Valve Software, the creators of video game digital distribution service Steam, has introduced changes to Steam's regional pricing recommendation system, and it may have a huge impact on game prices in several Southeast Asian countries.
These include the Malaysia, the Philippines Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam, among others, though Singapore is not impacted.
The post mentioned that the tool was made as a "guide for developers who may not have the time or resources” to compare and contrast all 39 currencies that Steam supports.
The tool was updated to “make significant changes” so these prices and conversions would “stay current".
According to Valve, the price hike is based on several dynamic factors that vary from region to region.
"Rather than simply tying prices to foreign exchange rates, our price suggestion process delves deeper into the nuts and bolts of what players pay for the goods and services in their lives," Valve said in their statement.
These factors include "purchasing-power parity and consumer price indexes" to help compare prices across regions with various economic sectors.
Users who have been granted access to the tool will also be able to regulate the timing of the price change and check for pricing errors.
“For instance, if you accidentally typed in a price of €500 when the rest of your currency prices are closer to €5," it further explains.
This sounds pretty reasonable with the fluctuation of currencies and the inflation rates varying across countries. However, Twitter user SteamDB have shared an example based on the tool’s recommendations that have alarmed many Steam users.
Computations based on a price point of US$59.99 have shown different price increases, with the lowest increase being 3% for Japan and South Korea and the highest price increase at 485% for the Argentinian region.
Southeast Asian countries were also affected.
According to the said table, prices may increase by 80% in Indonesia, 40% in Malaysia, 37% in the Philippines, 57% in Thailand, and 47% in Vietnam.
Regions with the biggest potential price increase were Turkey and Argentina, where region-swapping is more prevalent. Region-swapping is when people use VPNs to buy Steam games in other countries where the prices are lower.
In the past, some developers have taken action to combat region-swapping, like Motion Twin, who increased the price of Dead Cells in Argentina and Turkey.
The only regions where the pricing recommendations weren’t adjusted were Kuwait, Israel, Costa Rica, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States.
To make it clear, this doesn’t mean that the prices of all games on the platform will increase.
The price increase table is only based on recommendations by Steam to the developers and publishers. The final price point will depend on the developers and publishers.
However, it might be fair to assume that several Indie developers and newcomers in the industry who don’t have the resources to figure all this out would use the tool to help them with the price point of these games.
Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.