Buying PC Games With Bitcoin: Site Reviews
Back in 2015, I wrote what I thought would be an evergreen article on buying PC Games with Bitcoin. Since that time, a lot has changed. Steam started accepting bitcoin and then canceled it. Indie Game Stand has shut down completely. Green Man Gaming, while I couldn’t find any documentation of them canceling bitcoin payments, the option has vanished. And Humble Bundle, my top pick, first disabled bitcoin for “certain bundles” and then dropped cryptocurrencies entirely.
On the other hand, a few new places started accepting bitcoin, and I missed a few sites last time, so an updates seems to be in order.
The following is every Bitcoin accepting PC Game-Key site I could find, from resellers surrounded by controversy to bundle sites that have been a staple of the industry for years. The experience was an up and down one. A few sites worked better than I expected, while others were like throwing my bitcoins in a black hole and hoping a PC game would come out eventually.
I’ll be ranking my experience from worst to best.
It is also important to note that the negative experiences I encountered may not be due to the site themselves. In most cases it was because of a crappy payment processor. However, sites get to choose their Bitcoin payment processor and the customer does not. So, I have no choice but to judge the experience as a whole, including payment processor issues, even if the site is not directly responsible for the problem. First, here’s how to buy bitcoin.
G2A.com (Sixth Place):
[Disclaimer: link above is an affiliate link]
G2A has been a magnet for controversy in the gaming community. I don’t think all of it is warranted. Game developers don’t like the fact that people resell keys on there and they don’t get any cut from it. But, in most cases, the developer sold those keys themselves first. G2A is a reseller. The developer’s “cut” should come from the original sale. It isn’t the seller’s fault that the developer sold their keys at a discount.
If I buy some bananas from a farm, and then go and sell them to a grocery store, the farm doesn’t get to complain about not getting their cut from the sale to the grocery store. If I buy a TV at Walmart on black Friday and sell it on eBay two months later, Walmart doesn’t get to complain. So, I feel that the criticism about G2A not supporting developers is unwarranted. They made their sale. And if they sign up for G2A’s Direct program, they will make a percentage off of that second sale, something you won’t see anywhere else.
Where things get a little more warranted is the concern about stolen keys or keys purchased with stolen credit cards. But that is an argument for another article on another site. Just know that there is a chance, albeit a small one, that your key will have been purchased using a stolen credit card and that may in turn hurt the developer when the charge back comes. To G2A’s credit, they claim to be continually working on fraud issues.
While I don’t have a problem with G2A’s business practices like some others, the experience of using Bitcoin on G2A was awful. My first attempt honestly wasn’t their fault. I sent bitcoins using Coinbase, which was a big mistake. Coinbase waited a while before submitting the transaction. I don’t mean it took a long time for it to get confirmed on the blockchain, it didn’t enter the mempool for almost an hour. Obviously, that invoice was canceled by the time my Bitcoins were sent.
So, having learned my lesson, I submitted a ticket to G2A and then decided to try again using a local wallet. This time the transaction was submitted right away and G2A’s bitcoin processor, BitBay, acknowledged that fact. Yet somehow, the transaction still failed according to BitBay.
While G2A’s customer service was reasonably quick, all they could do was point me towards BitBay and give me some information on the transaction. It took several days for BitBay to respond. Their response did not make much sense.
“Thank you for contact with BitBay. In case of your payment it should be correctly confirmed up to 5 minutes. If it will not happened then please contact me again. Wish you all the best with BitBay.”
Shortly thereafter G2A updated my order as “Processing” but no key was forthcoming. After sending another email to G2A, they replied a few hours later saying the seller ran out of keys for that particular game and refunded the money into my G2A account.
Still, two attempts and two misfires. Regardless of the first attempt being my fault, BitBay should be more responsive and the second attempt should have gone through without an issue. It is simply unacceptable how difficult it was for me to get my keys.
