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Why does TF2 economy work?


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Why does TF2 economy work?

I've asked myself this question recently, after selling my backpack and finishing trading

I have been thinking for few days to find answer, but it still isn't clear for me. Why is that possible to get real money for unreal items?

 

I've got my first unusual Circling Peace Sign Janissary Ketche on July-August 2016, it was valued at 8 keys. since then my trading career started. There were both active and passive times of my trading, but everything my inventory was doing is rising. Then it reached the value of $3,500+.

 

But how? How could have I collected that much? Who invested in this game, why isn't economy empty yet? Because it refreshes, or no?

 

Hope, I'll find an answer here...

 

 

tf2economy.png

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1 hour ago, VertPol said:

Why does TF2 economy work?

I've asked myself this question recently, after selling my backpack and finishing trading

I have been thinking for few days to find answer, but it still isn't clear for me. Why is that possible to get real money for unreal items?

 

I've got my first unusual Circling Peace Sign Janissary Ketche on July-August 2016, it was valued at 8 keys. since then my trading career started. There were both active and passive times of my trading, but everything my inventory was doing is rising. Then it reached the value of $3,500+.

 

But how? How could have I collected that much? Who invested in this game, why isn't economy empty yet? Because it refreshes, or no?

 

Hope, I'll find an answer here...

 

 

tf2economy.png

 

It's possible to get real money for virtual items because people are willing to buy them with actual money. Simple as that

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Vrakos Anthrakir

Ever bought a game on steam?  That's not a "real" item either. 

(I'm presuming you're using "real" to mean physical)

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23 hours ago, VertPol said:

Why does TF2 economy work?

I've asked myself this question recently, after selling my backpack and finishing trading

I have been thinking for few days to find answer, but it still isn't clear for me. Why is that possible to get real money for unreal items?

 

I've got my first unusual Circling Peace Sign Janissary Ketche on July-August 2016, it was valued at 8 keys. since then my trading career started. There were both active and passive times of my trading, but everything my inventory was doing is rising. Then it reached the value of $3,500+.

 

But how? How could have I collected that much? Who invested in this game, why isn't economy empty yet? Because it refreshes, or no?

 

Hope, I'll find an answer here...

 

 

tf2economy.png

TF2 items (at least the expensive ones) are collectibles, so they follow the same principles as other collectibles. Yes, tf2 items are materially just numbers in a company's database, but old stamps or sports cards are materially just pieces of paper, yet they can be worth much more than any tf2 item. A fake sports card, even if indistinguishable from the genuine article without advanced instruments, is still worth much less than the real one because the value has nothing to do with the physical item itself. The value comes from the history of the item and what is implied by ownership of it. Both of these are mental effects, so it shouldn't be surprising that things that have no practical value can still have high collectible value. This also explains why certain rare duped tf2 items are worth significantly less than clean ones, even though there is no way to tell without an item history engine like backpack.tf whether an item is duped - if the backpack.tf database were to be lost, no one would be able to tell which items are duped. It's all in people's heads, nothing to do with practical value (the already dubious practical value of tf2 items being the ability to wear them in-game).

 

As for who invested in this game - people with jobs. Compared to other collectible or hobby markets, the tf2 economy is quite small. The highest value tf2 inventory is in the range of $200,000, which is not unheard of as a year's professional or management salary in developed countries, roughly equivalent to a few collectible cars, or a few luxury watches, or less than half of the single most expensive Magic: The Gathering card. The recent rise in halloween effects and miscs is due to timing, I think. All the kids and early teenagers who played tf2 seriously around its real peak in ~2013 now have jobs (or stimulus cheques), and they've realised that their dream unusual isn't really that expensive for an adult. Also, due to the current situation it's difficult to spend money on 'experiences', so people buy stuff they can enjoy from home instead.

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  • 4 weeks later...

It's all about supply and demand really. Person A owns X item, person B wants it. There you have it. Supply = X item, demand = person B that wants the hat. 
As with any transaction (unless gift/loan), there's something exchanged. In real life, this has been currency/money ever since we stopped trading cows for pigs. In TF2 that's either other unusuals/items or TF2 currency (keys). It's the same principle. We chose to have an acceptable currency in real life to make exchanging of goods more convenient and in TF2 the same happens.

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One thing about TF2 is it seems to have a large population of rather old players that have their own successful company or a senior software engineer job or something super high paying like that. Very easy to play MvM or engineer as an old person.

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