Steam Will Sell Games In Australian Dollars Soon

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.

Vietnamese Dong
Ukrainian Hryvnia
Australian Dollar
Polish Zloty
Argentine Peso
Israeli New Shekel
Kazakhstani Tenge
Kuwaiti Dinar
Qatari Rial
Costa Rican Colon
Uruguayan Peso

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.

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Comments

    "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,"

    This does worry me a little bit, could cause some smaller indie games to possibly be delayed by hours but I'm sure after a month or so they'll get used to it.

    However, it'll still be just as expensive, will it not? They won't make a $10USD game all of a sudden a $10AUD game, it'll be a $12.68AUD game. So the only benefit is we'll know exactly how much is coming out of our poor, poor savings account.

      It comes down to each developer. Valve has a recommended pricing - basically an algorithm that says if your game is $US5, here's roughly what it should be in rubles, Canadian dollars, lira, that sort of stuff. But you will get devs who have a firm belief that their games shouldn't be above a set limit, and Aussies might get some slight bargains on some games under that philosophy. But generally, yes, we'll just know exactly how much we'll be paying.

        Is this the same as the USD prices now? I've noticed that the prices we pay are often more than the same game if you were purchasing it in America, even though they are in the same currency. I always thought this was Steam being a dick and Australia taxing us. Was it actually the developer/publisher of the game setting these prices?

          Regional pricing is set by the publisher, Steam only offers guidance.

            Additionally, it seems that Steam's cut of the profits and high visibility factors into the pricing decisions publishers make when they choose a price for Steam which may turn out to be higher than on, say, GoG.

      there was literally an example in the article that the game would be 9% cheaper.

      I'm afraid you're sorely mistaken. As evidenced on a variety of other online storefronts, many developers and most big publishers will make it $14.95, if not $19.95.

      If Australians have actually been "lobbying" for this (and I haven't noticed it personally), they're lobbying for more Australia tax.

        Compared to now where we have an Australia tax based price is USD and can potentially get hit with Credit card fees for paying it as well?

        This is an improvement to transparency and QOL at least, but it's a different issue to the Australia tax.

          Certainly it's already a problem, but those publishers that use region-specific pricing won't drop the price because of this, they'll just convert their inflated price to AUD. Meanwhile every other developer is being asked to start using region-specific pricing, and far more of them will inflate AU prices than reduce them as seen on consoles etc.

          GEMoney offers a "28Degrees" card in Australia that uses standard Mastercard currency conversion rates with no fees, and actual conversion rates would be far cheaper than the standard practice of "use those same conversion rates then round up to 9.95", but I admit this could be an advantage to those being charged conversion fees. Still, that problem could have been solved by Steam simply handling currency conversion automatically rather than making every developer enter an independent region-specific price.

          I too hope that every developer does the opposite of what almost every developer has done in similar past situations, I just don't see a reason to expect it.

        I'm totally up for this. I'd much rather know exactly what I'm paying, even if the converstion maths are quite simple, more transparency is a good thing.

        Do you have any facts to back up your opinion? Why are you so sure it will just make things more expensive?

          As mentioned, past experience. Take a look at the online stores for any of the consoles (Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo), or individual PC online stores like the Blizzard Store or Origin, which charge separately in AUD and USD. AUD prices generally end in 9.95 or 4.95, and when compared to US prices they're almost uniformly higher after currency conversion.

            GOG (using AUD) is often cheaper than Steam (USD) by a few dollars after conversion

              Good example, though as a specialised DRM-free store GOG is kind of a unique case to begin with. Anyway, I definitely hope I'm proven wrong and Steam becomes another exception to the general rule.

        In the case of AAA games, we're being charged the Australian retail price in $US. At release, Civ 5 cost Aussies over AU$110 on Steam ... hidden behind a US$ pricetag.

        Now the price difference will be obvious. If it's cheaper at a Bricks and Mortar store .... go there instead.

      In theory we should save in some cases where games are put at the Australian RRP - but in USD. So for example, a game released on Steam for $80USD while it's only $80AUD at JB/EB. Pretty much why I've been buying PC games at retail still even though half the time it's just a code in a box.

    My first thought is that it would be harder to see how much they're charging us more, but the article says that between the US price and the AU price, we got a saving of $4 in the real world, which is mind boggling. When would Steam pass up the chance to rort us?

