Have you ever wondered what would happen if the X-Box 360 achievement system and the PlayStation 3 trophy level-up system would get together inside a dirty ditch in the dark and do the nasty? Well, it would probably birth a truly diabolical child like... the upcoming "Steam Trading Card" system that is still in its beta phase. I have mentioned in the past that Steam definitely has the best "task unlocker" system in the business because of its ability to pinpoint the percentage of players who own each individual Steam achievements. This new system however may make Steam users as fanatical and crazed as those console achievement/trophy whores. Basically, you will get cards for playing supported games and those cards can then be crafted into game badges. The badges have experience points that will be used to level up your profile. Not only that, the badges can also reward you with cool "marketable items" like profile customization and game discounts. Before you cry "Here comes death to true gaming", Valve ensures that the whole activity would become more meaningful because instead of getting players to whore and abandon one game for the next, from my understanding, the system actually encourages you to keep replaying your games because you can continuously earn cards that way. What was that? A task unlocker system that lengthens your gameplay time instead of shorten the lifespan of your games? That is just brilliant. Unfortunately I am not a part of this beta yet but I cannot wait to get my invitation email. It's definitely time that Steam improves its achievement system, especially with Electronic Arts starting to trail closely behind them...
On the consoles, the focus is the whoring. Here, it's all about the crafting.
Update Note: 05/16/2013 - I am finally in! I have 3 beta access to give away. Just contact me here or directly on Steam if you would like to receive one.
05/17/2013 - It looks like there is a limit on how many cards will drop per participating games and individually, it is impossible to craft a badge by just playing the game because the limit only allows you to generally get half of what is required. The system encourages trading with the community, as the name implies, so I am a bit disappointed that they just won't allow repeat crafting or card drops. Still, this new feature is just an enhancement to what's already there and adds more value to games that support it.