Steam Is Adding 10% GST To Video Games Prices In Australia

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Steam Is Adding 10% GST To Video Games Prices In Australia
Image: Steam/Team Striker

In an email sent out to developers, Steam has confirmed it will be adding the 10% Goods and Services Tax to all purchases made in Australia in July.

The end result? Steam games will almost certainly become more expensive in Australia.

It’s part of a roll out across multiple different countries. Starting in March, for example, Steam will be adding sales to taxes to Switzerland, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Iceland, South Africa, and India.

Australia’s rollout is slated for July.

According to the email sent from Steam:

The VAT tax amount will be included in the advertised price of your product, just like VAT is currently treated in the EU. This means the customer will pay the price displayed on the storefront, and the tax will be separated out afterwards.

It is possible that publishers will adjust Steam pricing to match retail pricing of PC games, but unlikely. The end result of this move: Australians will almost certainly be paying more for video games on Steam, 10% more.

Buying Steam games was already pricy for Australians, it’s now about to get worse. The only possible silver lining: will localised pricing in Australian dollars come next? We’ve reached out to Valve to ask if that’s the case. We’ll update if we hear back.

Comments

  • Aussie Dollar is on the up, though, so that’ll offset things unless they start setting prices in AUD at last…

    Although being an American company they probably think adding taxes to the “sticker price” and then charging a different amount is totally normal. No, that’s not how the rest of the world does it, USians.

    • Except the US Fed is likely (actuallys wants) to increase interest rate to offset the equity boom from Trump’s policies (economists from Deloitte peg it at around March, else before the end of the year). Coupled with the lower inflation (low tier band on RBA’s target) in Australia due to waning commodities, interest rates locally are not likely to change.

        • Interest rates influence exchange rates.

          Let’s say the US has an interest rate of 3%, and Australia has an interest rate of 2%. That difference means that an investor looking for low risk investments (e.g. bonds) should invest in the US markets rather than Australian markets. This drives demand for US currency , which in turn increases the value of the US dollar and therefore it’s exchange rate.

          There are also arbitrage considerations, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.

          • Thanks, that’s what was missing… 🙂 Not an economist clearly.

            OK, so in the medium term, the interest rate changes might strengthen the USD relative to the Aussie dollar, negating the current benefit. However, even if the US does increase the exchange rate, are they going to jump straight up 75 or more basis points that quickly?

          • Yeh my bad, my post was pretty vague. Exchange rates can change very very very quickly due to the prospect of arbitrage profits and speculation (investors hedging potential changes), (some of the basis for the Efficient Market Hypothesis if you want to kinda look at it a bit). You can actually see how quickly the exchange rate shifts if you look at some of the RBA announcements and check the time stamp on a foreign exchange site like xe.com. You can see that rates can change so quickly (sometimes drastic, such as when Trump was elected, or Brexit was introduced) in response to some news items. Same thing with stocks. Investors typically watch whatever the Federal Reserve says, and as soon as it’s announced publicly (or privately if you’re sneaky), immediately put in a position to capitalize on potential earnings. A skim through the previous year, it seems the AU$/US$ depreciated from 1.28 to 1.38 over the course of a month from April to May, and it would seem the Panama Papers incident took place during that time too :P. But the biggest culprit was likely the RBA cut during that time too.

          • Wow, I was expecting a flame war here… I kept reading and I was gob smacked that the conversation was both enlightening and civil. Kudos to both of you 😀

  • Yet another good reason to Learn to Proxy.

    I tend to buy my Australia tax or Australian censor games on a second (burner) account and gift them across to my main, although if I was starting a new account today I’d simply recommend that people set their location as Alaska and proxy in as a US resident permanently.

    In any case, other sites are going to be less aggressive about enforcing the Australia tax, and/or less aggressive about detecting proxy purchases, and tend to be cheaper nowadays than Steam anyhow.

    • Be careful doing this.
      I had my then-girlfriend gift me some games [she lived in the US] from another steam account, and my account was promptly suspended and I was locked out.

      Some emails later and I was able to have my account unlocked [after providing Valve with proof that she was in fact a real person who lived in the US].

      Point is, Valve do have the right to suspend your account for breaches of their TOS [which proxying to avoid local pricing is], which results in complete loss of your entire Steam library. How much is that worth to you?

      • I’m guessing that she was actually in Australia when the purchase was made and got pinged due to her Australian IP address at purchase conflicting with the region listed in her account settings. This is not like using a proxy at all, it’s like changing the country in your Steam settings and hoping that Steam won’t notice.

        In fact, people do get account locked (temporarily) all the time for this. It usually comes up when a citizen of one country moves to and/or visits another country and doesn’t do anything to update their country of residence in Steam’s account settings (which there is a process for).

        In fact, Steam has a whole system in place to prevent cross region gifting and virtually no developers use it to block gifting between first world regions. In the absence of a listed block (usually this is for Russia, South America and some Asian countries) cross region gifting is completely acceptable under Steam’s ToS and, indeed, happens all the time.

