The Games That Australians Can No Longer Buy On Steam

When Steam announced support for the Australian dollar, it came with the same pre-existing condition as every other currency: if developers didn't set a region specific price for that currency, their games couldn't be sold in those regions.

Front-facing support for the AUD went live on Steam this morning. Naturally, quite a few developers forgot.

Update (Tuesday 0815 AEDT): Some games are coming back online:

Some Games Are Back On Steam For Aussies, But Not All Of Them

Steam switched over to dollarydoos for local gamers yesterday, and while there was plenty of advance notice not everyone got the memo. The end result was that an alarmingly large list of games, from indies big and small to some notable AA games, were unavailable for purchase. But less than 24 hours later, the Steam Autumn sale has arrived - and with it, games are available for purchase once more.

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The first game that immediately became noticeable was Warhammer: Vermintide 2. It's a featured deal on the Steam front page, and until AUD support was enabled Aussies could purchase the game for $US14.99.

However, once support for the AUD ticked over, something crucial was missing: the ability to buy the game.

Fatshark weren't the only developers to forget. At the time of writing, a lot of prominent indies and larger publishers missed the memo completely: Undertale, Return of the Obra Dinn, Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice, Night in the Woods, Tabletop Simulator, Dream Daddy, Age of Empires 2: HD, Don't Starve Together, Celeste, Factorio and every Konami game was unavailable for sale.

Image: Steam Client (Kotaku/Alex Walker)

Microsoft Studios apparently forgot, too. A price was set for Sunset Overdrive, but a ton of Microsoft-published games on Steam are unavailable, including Ori and the Blind Forest, Fable Anniversary, Quantum Break, and Rise of Nations.

Here's Ori and the Blind Forest, unavailable for sale.

Here's the extra prompt that's shown to those in the US; you can view it for yourself through this link.

Owlcat Games, the maker of Pathfinder: Kingmaker, remembered to set a local price for their season pass - but not the game itself. So you can buy future content, just not the game that comes with it.

Here's Hellblade as shown to audiences logging in from the United States, and what Australians will see (complete with the Enhanced Steam browser plug-in, which is fantastic):

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, Gunpoint, Super Hexagon, The Wolf Among Us, Sam & Max, and a good chunk of titles from German publisher Daedlic Entertainment were also affected.

EatPrayLoot also noted on Twitter that Runic Games, makers of the Torchlight series and Hob, also forgot:

Update: Other games that also dropped from sale include Ashes Cricket (but not the earlier Don Bradman games).

The Room Three, which released last week (after the pricing matrix changes and notices to developers were sent out), also wasn't available for sale locally. Neither was 7 Days to Die, X-Plane 11, Oxygen Not Included, Gang Beasts, Starbound, or Assetto Corsa.

Publisher Beamdog, makers of the Planescape: Torment and Baldur's Gate remasters, also appears to have forgotten local pricing:

Update (1700 AEDT): Other games still unavailable to Australians (provided you don't own them already): Into the Breach, State of Mind, Phantom Doctrine, Contradiction - Spot the Liar!, Nidhogg 2, Ikaruga, Donut County, Shantae: Half-Genie Hero, Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, the Metal Slug games, Spelunky, the Trine trilogy, The Witness and Braid, the Serious Sam Classic games and Serious Sam HD: Gold Edition (but not all of the Serious Sam games.

iRacing and Yoku's Island Express are also unavailable, although the demo for the latter can still be downloaded locally:

We'll keep you posted with any other major snafus. Let us know if you see any pearlers in the comments!

Adam Wells contributed to this report.


Comments

    It is almost a shorter list of games that we can buy. My wishlist has about a 25% hit rate of available.

    What a mess.

      For once though, I can't blame Steam for this cock-up. The publishers have known about this for a while.

      The problem is that people being people ... are generally lazy. They don't fix things until it's broken. Expect it to be fixed soon when they realise they are missing opportunities for income.

