Q: GabeN, what are your specs?
A: Well, I’m a handsome man with a charming personality.
However, one redditor, platonicplates, asked about the possibility Valve accepting Bitcoin on Steam.
Q: If there was enough community interest, would Valve accept crypto-currency such as dogecoin or bitcoin on Steam?
A: There are two related issues: one is treating a crypto-currency as another currency type that we support and the broader issue is monetary behaviors of game economies. The first issue is more about crypto-currencies stabilizing as mediums of account.
It looks like Newell, (GabeNewellBellevue on reddit), isn’t too eager to accept Bitcoin as a form of payment on Steam. The gaming platform and online store currently only accepts traditional forms of digital payment such as credit card and PayPal. Due to Gabe’s issues such as cryptocurrencies’ volatility, Steam is unlikely to add online currencies such as Bitcoin and Litecoin as methods of payment.
While it may seem easy to dismiss Valve as another company lagging behind Bitcoin adoption and not understanding how cryptocurrencies work, this may not be the case. First of all, Valve is a hugely successful corporation, worth about $3 billion. Furthermore, Newell and company know how to work in the gaming economy. Unlike other gaming corporations like EA, Valve often has huge sales, free DLC (downloadable in-game content), and more. And while it may seem like this would result in a decrease in profit, the exact opposite seems to be true.
“The sale is a highly promoted event… We do a 75 percent price reduction…what we saw was our gross revenue increased by a factor of 40. Not 40 percent, but a factor of 40. Which is completely not predicted by our previous experience with silent price variation.”
Valve actually makes more money by selling their games for less. Furthermore, a few years ago the company made Team Fortress 2 permanently free, a highly popular game that used to cost $20. Instead of seeing a decrease in annual profit, Valve once again saw an increase with new players spending hundreds of dollars on in-game items such as weapons and hats.
Additionally, Valve doesn’t pester users with anti-piracy technologies like DRM, and instead focuses on offering a great service.
“The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates.”
All things considered, it’s clear that Valve knows how to make a ton of money in novel, unique ways. As such, if Gabe Newell doesn’t think that supporting cryptocurrencies on Steam is such a good idea, perhaps it really isn’t.
In the meantime, for gamers looking to use Bitcoin with Steam, there are still a couple of options. Websites such as SteamBits offer Steam games for sale in Bitcoin. Another site, Steam Loader, allows users to purchase Steam gift card codes in BTC. Furthermore, the Humble Indie Bundle often offers pay-what-you want indie game bundles, and Bitcoin payments are accepted. Humble Bundle also recently launched the Humble Store, which offers several indie games for sale (with Steam keys and Bitcoin payments, of course).
Bitcoin is still an incredibly volatile currency that most of the world doesn’t entirely understand. But while it seems unlikely that Steam will support Bitcoin payments in the near future, gamers still have several options.
(By the way, that’s a Half-Life 2 reference above, in case you missed it.)
Last modified: March 6, 2014 10:34 UTC