        In any case, even if your account did get locked for doing something stupid, this doesn’t prevent you from playing games you already have, Valve only prevents you from buying or registering new ones against that particular account. They also typically have at least a two strike/warning system where you can get your account unlocked so long as you promise not to do it again (that is, promise to be more careful not to get caught next time).

        • I’m guessing that she was actually in Australia when the purchase was made and got pinged due to her Australian IP address at purchase conflicting with the region listed in her account settings.

          Nope. She was in the US at the time. Legit US IP address, credit card, and actual home address.

          In any case, even if your account did get locked for doing something stupid, this doesn’t prevent you from playing games you already have, Valve only prevents you from buying or registering new ones against that particular account.

          Nope, it was completely locked. It’s not like a VAC lockout or something, it was completely disabled from logging in.

          Even if they have policies stating warnings or whatnot, the fact remains that we are entrusting our libraries to a third party, and if they really want to they have the power to completely remove access to said library with very little we can do about it.

          I’m not against Steam at all, I use it quite regularly. However these are the realities of a system wrapped in DRM.

          • I’m having trouble imagining how you guys have become the unique snowflakes that have trigged some kind of ban for doing something that is completely consistent with Steam’s ToS and that happens with Steam’s blessing tens of thousands of times a day.

          • Perhaps her account was set to Australia and didn’t get changed back to the US when she moved back there, although why your account got locked and not the purchasing account (which is the usual way Valve do things, and why I recommend a burner account) remains a mystery.

        • In any case, even if your account did get locked for doing something stupid, this doesn’t prevent you from playing games you already have, Valve only prevents you from buying or registering new ones against that particular account. They also typically have at least a two strike/warning system where you can get your account unlocked so long as you promise not to do it again (that is, promise to be more careful not to get caught next time).

          This is absolutely not true, I lost an entire Steam account (with $2000+ worth of games) when PayPal reversed a transaction and locked my account after a few friends and I chipped in to a 4-pack of Borderlands. Have not had access to that account since then.

          • That seems inconsistent with the Australia Consumer Law… What was their justification for the locks? A simple explanation that it was a 4-pack of the same game that you all wanted to share among you seems like it should clear that up, unless there was something more to it… And even then, blocking you from using licenses you have legitimately purchased strikes me as questionable from a legal standpoint.

  • There is the benefit that this will almost certainly result in an Au steam store (like our NZ brothers). This should let true regional pricing occur, rather than the current fuckfest of being in the US store, but having $USD added ontop of some games.

    • Wait… so you’re saying, if they’re going to screw us over, they should at least be up-front about it? I mean, conversion to an AUD store will mean prices get rounded up a bit anyway… Tho it’ll probably end up cheaper, given how much Paypal already screws people with their exchange rates.

      • I think he means, if we are getting charged GST, we should have the pricing for Australia in AU $. An example is GTA V, which is currently $75 on steam… USD. This converts to $96, then you pay a conversion fee on top of that. You can get this cheaper at EB Games where is $89 off sale (and currently it is cheaper due to their sale).

        If it was $75 AUD then it would seem fairer.

        • Yea, that’s basically what I said. If Steam does a straight conversion to AU pricing (ie. using the current exchange rate) with their current prices +10% GST, we’ll still be getting screwed on the price, but won’t have to worry about low exchange rates used by sites like Paypal (usually about 4c below the current official exchange rate) or bank’s currency conversion fees.

          I only mentioned “rounding up” because conversion would usually result in random prices that they’d normally just round up to the next 49c or 99c (eg. USD20 converts to $26.04, which would likely get rounded up to $26.49 or $26.99).

      • I hate how Paypal does that. How can they possibly justify always having exchange rates significantly below current rates?

        • It’s how they make their money. To my understanding, they don’t make anything on domestic payments – so they offer slightly lower exchange rates to turn a profit. I’ve got no problem with them doing it, I just wish they were more up-front about the fact that they are doing it.

        • Paypal has to charge a slightly worse rate than the trade rates you see in places like XE. Your trade is not worth doing. Only when hundreds of little trades combine into a big one does it become viable to make the actual trade. In that time, the price could drop, and Paypal would make a loss.
          Paypal isn’t the only place that does this. It’s pretty standard across any small change currency trading system.

    • Except the current fuckfest is more often than not cheaper than the EBgames RRP that we will be subjected to on a truly AUD store.

      Even with the dollar being bad, it’s only the rare asshole publishers that result in games being more expensive than going to EB. And digital should be cheaper by default, after all there is no rent, no staff, and no magazine or disc protection upsell.