        I fully expect some publishers to shrug and say, "We're making so little money on the sales tail of that title that it would cost us more in the wages of the person who'd have to make a decision and communicate with Valve."

          Get enough complaints on the specific games discussion forum, and it'll get sorted.

        I can't blame Steam for this cock-up.

        I goddamn can! Why isn't there a default AUD price set to the conversion rate? Steam converted the funds in people's wallets to AUD, so they know how to do it! Why the fuck would you ask thousands of publishers to go press some buttons when an automated script would have been sufficient?

          Why? Because that's not how it works in other regions. Valve could open themselves up to litigation by specifying product prices without the devs/publishers input. It's the responsibility of devs/publishers to set prices.

            No, It's definitely Steam's fault. They could have a "I choose another region" or "I choose to pay in US dollars" button default...

              Why? They don't do that for anyone else. What make us so special?

          I was thinking something similar. Their options to the developers could have been something like;

          1) Set your own price
          2) Refuse to sell game
          3) Steam will automatically set price based on exchange rate

          And if the game's developer doesn't choose 1 or 2 it falls through to 3.

          @lichbane, surely by *not* selling a developers game they're also opening themselves up to litigation? "Hey we listed our game on your platform but no one can buy it" seems every bit as bad as "Hey you're selling our game at a reasonable currency converted price!"

            Steam can choose to sell, or not sell, whatever games they choose for whatever reason they see fit. The publishers would have no grounds to sue Steam for blocking their game for sale, especially if Steam gave publishers advanced notice of the change, which they appeared to do.

            I agree that your suggested three tier system would have made a lot of sense, however.

              I was just making the point that if you can sue for selling a game without dev's input on price then it stands to reason that you could sue for not allowing the game to be sold.

                No. Valve doesn't set the price. The developers do. That means Valve can't change the price either. They can however chose not to sell a product if the developer doesn't fulfill their obligation ... like telling Valve how much to sell it for. It's pretty bloody simple.

                The developers got lazy. Most have fixed up their game. Those that don't, that's their fault.

        Steam could have easily have said to devs that if you don't put anything in, prices will convert to current exchange.

        Is Steams stuff up as fair as I'm concerned.

          That's not how their pricing matrix works anywhere else, why would they do it here? Steam gave plenty of notice, just like they have elsewhere when this has happened. This is lazy or forgetful developers, not Steam.

          I don't think its a biggie myself. Most of them will realise in the next day or two that theres a problem and fix it.

            So maybe their pricing matrix is "wrong" (could be done better) everywhere?

              Maybe, but they aren't going to change their process any time soon. Given most peoples stories when its a flat conversion are that the differences are small (ie in the range of $1), I think their matrix is pretty close myself.

              Most importers work on a similar system, only reviewing their prices when rates have been up or down for an extended period. You usually see prices based on long term averages, which are used for good reason.

              My point though was more that this isn't the first time this has happened, and developers would have gone through it before. Laying the blame on Steam for doing pretty much what everyone else does shows a bias, innocently or otherwise.

              Again, given most peoples experience so far is the difference is under a dollar when the matrix rate is used, I think its pretty good. At some point, because its a static rate, it'll also work to our advantage, which many wont understand.

          Yeah, I feel like Valve should be more aware of the fact that a lot of titles aren't in active development any more, or that developers won't notice this sort of thing.

          Sure, give them an opportunity to set their own AUD price, but if they didn't then their games should have some sort of default price set (either based on exchange rate or Valve's purchasing power conversion).

        Oh no, this is on Valve.

        I know for a FACT (know someone who is a dev and dealt with it) that AU pricing has been part of the backed for Steam for at least 3 years. But when Valve announced that they where gona put in AU pricing on the front, in stared of it being just back end, all devs prices where re-set and Vavle's recommendations for Aus prices changed to be more expensive too. And they did this about a month ago. If Valve had left shit where it was, we would be fine.

