Steam is a service run by Valve that sells digital copies of computer games and software. After setting up an account and buying something from the Steam marketplace, it gets added to your library. You can then download it to your computer in order to play it.

Buying games on Steam can be one of the cheapest ways to go. Digital distribution means Valve and the developers don't need to pay for store space or manufacturing game discs and packaging. This means Valve is able to reach a wider audience and sell their products at lower prices than brick-and-mortar stores.

Despite having lower prices than some of their competitors, the cost of buying games on Steam can quickly add up. During Steam Sales, some titles come down to less than a couple of dollars each, but with hundreds on sale, building a sizable collection can cost hundreds of dollars. One of the downsides of digital distribution is that you can't resell or trade in games that you finished, didn't like or have finished playing. Games that are attached to your Steam account are there for good.

So if you can't sell your old Steam games, how can you recoup some of the costs of buying them and make some money to buy new ones? There are a few different ways people have been using to varying degrees of profit and success.

1) Sell Your Steam Trading Cards

Steam trading cards were released as fun collectibles. Full sets can be traded in for badges, emoticons and wallpapers to decorate your Steam profile. If you aren't interested in collecting them yourself, you can sell these cards on the Steam marketplace for several cents to a few dollars each, depending on rarity. It's unlikely the value of the cards you get will be higher than the value of the game itself, but newly released cards can be quite valuable.

Dead Rising 3
Amazon Price: $49.99 $16.51 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 21, 2016)
You can still stick to physical copies of games if you want to sell or trade them later.

2) Write Game Reviews, Walkthroughs and Related Articles

Games reviews can be quite popular, particularly for new games. People want to know what others think of the game and if it would be worth playing. If you write for articles such as Infobarrel, a percentage of the advertising profits goes directly to you. Income may start small, but over time you may find that your articles and reviews gain traction and more views will equal more revenue.

3) Stream Gameplay or Make a Youtube Video

Watching people play games is becoming increasingly popular. Make a review as a video, make a walkthrough or upload a Let's Play and you could be drawing in advertising revenue from your viewers. Some popular games reviewers even get sent gifts from fans or game developers. The more effort you put in and the more quality content you provide, the more money you stand to make.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor - Xbox 360
Amazon Price: $19.99 $10.86 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 21, 2016)
New titles with an established fanbase (such as Lord of the Rings) make great topics to create content about. The hype is there.

4) Take Advantage of 4-Packs

Some games occasionally have sales where you can buy four copies for a lower price than if you were to buy them separately. This deal tends to be most common on co-op games, and usually equates to four for the price of three. You can split the cost of the pack with your friends, or save extra copies in your gift library to trade for other Steam games.

5) Sell In-Game Items on the Steam Marketplace

Certain games drop loot that you can trade or sell on the Steam marketplace. Dota 2 is free to play and offers sellable items. You get a chance for a random item drop after each game and one item drop each time you level up your Dota 2 profile. Other games such as Counterstrike: Global Offensive and Battleblock Theater that can drop sellable items. If you enjoy playing, they can be useful to fund your collection.

Cat Guard Piggy Bank
Amazon Price: $20.00 Buy Now
(price as of Nov 21, 2016)
You can even use this Battleblock Theater Piggy Bank to store your extra cash!

6) Game Competitions and Tournaments

If you think you're pretty good at a particular game, playing competitively might be for you. Professional tournaments can have prizes in the millions of dollars. Alternatively, if you aren't quite at pro level, set up a tournament with people you know. Everyone puts an entry fee of a few dollars into the pot and competes for the prize. This can be riskier than the other methods of making money by gaming, but can also be very fun, and a good way to make an old game more exciting again.

These are only a few of the ways you can recoup the costs of your video game collection, but they're an excellent place to get started. The more money you make from following these tips, the more you can play completely free.