Rust has rolled out a Steam storefront for in-game items. Not a big deal you say? Certainly, it’s not the first Steam storefront to offer virtual gewgaws for money. What makes this notable is the fact that unlike the Team Fortress 2 or Counter-Strike: Global Offensive workshops, Rust’s store is not curated by Valve or modders. Facepunch Studios owns the content and gives a cut of sales to Valve, while sharing revenue directly with modders. The items featured in the store can be obtained through random drops in the game, but varying levels of rarity make some items more desirable than others. These items can be used by the player or bought and sold between players, with Valve again taking a portion of the sale. Studio head Garry Newman explained why this was a good deal for everyone, including the players that don’t have a lot of ready cash.
So you’ve got the poor guys with no money. They hate traditional microtransactions because it’s a paywall. But on Steam they play the game and get random drop items, and can then sell and trade those items on the marketplace. It’s not unfeasible that a player will make more money selling items than the game itself cost.
They’re happy because they can sell the stuff they get randomly for free, buy games from Steam.
They’re making people happy because they can buy stuff from them.
Newman added that not offering the items in the store would be “screwing” the community.