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Valve, Please Fix Your Recommended Regional Pricing

Valve, Please Fix Your Recommended Regional Pricing

Everyone knows that videogames cost money: it can be £5, £10, or basically any price that the game publisher decides on. While the pricing of AAA games has got a bit out of hand lately, that’s not the particular issue I have. The problem is that, like most of the world, I don’t live in Europe or the US. As an idea, regional pricing is great — it allows publishers to make their games more accessible to people living in poorer countries… except not every publisher knows what the current economic conditions are. To solve that, whenever someone publishes a game on Steam, Valve supplies them with a recommended price for each store region, but it’s not exactly good.

The way I found out about this issue was through Hades II's release. Wanting to go ahead and buy it, I went over to the store page, but then I found out the price is where I live: ₪110.95. Compared to that, the game costs £24.99 in the UK, which is only seven Shekels more. While this seems fair, the game’s price in Israel was just directly converted from the price in the US, rounded up to a prettier number.

Hades 2 price on the Israeli Steam store

While this doesn’t seem that expensive for someone living in Europe or the US, the worth of ₪110.95 in Israel is a lot higher than it is there. For starters, the worth in working hours is itself different: while the minimum wage in the UK is £11.44, or about ₪53.76, the minimum wage in Israel is only about 60% of that, at ₪32.30. The Purchasing Power in Israel is also lower: compared to the UK’s 90.1 Purchasing Power Index score, Israel only has a score of 74.5. To put the economic difference in other words: the amount of money I’d spend on buying Hades II in Israel is roughly the same as food for a week if you do your groceries right, but in the UK, it’d be roughly two and a half weeks if you buy the exact same things. And that is with random, probably high UK supermarket prices I found online, compared to the cheapest deals I could find in Israel after living here my entire life.

This issue is even worse in other countries — for example, I am also a citizen of Argentina and currently have family residing there. The price of Hades II in Argentina is $15.99, or $14,283.94 Peso Argentino. The minimum wage there is $1,105.26 Peso Argentino an hour, meaning the amount of work required to purchase it is almost 13 hours, compared to the two and a half it is in the UK. Add food and rent prices to the mix, and purchasing Hades II in Argentina is basically an investment.

Valve Suggested Pricing of Stardew Valley in different countries

And no, this problem isn’t only with this particular game: it’s an across-the-board regional pricing issue in Steam. Being curious, I checked SteamDB for the Valve Suggested Price of games in different regions and found that Israel is the fifth most expensive country there, beating both the US and Canada, even though the average household here is poorer. And for the average person living in Argentina, there is basically no hope of ever purchasing a game on Steam since Valve added Argentina to LATAM pricing.

Other stores like Epic Games and GOG aren’t much better, if they’re better at all. While I don’t know whether or not these videogame stores have their own version of Steam’s recommended regional pricing as they don’t have their own equivalent of SteamDB, I’m assuming they do and that theirs is just as bad as Valve’s. All that’s left to do is just hope one store decides to actually do some research when it comes to recommending regional pricing.

Ariel Chloe Mann

Ariel Chloe Mann

Staff Writer

Plays too much Counter-Strike 2, unless you count her alternate account then hardly any

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