One of the longest running bugbears of Steam is that Australians have always, since its inception, been forced to pay for games in American dollars. But finally, after years of lobbying, that could be about to change.
In an update for War for the Overworld, a modern indie spin on Dungeon Keeper, the developers announced that they had received an email from Valve informing them that Steam's pricing matrix had been updated.
The update, according to the devs, adds new currencies into Steam's systems, one of which is the Australian dollar.
"The changes have introduced several new currencies into Steam’s systems to offer a better customer experience for these regions. They have also adjusted existing prices to better reflect the strength of those currencies against the US dollar, and the local purchasing power of those regions."
The new currencies reportedly include:
The following local currencies are now supported by Steam, and as such these regions have new prices in line with the pricing matrix. As above we have submitted the changes to allow these currencies and expect them to be approved in the coming days and weeks. The actual time will depend on Steam of course.
Edit: These changes have been approved by valve now and should be live. However we can not confirm this and if you do not see your currency it is likely that Valve has not officially launched them yet and may be waiting for more developers. If that's the case there's no timescale for the launch but we'd certainly expect them this year, probably in the coming weeks.
Israeli New Shekel
Costa Rican Colon
The developers then later took to the r/Australia subreddit to explain that they didn't realise that nobody else had informed Australian gamers of the change. "Honestly a bit surprised didn't realise we were the ones breaking the news here. Oops! I've been so snowed under with our work recently that I just posted it to keep our fans informed," they wrote.
"I don't know if this means the AUD currency is now live or whether that has yet to be made live pending more developers. If it's the later I'd expect valve to hold back for a little bit before making an official announcement of it going live. Can't put a time scale to that though."
For War for the Overworld, that means the game will be priced at $34.95, instead of the usual $US29.99, a saving of around $4 after the currency conversion.
For the record, the Aussie dollar has always visible in Steam - it just wasn't a front-facing currency that users could purchase goods with. And if you login to Steam now, that's still the case.
But that might be about to change. Multiple local developers confirmed with Kotaku that they are now able to set regional prices for Australia, whereas previously the option was unavailable. The Australian dollar is also listed in Valve's developer documentation for officially supported currencies, but isn't live yet in order to give time for developers to set regional pricing.
"Pricing should be entered as soon as possible, with display of these new currencies scheduled to go live in time for our 2017 Autumn and Winter Sales," Valve told developers through an announcement.
"As a reminder, if you do not have pricing entered for a country after a local currency is set live on the Steam storefront, your game will be unavailable for sale in that country," the company warned, explaining why the feature hasn't been rolled out yet.
So, good news. We'll be able to buy games on Steam in Aussie dollars soon. It will probably take a few weeks, maybe over a month, before enough developers update their games with the new regional pricing. But the days of Aussies paying obscene exchange rates for games on Steam, finally, are coming to an end.