          Did he go into detail on why they were reset? Theres more than just 'Valve reset things'. What the old values were based on was way out of date and wouldnt work now, so a reset was necessary.

          Plenty of stories about explaining why, I expect your dev mate has left out a few details here.

    No issues with the article but what might of more interest to the Australian readers is what the change has brought to the prices.

    I know there was one a few days ago with some preview changes that were not so bad but now that it is live, how badly are we getting screwed with the "Australia Tax"?

        My apologies, I did not see the prior article on my scroll through this morning. I was wrong.

          Its easy to miss em. FYI, I uploaded a $20 card yesterday, which converted to roughly $15, and it converted back to about what it should be today. Might even have made a few cents...

          It seems there has been little rorting from the Steam side of things. I was half expecting there to be a little discrepancy tucked in there so was pleasantly surprised. If theres any, its developers doing the deed as they round prices up to a common point like $x9.95.

      Some games its a touch more expenisve (Frostpunk is 20.09 on the US store, should be AUD27.82, is 28.77). Some are also a good deal cheaper - Assassin's Creed Odyssey - USD69.95 -> converted gives 96.87 - on the store its currently priced at 89.95. I seem to remember Steam just releasing stuff as a guideline default price being the currency conversion - I guess developers/publishers can set what they want.

        At a $1 (or thereabouts) more that's pretty much the cost of currency conversion so it works out the same.

      The only game I have in my wish list went from $24.95 USD to $35.95. From a quick google of the current exchange rate, its only $1 more.

    Valve did tell developers about the change beforehand right? Or did Jan forget again?

      Haha, I'm assuming you're joking around, but yeah, the only reason we got any more than a week's advance notice in the first place is because developers started talking about the communications they were getting from Valve about preparing for it, a couple months ago.

      I guess some companies are just so badly organized, so spread-out, or unresponsive to change that they couldn't figure out who would be responsible for this, then get the folks responsible to make a decision (or worse: achieve consensus from multiple stakeholders) before launch.

      Especially when there's no perceived urgency when it comes to work that relates to titles not currently under development/past their sales tail.

        Little story. Here at work, I was asked to sell some raffle tickets about a month ago. Had to be sold by this Friday. Me being me, I forgot, mostly because there was plenty of time to get them sold, and it usually wasn't hard to sell them. Would worry about it when it was closer.

        Last week, a reminder went around to co-incide with payday. Thankful for the reminder, I vowed to get them sold, but got distracted and forgot. Again. It took another reminder this morning to get me off my butt and sell them, which as expected took 10 minutes.

        Moral of the story is that even with a simple task I left it to the last minute and still needed two reminders.

        This Steam change is no different. Developers wont remember unless they are active, and for most of them, this isn't the sort of thing you'd come across, so its easy to forget. So need reminders. If Steam didn't remind them, its easy to forget until the date has passed, then deal with it then.

        Its not so much bad organisation, but just dealing with a relatively small detail that can easily slip into the background. As you say, its not something that's so common it would be a key duty for someone in a lot of companies. To expect everyone to stay on top of it is a little unreasonable.

          Heck some of them could have non-active email accounts. "Yeah bob added the game to steam 2 years ago using [email protected] but Bob left 2 months ago." Or it's going through the management hierarchy and awaiting approval. Or they're trying to figure out whether they need to be charging for taxes or whatnot.

            Yup. I said elsewhere that I don't think this is a big issue myself. Its a day one glitch, most developers will realise pretty quickly theres a problem, and fix it.

            But they wouldn't have bothered doing anything when they had plenty of time because, well, they had plenty of time. Others would have done it straight away.

            Then there would be others that HAD done something in the past, so assumed it was still good, but will find that work has been wiped because the matrix was changed. That's another story that's done the rounds - at some point every Aussie price fell off.

            Overall, just a day one thing more than anything. I doubt many people are panicking over it.

              It'll be interesting reviewing this again in say a month. See what proportion of games are still unpurchasable.