      Steam doesn't set the pricing.

      It is entirely up to the person who has control of the games Steam admin page as to how much the game costs in any given region. That could be the Publisher or the Developer.

      The big publishers are the ones that usually give us the "Australia" tax, setting the Steam price as the AUD RRP, but in USD currency (without conversion).

      This one developer (Brightrock Games) passed up the chance to rort us. If past experience is any guide, they will be in the minority.

      Do you remember when Steam was a great way to get cheap games?

      I remember. I think I was still playing HL2.

        I didn't want Steam when HL2 came out. Still don't. Give me the GoG method of online game sales any day.

        Not sure whether it's going to benefit us having separate Australian prices in Steam or not. It'll be interesting doing the currency conversion and comparisons for awhile.

          NO-ONE wanted steam when it came out!

          I remember it taking hours to unlock HL2. A game that I had waited years to play (I loved HL more than anyone else in Australia and that's a fact).

          GOG is pretty recent in comparison though. I'm a bit of a fan though, more for the fact that I could recollect my best of 90s/00s on it. Crusader: No Remorse is awesome!

            A few people did. I remember it was hotly debated for awhile. But yeah it bugged the hell out of me that a game I just bought and installed from multiple discs then needed a long wait while it screwed around on the internet :(

            I've actually re-bought some old games I already own just to get a patched version that runs on modern OSes. GoGs no-DRM, just download and go approach really appeals to me. Bit disappointed that lately they seem to be pushing their Galaxy client harder. Makes me worry that they're going to turn into Steam Mark 2. :(

              Yeah. I was really pissed off. I was in my early 20s so I had a lot of rage back then and I remember being really steamed. Then a friend came over when I had JUST got the game to play.

              Does the client for GOG have any anti pirate stuff going with it though? I thought it was just a convenient way to access. I haven't put too much thought into though. I just have it there with a few of my all time faves. I don't even play them really, I just like knowing they're there.

              I did play through Space Quest 4, Deus Ex and System Shock 2 though. They were pretty great memories, but damn... age... damn. Space Quest 4 was still hilarious though and fun. System Shock 2 has such a bad ass atmosphere. I stopped playing before I got to the end though because even in the day that part wasn't a lot of fun and the gfx really hold it back.

              Deus Ex though. God damn. Even though it does thing that current games STILL can't or won't do, including it's sequels... the years have NOT been kind. It looked awful when it came out but it's nigh on unplayable now. Just. Ick. Great game though.

                As far as I know they're DRM free (or as DRM free as they get *) but it's a step in the wrong direction I believe. Part of it is that the app will update games automatically. While this can be a good thing, it's also frustrating if you want to jump in and play only to discover a big update needs downloading (this is my biggest single gripe with Steam).

                They also started pulling older patches for games from the site. Grim Dawn used to have a bunch of different patches available, now it's just the latest one. That's fine for keeping it up to date, but not if you liked gameplay in version X because they made changes in version Y that you don't like.

                I guess I'm worries that something which started as a simple, DRM free solution could wind up becoming over-complicated and potentially end up being as intrusive as Steam (service running all the time, scanning the PC etc).

                * There are a couple games where multiplayer needs Galaxy installed, which strikes me as DRM behaviour. Victor Vran I think is one.

    Buy your games in Russian ruble if you can - just about everything is 30-50% cheaper

      Generally, buying in Russian Rubles means that the game is region locked and hence unplayable in Australia without using a VPN.

        Steam have to warn you about games that are region locked - have fun finding one.

    I'd say this has more to do with the future inclusion of GST than anything else.

      It has nothing to do with the future inclusion of GST since GST has been required, and collected by Valve, since July 2017, despite what the editors of Kotaku.au may think.

        Yep, there was a period when they added GST on checkout. Cheeky fucks!

    Yay... i can't wait for $120 AAA games.

      They won't do that though. No-one will pay that. They'll just go to their local JB or Big W. So the publishers will slowly reduce prices until their sales pick up.

      Trust me. It's gonna be good.

      Thats how much you paid for Civ V. You just didn't know it.

      Now that you know how much you're paying, just go to a retail store.

        Or use one of the many sites that sells Steam games.

        It's been years since I've bought a AAA game off of steam.