      But I suppose we can get refunds on steam and you can’t at EB for PC

        • yeah the only thing i buy on steam these days is DLC, everything else i by on Key reseller sites. its actually quite funny because 2K games must have noticed that they not getting getting much return from the our steam store as they are have started to region lock their EU keys. Still very easy to get around though, just gotta fire up the vpn and set it to an EU server and bam, key accepted

          Edit: also Fuck 2k games for being the greedy fucking arseholes that are and yet somehow never get anywhere near the same outrage that EA, Bethesda, Activion and Ubisoft get.

  • That’s all well & good. But will this mean we will be paying in AUD at long last? or will we have to pay in USD still (which seems illegal) & some people will still have to cop conversion fees from their bank for that.

    Also if they adjusted the prices on Steam to reflect retail then games like GTA V would be $67 AUD, not $100, like it currently is..

    I don’t even know when I last bought a game on Steam, I find it too expensive these days, especially when I can get Steamworks games retail for sometimes a quarter price. Like I paid $20 for Doom from EB Games, Steam want $80 USD for it which is $104 AUD, get fucked.

    • Bought DOOM at Big W for $60 at launch. Steam prices are an absolute joke nowadays. EB is nearly always cheaper and that’s saying something

      • It’s not just Steam. The PSN isn’t anywhere near as bad (at least they charge me in AUD) but you can still find games $10-$15 cheaper if you just pop into a BigW or Target. That said Steam is still pretty awful. If your going to shaft us at least do it with our own currency.

      • Funny how only a few years ago we were all laughing at EB/JB saying “who’d buy retail when Steam is half the price??” and now Steam just continue to raise the prices…
        Well it would be funny if it weren’t so depressing anyway.

          • They don’t have to confirm. We already know that they’re going to add it on top because that’s how they do it with every single other country with a VAT tax. It’s not like developers and Steam are going to suddenly get all generous and take a 10% hit to their own bottom lines as a donation to the Australian taxpayer.

    • Exactly. If they just shove 10% onto the current USD prices it’s going to end up being ridiculously expensive. Given that Valve have tried to argue that they don’t do business in Australia (and were promptly told that yes, they do) despite the fact that they implemented regional pricing specific for Australia, I kind of doubt they’ll suddenly implement a true AUD store after all this time.

      Steam is awful for pricing unless it’s an indie game or it’s on sale, and it’s been awful ever since publishers realised that Australians were getting games much cheaper than the retail box copy. I remember when CoD4 was first on Steam, they jacked the price up to $89.95 USD to “match” AUD RRP, but with the exchange rate of the time it ended up being over $100. It’s a sad state of affairs when I can sometimes buy a physical console game for less than the asking price of a PC digital download from Steam!

      • If they have to pay GST, then I wonder if they have to charge in AUD because they’re operating here under Australian law, etc..

          • Actually, the law does specifically state digital distributors are considered to come under the “Low Value Goods” category, despite lack of an actual physical good being imported. They consider digital transfer of the game to be bringing the good to Australia.

            Also of concern is that they are targeting re-delivery services, effectively reclassifying them as import services and making them responsible for the GST. Not relevant to Steam, etc, but a pain for importing from overseas distributors that do not deliver to Australia directly.

      • As much as we hate the pricing on Steam, the prices are set by the publishers of the games its why Valve Games are cheap and others like 2K are trying to fuck us up the arse without lube and with out the curtesy of a reach around

    • I paid $45US (about $60) for a DOOM Steam Key on launch day from GMG. Steam want nearly twice that? Good luck to ’em, I’ll continue to buy elsewhere.

    • We will still (and probably forever will) pay in USD, on Steam in Australia.

      I doubt Valve will ever switch to AUD in the Australian Steam Store, they can sneak in more OzTax(tm) if they sell in USD, not to mention the lower exchange rates of services Paypal and the currency conversion fees the banks slug is with, and shaving back the value of every steam wallet card activated.

      I wonder if the greedy Australian Banks are giving Valve fancial incentives, to keep the Australian Steam Store in USD so the banks can fee Aussies for the currency conversion?

  • Like the above comments, this better mean we get charged in AUD. Otherwise I might just not buy games on Steam again. Double dipping with USD + GST would be absurd.

    • All hail the mighty backlog, here to save us in our hour of need!

      But seriously, this is the whole point of building a backlog. Buy games when they are on sale or when the price drops so that you can play them in times of gaming drought or high prices.

  • What did anyone expect? For as long as games have been a thing, the guiding principle has been “fuck Australia because fuck Australia”. If there’s a way we can possibly be screwed, it’ll happen.

    • Nope. a game that is $89.99AUD (Including GST) is $89.99USD in steam (which can be $120-130.00AUD).

      Now add +10% to that USD price and it’s $98.98USD and ends up slugging you as $130-140.00AUD Plus the Currency Conversion fees by the banks, plus the significantly lower exchange rate from services like Paypal!

      Then, that game that’s $89.99AUD at EB games as new release could cost over $150.00AUD almost double the price.

      If that’s not blatant price gouging I don’t know what is!

    • If GOG gets the sales volume, they will also be pressured to charge Australians GST too. This change originates with our government rather than Valve, and applies to all online retailers with sales over a certain threshold.