              It's also somewhat amusing because I got my regular "these items on your wishlist are on sale" email today and only 3 of the 9 items actually have prices 0_o

    Yeah pretty sure they said games will be unavailable for some titles until the price had been set in some cases

    The only non-Microsoft Studio game that doesn't have a AUD price on my wishlist is Turok 2: Seeds of Evil. Outside of that, most of the prices of the games that do have AUD prices, they appear to be for the most part, US store price (according to SteamDB) converted to AUD which is nice.

    Can this be worked around with a VPN?

      Probably not. Not on its own, anyway. You'd need a US-based credit card, most likely.

      For the last few years, Steam has allowed you to manually set your own 'store region' for determining what your title access and purchasing currency will be, rather than auto-detecting it based on IP the way it did earlier.

      However, this has come with some checks and balances; if your paypal or credit card are Australian, for example, your manually-set store region will be overriden and locked to the Australian store for purchases, no matter where you appear to be logging in from.

      It's specifically to avoid region-hopping for the best deal, thanks to some regions getting deep, deep discounts for the sake of that region's market. Unfortunately for us, Australia's been on the other side of that, getting fucked over on higher region-specific prices - the so-called 'Australia Tax'.

        Why use a credit card? Steam credit can be bought at Woolies or JB (amongst many other places) so you could just buy them from somewhere like Walmart or Newegg if those credits MUST be a US source. They ship physical cards to Australia as far as I know.

        You would need a separate account for that region, but to some thats worth it to get the cheaper price. I dont care myself, a few dollars isnt going to break me.

          I assume you'd need to set your store region to the US, and only use imported cards. My hunch is that the cards you can buy at woolies or b-dubs or whatever will be registered to Australia.

          I don't think you need a separate account. With a US credit card or verified US address/bank account to change your paypal region, you can change your Steam store region.

            I assumed the same, but a quick look makes me not so sure...

            Example scenario: a permanent resident to the US creates an account in Spain
            If your permanent residence is in the United States and you created a Steam account while traveling in Spain, you will not be able to set United States as your store country until you have returned home. To complete purchases while traveling in Spain, you will need to use a Spanish payment method or Steam Wallet Code.
            Emphasis mine, but that last bit really suggests to me that maybe you dont need to be so sneaky. I'm not sure it cares where that wallet credit comes from now, just that its there. That seems a big loophole.

            https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=6627-QSNM-5276

            Either way, Walmart and Newegg deliver real cards, and Newegg at least do deliver to Australia, so even if they need to be US sourced cards it doesnt seem hard to get them.

      You can probably purchase most of the games elsewhere and activate it through a key until they add pricing.

    this is rubbish... not only are there markups all over the place, but we can't buy things until pricing is set? or should I say, how much "aussie tax" is applied to things...

    times like this I wish I didn't have over 3300 games on the platform... have been thinking of moving to GOG lately for new purchases, this might tip me over the edge as they generally have better prices anyway... very annoyed...

    What a load of complete bullshit this change was. Where's the benefit for us? Every game has been marked up, sometimes by CLOSE to the actual AU/US exchange rate, sometimes by a exorbitantly stupid amount just to fuck us over. DOOM 2016 has gone from $20 to fucking $35 just because fuck you, you Australian scrubs, pay us more because we fucking say so! And now a huge number of games can't even be bought because, eh, who gives a fuck about Australia? Absolutely awful in every single way. Steam is dead to me now. Not worth wasting money on.

      Oh no I bet Gaben is gonna cry himself to sleep in his bed of money. That being said since your "done" with steam can I have your account?

      FYI, $20 for Doom was the USD price - and only relatively recently, like for a few months.

      The AUD price last week, for the $20USD was - after exchange - about $28AUD, with what I'd calculate as a standard bank/paypal fee close to a buck. So the AUD price of Doom hasn't gone from $20AUD to $35AUD, it's gone from a bit closer to $30AUD to $35AUD.

