Well it turns out Steam wants to be the new Netflix. I wouldn’t have known, looking at my Steam Store page, but other countries appear to have a banner saying that a bunch of movies by Lionsgate are available for streaming. I wouldn’t have actually known about this had General_B not told me about it, but there’s literally no trace of this existing at all. Also Cyprus is a country, dammit.
This isn’t the first time Steam has tried stuff like this. We’ve had movies on Steam before, the Meet the Team videos are all available for download, as is the big Dota 2 documentary, Free to Play, and many other things like that. There’s also the weird manga-style visual novels, some of which appear to be made for the groin rather than the brain. This is different though. Lionsgate make movies. And for reasons unknown, they’re on Steam.
There’s an FAQ here. It’s literally just paying to stream videos. Currently though, you can only stream the movies – like Netflix, and they seem kinda expensive. There’s no option to download any of the films you can currently purchase. According to the FAQ, there’s been the option to rent movies since November last year, but I really didn’t know that was a thing. Was it a thing?
There’s also very little choice currently. Below are the only films available for me to see, and none of them are, um, well… They all look pretty shitty. Also where is Return of the Living Dead 1 and 2?
Clicking on any of these takes you to a standard Steam page, with a trailer, screenshots, tags, everything like that. There’s not much to say about any of it. It’s all pretty standard. But the current selection is pretty poor.
Finally, all these purchases are non-refundable. You can’t get a refund on them. Which goes against things like EU law and the spirit of these things. The reasoning, as stated here, doesn’t explain why, it just says they can’t give refunds. Probably because of the deal between Valve and Lionsgate or something.
Maybe this is Steam’s next big thing, alongside all Valve’s other next big things. But will this work? Valve tried getting into other media before – music in particular, and it didn’t really work at all. Steam hardware has been slow too. Maybe if Valve can get the rights and stuff for some actually good, interesting stuff, then maybe they can pull it off. But they’d need some genuinely very good stuff.
Problem is, we HAVE some videos on Steam already, like Kung Fury, probably one of the best films ever, as well as some more… indie films, and tutorials and stuff. Having big name companies will just drown them all out, even if some of these movies are on the pricey side of things.
I really, really doubt anyone is going to pay $4 for big name movies anyway, when people can just get this stuff and more from a subscription to Netflix or other streaming site of choice. Or get it for free via… more dubious methods.
I… I don’t give this very long at all.