The Steam economy is now even more complicated.
You know how some Steam games interface with the Community Marketplace, so you can buy, sell and trade items found in-game? Well, it turns out developers can run their own Item Stores offering random drop items for sale directly.
The key difference is that when you buy direct from the developer, the company keeps the money - whereas a community market purchase also benefits a fellow player, who found and elected to sell the item.
If you check out the Rust Item Store, the only one that exists at present, you'll see that the listing for individual items points players to the community marketplace, where prices may be higher or lower depending on supply and demand. Purchases from the Item Store can't be traded and sold for a week, reducing the chances of market upsets.
So it's basically just a microtransaction platform for cosmetic items, which you can also get via in-game drops, and can trade on the Marketplace in either case.
Facepunch boss Garry Newman told PC Gamer the Rust Item Store may eventually support community items, providing modders with a way to make money from their creations while splitting profits with developers. That's when things will get really interesting.