      • Yeah but at least GOG already charge you in AUD. I also don’t think their sales are anywhere near the level of Steam yet. Personally I see GOG as the superior service…with the no DRM and all that.

      • I know that, what I was getting at was this move may cause many to finally abandon Steam.

        Hard the believe that despite the DRM it was a good system yet is now another example of how the great have fallen.

        • Right, but if many people move to GOG over Steam because Steam is charging 10% GST, all that will happen is that GOG will also have to start charging 10% GST (or risk having their site blocked by most Australian ISPs).

          This is only a point of differentiation if you assume that GOG will never be successful.

          • It maybe all that it takes. GoG doesn’t gouge by using AUD amounts with USD currency.

            If they are using US currency then use the 60 USD pricing; don’t take the 90 AUD and make it 90 USD.

            If Value continues the AUD amount with USD currency and then adds 10% GST on top it will a “straw that broke the camel’s back” reaction where many will finally tire of the gouging and bail.

            Even if/when they charge GST, GoG will be OK because the DRM free nature is a big attraction to many.

          • If publishers are setting Australia-specific prices on Steam to roughly match the physical copy RRP, wouldn’t it seem equally likely that those publishers set the prices so they match inclusive of GST?

            As far as getting the best deal as a customer, you’re probably best off not giving loyalty to any one retailer. If GOG gives you a better deal for a particular game, use them. If Steam gives a better deal for a different game, use them. If a third retailer beats them both, use them.

            If you get into the mind set that everything you buy has to come from a single source, you’re setting yourself up to be ripped off.

    • this is related to australia insisting on overseas companies doing business in australia to add the gst. this change is supposed to come into effect on 1 july 2017. it will affect GOG and amazon and anyone else overseas selling things to us lil australians (that or we are about to be spending a lot of taxpayer money on import duties)

      • Yes, I know. As I pointed out, pricing is already bad in Steam as the are using AUD amounts with USD currency.

        For example, a game sells in the US for 60 USD while the same game in Australia sells for 90 AUD.

        Go to Steam though and you will find the game listed for 90 USD.

        Unless Valve drops this nonsense, it doesn’t matter how much GST is being charged by the likes of GoG; people will jump ship as applying the GST will apply to their already hyper inflated prices.

    • Same. Haven’t bought a steamkey off Steam in…………

      in…………

      in……….

      Jesus I’m legit in confusion over how long its been????

      • I bought a game at Christmas, but only because I had somehow accrued enough spare change in the account (from various $20 cards from the family over the years) to buy Planet Coaster.

        Apart from that, I’m the same as you. I couldnt say when I bought a game from Steam before that. And dont expect any in the near future, given the $2.31 sitting on the account.

  • The games on steam are already more expensive than the retail boxed versions, now add an extra 10% lol.
    USD + currency conversion + GST = no thanks for me.
    I’ll just keep buying my keys from cdkey websites instead then…

    • Let’s hope steam don’t crack down on that, by blocking al trans-national gifting to Australian IP addresses/ Australian Steam Accounts, and blocking all keys except those on Aussie retail copies from being activated on Steam from an Australian IP address/Australian Steam Accont.

      I am also expecting, some day Valve and the other publishers to do the same bitching and moaning to the Australian Federal Courts to try to get third-party key resellers websites, such as Kinguin and G2A blocked, as technically even if you pay, it is copyright infringement paying from a source the rights holder deosn’t want you buying from, and devs/publishers don’t get a cent from third-party key resellers.

      So our glory days of getting ROW (Rest OF World) keys dirt cheap on G2A and Kinguin may soon end up coming to an end. I hope that never happens, but I am worried it will.

      Plus if G2A and Kinguuin don’t apply the GST to their keys, the consumer can be charged with Tax Evasion, as the ATO will find it easier to chase down the customer in Australia, than to chase fter the seller in Russia/Ukraine.

  • Part of me thinks this could be a result of Valve being told “no, you can’t deny people their right to a refund”.

    Bet the pricing won’t be adjusted, so now we’ll end up paying GST + the USA conversion rate + the general “fuck you” Australia tax.

    I’ll respond with something appropriately Australian:

    Geeeeeeeeet fuuuuuuuuucked.

    • It’s not retaliatory from Valve, it’s a response to our government indicating they’d block online stores that don’t collect GST. The new government regulations come into effect in July this year, the same time the Steam GST addition comes into effect.

      And let that be a reminder to anyone stupid enough to have supported the internet filter or government blacklist proposals over recent years. They’re clearly not just being used to stop piracy or pedophilia rings, they’re used to stop anything the government feels like stopping, and to hell with our rights.

      • Fair play, I’d completely forgotten about that.

        I suppose I’m not salty about the GST as such (it’s a legal requirement), it’s more so the possibility that the rest of the pricing won’t be adjusted, so we’ll just plain end up paying more.

