Can I Buy Games on Steam with Bitcoin?
Online gaming is a major attraction, and the gaming community continues to grow pretty quickly. If you are a big fan of video games and would prefer to pay with cryptocurrency, you are probably among those willing to buy games on Steam using Bitcoin. But, is it possible? Is there such an option? Here, we answer these questions.
What is Steam?
The Steam platform is the largest digital distribution platform for video games for PC and mobile that was developed by Valve Corporation back in 2002. By early 2018, the service had over 150 million registered accounts.
Steam provides the user with installation and automatic updating of games, and community features such as friends lists and groups, cloud saving, and in-game voice and chat functionality. They call themselves ‘an ultimate entertainment platform’.
Steam Stops Accepting Bitcoin
Back in April 2016, Valve gave users an option of buying games with BTC. Valve has partnered with Bitcoin payment service Bitpay to bring everyone’s favorite cryptocurrency to games platform Steam. Bitpay says it was approached by the company because it wanted to internationalize its operation, making it easier for users in emerging markets to buy games without using a credit card.
However, in December 2017 the company made an announcement that they are not accepting Bitcoin payments anymore. They say it’s because the cryptocurrency comes with high transaction fees and fluctuates in value.
“Valve has no control over the amount of the fee. These fees result in unreasonably high costs for purchasing games when paying with Bitcoin. The high transaction fees cause even greater problems when the value of BTC itself drops dramatically,” the Steam Team writes.
When a user tried to check out a game with BTC, there’s only a certain amount of time the value was guaranteed. If the transaction wasn’t completed during it, then the buyer would need to pay more than first expected. This case led to two payments, meaning that the Bitcoin Network would charge the transaction fee twice, which could potentially cost $40 all in all excluding the game being purchased. Even then, there’s no assurance the user wouldn’t be underpaying again.
Even if the value of Bitcoin were to go up while the user completes the transaction, and Steam has to refund the difference to the user, the transaction fee must be paid by the user again for the refund.
Alternatives: how to buy Steam games with Bitcoins and altcoins
Nevertheless, there are still lots of people who are holding crypto and willing to spend it in a game purchase.
Steam platform has stopped accepting cryptocurrency for their services. However, alternative ways of buying games on Steam with cryptocurrencies are already available.
Bitrefill, the service that allows users to top up prepaid phones with cryptocurrency, is now allowing users to purchase Steam vouchers with BTC and Litecoin. It is a simple and quick alternative for gamers who were left disappointed by Valve’s decision.
The vouchers are denominated in Euros (€) and are valid all over the world — the voucher amount will instantly be converted to the currency on your Steam account.
Steam vouchers can be paid for through regular Bitcoin transactions, but also through off-chain payments with Coinbase, Xapo and LocalBitcoins accounts.
- G2A Games
G2A is an open platform that offers a variety of Steam game directly. A user can buy an individual game by paying a certain fee which is usually less than the original price on Steam. A user gets Steam keys which they can redeem on the original Steam client and can download their game later.
G2A accepts a variety of payment methods over 200+ including Bitcoin which is provided by Bitpay service. You can now buy a game with cryptocurrency.
Keep in mind that if you are paying with Bitcoins pay amount + transaction fee — it means you pay your own transaction fee, never deduct the fee from the original amount.
It is quite possible that Steam and major game platforms might continue accepting Bitcoin and altcoins for the purchase of games. But before all these some strong regulations on the cryptocurrency are yet to be revealed.