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Virtu-o-Purse: Valve's Confusing Steam Wallet

Don't pretend you don't wish you owned this purse, macho man

Do you like spending money? Yeah? Well, how about spending it without actually getting something in return? At least not right away. That’s the ethos behind Valve’s new Steam Wallet, which means you can lob cash into a virtualised account to use at a later date. Pay as you go gaming, essentially – put the money in now, spend it later. I’m a little lost as to the use of it (and the general inter-RPS response has been ‘guh?’), but possibly that’s because I’m a horrible middleclass pigdog who only buys games as and when he can afford them.

This is for guys who want to put a little aside specifically for future gaming purchases – or perhaps more usefully, for parents granting specialised pocket money to well-behaved children. “Well done for not kicking anyone in the face at school today, young Brian – I’ve left enough to buy Diner Dash 2 in your digi-wallet.”

Apparently you can buy promotional codes’n’that too, so it might make Christmas presents for gaming types who no longer require physical possessions because everything they want is now digital that much easier. Perhaps it’ll even lead to giftcards featuring cutesy Heavy artwork or pictures of GlaDOS wearing a money hat.

Fortunately, it hasn’t moved into the realm of virtual currency like Microsoftblobs or whatever that Xbox stuff’s called. Pure $$$, which mercifully relieves the need to translate 600 into £5.

To access Steam Wallet, you currently need to click this link, as they’re not flagging it up within the client as yet. Interestingly, you can also do it via your browser, which I guess supports the theory that it’s for parents/partners/symbiotic brain-slugs to buy gifts. Full roll-out soon, no doubt.

If you want to “do” “it” you can buy game credit in increments of $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100, which is £4, £8, £18, £35 and £70 in proper respectable money.

So: what uses, if any, do you lot envisage for Virtu-o-purse?

(Incidentally, Steam’s having a random crazy sale on the original Knights of the Old Republic, knocking 75% from its venerable frame. £1.75/$2.99, for today only.)

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Alec Meer

Senior Editor

Co-founder of RPS. Dungeon Keeper & X-COM 4 Life.

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