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Valve thinks we’ll pay $5 to rent movies on Steam

Steam is a destination the majority of PC gamers go to purchase digital games. The service has opened up more recently to include software other than games, as well as offering a few documentaries. But this week movies have been introduced in a not insignificant way, thanks to a licensing deal with publisher Lionsgate Entertainment.

Over 100 Lionsgate movies will be offered through Steam to US customers. Other territories will get some smaller collection made available. For example, in the UK we get 11 movies. You’ll be able to watch the movies on any platform Steam runs on, so Windows, Mac, SteamOS, and even SteamVR. The movie selection includes Hunger Games, Twilight, Saw, and Divergent franchises and will continue to grow.

Regardless of the title selection and supported platforms, the price of watching these movies is simply too high. Each (up to 1080p) movie rental costs between $4-$5 and allows access for 48 hours. Now compare that to a Netflix subscription which costs between $8-$12 per month and allows you to watch as many movies as you like, or the same for Amazon Prime at a cost of $10.99. Steam movies are simply too expensive and far too limited in terms of choice to even consider paying for.

Lionsgate has said it is doing this to “monetize its content across an expanding array of digital platforms.” Valve is clearly doing it to test the waters for movie rentals and a chunk of the market currently dominated by Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It will have to sort the pricing out if it wants to create a popular service, and even then a subscription-based approach is clearly going to be preferred by customers. There’s also the question of whether consumers will accept Steam as a platform for movies and TV shows, when it has so clearly been all about games since it first launched 12 years ago.

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