And The Australian Price Of DOOM Just Went Up

You know how the price of DOOM for Australians was way too expensive, thanks to our glorious exchange rate and Steam's refusal to actually sell products in Australian dollars?

Well it quietly went down yesterday, from US$79.95 to US$59.99. Pity that didn't last.

DOOM's US$79.95 price point was a point of contention for many Australians. Irate users posted threads on the official forums and even left sour reviews on DOOM's Steam page to indicate their disgust at the presence of the Australia tax.

And it's difficult not to agree with them. If brick-and-mortar retailers were selling copies of DOOM for around $60-70 locally, shouldn't Steam at least be equal with what those in the United States were being asked to pay?

For a short while, we were. Out of nowhere, Steam was telling Australians (via the website or Steam clients on desktop and mobiles) that DOOM could be purchased for US$59.99, the same price as what Americans were being charged.

Not today.

Enter stage right, the Australian tracker for Steam Prices. Like myself, a few sharp commenters late last night and many others this morning, it also noticed that DOOM's Australian pricing had jumped back up to US$79.95 spending a day at the somewhat more palatable US$59.99.

Here's the full picture, for reference (you may need to click the image to zoom).

I emailed Bethesda yesterday asking what happened when the price dropped, but they didn't reply prior to or since publication. I've sent another query given the latest changes, although given the fact that it's a weekend I'm not expecting to hear back from them.

It's a bizarre situation for consumers. A lot of savvy gamers will have avoided buying DOOM from Steam directly anyway: there are good deals for those who want a physical copy, and there are even better deals online if you just want a PC code. Those who pre-ordered through Steam at the higher price were even able to refund their pre-order and/or use key re-sellers, as the marketplace has allowed users to refund games if they become available for cheaper.

But still, you have to wonder what on earth is going on.


Comments

    Grade A+ con-artestry, I was gonna say b0llsh17

    but hey "Praise Gaben" or whatever..... its some serious fiddling of the books

    Last edited 14/05/16 1:08 pm

      So, you think Steam sets the price for games that Valve don't develop? So if I want to release a game on Steam I can't have a say in the price?

        But I think Steam sets the markup / their margin. Isn't it like a blanket +30% or something? If you want to sell something at $60, Valve adds +$20 for their cut making the total price $80 (or something similar).

        But in brick and mortar retail, the retailers can compete with each other for the margin. The big retailers can sell it for zero or near zero margin to bring people in the door and they hope that the shoppers buy something else when they buy the game to try to make profit.

          Of course Steam would charge a markup, they provide the digital distribution on PC. If the publishers want to use Steam they are aware of the costs involved, so it's their choice that the game costs as much as it does on that platform. In regards to retail the cost of manufacture and shipping takes a big chunk out of their profits, and at the end of the day it's the same thing. The publishers have chosen to make that medium so they set the wholesale price and win or lose.

          Console games are the same, you can't release a game without paying dues to Sony, M$ or Nintendo. I'm not sure if Doom on PC is Steam only, but if it is you can bet they aren't just paying for distribution. There's also platform advertising, updating/DLC release functions and all the benefits of being able to use a gaming platform that has all the capabilities of Steam. That stuff doesn't come free.

            thats why publishers are moving off steam and onto their own platform

            mitigates the steam tax for the publisher

          The issue is not the price, per se, but that the price is arbitrarily greater in Australia than the US. That's not got anything to do with valve's markup. If it did, everything on steam would be like that. Not just particular games/publishers.

            Of course it's higher, have you seen the state of the Aussie dollar? You can use that argument when there's parity.

              They charge in USD so exchange rate has zero to do with anything...

                What? The fact that they charge in USD means the exchange rate has EVERYTHING to do with it. Doom effectively costs $115AUD if you buy it from directly from Steam.

                  The price is arbitrarily higher. The game is sold in USD both in the US and here, but the price is higher in USD here, for some nebulous reason.

                  As had been mentioned you need to look at what I'm replying to for context.

                  Exchange rate isn't an excuse for raising prices if they don't convert to AUD. If they're going to gouge at least convert it so I stop getting hit with a foreign transaction fee.

          Steam has their commission but they take no hand in directly setting any prices or releases, that is entirely up to the developer and publisher.

          axutly no, they bump up the prices to cover the import tax, and still make almost nothing on the product.

          Steam's cut is less than the cost of real world manufacturing and distribution. That is, for the same sale price the publisher/developer get more money from a Steam sale than from a retail sale.

            But potentially less money than handling digital distribution themselves (as EA and Ubisoft have attempted).

    F you Bethesda. I like your games and those you tend to publish but F you.

    A new person in the team yesterday: "Uh? It seems that we're accidentally charging Australians more for no reason whatsoever. That's not right. *fixes it*
    Supervisor today: Lol, n00b, don't you know that Australians will pay literally anything we ask? We've been skimming them for years and they keep buying! It's literally free money for us!

    Thank god for big chain retailers like target and big w, otherwise we would all get shafted with paying exorbitant prices for video games.. I always buy on release date to guarantee a better price and just price match it.