Which is a shame too, because out of all the storefronts on this list, G2A has the best selection, the best interface and very competitive prices. But throwing my bitcoins at G2A and simply hoping that I MAY get my keys at some point down the road is not my idea of the future of internet commerce. Still, their customer service was responsive despite me not shelling out for their G2A Shield program. Unfortunately, they couldn’t help me with the issues their payment processor caused.
G2A is a good place to buy some cheap Steam Keys. But stick to using PayPal for now, as it is a risky place to spend your bitcoins.
Pros: Great selection, prices and interface.
Cons: BitBay payment processor is horrible and makes G2A near nonviable for Bitcoin purchases.
Keys4Coins.com (Fifth Place):
[Disclaimer: link above is an affiliate link]
Keys4Coins isn’t bad, when it works. And it usually works. But if something goes wrong, I can’t assure you that they will give you the support you need. I did something that was admittedly stupid and was my fault. For my first attempt to buy on Keys4Coins I used Coinbase, which again completely failed me. Like my initial G2A purchase, they didn’t submit the transaction to the mempool in time for Keys4Coins’ invoice. Coinbase’s webwallet used to be suitable for purchases but that is apparently no longer the case. Now, this isn’t Keys4Coins fault and I wouldn’t dock them points for it normally, except that they were very slow to respond. Things can go wrong in bitcoin transactions and as a Cryptocurrency-only merchant, Keys4Coins should know this as well as anyone.
I sent them multiple emails and submitted a ticket through their site and got no reply for six days. They only replied a day after I tweeted at them. Now, I have no way of knowing if they saw my twitter profile, realized I was a writer and then decided to help me, or if they were just slow with responding. But either case is not ideal.
On the plus side, when things go smoothly, they go very smoothly. When I used my own wallet, it quickly recognized the transaction and provided me with the Steam key after the first confirmation.
The layout is also above average. It has a quick view function that makes it easy to check out games without leaving the page you are on. This is helpful while checking out the lower priced games that aren’t well known.
Their catalog is also pretty decent. Keys4Coins has over 1100 Steam games/items, more than 200 Origin games/items, 140 uPlay games/items, a smattering of Giftcards, as well as offerings for Battle.net, Xbox Live and PSN.
In addition, they have support for a large number of currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Dogecoin, Monero, Litecoin, Dash and Vert. Supposedly, more alts can be used through Shapeshift, but it is not clear how long that will remain functional with ShapeShift’s new mandatory memberships. For Bitcoin Cash fans, they offer 0 confirmation transactions, which is a nice touch.
Price wise, they are in the middle of the pack. The items on sale are cheaper than on Steam or Green Man Gaming, but the discounts aren’t as large as some other key sites. I compared ten games at random with its most direct competitor on this list, Joltfun, and found that Joltfun had better prices in every example I looked at. That difference was minor, usually less than two dollars, but it was still there.
It is a shame their customer support was so slow to respond. It took them six days from purchase and only after I tweeted at them and possibly revealed that I’m a writer to respond. I can’t in good conscious recommend the site if they aren’t going to respond to customers with issues. For that reason alone, I have to put them near the bottom of the list. They beat out G2A because when you do things correctly, everything does go smoothly.
Pros: A few unique layout features. Good selection of games and platforms. Multiple alts supported.
Cons: Prices are higher than Joltfun. Customer support leaves a lot to be desired.
DailyIndieGame (Fourth Place):
Daily Indie Game is the one hold over from my 2015 list (Groupees also still accepts bitcoin but its selection for games is too sparse to include on this list).
It, like G2A also allows users to sell keys, so you are at risk of the same CC fraud as you are with G2A. However, most of the extremely cheap games seem to be the type you find in bundles people use for card farming. So the fact that they are extremely cheap doesn’t necessarily mean they are stolen. That said, the only reason G2A gets grief for this while Daily Indie Game avoids it seems to be that G2A is a more successful site.
