Valve has changed its pricing tool used by video game publishers. The company wants to avoid that players buy their games on Steam in foreign currencies to take advantage of advantageous prices, as it is the case in Turkey or Argentina. This will lead to significant price increases in some countries.
The price of video games on Steam may increase, especially in some countries. Valve wants to put an end to a common practice among gamers who use its platform: buying video games in a foreign currency, which allows an advantageous conversion, at the expense of Valve and publishers.
Steam updates its price recommendations
Steam offers the sale of games in 39 currencies to be able to offer its service in many countries and for several years, managing all these currencies has been difficult. In a blog post, the platform announced “the release of a new tool that will make it easier for publishers to manage pricing” for games.
For several years, Steam has offered its sellers price recommendations in different currencies, based on the U.S. dollar. However, “due to constant fluctuations in purchasing power and exchange rates,” Steam has deemed it “necessary to make significant changes to ensure that these requested conversion rates do not become obsolete.”
Valve took the opportunity to state that these price conversion recommendation updates will be more frequent.
This new tool introduced adds “a clear summary of price changes, with warnings displayed for prices that are significantly higher or lower than the prices set in other quotes.”
This includes new price recommendations, with publishers still free to set their own prices. This feature is already online: however, if a publisher decides to increase a price, it will only be changed after 28 days.
Games sold on Steam up to 536% more expensive
The SteamDB site, which studies the data put online by Steam (without being affiliated with Valve), has listed all the changes in recommendations and all prices have increased (except for one price in Taiwan).
For example, for games priced at $9.99 USD, the price in Euro increases from 8.19 to 9.75 Euro, a 19% increase. The prices in euros increase between 20 and 25% approximately on the guidelines of Valve.
However, the largest price increases are in Turkey and Argentina. For a game that sells for $9.99, the price in Turkish lira increases from 18.50 to 105, an increase of 468 percent.
Similarly with Argentine pesos, as a game can go from 129.99 to 765 pesos, an increase of 489%. The biggest increase listed by SteamDB is on a game sold for $29.99, which will go from 329.99 Argentine pesos to 2100, an increase of 536%.
A chart comparing old and new Steam recommended prices by currency // Source: SteamDB
However, these figures should be put into perspective as they seem alarmist. These are only recommendations from Steam, publishers are free to set their prices on the video game sales platform. However, we can think that many of them could use the tool set up by Valve. The latter has announced that the prices of its games will follow these recommendations.
The end of buying games in Turkey or Argentina with a VPN
As VPN Creative points out, a phenomenon tends to become widespread among gamers. Many of them buy video games on Steam by locating themselves via a VPN in other countries, especially Turkey or Argentina. This avoids them having to pay with the euro or the British pound for example, but to use another currency and enjoy an advantageous conversion.
For several months, the Argentinean and Turkish currencies have been falling, which automatically makes the conversion rates much more interesting.
The media mentions in particular the French studio Motion Twin, which had revised the prices of Dead Cells upwards, having realized that “a significant part of the sales of the last year came from these two countries, without corresponding to an increase in players on the spot”.