the game) will give us the following:

  • 100 experience points for our profile.
  • A profile background.
  • An emoticon of the game that is the cards.
  • The opportunity to get a discount coupon.
Image from Steam (Valve)

The insignia will crown our profile in the exhibitors if we want.

Except for the last point, all are elements for customize our profile. Do you remember that about “bragging about our achievements” from above? Badges help. They are medals for our profile. However, the important thing here is the experience points for the profile. This will improve the appearance of our account for other players and, ultimately, will grant us Benefits:

  • For every level we go up we will increase the maximum number of friends by 5 that we can have Basically, a player can have 250, while the total will be 2,000 friends.
  • For every 10 levelswe will win a exhibition space for our profile that we will fill at will to highlight, for example, the games completed or the reviews made.

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Yes indeed, level up our account to win all of the above and improve our presence within the community it costs, and a lot. Here you can see the list of levels to give you an idea of ​​how expensive it is:


necessary experience

Image from Steam (Valve)

LEVEL 1 -10

1,000 XP

Image from Steam (Valve)

LEVEL 11 – 20

3,000 XP

Image from Steam (Valve)

LEVEL 21 – 30

6,000 XP

Image from Steam (Valve)

LEVEL 31 – 40

10,000 XP

Image from Steam (Valve)

LEVEL 41 – 50

15,000 XP

Image from Steam (Valve)

LEVEL 331 – 400

591,600 XP

Buy XP or cosmetics for the profile on Steam

Of course, there is also a market for experience points and exhibitors “on this side of the pond”, but this one does have to do with Steam itself. Apart from the stickers, you can buy xp either exhibitors via points when you buy games, DLCs or anything on Steam with real money. Right now, each euro that you invest gives you 105 points that we can invest in funds or emojis that, otherwise, could only be achieved by leveling up, but also seasons medals. These are the ones that give XP for our account.

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