Yesterday, Valve rolled out the Steam Holiday Auction event. The complicated game involved turning Steam trading cards, emoticons, and wallpapers into gems, which could then be used as virtual currency to bid on games every 45 minutes. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for people to figure out that gems could also be indirectly resold for monetary value by turning them back into trading card booster packs at rates above the true cost of the gems. Faster than you can say “housing bubble” the gem market crashed and games were being purchased at well below their normal price. Additionally, Valve discovered that an exploit was being used to duplicate gems thereby undercutting the market.
Sorry, but there have been some issues with Gems and the Steam Holiday Auction has been temporarily closed. The elves are working frantically to get the issues sorted out, and the auction will start again as soon as they’re done.
What happens now is anyone’s guess. The original event was supposed to last until December 18th. Although gems are still in people’s inventories, there’s nothing to bid on. Isn’t it exciting to take part in economic experiments?