Purchasing films on Steam isn’t exactly a new idea, as titles such as Indie Game: The Movie have been available on the platform for quite some time. There has also been several web series available, like Mortal Kombat: Legacy and the Payday series, along with various independent films. But mainstream Hollywood films? Nope, and no one would think that’s a good idea following the rise of streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Presto.
Well, no one except Valve and Lionsgate apparently…
Steam users who logged on today were greeted with a notification informing them that they could now rent (keyword: rent) a selection of Lionsgate movies through the platform. Various reports state there are some 100 films available, including Lionsgate’s heavy hitting franchises such as The Hunger Games, Saw, Twilight, Divergent, Crank and The Cabin in the Woods, all of which which can be rented for 48 hours for prices ranging from around $US4 to $US7.
Leaving aside the fact that by the time you’ve rented two or three of these films you’ve pretty much paid for a Netflix subscription, the deal is even worse here in Australia. You see, those 100 odd films aren’t all available to Australian Steam users, or UK ones according to Reddit, we only get 11 of them. And which 11 would you guess they are after looking back at the franchises I listed above? Well, if you answered anything other than “the entire Leprechaun franchise, Blue Mountain State and Return of the Living Dead 3,” then congratulations for making better business decisions than Valve or Lionsgate regarding this venture.
And we’re also renting them in USD, because of course we are.
Valve have been making a push into our living rooms with the release of things like Steam Machine PCs and the Steam Controller (which is still not yet available in Australia), so adapting Steam into a multimedia platform isn’t too crazy an idea. Heck, the Playstation and Xbox stores do the same thing, but they actually offer quality content, charge in the local currency and your purchase, while arguably not granting ownership, at least licenses infinite viewings.
So come one Valve, you need to expand the selection, grant us “ownership” for our money and then you’ve done the bare minimum required to become a player in this market space. Until then, I’m going to go boot up Portal 2 again and tearfully reminisce about the good old days.