Soon after Valve launched its first-ever Steam “Holiday Auction” on Thursday night, the company placed the bidding on hold due to an issue with its online currency. The event is a precursor to the highly anticipated Steam Winter Sale, which may kick off next week.
The auction began innocently enough as an online trading post where Valve promised to give out 100 copies of nearly 2,000 games to users who were willing to trade their unwanted virtual items for Gems, a virtual currency system.
Gems can be obtained by trading in Steam community items like custom backgrounds, in-game items and trading cards. Within hours, Valve took the holiday auction offline, due to a number of problems with users exploiting the currency system and issues with transactions simply not going through.
A Reddit post about the failed Steam event currently has hundreds of comments from frustrated users. Steam responded with a post that read, “Sorry, but there have been some issues with Gems and the Steam holiday auction has been temporarily closed.”
Many users complained about Gems simply disappearing from their accounts, a glitch that Steam said it is correcting. “They have to realize they are a gigantic company with customers they can't just keep in the dark, especially when our money is involved,” user Comrade_Daedalus said on Reddit. “I mean apparently the Gems are back in our inventories, but still. It just seems unprofessional.”
Valve also shut down the auction due to the amount of players who were exploiting it by artificially increasing their Gem count, leading to higher chances of winning Steam games next week. Valve hasn’t confirmed if and when the holiday auction will continue. Company representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.