How we Europeans get cheated with videogame prices

This is going to be a small rant post not related to development, but I just couldn't resist to talk about this semi-fraud.

Everybody who plays videogames (either on PC or on console) knows that in Europe prices are "a bit higher" and games usually come "a bit later"). Well, thanks to my friend Lobo666 (who told me about this Greasemonkey script) we can see "real-time proofs" of it.

Steam is Valve's digital distribution system, widely used and very nice for a lot of things. When it has deals, some of them are pretty attractive, but other times... how can we be sure they are even worthy of being called deals?

Here's an example:

screenshot

So, compared with the US price, this weekend it is a real deal to buy GRID... but then why on the United Kingdom they have an even lower price? Maybe some special deal? Anyway, we can see that Steam's currency maths are quite bad, because 1€ is not 1$. A miskate?

I don't think so...

screenshot

Now this is something we could even call fraud. Not only prices are higher on europe using the sadly so common "1$ = 1€", but here we even get an increase of 10 additional euros!

Sadly this not only happens on Steam. The average price for Overlord on PC goes from 35€ to 45€ on Spain depending on the store/website. Only a few online sites really offer more or less correctly exchanged prices (around 28€ is the correct exchange for today).

And now, you can even buy online on a few sites (but they are growing) serial numbers for between 10-20€. Unused ones, perfectly valid. You have to download the game from anywhere else (probably a Torrent site), but you plug your serial number and voila. This is possible because in some places like Rusia or Asia prices are much lower (instead of higher as in Europe), and yes, it is perfectly legal (although companies are now starting to get worried about this problem situation, same as they are about second-hand games and rentals).

So, I'm not saying piracy is the answer to this cheating of prices, but I am definetly making a call to search for cheaper alternatives than just a local store or Steam if you have the feeling a game is a bit overpriced. There are plenty of options without entering the ilegal sector.

Posted by Kartones on 2009-07-11

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