      That's five dollars difference, not fifteen.
      If you're relying on bastion of pricing transparency Steamprices.com, it's really important to understand that they haven't yet incorporated the Steam AUD change - their Australian store entry prices are now showing the real AUD price as USD, and the mouse-over tooltip is adding the currency conversion on top of that.

      Additional point: The change of price to being higher was Bethesda's call, not Valve/Steam's. You can argue that Steam's 'recommended' pricing matrix did generally across-the-board recommend pricing slightly higher for Australia than it did previously, but not by the amount Bethesda has chosen to go with. They've exceeded Steam's recommendations, which further cements Bethesda's responsibility, not Valve's.

    Might have been a good idea to just autoconvert the prices... Seems silly to make them have to actively set a price for games that have, in some cases, been out for years.

    Dammit Steam, I was hoping to see some great sales in the next few days, and you've gone and ruined it. How about you roll back the change until Tuesday?

    Typical. Another American company treating Australia like sh*t.

    Heh, some of these titles are even made in Australia.

    Also worried about the 'Australia tax'.

    Makes sites like GOG more attractive.

    Why make publishers have to set a price for each countries' store. As a default (if they don't want to bother) do $US -> $AU?

      Why make publishers have to set a price for each countries' store. As a default (if they don't want to bother) do $US -> $AU?

      Because they were already manually setting prices for each country's store. This is 'business as usual', and probably dictated somewhere in policy. Regional pricing has been a thing for years, and Valve has offered a recommended pricing matrix for that time, too.

      The change here is they've updated it, and put in a hard requirement that every publisher/developer has to revisit their pricing for Australia, or become unavailable for sale.

      What seems to have happened is that publishers/developers have forgotten to get around to doing it again, post-launch, can't internally figure out who should finalize the price (IP rights can get weird, yo), or simply don't care. They cared on launch... they don't, now.

      Last edited 21/11/18 2:42 pm

        People seem to forget that we’ve always had regional pricing on Steam for Australia - AAA devs in particular abused the shit out of it. Now at least we know exactly what we’re paying.

    So this article implies that the fault lies with developers/publishers "forgetting" to set pricing for Australia. And I'm seeing a few comments along the lines of "Valve/Steam can't be blamed for this" and "typical lazy developers".

    Ok, fair enough - some developers likely did forget. But for me personally, I NEVER received the e-mail from Valve about this in the first place. And I have a sneaking suspicion that I wasn't the only developer that didn't get this e-mail!

    Also, normally Valve would announce this type of stuff in the Steam developer forums (they did for the last introduction of new region pricings for comparison). But for some reason, they didn't think it was necessary to make an announcement this time for Australian pricing.

    So frankly, I'm not surprised that so many games do not have Australian pricing set. I have a feeling many developers were simply not aware that this was even happening.

    Anyway, my 2c for what it's worth.

      Well that's an interesting insight.

      Given the amount of public noise about it, it'd be hard to imagine that some of these devs wouldn't have heard about it, but there's a difference between noise and official communications to be taken as instruction.

      https://www.kotaku.com.au/2018/10/steam-will-fully-support-aussie-dollars-from-mid-november/ - mentions slideshows at last month's GCAP conference, advice on the Steam website last week, but obviously that doesn't reach everyone the way that individual contact or forums do.

      Obviously the instructions are up somewhere, and available to the massive number of developers and publishers who have gone through the process... but how did they get ahold of that?
      Was it about those devs/publishers being proactive rather than reactive, or is it instead that some of the triggers for being reactive slipping through the cracks for certain contacts?

        Well, I didn't hear about it from any other sources (until just this weekend when I found out by accident). I don't really read Kotaku much (a colleague pointed me to this article), and I didn't attend GCAP (I'm from Perth, and money/time costs were an issue for me). So I missed the info from these sources.

