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Old 28-Nov-2009, 18:55   #1
Frank
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Default Buying on Steam in dollars from Europe

If I buy a game online, I want to pay the same amount in Euro's as it is in dollars. If they add a small administrative charge, I'm fine with that. But $1 != €1. And that's what I have to pay if I buy something on Steam, for example.

And over here we have a very easy, fast and secure way of paying electronically, iDeal, which you can use on Steam only by setting it up manually in advance, because it's too foreign for Steam, of course. But even so, the moment Steam notices Euro's are used in the transaction at the other side, it simply replaces the dollar sign for an Euro sign, and thereby adds 50% to the price I have to pay. Which is simply ripping me off, as there are NO extra costs involved to them.

Is there a way to pay for it in dollars instead? Because I have a hard time paying for something if I'm ripped off so blatantly.
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Old 28-Nov-2009, 20:48   #2
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Btw, you might wonder about VAT: that only applies if they use a regional office to handle the sale. As a private person, I can buy stuff from outside the EU up to 300 Euros apiece without having to pay VAT.

So they get paid in dollars and don't have to do any paperwork or pay any taxes other than what they have to do for any other transaction. But they do take the effort of finding out in which currency/from which location the other payment is made.

It sounds like what a poor country does with rich foreigners...
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 00:53   #3
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Valve doesn't set prices on Steam (save their own products), contact and ask the game's local publisher to adjust the price.

Alternatively you can have an American friend buy and gift you the game.
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 01:20   #4
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Yeah like that will help... There is a reason they do the 1:1 exchange. They know they will get away with it.

Ofcourse you can ask a friend, providing you have one in the USA, but that isnt the most convenient thing either. You will have to pay the money back, which will cost extra money, you got the exchange rates (ok, on 50 bucks or so that isnt a big deal but still), it takes more time etc.

Maybe you could use a proxy? I assume the check is based on IP?
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 06:33   #5
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The check could be based on your credit card though. For example, there is no Apple Store in Taiwan (for music), and you can't use a Taiwanese credit card for Apple Stores in the US or other countries.
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 11:50   #6
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Don't buy on steam, except old games or promo games.
In europe you can get your box shipped for less than buying on Steam.

If it's a steam game, you'll register it anyway and get the same benefit as buying it on Steam, at a reduced price.

Steam is no more a good deal in my experience, in Europe.

(BTW shipped titles are as expensive as their USD priced Steam counterparts.)
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 11:53   #7
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Bah, you guys don't have it bad! We have it bad in New Zealand! Borderlands was $80.00 U.S. in U.S. Currency! So they blatently charge us at least twice what you guys pay in the U.S.A. in that currency!
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 16:28   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squilliam View Post
Bah, you guys don't have it bad! We have it bad in New Zealand! Borderlands was $80.00 U.S. in U.S. Currency! So they blatently charge us at least twice what you guys pay in the U.S.A. in that currency!
Yeah but c'mon they have to ship those bits all the way to the other side of the world!
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 16:51   #9
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I'm not familiar with this so I'm curious. Genrally, physical goods tend to have price differentiation because there are shipping costs, management costs, storage costs, etc. so the price could be very different between markets (general rule is that price is lower in larger markets, that's why US normally have the lowest prices). However, in the case of Steam, there is no shipping cost, no storage cost, and management cost should be quite minimal, so I don't know why they charge that much in European (and New Zealand) markets. Maybe it's something about some regulation issues? Such as, maybe in some markets there are some laws which may increase management cost (for example, some country may have more strict return policy requirement).

By the way, in Taiwan, Steam charges the same price as in the US, in USD. However, if a game is available through local publishers it tend to be cheaper. For example, Dragon Age: Origins is US$49.99 on Steam, which is roughly NT$1,600. However, the list price of the game from EA Taiwan is NT$1,290, and actual street price is even lower (generally about 10% off).
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 18:15   #10
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V.A.T. isn't enough to explain the price difference.

The fact that I can get the physical product for cheaper than the virtual one is... shameful...


That's even the case for Valve games, the box version is cheaper than the digital distribution one, and both need Steam registration anyway... Go figure...
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 20:10   #11
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Publishers just want to maintain already established price points in the markets and won't change them due to currency fluctuations, atleast in the short term.
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 20:11   #12
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Yeah, Steam games are often (considerably!) more expensive than boxed retail copies. Fallout 3 was still €50 on steam close to a year after release. It's only recently the price has lowered. Wolfenstein (the newest one) was also more expensive on steam than in the shops.