With all that said, how is the experience? It is unique compared to the other sites on this list. Daily Indie Game requires you to buy DIG Points, with each point representing a cent. You add a few bucks using bitcoin and then you use those points through their built-in wallet on the store. It is slightly convoluted but with prices for games as low as one cent, you can see why they do it. It massively cuts down on transaction fees (or Credit Card and Paypal fees when using fiat) if you purchase at least a few dollars at a time.
Their payment processor performed fine, however after it went through there was no indication on the site that I had purchased DIG points. It showed up after a few confirmations, which is reasonable. But it would have been nice if there was a “pending” order or something to let me know that it was going through. I had a blank order page and had to wonder if I messed something up until the DIG points showed up in my account a few hours later.
Once you have your DIG points, it is quick and easy to buy games. The price absolutely can’t be beat by any other site on this list or really, anywhere on the web.
The downside is that its layout is horrible. While there is a search function, there are no options to filter results by genre, price, release date or anything else. Just a vanilla search function. There is a section for “AAA Games” but no other options to help you find interesting games in their sea of offerings.
If you don’t have a specific game in mind to search for, you are left with a long list of titles not curated in anyway (other than the aforementioned AAA category). And since a lot of the games are bundle shovelware, it can be a pain to find anything worth buying.
All that said, I did manage to get Oxenfree, Little Racers: Street, Two Worlds II and a Boy and his Blob for a total of 390 DIG points ($3.90). I can’t imagine any place having better prices than that.
Ultimately, Daily Indie Game should be the place you go when you have a game in mind. Search for it and if its not there, then move on to other sites. If it is there, you’ll likely get the best price on the web.
Pros: Amazingly low prices, good customer support, DIG points cut down on transaction fees.
Cons: Layout really needs some work, library needs curation and the selection could be better.
Mmoga (Third Place):
[Disclaimer: link above is an affiliate link]
If AAA games are more your style, then Mmoga has a lot to offer. They have a huge selection of Steam, uPlay, Origin and Battle.net games. They also have PSN, Xbox Live and Nintendo Switch cards, along with in-game currencies for pretty much any game you can think of. Mmoga even has Bitcoin gift cards, which makes it a viable option to buy bitcoins rather than just unload them (albeit at a markup).
There are not a lot of things to dislike about Mmoga. Its layout is nice, its price is in line with the other sites on here. In a random 10 game comparison with Joltfun, they tied at five a piece. However, on four of the games where Joltfun was cheaper, it was significantly so, oftentimes by over five dollars. When Mmoga had cheaper prices, it was usually by less than a dollar. In addition, during my (admittedly circumstantial) comparison, I found a few times where Joltfun had games that Mmoga didn’t list at all.
Mmoga’s payment processor, CoinGate, offers support for a few alts and accepts transactions instantly (0 confirmations). It was really a pleasure to buy PC Games with Bitcoin on Mmoga.
The only reason it isn’t higher up on the list is because the other two sites were even better, but only slightly. In fact, I considered making the top three selections a three way tie. I decided against that and Mmoga was pushed to the third spot by the slimmest of margins.
Mmoga is a great resource for all bitcoin holding gamers. The only downsides are that the site feels a little cluttered, especially with its huge emphasis on in-game currencies (but if that is your thing, that might be an advantage). And the key delivery method was a little weird, they sent me a JPEG of the Steam Key, requiring me to type it out by hand. But that is the most minor of quibbles. Mmoga should be on every discount gamer’s list of resources.
Pros: Awesome selection of points and gift cards, can buy bitcoin on the site, CoinGate is great.
Cons: The massive amounts of in-game currency can make browsing feel cluttered. Selection could be better.
When I started this article, I thought IndieGala was going to be number one. If I based it only on my experience, it would have been number one. It fell to the number two spot because the Crypto-discounts it previously offered were not meant to be permanent. That isn’t a huge deal because they never claimed those discounts would be forever and it is still a great site. And I have been told that the cryptosales will be coming back from time to time, so make sure you watch out for them. But as things currently stand, I liked Joltfun a little more.
