Steam content available for bitcoin

In the past much media hype was created whenever a company started to accept bitcoin. Oftentimes these news seemed to be an attention-grap by companies trying to push the awareness of a service or online-store. A few days ago however a company that doesn’t need a promotional push from the admittedly small bitcoin community began accepting bitcoin: The gaming giant Steam.

Steam is a pioneer in digital publishing of games. They did for games what iTunes did for the music market and they have currently 89 million users. According to Steams partner bitpay, the benefit for the gaming retailer is that it can more easily reach customers in markets where credit cards are not readily available.

I purchased a game to try it out. In my case there was a hiccup with the redirection and I had to try it two or three times until the bitcoin QR code was displayed in the Steam client, but other than that it worked like a charm.

I believe that this is a big step into a future where customers can expect media content of all sorts to be available for digital currency. However I don’t expect that subscrition based services like for instance the video streaming site Netflix will follow Steam’s lead anytime soon. There is simply too much money to be made from people forgetting or beeing to lazy to cancel a subscription and bitcoin is inherently incompatible with subscriptions.

Louis CK content available for bitcoin

The comedian Louis CK is one of the first content creators to utilize digital currencies in his online shop. For me personally this is actually a big deal, because he is my favourite comedian and I used to buy at his online shop prior to him adding bitcoin as a payment option. Now the bitcoin implementation makes purchasing his downloadable audio and video shows even easier.

The actor / comedian is known for trying out new and experimental distribution strategies for the content he produces. In December 2011 he decided to self-produce a one-hour comedy special and distribute it exclusively on his website louisck.net .

The move was very successfull. The Rolling Stone reported that downloads exceeded the 1 million dollar mark. In an act of “cutting out the middle-man” he removed distribution companies from the interaction with his fanbase. That is why he might have taken a liking to bitcoin, because the digital currency might enable him to do the same with the payment processors. For the moment though, he chose to use the service of Bitpay to process his bitcoin payments.

There is room for improvement though. The website still requires users to provide an email-address before they can purchase his content. This somewhat diminishes the main benefits of bitcoin payments in purchases of digital content. These are increased protection of data privacy and a better user experience by eliminating the need to divulge any personal data. However it is a good start!

Edit March 2016: There is a new show called “Horace And Pete” available now, with new episodes weekly.

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