        • Agree whole heartedly. Unfortunately that’s a publisher setting and not a Steam setting so the best Valve can do is enable Australian pricing (which I sure hope they do soon), then publishers have to adjust their actual prices to match. I figure if it happens at all, it’ll be a glacially slow process.

      • looks like government’s idea of block is to ask ISP to override DNS, such is already implemented for sites like piratebay and its not effective at all.

        • The law is in place now, they can change the implementation any time they like. The point is the law should never have been introduced in the first place.

  • Hopefully this means that they will give us Australian dollars as well in the same move… USD is such a ridiculous currency to be spending. Particularly when some games are already more expensive in Australia on Steam than in the US.

    So basically, tell me what I’m spending in AUD and the tax shouldn’t be so noticeable.

  • Surely this just means Steam is collecting the tax and sending it to the government on behalf of the developers, so the developers don’t have to do it? Just like how the Play Store and the App Store work. I don’t see why this should change consumer pricing. Developers who were previously avoiding tax *may* hike their prices to keep profit the same, but just raising prices across the board is ridiculous and I bet it’s not what the email actually said.

  • Who’s still buying off steam anyway? Even when they have sales, after currency conversion it’s still usually cheaper to buy somewhere else.

  • I think it has to be priced in aussie dollars because you have to derive the %10 GST amount as an Australian tax from the A$ amount.

    Oh and Screw Valve for still being anti-consumer ripoff turd nuggets.

  • So Steam will charge in $US and charge GST. We pay increased prices, currency conversion, conversion charges AND a tax (of which the proceeds almost certainly will never get sent to the ATO). Looks like I’m not buying from Steam …. even during their sales.

      • Wouldn’t be surprised if they charge US$60 + US$6 GST and then pay AU$6 to the ATO, therefore pocketing the conversion difference for the GST component.

        Apart from the Steam sales, digital distribution has gone down the toilet in recent years. When it costs more to get it digital than retail, you know something is not right. While Steam with its payments in USD is annoying, don’t get me started on the consoles and their ridiculous pricing models for games (3 year old games at first release prices)

      • Just a gut feeling. They dont charge in $AU and they claim they don’t do business here. Do you think they are going to fill out a BAS?

        • They will. The question isnt so much about whether they will lodge or not, but how much of their profit has been siphoned off to Ireland…

          The argument is that you buy from Steam Ireland (or something along those lines) and not Steam Australia. Steam Australia basically only advertises for the international arm. You’re basically importing everything you buy, with that import being valued at whatever you pay – call it $100. GST laws still apply to that import though.

          When the limit was $1000 though, that $100 purchase fell well under that so there was no need to worry about it. Thats no longer the case, so assuming they meet a couple of other criteria (that are ridiculously easy to meet) there will be a need to register and lodge.

          The excuse that its an import under $1000 is no longer valid.

          • Strangely enough, not quite. They argue that they are importers instead, and the value of the import is low enough that GST doesnt apply. Same result, but different argument. Which I expect will mean they change their process and add an extra layer so they CAN argue the “we not make profit” argument.

            So at the moment (note: this is a VERY simple summary), we buy from Steam Ireland for $100. All they need to do is have our datasource be something like Singapore, and they have an added layer to siphon income out of our jurisdiction.

            We still pay $100, and that gets hit by GST, but Singapore then argue that it costs $90 to get it from Ireland, and a further $9 in local costs to host, pay wages, etc etc, which all get included when figuring their GST debt. Acquisitions go up, taxed profits go down. FYI, Steam Australia do the same thing, but instead argue their arrangement is to mirror Singapore, and have no direct dealings with customers. It fails the pub test, but passes the legal test, which to them is all that matters.

            Thats the fundamental behind “we never made a profit in Australia” with multinationals, and to fix it will need a lot of countries to be closing loopholes at the same time. Which isnt going to happen.

          • Lets hope we don’t end up having to pay import tarrifs soon, as well as the Get Stuffed Tax on all purchases over $0.00, because of technically importing all those 1’s and 0’s from another country.

          • This is the exact thing I was alluding to in my original post. It seems like Valve is merely responding to a court order.

            It’s not like they woke up one day and said “Hey, we can charge GST and pocket it.”. And even if they did to some extent, technically we (the government) forced their hand and they just outflanked us…

  • Just… Fuck you Valve… Seriously, I really don’t think I’m even going to buy things during sales now. USD pricing (that’s greater than the US store) + GST + conversion fees = negating almost any sale price…

    Ah well, buying games from Humble Bundles and key resellers is the way forward it seems.

    • I am worried about Valve clamping down on that, by blocking the activation of keys not from Aussie Retail hard-copies, to Austrailian Ip Addresses/Accounts and outright banning trans-national Sream Gifting to Australian Accounts.

      I also worry that Valve and other Publishers will form a publishers conglomerate and bitch and moan to the Australian Federal Courts to get all the key reseller sites blocked under copyright infringement.

