While Valve has hinted at it in the past, a recent interview with Gabe Newell on Eurogamer is keen on letting Steam users trade games and other items, saying that he sees games on this platform moving in a direction "where everything is an item of exchange."
Earlier this month, Valve added the ability on Steam to allow users to trade unplayed games among themselves. Newell said during that interview that the company's longer-term plans for Steam included allowing players to eventually trade in games through Steam. He also admitted that his company needed to "better understand" the concepts in play and if there is some sort of economic impact.
"We think we want to move in the direction where everything is an item of exchange," Newell said. "We just aren't totally sure how to do that right. We're sure there are economists out there who understand this really well. We feel like we're this third-world developing country. We've discovered rocks! And we've discovered sticks! And there's this other thing out there and we should move our economy in that direction. There must be somebody at the World Bank who can tell us what we ought to be doing. We just don't know what that is yet."
Valve already took the first step this month with Steam Trading, a program that lets users exchange in-game items and gifted titles with each other. The program launched with support for Team Fortress 2 items and games purchased as gifts in the Steam store, but Valve plans to add Portal 2 in-game items to the beta shortly. Once customers purchase a game as a gift (or receive an extra copy), they can trade it for the games or virtual items they want with any other users. Any "unopened" gift can be traded, with no restrictions on territory.