While other sites have lower prices on individual games, it is difficult to compete with IndieGala’s bundle deals. Sure, there is some shovelware on them, but they usually have a few games worth owning. And they also have a traditional store with deep discounts over Steam and Green Man Gaming. When items are on sale, they oftentimes beat the other sites on this list. However, not everything is on sale at all times and when they aren’t, IndieGala often loses by massive margins. Still, if you are an opportunistic buyer, the best discounts outside of Daily Indie Game can be found on IndieGala through a combination of bundles and sales.
Purchasing on IndieGala is an easy process. They use Coinbase and their invoices don’t have a set time limit, so even with my initial purchasing taking a long time, ironically also due to Coinbase, the purchase went through without a hitch.
In addition, every key on IndieGala comes directly from the publisher of the game so by purchasing from IndieGala you are definitely helping the developer. I mentioned before that I don’t mind key-resellers like G2A, but if you are someone who does, that isn’t a concern with IndieGala.
When the crypto-discounts are in place, IndieGala is the best site to buy games using crypto. An additional 15-30% off their already cheap prices is pretty amazing and makes PC gaming really inexpensive. But all other times of the year, Joltfun takes the crown, by the skin of their teeth.
Pros: Bundle prices can’t be beat, very competitive prices when games are on sale, supports the developers. Coinbase works great as a payment processor.
Cons: Crypto-only discounts aren’t active at all times. When games aren’t on sale, they are often at MSRP.
Joltfun is, pardon the pun, a lot of fun to look at. They obviously love Bitcoin and wear it right on their sleeves. They have a disclaimer front and center “Inflationary money not accepted!” and they only accept Bitcoin.
While the lack of alts will turn off some, for Bitcoin holders that isn’t a problem. Better still, they are supporting the scaling efforts by offering Lightning Network payments in addition to traditional bitcoin payments. While Lightning Payments aren’t strictly necessary now, it is nice to have the option for when/if fees jump again.
Selection-wise they are in the middle of the pack. There are over 1000 games available and there isn’t a lot of shovelware in that list (unlike DailyIndieGame).
The layout could use some work. It has multiple categories, but the games inside them aren’t always related to the genre and the amounts in each vary greatly. For an example, there are currently 299 games in “adventure” and only two games in “flight” and those two games wouldn’t be classified as “flight games” as much as they are “games that have flying in them” (the games in question are Star Wars: Battlefront II and Need for Speed Payback).
It really feels like going to a mom and pop shop and buying games with magical internet money. That feeling is enhanced by their barebones and sometimes nonsensical layout. It can be difficult to discover games, but it isn’t nearly as bad as DailyIndieGame. The prices are competitive as well, with some titles costing more than on Mmoga and others coming in slightly cheaper. Unlike Mmoga, Joltfun appears to be the work of one person, and he is a bitcoin fan to boot, so buying from Joltfun really feels like you are helping the Bitcoin economy, rather than giving your bitcoins to a company who is likely to liquidate them all immediately.
I contacted the owner and he told me that it is indeed a one-man operation. In addition, he says he only sells the minimum amount of bitcoin needed to turn a profit and keeps the rest, so your purchase won’t completely go towards driving the price down (even better, if you replace the used bitcoins by purchasing more, you’ll actually be contributing to an upward motion on the price).
Its payment processor (for regular Bitcoin purchases) is also great. BTCPayServer is great at keeping fees low, even when the mempool is growing.
There are times when IndieGala is better and Daily Indie Game can provide the best prices on the games they have. But Joltfun takes the crown based on its selection, overall prices and user support.
Pros: Awesome prices, owner is a true supporter of Bitcoin, Lightning Network support, Good payment processor for on-chain transactions.
Cons: Layout needs work.