For some time, gamers in Australia have been crying out for Steam to provide prices in the Pacific Peso. They shouted that it was unfair that we could only buy stuff in Freedom Dollars. This mostly stems from the fact that many thought there was some sort of rip off pricing on Steam for Australian gamers, similar to other purchases like…well, everything else. This was particularly loathsome during the short (but glorious) period when the Australian dollar was worth more than the American equivalent.
Steam has now localised their prices for Australian customers. And wouldn’t you know it, there’s already a problem. A lot of smaller or medium sized developers have had their games knocked out of being sold because they hadn’t yet produced localised prices. You can see the effects of this from my wishlist below. Fantastic games like Dreamfall Chapters cannot be purchased because it doesn’t have local pricing yet.
Thankfully most games on Steam appear to have had this issue solved within 24 hours of the local pricing launch. X4 Foundations, something that looks absolutely gorgeous and fantastic, could not be preordered yesterday because it didn’t have an Australian price. However the price has now been set at just under AUD$70. The original price was USD$50, and according to the current exchange rate, that’s about right.
Back in 2011, the world was still processing the effects of financial bedlam. During that period, Australia experienced an unprecedented event; our dollar went up to about USD$1.10. The problem was, most people never saw any change in prices, particularly for large purchases like fridges, cars, that sort of thing. There is also inherent distrust of how prices are set here.
However, this step by Steam appears to be the right direction, so long as prices are set in accordance with American prices, most customers will remain happy. It remains to be seen whether this allow steam to become more opaque with its pricing for us Aussies. Perhaps there will be more protests of unfair prices some time in the future if the world economy dives into another period of chaos.