Gaming Platform Steam to Introduce Bitcoin Payments

Gaming Platform Steam to Introduce Bitcoin Payments

Online gaming distributor Steam is planning to accept bitcoin for all purchases, according to a message posted to its Steamworks Development group.

Also read: Crackle Previews Bitcoin-Inspired ‘Startup’ TV Series

Bitcoin Support Coming Soon

The post, dated April 21, does not list a specific date to start accepting bitcoin, but said parent company Valve Corporation was working with an external payment processor “to process bitcoin payments to help partners reach more customers on Steam.”

The message has been shared widely on social media, though not yet on Valve’s official pages. A company spokesperson confirmed to Bitcoin.com the announcement is authentic, but was not able to offer any more details on timing or the identity of the processor.

Registered developers may ask their own questions in Steamworks’ official developer forum.

As is typically the case with vendors accepting bitcoin payments, Valve itself will not hold any bitcoin itself, and all value volatility risk will be borne by the (as-yet unnamed) processor. Prices will continue to be listed in local currency.

Steam: Huge User Base

Steam is a multi-platform software distribution system that allows customers to save and update games, contacts, chat and social media data in the cloud. Sales are handled through the online Steam Store.

Accepting bitcoin would be another potentially large use-case for digital currency. According to Gamespot, Steam hit a record high number of concurrent users at the end of October 2015, with 12.5 logged into the platform. Its total registered user base, however, is some 125 million strong.

It is one of the world’s most popular PC gaming platforms – offering over 6,000 games for Windows users, over 2,000 for OS X and 1,500 for Linux. Users can manage their game libraries from other devices including mobiles, and game content can be stored in the cloud.

What Customers are Buying

steamSteam customers may have spent as much as $3.5 billion USD on games alone in 2015, although that spending estimate refers to game sales alone, not other paid downloadable content available in-game.

Tracking site SteamSpy lists the platform’s top games and retail prices. The current top sellers are the beta version for Don’t Starve Together with 4,106,024 users, and SpeedRunners with 1,043,098. Ranked content prices are in the range of $6.99 to $59.99.

Some third-party Steam key resellers have provided a bitcoin and other cryptocurrency payment options in the past, often in the form of gift cards. Offering direct payments would eliminate the need for that extra step, however, and give customers a more reliable option to pay.

Will adding another major online retailer to the fold have any effect on the bitcoin price? Would you shop for games on the Steam Store with bitcoin when it’s offered?


 

Images courtesy of Twitter, steamfreecodes.com

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Jon Southurst has been interested in bitcoin since reading Neal Stephenson's 'Cryptonomicon' in 2012. A long-time tech writer, he has been a regular contributor at CoinDesk and has written for Kaiko.com, DeepDotWeb and ancient print publications. He lives on an artificial island in Tokyo.