Most Indians had the grudge of not having a debit card or credit card with international usage enabled on it to used online. On several vendors, one of the most prominent of them being Steam. Steam is one of the largest online marketplaces for the sale of games and even hardware. There were of course, roundabout ways of paying using virtual credit cards, but the services used to charge a significant amount of money for using them. Due to the small size of the Indian gaming market, India used to have Steam pricing in US dollars, which was pretty screwed (as it was not ‘proportionately’ priced, considering the ‘economic conditions’ of the nation). The release of all major titles on Steam and even retail games offering Steam keys made many an Indian migrate to Steam, which forced them to launch regional pricing options in Indian rupees.
But yet, most Indians didn’t have access to cards with international usage enabled. This heralded the rise of a new scene of Steam traders, offering games region locked in India, or global copies, as Steam gifts. These included reapershop.com,golagames.com and steamz.co (several others exist, which I have not heard of, and I would be pleased to know more about them in the comments below). These sites offered several payment options including debit and credit cards without international usage, bank transfer, and even mobile wallets like PayTM, Airtel Money, Mobikwik, Oxigen,etc. Though aware of this gifting menace, Steam decided to ignore it (as it indirectly increased their sales as well!)
(Notice the ‘domestic’ options? They are the ‘Indian forms’ of payment!)
Gabe Newell is not a guy who sits ducks when it comes to increasing the profits of Valve Corporation, and benefitting buyers as well. So, they decide to team up with Novaplay.in (it’s a platform for the promotion of esports, particularly in DOTA 2 and Counter Strike :Global Offensive, along with a marketplace where you can buy accessories and even games), to offer Indians just what they wanted – a chance to buy using their own debit cards and credit cards. International usage required? No. What’s more, you can even pay using mobile wallets like PayTM! What’s more there even is a cash on delivery option that allows you to pay for your games using pure cash (cash will be collected from your doorstep!) However, on further investigation, there seemed to be a boundary of 500 INR on purchases (ie,you have to have games greater than 500 INR in your cart in order to use the cash on delivery option).
That’s indeed going to solve the “credit problem” which many people had (ie, lack of access to proper credit options). This is indeed a monumental judgement on Valve’s part. Is this going to affect sales of games? Is it going to increase the size and value of the Indian gaming market? Let us know in the comments below.