THQ Blocks Their Games From ANZ Steam Users

steamlog.jpg After a rocky start with the launch of Half-Life 2, Steam has matured from a slow piece of crap to the premiere online distribution service on the Internet. From Ubisoft to id Software, everyone wants to share in the potential of Valve's hard work (and tears, I'd imagine).

THQ recently joined the party, only to quickly deny Australian and Kiwi users the ability to purchase and download their games. If you check out the Steam knowledge base, you'll find the following statement attached to all of THQ's games, including Company of Heroes, Dawn of War and Full Spectrum Warrior:

This game is not available for purchase through Steam in Australia or New Zealand.

Feel free to speculate as to the reasons behind THQ's decision while we chase an official answer, but for now, Oz Kotakuite Ross, who sent in the heads-up, has his own theory:

In what I can only assume is a move by these publishers to ensure that AU/NZ consumers have to resort to retail given the favourable exchange rate between the US and AU dollar.

Does that sound like a winner to you?

Steam Error: This subscription is not available for purchase in your country [Steam Powered, thanks Ross]


Comments

    those greedy bastards, so we arent allowed to pay 30 USD for a game when the americans do, so u expect us to pay like 40 or 50 USD for the retail.

    gaming prices here in Aust is a joke

    That's certainly a let down. As it is we're bogged down with crazy price swings for games (or Nintendo products that seem to begrudge dropping from a release price). I resorted to purchasing most of my games online (either by post or electronic) and this is a blow to me as I had been considering Company of Heroes =\

    It's pretty rich that publishers continually pull crap like this and then have the nerve to complain about piracy. Way to shoot yourselves in the foot THQ, now I'll just download your games for free via torrents. Do you honestly think I'm going to put up with shit like this? Ha ha ha very funny.

    The joke's on you.

    I must have got in early then, because I've got the entire Dawn of War series working fine on Steam.

    Talk about giving the shaft, though.

    Funny thing is that MikeZombie777 is right, it is the crazy high prices of games here in Aust that is helping piracy become more mainstream.

    i know people who wont buy games because of the prices, so they just download their games or copy someone elses copy.

    atleast places like Target and JB hifi are trying though, dropping like 20 dollars off the price of new releases, but with the 360 games costing 120 dollars, thats still the full price of games last generation =/

    If you want them that much, then import the retail boxes. Even when you're paying for shipping, with the exchange rates and the general trend in Australia for retail to rip us off, you'll save money.

    Yeah, nice work there THQ.
    What you've done is not ensure more money through retail stores, you've failed, utterly failed to understand WHY people use Steam in Australia and New Zealand.

    The extent of the stupidity of the people in positions of power never ceases to amaze me.

    This shouldn't even be legal.

    Could it be a ratings board issue?

    "Feel free to speculate as to the reasons behind THQ's decision"

    Possibly the fact that Titan Quest & Expansion, for example, can be had on Steam for US$29.95. That's roughly AU$35.

    Compare that to the best prices I can find on boxed copies: $75 + $55 = $130

    So the explanation is extremely simple: THQ loves cash. Even when it means charging people in one country nearly four times as much as everywhere else.

    @Weird piracy advocates: There are plenty of other ways to obtain your games at reduced prices (especially given that chipping is still a grey-market here) without resorting to downloading them via torrent etc.

    @Laco: I can find copies of TQ + Expansion boxed together for much less than $130. However, barring a 50% off at EB Games, I don't think I've seen it for $35.

    I can't blame THQ for liking profits, but until they clarify things it feels terribly underhanded.

    oh thank you so much THQ because right now my respect for you has been severely crippled, you used to be my favorite developer but now I might switch to EA or Activision. Man publishers are starting to destroy the industry slowly, the fact that they will dictate how much one country should pay over another really ticks me off!
    I will however wait for the game to hit a reasonable price at JB HI-FI but if that doesn't work then sorry Relic I might have to download it.

    I emailed THQ australia to ask... they responded that they havent chosen to allow online distribution. I have therefore written to the ACCC to request they investigate, I do not believe it is lawful to block parallel imports, particularly of formats for which there is no local equivalent. It is moreso discouraged to block parallel imports for the purpose of price fixing...
    I encourage all of you to write similar letters, be clear and calm in your language and describe your concern; regional folks with no game stores nearby would carry alot of weight!!

    Riprjak, you have a very strong point, and one I will spend my time to assist with, I'll do my best to write a good letter to the ACCC, and have them investigate this.

    I agree with the sentiment, but THQ is not based in Australia. The Australian office will not be the ones setting this policy. As such, the ACCC has absolutely no power over THQ to remedy this issue. All that we can do is boycott them.

    Its because Australia does not have a game rating system, same reason we cant buy rock star games online.

    Until AU gets one of these its basically against australian law to have them sold digitally. Has nothing to do with ripping anyone off.

    Complain to government about it, dont blaim THQ.

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