There is now another, more traditional method of buying PC games with Bitcoin. Green Man Gaming quietly began accepting the digital currency early last month.
Besides accepting Bitcoin, Green Man Gaming is unique because it allows customers to sell the digital rights of their game back to Green Man Gaming if it is purchased on the affiliated Playfire distribution platform. That comes back in the form of credit. Games cannot currently be sold for Bitcoin.
Deals aren't limited to the Playfire platform, as deals for games on Valve's Steam and EA's Origin are included, as well as DRM-free games. Bitcoin is now a payment option for “customers who currently pay in USD,” meaning that, for now, international customers may be out of luck, although they could try to mess around with their profile settings. There is nothing that says Bitcoin payments are limited to US customers, only those who have their purchases denominated in USD.
This news represents another removal of friction between Bitcoin users and the digital video game economy. Last month, Microsoft began accepting Bitcoin for digital purchases, including games on its Games for Windows and Xbox Live platforms.
Steam users, however, have until recently been shut out of the Bitcoin experience. A few bundle sites accept Bitcoin, and there have always been Steam gift card resellers, and even a few sites dedicated to selling Steam keys for Bitcoin. But Green Man Gaming is an established, mainstream DRM reseller and uses that established presence to nab some impressive deals.
There is also the added bonus that every Green Man Gaming customer, many of whom are likely not current Bitcoin users, will see it as an option at checkout. That amounts to free advertising for Bitcoin.
We have reached out to Green Man Gaming for comment and have not yet heard back, but the original blog post is from early December. Clearly, this is a story that we missed, but it is worth noting because digital distribution is what Bitcoin was essentially designed to facilitate first and foremost. It isn't immediately clear what payment processor Green Man Gaming is using, or whether it has developed its own system for accepting Bitcoin payments. They also kept open the possibility of accepting other cryptocurrencies in the future.
The next step for PC gaming and Bitcoin may be getting Steam itself to accept Bitcoin directly. Founder Gabe Newell expressed some reservations about the idea during a Reddit AMA back in March, citing stability concerns. With both his competition and an increasing number of resellers accepting the digital currency, he may have reason to reconsider.
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