    I feel it will make it harder for them to smack us with the australia tax, alot of the reason this works is because its about perception, most people just look at the number and decide if that price is worth it, they dont take into account all the extra's. Now if someone see's the new AAA on steam for $110 aud they will more likely than not just laugh and say its $60 down at jb hi fi. This will force them to stay competitive.

      Yep. They will have to compete with other australian retailers, so there'll be a fair bit of pressure to keep prices at parity, or they're going to see poor sales.

      I think this will be really great.

    Yers! I eagerly being regularly dollaryscrewed by publishers.

    About time. No more "regional pricing" in a foreign currency. Can't wait to see if AAA pricing goes up or down to "match" retail.

    Not that I care either way anymore, I don't buy games direct from Steam anymore unless they're heavily discounted.

      This seems to be what people are missing here. There are a lot of publishers who say 'games are $80 in Australia, we'll set that as the price' but not realise or not care they're setting the price to 80 USD, not 80 AUD. This change should expose that practice and make it much more difficult to publishers to get away with this little rort.

        I have little doubt that the numbers have come back that Australians will actually pay a USD price that matches the same retail AUD price, by not taking the currency conversion into consideration (either outright ignorance or temporarily forgetting). Aussies see $80 on the storefront, 'seems about right', click into the page, go to buy, and the actually Aussie dollar price might not even ever display if the user has linked their paypal to Steam.

        Lotta profit to be made in forgetfulness. Just ask subscription clubs.

          Yep. Showing the price in AUD should help combat that from both the publisher and buyer sides.

    Is it just me or do we stand out on that list ?! Seriously, whats their problem with AUS currency? Or is it a tax dodge to avoid GST or something?

    Last edited 23/09/17 1:58 pm

    Awesome! I guess this will mean my Bday $50 AUD steam voucher will actually be worth $50 AUD.

    Note: I do understand currency conversion, but it did always feel some what like you were losing out.

    What will this mean for the three cents I have in my steam wallet??

    Publishers will still rip us off. They will set prices in steam to remain competitive with the inflated rip-off prices of the brick and mortar stores so we will receive no benefit from any big publisher game...

    Cool, so now they'll change hidden "dollar conversion surcharge" for hidden "exchange rate calculation surcharge" and continue triple-dipping us.

      That's pretty cynical man. I'm sure it's illegal as well so we'll see.

        Maybe. "Pretty cynical and probably illegal" is also a decent summary of Valve's track record, so I'm not going to strain myself patting them on the back for this quite yet.

        As you said, we'll see.

    Right, IDK where these guys got AUD from but the email devs were sent for new currencies did NOT include AUD.

    https://i.imgur.com/xhSHSsB.png

    also the documentation says its not supported.

    https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/store/pricing/currencies

      It's on their supported currencies list now.

      AUD No Australian Dollars, reported in cents

      Must've updated it.

        It was there as of yesterday too, I'd checked that with the developers. And the Ukrainian dollar is in the same state as the Aussie - supported, but not live, probably because more developers need time to update prices.

        Another thing worth remembering - Valve revealed during their ACCC case that there were 2.2m accounts in Australia. Not much in the grand scheme of Steam, but not something to scoff at either.

    Finally!!! I am more surprised ACCC hasn't jumped down their throat on this.
    Developers (Bethesda I am glaring at you) should STOP writing the AUD dollar amount in the USD field and acting dumb they are not ripping us off by $20.

    Hopefully this will reduce the Australian Tax incidents since we can directly compare it to local retail pricing (we suffered severe markups compared to New Zealand which had NZD for ages)

    Any one else remember when CODMW2 (I think it was this) was 100+ AU because it was 90US, and our exchange rat was up shit creak?

    Quick typographic error up there, editors. It's War *for* the Overworld

    I'd say the introduction of NZD to the Steam store saw prices for a new release jump 25%

    I know the example from these devs show a $4 cheaper price for us, but when it comes to AAA, I'm skeptical.
    "...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."

    Shades of the 'Australia Tax' senate enquiry responses. "We charge what the market will bear."

    This will make things a hell of a lot easier for Australian mobile users browsing the steam store that's for sure. Not sure if enhanced steam or whatever the new add-on is now works properly or well on mobile.

    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.

    inb4 current USD-but-should-be-AUD-with-AUtax-on-top gets converted to AUD which gets 10% GST added which then gets 20% fuck you tax added.

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