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.