With December being one of the busiest times for the gaming industry, Steams move is an interesting one, but one that raises mild concern for PC gamers on the platform.
Another issue with Bitcoin are the transaction fees. The company cited the volatility in the value of the digital currency and high fees as the main reasons why it dropped support for Bitcoin. However, Valve's decision is not only understandable, but something that's for the good of both Steam and its clients.
"...transaction fees that are charged to the customer by the Bitcoin network have skyrocketed this year, topping out at close to $20 a transaction last week (compared to roughly $0.20 when we initially enabled Bitcoin)", Steam said in its blog post.
Bitcoin has been dominating the news a lot lately, thanks mostly the the extreme fluctuations it's been making in value. "This creates a problem for customers trying to purchase games with Bitcoin". As the statement on Steam notes, Bitcoin's value is only guaranteed for a fleeting amount of time, and if a particular sale isn't completed during that time, the price of an item in Bitcoin can drastically change. Ideally, the value of Bitcoin would remain stagnant from the transaction's start to its finish, but recent jumps in the currency's volatility mean that the Bitcoin value of a purchase can rapidly change before some transactions are able to finish. When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network. "This year, we've seen increasing number of customers get into this slate".
Steam described how the rapid rise and fall of Bitcoin versus the United States dollar has impacted users trying to buy games with the cryptocurrency.
Steam has decided that it is no longer feasible to support Bitcoin as a method of payment and it looks like from now on you'll need to use a different payment service to buy your Steam games.
Valve went on to explain that due to the volatility in the value of Bitcoin, there could be a significant difference in the amount that was paid by the consumer and the amount that will reach the company since it takes time to process transactions.