Valve has added a pre-pay Steam Wallet feature to the company’s hugely popular digital distribution platform Steam.
The system allows charging of a Steam account with money that "may be used for the purchase of any game on Steam or within a game that supports Steam transactions," Valve said. $100, $50, $25, $10 and $5 options can be found on the ‘add funds’ web page.
The company has remained tight lipped about plans for the service but it has resulted in speculation that it paves the way for high-street Steam game cards which could extend the demographic of the platform younger than those that own credit cards.
However it’s more likely that the "within a game that supports Steam transactions" is the telling phrase. Games can then more easily bill micro payments for content on pre-pay basis, possibly with free to play games. The system would also allow purchase of add-ons much like console games do with point systems.
Some gamers have greeted the news positively as it provides additional ways to pay when circumstances are problematic for the credit card based anti-fraud measures, such as when gamers live somewhere other than the billing address of a credit card.
Steam Wallet could also be used by parents to load up an account with an allowance which their children can spend on games as they see fit.
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