      Remember under Australian law, even if you pay for something, if the rights holder doesn’t want you buying it from somewhere else, you are comminting copyright infreingement, like paying for netflix and accessing the US Catalog.

      And what if the key resellers don’t add GST? Do you think the ATO would go all the way to Russia/Ukrain to find charge the seller (that uses a VPN) with Tax Evasion, or go after the customer in Australia, and make a public example out of him/her to deter others?

      I use key resellers myself, so I am legitimately worried at the moment, about the future.

  • This is not going to work. We are already getting regional price which is set by publisher to be higher than the US region.

    39.99 USD games are close to 59.99 USD on launch in Australia store due to regional price and then put in another 10%. Thats like extremely overcharging to the point buying full RRP game from ebgames will be cheaper.

    • It’s already cheaper to buy from EB and JB than from Steam. Prey was $59.00AUD on launch day at JB HiFi and was and still is $80.00USD (120.00AUD) on the Steam Store in Australia. That’s a price doubling, just for being an Aussie.

  • Wow, lots of angry faces in the thread today. Did Valve ever state why they bumped up the US price in Australia? I’d wager that it was publisher pressure over Gabe wanting a new ivory back-scratcher. Publishers hate the idea of world-wide distribution, as it means that they can’t charge countries that have a higher expendable income (Australia) higher prices than those who don’t (America). Also, if you’re goingto be mad at Valve for complying with Australian law and collecting an extra 10% for GST, you should be equally mad at them for complying with Australian law and offering refunds.

    Don’t get me wrong, if the price is too high, of course you should buy somewhere else. There’s just no need to start burning effigies.

    • Actually we’re more upset that Valve insist on having their store in AUD rather than USD, and until the ACCC blatantly told them that they were doing business in Australia (contrary to their bullshit arguments that they weren’t) they were arguing that ACL didn’t apply to them either. It’s the publishers that make Steam an awful platform for pricing, and everybody here knows that. But Valve aren’t helping by keeping a weird division that tacks us to the USD while also permitting regional pricing (some of which is Australia specific). It’s not Valve that tells publishers what to price their games, but it is Valve that operates the platform and elects to charge in USD and yet maintain Australia as a separate region too.

      I have no problems with them finally paying GST – that’s fine by me, that’s extra tax dollars going into the coffers that pay for government services. But that doesn’t mean that Steam is a good deal nor does it make any sense how it now operates. People aren’t angry at Valve for collecting GST, nor for the actions of publishers. They’re confused that Valve are now collecting an Australia specific tax, maintaining Australia as a separate region, but still charging in USD which ties the price to the exchange rate – and that makes absolutely no sense.

      • I can understand that, but shouldn’t people be more sour at the regional changes in pricing than getting charged in USD? Then at least we have the potential of coming out on top every now any then when the exchange rate swings in our favour. I have to admit, I rarely buy new release games, so I’m avoiding a lot of what is making people mad here, I rarely buy anything over $9.99 on Steam.

        I don’t know, I feel like the best solution would be for Steam to quietly leave themselves open to Proxy/DNS exploits for Australians to use their services as Americans, the same way that Hulu/Amazon Prime/Netflix does.

        • Well Netflix cracked down on proxies, and the risk is that the big publishers might up and leave if Valve don’t at least attempt to secure the loopholes. We saw a sort of trial of it with Civ VI keys.

          The issue with regional pricing is that when it’s done to try to “match” RRP boxed copies, and when the AUD is weak against the USD, the digital cost is well and truly over the cost of boxed copies. Meanwhile, the cost of a PC game in Australia has remained relatively stable over the last decade or so – despite fluctuating exchange rates. Basically, we almost never benefit from it anymore – it only ever gets marginally cheaper on the majority of AAA titles, sort of like the differene between buying at EB or JB HiFi ($10 or so).

          We won’t get rid of regional pricing – the other publishers won’t allow it, and it has a purpose in some respects to make things affordable for ‘developing’ markets – but regional pricing in a currency that isn’t your own is ridiculous.

        • Valve made it abundantly clear, in its Steam Subscriber Aggreement, that it has software that can detect if someone is using VPN/Proxy/DNS Spoofing services to bypass regional pricing, and claim they will terminate a users entire Steam Account on the first offence, if they try to do this.

          Over the last 7 years I have amassed over 600Games (many AAA) and spent thousands, upon thousands of dollars, and I don’t want to risk losing all of it for buying one game with a VPN/Proxy/DNS Spoofing service running. It’s Too Risky!

  • The company that showed the world the right way to treat consumers to reduce piracy is coming full circle. I don’t really understand… How many papers have been published on Australia’s piracy issue being due to online markets directly fucking us? I’ll take the 10% gst, but if they keep the inflated prices just for Australian users, it’s the ocean life for me. I’ll still use g2a or something similar if i can get the games at an appropriate price but if that ends up harming the developers and publishers, I’m sure they’ll connect the dots as to why.

