Steam has just launched their summer sale to run until the 22nd of July. As usual the sale is broken down into two sections. Daily sales which change over every 24 hours at 6pm UK time and flash sales of 3 or 4 games which change over every 8 hours.
They have however also introduced a new twist called Steam Trading Cards.
Steam Trading Cards are virtual cards earned by playing games..making a purchase for ever $10…or trading… on Steam. Sets of cards can be turned into game badges and tradable Steam community items.
Play any of the participating Trading Card games to get trading cards. Up to half the card set is dropped through game play, the other half is earned through your collecting prowess.
Once you’ve collected a set of cards you can craft them into a game badge. Like the current badges, they are tied to your account and are shown on your profile. Unlike the current badges, crafting game badges earns you marketable items like emoticons, profile backgrounds, and coupons. Level up your badge by collecting the set again and earning more items.
Durin0badge crafting you’ll receive random rewards from a set of game related items. They are tradable and can only be used while you possess them.
“these could include” Profile backgrounds…game or DLC coupons….or…emoticons that can be used anywhere on Steam where you can type, like chat, discussions, and profiles.
So make a purchase or play specific games and get cards. Get a full set of cards and convert or craft them into a badge. Crafting into a badge gives bonuses, most notably game or DLC coupons. Our impression is that these are a long term feature being added to Steam, but it is possible depending on how you read the FAQ that they are only part of the Summer Sale. Either way if you are going to be purchasing anyway it makes sense to keep a eye on and maybe pick up some extra free goodies.