    This isn't unique to Doom, Steam's Aussie pricing is douchey in general. They refuse to deal in Aussie dollars, which I wouldn't mind so much if we were actually being charged the same as the US. But no: Doom (and most AAA games) is US$59.99 on the US Steam store, but US$79.99 on the Australian store. So US$20 more, PLUS the exchange rate?? The absolute fuck is with that?

      thats because our government is sewing them for very clear violations to Australian laws, they where forced to change it by there legal team, on the ground there not selling to us directly at all but glob-lay at lest that there deference.

    It's a good thing we have big stores like Big W & Target for physical copies, and sites like ozgameshop & G2A for digital that offer at a more reasonable price that is almost devoid of the Australia Tax.
    Was able to pick up a copy of Uncharted 4 from EB Games after getting it price-matched to Target's $69.

    Last edited 14/05/16 2:48 pm

    Almost fitting that with Bethesda some things never change.

    $47.99 USD (~$66 AUD) for a Steam key from Greenmangaming with code DOOM20
    http://www.greenmangaming.com/s/au/en/pc/games/action/doom/

    And Kotaku contributors, can you please save your readers some $ by actually looking for some discount stuff before posting your article, rather than just bringing up a solveable problem? Much appreciated.

    Last edited 14/05/16 3:44 pm

      Go to cdkeys.com and pay 44.99 AUS for the standard version or 51.99 for the Special edition.

      While the reality is Steam *can* charge what it wants, with people defending it etc etc, the reality of the matter is, there's something inherently wrong with this situation when we can buy it cheaper than Steams own price (yes yes the publisher sets the price we all know) from other sites, physical copies in shops (69 AUS at Target etc) and other places. The gouging isn't individual to just this game but god it's just getting so bad. Steams gone from the best out there, to easily one of the worst.

      Last edited 14/05/16 6:39 pm

        This is where I bought my copy of the game from too. Used a discount code the site gave me to get an extra $3 off so the standard version only ended up costing me $41 AUD.

          Nice! I haven't paid over 45 for a brand new pc game in quite a while now. I've used cdkeys.com and greenmangaming in conjunction with each other and found that with that combo, I cover every single major release at awesome prices :)

      Yep. NEVER buy AAA games directly from Steam. Key sites is the only way to go while Steam continues to rip off Aussies by charging in USD.

    Steam allows region pricing... but doesnt allow AUD prices. Thats the biggest problem I see. They need to make AUD prices or ban region pricing when charging USD.

    I still don't understand why people buy games from Steam to begin with....

    Always the most expensive place to buy. It was ok back when we were at parity with US but with the price mark up plus the conversion you've got to be mad to buy games from them.

    Last edited 14/05/16 3:55 pm

      I buy all my new titles retail, but if there's something on sale on Steam, especially during the 'big' sales, then it will be cheaper than anywhere else. When an awesome game comes up for $2 it's a very just reason to make the purchase.

        AAA titles don't go for $2.,..usually the $2 games are indie titles that you can't actually buy anywhere else.

        I've pre-ordered a game on Greenmangaming with a discount...2 years later the Steam sales still hadn't hit the discount price that I pre-ordered it for.

        Steam is the worst place to buy from except for the rare actual decent sale or indie titles that you can't get elsewhere.

      Yep I think my friend said it best, and I quote "lads, we are now being fisted with both hands".

      Retail now has become cheaper then steam... let that sink in. It has become CHEAPER to buy a game from a brick and mortar shop that has sailed around the globe, then it is for me to download from the internet. Sad Indeed.

        Only when you buy from Steam on the internet...plenty of cheaper places, Steam is just the most expensive.

        Google isthereanydeal, good website, compares a bunch of online stores for you and shows prices in AUD if you select it.

    This a big reason most of the games I purchase have been out for 6 to 12 months. That and a lot of games are broken for the first few after release these days.

    Are they literally banging our wallets?

    I like the markup that OzGameshop just did on Overwatch after the beta did so well...

      Ozgameshop only place orth shopping once week one prices are gone...

      Last edited 14/05/16 6:05 pm

    Maybe Australia should bring in some rules about price gouging like they in intended to a few years ago. Give steam another ass slappin like with refunds.

      Which party or senator would get behind that? They all need new yachts...

        Scott Ludlum from the Greens is pretty switched on about things like this

    If Steam was to suddenly start pricing games in AUD, expect to see AAA games priced at $110.

    They probably keep the aussie store in USD because $74.99 looks a lot better than $110.

      Nah, they're just holding on to their "we don't do business in Australia" waffling to skirt local laws.

      At least people would see the price for what it is. Many people are not savvy enough to realise how much they are REALLY paying. All they see is the price. They don't see the currency.

    Who the fuck do these assholes think they're kidding?

    I have not bought a game for more than $50 in years. I never will again. Here's a simple fact for you, developers: I do not NEED your shiny, overhyped, overdeveloped, overpriced "AAA experiences". I have enough games to last me for literally the rest of my life already, there are HUNDREDS more out there I could get for a couple of bucks at most, if not for FREE, and I do not have much disposable money. So if you want me to pay $80-100 for a game, I will simply flip you off and forget your game exists. I don't need you, YOU need ME.