  • Wait, I thought that the 10% GST tax only applied to digital goods that cost more than 100 dollars. Are they going to apply this 10% tax to all goods? If so…. well…. hm. It looks like I might be buying less games…. at least….. less games from Steam. I understand that they do need to charge 10% GST as the government will be charging them for it, but only for games that cost more than 100 dollars. They need to clarify this, pronto – are all games affected by this, or are only the games that cost more than 100 dollars?

  • Any word on how this is going to work with steam market?

    I make 5 figures a year from steam trading and regularly buy and sell on the marketplace. If I’m charged 10% to buy then another 10% to sell on the market, I’ll be losing money on a lot of transactions… Even just one way at 10% is going to cut deep into my market profits.

    • As the GST will affect ALL purchase over $0.00 the steam community market will be affected. you will make less money back for what you sell, by an additional 10% and will pay an additional 10% for what you buy on the community market. anywhere in the annals of the internet where anything is bought and sold is subject to this.

      So buying that russian bride is going to get a whole lot more expensive, lol

    • because by charging in USD means they can sneak in even more OzTax(tm) and they don’t want to give that rort up.

  • Given the amount of “how to circumvent the pirate bay block” articles we had, can we look forward to the “how to circumvent paying Steam even more money” articles?
    Please, Mark. I’ll buy you a Pepsi Max.

    • how to circumvent paying Steam even more money

      Stop buying from Steam? I don’t even know why people bother with Steam these days. I keep my account because like most, I don’t want to give up the games I do have. But as for adding new stuff… as if.

      Piracy will go up, the idiots will realise their mistake (too late as usual) and it becomes the uphill battle to get consumers back. I’m amazed at how this is the never ending circle of the consumer/publisher relationship.

      • Stop buying from Steam?
        alternative ways like ,GreenManGame, GamersGate, Gog, HumbleStore, not that i like but G2A, Kinguin.
        These days, i buy mostly from humblestore (support small amount to charity is always good).
        Even if Steam charges 10%, i doubt all the sales channel would start to add GST.

        • just keep in mind that certain publishers will try to force other stores to charge us more *cough* 2kgamesaregreeyshitcuntswhotriedtofuckovergogandgmg *cough*

    • That’s a slippery slope, as the author of said artical can be charged with giving detailed instructions on how to commit a Federal Crime (Tax Evasion), and I don’t think Kotaku would want to support that, as they will be held accountable, by law for their site being used to host said instructions on how to commit Tax Evasion.

  • Games from some publisher, such as Take 2, are likely to be cheaper, since Steam should offer payment in AU$, but allowing the laziness to continue, aka the RRP is $80, okay enter $80 for AU price not caring it’s US$

  • Since their pricing is all USD, for us, I guess it means the 10% applies to the US price, in which case the tax would be >10% AUD.

  • You know if Valve wanted to really play nice with us, they wont actually increase the price and instead just take the extra that we have been charged as the GST. which would really stick it to certain publishers

  • Correct me if I’m wrong…but for a while Valve wasn’t paying tax in Australia and thus got lumped with a $3m fine (as a poke at Gaben’s inability to count to 3…?).

    Have Valve now started to give a slice of their earnings to the ATO (and this is why they’re starting to charge a GST)? If they’re not paying any tax to the Australian government but taking a GST for themselves that’s more than a little bit rude IMO.

  • If only we could harness all you nerds for good. Intelligent, thoughtful and respectful commentary. Join me and others in Politics, it’s a dirty game on the outside but the heart of it is pure and could use more people like all of you.

    Ps Steam sux, but then I’m banged up the clacker by PSN on a regular basis

  • Gerry Harvey must be now laughing all the way to the bank. He was one of the main instigators of whinging about loosing millions of $ due internet sales that brought about this internet GST changes. Now, penalty rates for retail and hospitality staff have been cut, again, his whinging to the government. Sad state of affairs in Oz when this crap happens.
    p.s. I just buy my keys elsewhere for steam.

    • Amen. Kinguin and G2A for the win! where you can get an $89.00USD Steam Game for $5.00AUD, no VPN needed when buying Worldwide keys. (Until Steam block R.O.W. keys from being activated in AU). I always avoid RU V.P.N. Required Keys though, too much of a gamble.

  • If I buy a Steam game at EB such as Doom on a DVD/Bluray, all it does is install a Steam client and force a download.
    I don’t think you can buy a game on a disk now, you have to download it, I think Doom was something like 42GB but I don’t think you can buy it on a Bluray.
    I started the download and went out and it was finishing up a few hours later.

    • DOOM is a 78Gb Demon. And if you don’t have NBN that would take 6 months to download. Most of Australia is still lumbering in stone age copper wire speeds. Doom should have been shipped on 2x blu-rays as most Aussise’s don’t have the speed to download it. I got NBN in 2016 (and pay through the nose for it, and still use copper wires from my house to the exchange 3 suburbs away. There are no nodes in my area), but the neighbouring suburb to me won’t get it until 2020. The LNP made it an expensive shambles.