Funny story:
I just gifted Left4Dead to me best mate tonight while its price was still at 75% off, and before he had time to get back to me with his email addy (due to having to feed and watch his kids) the special offer expired on Left4Dead. However, since I had already placed the game in my basket I still got it for the rebated price.
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Old 29-Nov-2009, 22:46   #13
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Steam is never a good deal except for old stuff which you can't easily find any other way or for Valve deals. Everything else is always cheaper to buy at the other download services (Gamersgate, Direct2Drive ... hell I've bought stuff from the EA store at US prices, although that was over a year ago so that might no longer be possible) or as boxes from play.com or cdwow.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 12:17   #14
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There's still these workarounds, if you're willing to give them a try:

http://www.steamgifter.com/2009/10/b...-but-with.html
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 16:43   #15
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I'm hesitant to hand over my credit card details to an anonymous proxy.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 20:07   #16
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Does anyone knows where I can buy King's Bounty: Armored Princess (I like and play it, so I want to buy it) without a credit card? There is no retail version out yet and I'm not sure there ever will, so that leaves digital download. I'm not all that happy with PayPal either, so I would want to use iDeal if possible. It's what we use here in the EU (or at least the western part) instead of credit cards for buying stuff online. And most international (non-American) online shops support it as well.

Otherwise I'll wait and see if a retail version comes out.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 20:30   #17
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Steam is simply unattractive for anyone living in the Euro-zone, mainly because the British Pound is so weak.

Why should I pay €50 for Left4Dead2 on Steam when I can get a boxed copy from the UK for €34, shipping included?

Why should I buy Dragon Age on Steam for €50 when I can get it from direct2drive.co.uk for €31?

Why should I buy Modern Warfare 2 on Steam for €60 when I can order the box version from the UK for €37?

@Frank
Never heard of iDeal, must be a Dutch thing.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 20:51   #18
Frank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by L233 View Post
@Frank
Never heard of iDeal, must be a Dutch thing.
Most German online shops support it as well. It might have a different name in German, simply pop up when they notice I have a Dutch IP address, or be supported through the payment agency, I don't know.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 20:59   #19
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Torchlight is 20$ / 15€. Blame most other publishers (including Valve) for charging the same value in €/$.

I don't have a problem, per se, with a same price model as long as it's always lower than retail (see GoG.com).
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 21:15   #20
Frank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard View Post
Torchlight is 20$ / 15€. Blame most other publishers (including Valve) for charging the same value in €/$.

I don't have a problem, per se, with a same price model as long as it's always lower than retail (see GoG.com).
€ 15.99, but I get your point. The vast majority of the games on steam are simply 150% in Euros what they are in dollars.

Ironically, KB: AP is actually a Russian game, and sells over there for $ 10.80, or about € 7.

It's not that I want it as cheaply as possible (as I already have that), I do want to pay, it's simply that I won't buy something if I make a purchase and they tell me I have to pay 50% more the moment I want to hand over the money.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 21:18   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank View Post
Does anyone knows where I can buy King's Bounty: Armored Princess (I like and play it, so I want to buy it) without a credit card?
Why is a credit card a problem? You can use wirecard, it will just cost you one euro for the money transfer and 1.5% surcharge for paying in dollars ... not free, but not exactly a lot either.
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Old 30-Nov-2009, 21:22   #22
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Thanks. I'll try that.
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Old 01-Dec-2009, 13:04   #23
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The exchange rate seems to be relatively meaningless when you cannot buy 1.4 times the stuff with a euro as a dollar. Big Mac Index
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Old 01-Dec-2009, 17:28   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sxotty View Post
The exchange rate seems to be relatively meaningless when you cannot buy 1.4 times the stuff with a euro as a dollar. Big Mac Index
Well it does if you take a trip to the US. Exchange rates are rather meaningless if trying to justify prices in the country you are in. Prices in the your country will be set by the wages and costs of doing business within that country. Imported goods will generally be adjusted to that.

Although in some cases if it's cheaper to manufacture in the "other" country, then an importer has the option to either discount the product in the local economy or rake in huge profits by keeping it inline with the current exchange rate.

To use the Big Mac Index. :P In Japan, McDonald's hamburgers were double the price of hamburgers in the US in the 80's going straight by the exchange rate, but that was rather meaningless as wages and cost of doing business in Japan, at the time, meant that was the absolute cheapest they could sell them while still making a profit.

Regards,
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Old 01-Dec-2009, 21:52   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silent_Buddha View Post
Well it does if you take a trip to the US. Exchange rates are rather meaningless if trying to justify prices in the country you are in. Prices in the your country will be set by the wages and costs of doing business within that country. Imported goods will generally be adjusted to that.
That argument doesn't apply as well you believe it does otherwise a game developed in Britain ought to cost $80 to make up for the fact wages and living conditions in the UK are higher than Ukraine where GSC did the first STALKER game.

In digital sales like Steam, etc. it's even less possible to apply that rational since the price would have to vary, not only by your location, but by the location of the servers your download is routing through (since electricity + server space is more expensive in Europe than in, say, Asia). The steam dev team is in the US, are they getting paid for the normal US wage then with my higher value in euros?

No. the price is whatever the market will bear. Companies get away with same value $/€ because people continue to pay up.
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