      What I do is add them to my wish list, and just wait. Eventually I get everything I'm after for less than $30.

      On PS4 I can't afford to buy things digitally most of the time. Ok, I can afford it, but I can't justify it. So I buy from Big W or something for $70 on release day, play the game, then ebay it for at least $40 after fees etc.

      So I get to play new release stuff for a pretty cheap price. It's the only way I can justify it. Because like you said, more than $50 is too much. $100 is just not going to happen.

    Well, I think this is tied to the reception of the game by the public.
    The MP beta got savaged in user reviews.
    The general perception was that the game is gonna tank. Enter price drop.
    Mainstays like Digital Foundary state publically that the game is very solid and fun. Price goes back up.
    I know there are prob other factors but it's seems like Bethesda haven't been confident in their own product and have been playing greedy games with pricing based on changing perceptions. That's my theory :)

    I just picked up DOOM on ps4 for $69 at target in aus, pretty good deal

    I'm going to hazard a guess that it's due to refunds.

    Budgets are weird. You'd think it's all going to the same place, but no... they have different buckets and there are quite a few people who are paid specifically because money is going to their bucket and not someone else's.

    When the price dropped, Aussies probably started mass-refunding, citing the price drop.

    That's horrifying to anyone in the publisher's Australian office, because that money is what is meant to 'count' towards the success of the publisher even having an Australian office. All those ads you see on the sides of buses, the TV/cinema spots?
    I'm betting that comes out of the Australian office's budget.
    And I'm also betting that the Australian-designated Steam purchases go towards justifying the Australian office's advertising/staffing budget.
    And I'm betting that the Australian-designated refunds looked bloody awful to the Australian office's budget.

    Especially if people who then re-bought the game at a lower price did so from a key-seller, which most likely counts as a purchase for one of the Asian or UK office budgets. Bethesda doesn't know that Australians bought the game and that the Australian advertising actually worked, if Aussies are buying product keys online from the UK.

    Last edited 14/05/16 8:40 pm

      it is legal to sell in Australia something without be able to refund (or trade of silmuar value) back the item(digital or physical), steam doesn't comply with the law.

    The switch from physical to digital sales has had no real-world benefit for the player.

      yeah but the developer and publisher save a bucket load!

      Last edited 15/05/16 5:45 am

      Apart from never losing your discs, never having them damaged, never needing to manually input CD keys, and not having to come up with storage solutions for a vast library. No real-world benefit apart from that stuff.

        Those benefits seems minor at best, and solving those little problems was never the motivation behind the phase out of physical media. Balance them against paying the same (or higher) prices, and they cannot be called significant benefits at all.

          Oh, besides the fact that I paid about half the physical retail price in AUD for Doom via a key-seller?

          But sure. Go ahead. Pay more than I do, for a physical disc which can be lost or damaged and needs to be stored when not in use. Go ahead, pay the extra for a worse product and feel superior about it. XD

          Yup. No benefits to digital at all. Seriously, are you high? Oh... no. I get it. Confirmation bias. You're so desperate to justify your flawed purchasing decisions that you'll throw critical thinking out the window JUST to claim that valid benefits don't exist, in the face of evidence. It's OK. It happens to the worst of us.

          (Also, unless you own your own home or live with your parents, the benefits of not having to store/transport/potentially lose/damage physical media is the exact bloody opposite of minor. Steam has been a revelation for my games library. I would pay so much more for that benefit. Except that I don't really ever have to, thanks to Steam sales which reach heights unparalleled by even the most desperate physical media sale.)

          Last edited 17/05/16 6:47 pm

            Oh, besides the fact that I paid about half the physical retail price in AUD for Doom via a key-seller?
            I wonder why you waited to claim this, but even if you did buy it at half-price, it SHOULD be cheaper because you're not getting anything.

              Not getting anything except the very important benefits that I listed which, IMO are actually worth paying more for?

              *eyeroll*

    Got the PS4 version for $69 + free postage from Target. After crunching some numbers I figured out that it was the cheapest I was going to get it if I wanted it soon. I don't drive so I couldn't go into a store, unfortunately. I was gonna DL it from the Canadian PSN store but its $79 anyway and with conversion rates, I'm technically worse off.

    So Target it was. Ozgameshop was an option but I want to be able to play it asap as I'm bored with DKS3 atm. Long toss up between UC4 and DOOM - I'll get UC4 next payday.

    I would NEVER pay $99 or $109 for a game. No bloody way. Anyone who does is an absolute fool.

    So...... Go to a shop and buy a physical copy... Vote with your wallet.

    Oh man, I had no idea about this. I stumbled onto Steam late Friday night after a loooong workday and impulse-bought Doom at the (apparently discounted) US$60 price. Lucky break :/

    It's back to $59.95 again today. The old switcheroo... again

      It shows as $79.95 on my Steam client today.

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