  • This sucks. As if the exchange rate wasn’t bad enough. What’s the point of a Steam sale now? we’ll just end up paying full price for everything.

    • that’s about right.

      Steam game on sale = full price or moderately inflated price
      Steam game at full price = grossly inflated price up to 80% higher than rest of world

      I am so over it.

  • I sincerely doubt that the Australian Decimal Currency will ever get used in the Australian Steam Store, now or in the future.

    By charging in US dollars Valve can sneak in OzTax(tm) and lie about currency conversion.

    Now that will go up 10% in july and I would not be surprised if Valve uses this as an excuse to add more OzTax(tm) to it as well, to make it a 20% or higher increase. It’s just pure greed, and a blatant overcharge scam!

    It would also not surprise me if greedy multi-national companies like Valve are bribing the Australian Government to continue to allow Aussies to get ripped of, and for it to just perpetually worsen.

    Greedy Australian politicians have always cared more about raking in bribes from foreign big businesses, over the welfare of their own citizens and that is unlikely to ever change.

    The Steam Store is simply just going to die in Australia, as why the hell would someone, in their right mind buy a game for $100.00USD (around $130.00AUD-$140.00AUD) when they can go to EB games and get the same game for $89.00AUD ($66.00USD) and save around $45.00AUD, then that same game will activate on Steam anyway.

    That $100.00USD game in the Steam Store in Australia is usually $20.00USD-$30.00USD in the Steam Store in the US, and these greedy companies have the weakest excuses to try to justify this gross inflation. Yet the Australian Government does nothing to stop it. I smell corruption and bribery here.

    Valve’s Steam aren’t the only ones guilty of this. EA’s Origin, Ubisoft’s Uplay, Sony, all the companies that sell DVD’s, Blu-Rays and CD’s to Australia, Apple, Adobe, Microsoft, Etc charge as much as an 80% inflation to Australians, just for being Australian. and loads (thankfully not every) of sellers that sell on sites like Ebay and Amazon sell to every country EXCEPT AUSTRALIA! and the .au versions of ebay (and soon amazon) are also inflated beyond belief. I wonder if when Australia gets it’s own Amazon, are Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk going to be geo-blocked in Australia so Aussies get redirected to Amazon.com.au and get stuck with Amazon + OzTax(tm).

    Lots of these companies now go out of their way to prevent Aussies Geo-Dodging to pay rest of world prices, by crossckecking Credit Cards, which can be traced back to Australian Banks, and implementing technology to detect if a VPN or Proxy server is being used, and blocking access, or purchases (like Netflix and Hulu do) this has been enacted with the clear and present aim to lock Australia out of the Global Market, and isolate it. Steam threaten to ban (terminate) a users account, including access to all games already purchased, if a VPN is used to purchase or activate a game, and they claim to have the same VPN and Proxy detection technology as Netflix (but I am yet to see any actual evidence of this being more than just an idle threat).

    Companies like HTC and Occulus made the decision to never sell their VR technologies in Australian stores. They can only be purchased from the US at heavily inflated prices, using US dollars to sneak in insane OzTax(tm), combined with insane shipping, GST, import tarrifs, etc. a friend of mine in NZ got the HTC Vive for around $600.00USD (incl GST and shipping), which is pretty much the same as the US. It would cost me nearly $1,500.00USD (+ GST, Shipping, Import Tarrifs and other taxes) to get the same technology in Australia. (Around $2,000.00AUD + taxes and tarrifs). Why such a dramatic inflation between two countries in THE SAME REGION?! (Australasia) It does not add up! The only VR gear that can be purchased locally is for Smart Phones and the Playstation 4, and of course it is grossly inflated over rest of world prices too.

    So accross the board Australia is seen as the gullible occa chumps that can be taken for a ride, by the world stage.

    My graphics card (Factory-Overclocked, Water-Cooled Nvidia GTX1080) cost me a staggering 1,200.00AUD and that was cheaper than wholesale, its RRP in AU was $1,579.00AUD. The same card in the US is $550.00US, (around $730.00AUD) so clearly currency conversion is not the sole reason for the near 100% markup!.

    So wrapping up, any Aussie that uses the Steam Store, these days is either is stupid or has money to burn.

    We Aussies need to vote with our wallets and either buy from EB Games (still inflated prices but not as much as Steam Store), or get a key from Kinguin or G2A, at rest of world prices (at least while we still can, untill Valve decides to crack down on Aussies activating any Game Keys that aren’t printed on Retail copies from EB Games, and blocking gifts from every other country to Australia) and avoid paying the outrageously inflated prices from the Steam Store! Simple.

  • I remember when gaming was a paradise.

    Before the Dark Times.

    Before Regional Pricing, Charging in USD and now Additional GST!

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