        The official instructions to devs were only sent in an e-mail. And many devs I know did actually receive this e-mail from Valve about 4 weeks ago (as I later discovered when I asked about it). But no one thought to mention it to me since they assumed I'd also received the same e-mail. And I've since come across other devs who also never received the e-mail, so it wasn't just me.

        Also, another thing that didn't help is that devs have actually been able to set AUD pricing for quite a while now (at least a year). There just hadn't been any official communications from Valve about when it would actually go live. I had set my AUD pricing back in September when I released my game and I was happy with it. But because Valve decided to actually make the pricing live after that, and then decided that they wanted to increase the AUD pricing in their recommended pricing matrix to match the current exchange rate (since it had changed quite a bit since it was first added), they reset any previously entered AUD pricing. So any developers who had entered AUD pricing (like me), now had to re-submit it.

          Thanks for the info Mike, it adds a lot. Also confirms the AUD pricing dropping off.

          I'm now wondering why you didnt get an email. Is it possible you could chase it down with Valve and report back? Did they send it? Did they forget? Its different if they sent it to a wrong email versus not sending it at all is what I'm getting at.

          I'm a career public servant and one of our biggest bugbears is outdated info, but its understandable. People give info at registration that changes later but never update it simply because a lot happens elsewhere with more importance. For a developer, that may mean the contact email changes after a website is created, while the rego had a personal email linked.

          Not saying thats the case here, but its something I've seen for far too long with business addresses.

            Yes, my details with Valve are definitely all correct. To prove this, I did recently receive an e-mail from Valve about upcoming Steam sale events. This e-mail was sent to me a couple of days before they apparently sent the AUD pricing e-mail (which I never received).

            And I did also double and triple check my spam folder, so that's not the issue either. I regularly check this anyway, so I would've definitely seen it if that was the case.

            Another dev also just told me that they even received a reminder e-mail from Valve about the AUD pricing. So there were apparently at least 2 e-mails that were sent about this that I never received.

            It's not even that I never received an e-mail here that is the problem. It's that it wasn't announced in the Steam developer forums either (like most other important announcements are). I regularly check these announcements, so at least if this had been done I would've known about it a lot sooner.

            Anyway, I am actually in communications with Valve about this. So hopefully they can offer some insight into what went wrong, and hopefully improve things so that there's less chance in future of important info like this being missed by devs. Also after I contacted them, they did actually post a last minute reminder announcement about the AUD pricing in the dev forums yesterday. But to be clear, this was the first announcement in the dev forums about this - 1 day before AUD pricing went live.

              Thanks for that. As @alexwalker says, this deserves more attention. Its not the first time a region has switched from US to local pricing, so you'd expect any lessons to have been learned years ago, yet from your experience seemingly hasnt.

              Definitely worth the followup.

              The lack of communication on even the dev forums is worrying as well. You'd expect pretty much any movement to appear there somewhere, let alone something as major as this.

    Not happy about some of the conversion rates: 50% more for the Aussie version for some while others are closer to 25%? Haven't checked out sites that sell Steam keys in AUD but its going to pay to shop around until this mess is sorted.

    The whole this is a frigging joke.

    Morons

    Just when there's the Autumn sale too, what a cock up.
    Glad I purchased Sunset Overdrive the other day.

    Just fricking typical. Behind the times again in Australia. Seriously backwards in this country.
    Shit internet, cable on netflix needs a vpn to watch the better shows, public transport overpriced within this country and stupid... and you get knobs who say we are better bc they are brainwashed by media bc it tells them to.

    Hang on,
    I want to buy Celeste, right?
    So does that mean I can now never buy the game? Or is it simply waiting until they release the Aussie price for it? Like idk...

    More games from my wishlist than I would like are unavailable now.

    Others have jumped up in price a lot, for example the Witcher 3 which is US $19.99 (about AU$28 ) is now AU $59.99. More than doubled it's price.

    Third party sites are always going to be cheaper than steam.

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