Hunger Games And Other Movies Come To Steam, Which Is Not A Great Place To Watch Movies

Hunger Games And Other Movies Come To Steam, Which Is Not A Great Place To Watch Movies

Steam has had a movie section for a little while now, but for the most part it’s been home to indie flicks and Naruto. Recently, though, that’s been changing. Case in point: Lionsgate just added 100 movies to Steam, including Hunger Games and Twilight. While Lionsgate’s mess of moving pictures varies in quality (Reservoir Dogs! Cabin in the Woods! …Blue Mountain State), it’s nothing to sneeze at. You can view the full selection here. Certainly, I can understand why this move makes sense for Lionsgate. Steam has 125 million users. That’s 250 million eyeballs, give or a take few, to watch your movies. There’s gold in them thar hills, in other words.

I just don’t understand the appeal for John Q Steamuser (pronounced “stee-muser”, obviously). Problem one: many movies on Steam are only available to rent, and the prices aren’t exactly tempting. Pricing is inconsistent, but for $US4 ($5), $US5 ($6), $US6 ($8) or sometimes $US7 ($9), you can watch a single movie for 48 hours. Some movies include a purchase option for anything from a few dollars more to double or triple the rental price. It’s about in line with something like Amazon Video, except with more hardware restrictions and a significantly smaller selection.

If you rent two or three movies, you’re already at the price of a one-month Netflix payment ($8.99+ depending on your plan). Stan is similarly priced. Both are also slicker and better organised, and their selections are much larger. Even Steam’s new movies are in regular rotation on subscription services. They haven’t added anything like, say, Star Wars or The Revenant.

Also, while the aforementioned services allow you to stream to other devices (phones, tablets and so on), Steam movies only work with different types of computer. You can use Steam Link or a similar device to put them on your TV screen, but that’s a hassle compared to what other services offer. Oh, and to hear Steam users tell it, there’s some serious region locking on many of these films, too.

If you only ever watch movies sporadically or feel the need to own the handful of movies Steam lets you buy (reminder: you don’t actually own anything you purchase on Steam), I could understand using Steam for your viewing pleasure. If not, though, what’s the point? There are better options just a couple clicks away. Maybe if Steam expands its selection to include movies that aren’t streaming on subscription services, things will be better. Until then, it’s a crack in the service’s armour.


    • Valve likes money more than it likes making games.

      Which is fine because the people running that show aren’t young artists any more, they’re adults and parents and people who want to retire to the yacht on the lake on their private Island.

      • I’m not talking about the game side of things. Just that steam itself has become a bloated mess with poor UI

  • By “over 100” titles, you mean “just 11” right?

    I only see 11 movies on the “Australian” Steam Store.

    • Over 100 have been added, but due to the region locking issues mentioned in the article only 11 are available in Australia.

      • This is why I love the tangled mess that is digital distribution. Sure I wouldn’t want to use Steam for renting movies over the many other services I have, but seriously…..only 11 out of the 100 available in Aus?

        We’re not even talking about all-you-can-eat services like Netflix, this is paying for a specific movie rental. Surely there shouldn’t be issues with availability. Back in the day (I can’t believe I can say that now. you didn’t have as many issues at Video Rental Stores…..

        If I wanted to rent Toy Story, the only thing stopping me would be if they physically ran out of copies because they are all rented out for the evening.

      • And the sooner we get rid of ridiculous laws enabling things like region locking and protectionist behaviour from companies like Foxtel trying to maintain their monopolies, the sooner we remove some of the pieces of pie turning us into a backwater that is the laughing stock of the world.

        If only we could somehow get decent internet…

  • I’ve been touting the benefits of a ‘Steam for Movies’ service for a long time, but trying to smoosh it into Steam – THE GAMING PLATFORM – has been a ham-fisted implementation that does no-one any favours.

    If they’re going to do this thing they need to build it separate from the ground up, and do it right. There’s so much wrong with how they’re delivering the service right now that it’d be faster to try and figure out which things they’re doing right.

    In fact, I can’t think of any.

  • How long will what’s-her-face’s nose last if she keeps shooting her bow like that?

  • I will occasionally rent a movie from Google Play. Not everything is on Netflix AU or any other country. They often have half price promotions too. Much better than having to go to the Video Ezy or whatever and then remember to return the darn thing.

  • The most likely reason they’re doing this is to position Steam Machine consoles as more general purpose set top boxes, rather than targeting the PC market. You can rent/buy films on a PS4 or Xbox One, and now you can do the same on your Steam Machine.

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