Steam Item Stores allow for developers to sell in-game items quickly and easily.
Steam has recently added a new feature called the Item Store. Developers can choose whether or not they want to add an Item Store for their game. These Item Stores help the developers with managing microtransactions, and make it so that they don't need to build a store from scratch. Valve makes it easy for them, and for players, as you can purchase items through the Steam client. These items are then instantly added to the players inventory.
Garry's Mod developer Facepunch Studios is the first developer to hop on this bandwagon. They have created a Steam Item Store for their game Rust. They are selling skins for the guns and gear within the game. A majority of these skins cost $2.49, with some topping $4.99. These are purely cosmetic changes, and do not effect stats. This items can be traded and marketed within Steam.
Another benefit of Steam Item Stores is that it makes it very easy for developers to work with modders to
create items to sell. These Steam item Stores tie in with the Steam workshop perfectly. Players can create an item within the Steam Workshop, then contact the game developer. If the developer is impressed, they can then put it for sale via the Steam Item Store. Players can then buy the item and add it to their Steam Inventory.
However, as seamless and easy as these interconnected features sound, there is still an overarching problem. Steam is essentially advocating for developers to add microtransactions to their games, something that gamers almost unanimously dislike. Also, this feature is mainly pointed toward Indie developers, since big name developers will simply build their own microtransaction shops. Should Steam be pushing these microstransaction shops on developers?
Plus, how is this any different than paid-DLC? Bethesda tried selling DLC in the Steam Workshop, and changed their minds after two days due to the horrible backlash. How is this different? Microtransactions are different than paid DLC, mainly consisting of cosmetic items and in-game currencies, but what's stopping developers from going beyond that? Nothing.
Steam Item Stores seem to be an incentive for developers to use microtransactions. Also, any money
made from a player-made creation will be split between the developer and the player who created it. This gives players incentive to create things, and developers an incentive to sell them, since money will go to both parties. However, this just feels like one massive push for microtransactions and paid-DLC within Steam.