Steam's cheapest games are getting pricier outside the US

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Remember last October, when Steam updated its pricing guidelines for non-US currencies, resulting in recommended price increases of anywhere from 18% to 485%? Well an update from Valve has announced that now the platform is changing its minimum price thresholds to match those recommendations, and the long and short of it is that any game at Steam's cheapest price point is about to get a little more expensive outside the US.

Steam's lowest possible base price point is 0.99 US dollars (not including free and free-to-play games). That's not changing, but what is changing is what $0.99 translates to in non-US currencies "to adjust for some currencies drifting significantly in value over time". 

That means that games purchased using Euros, Pesos, or some other currency are getting a bit more expensive if they're currently priced at the lowest level Steam permits. What's more, how much they can be discounted is changing, too. The lowest price Steam will let you charge for a game on sale is 50% of its minimum base price, meaning 49 cents, but as with the base price itself, what 49 cents translates to outside the US is being revised upwards in line with its October pricing recommendations update.

We could use a game like Vampire Survivors as an example: That game's Argentinian price currently translates to about $0.85, according to SteamDB. Presumably, Poncle will have to ratchet that up a notch or two if it wants to continue selling the game in Argentina.

This news probably isn't too painful for people like me in the UK—despite, well, everything that's happened to this country's economy over the last seven years—but it could be significantly more wounding for Steam users in less developed economies. Steam's October pricing recommendations bumped up prices in Turkish Lira and Argentinian Pesos by 454% and 485%, respectively. If $0.99 games were still being translated to Steam's pre-October pricing guidelines before now, Argentinian and Turkish users could be in for a very nasty shock.

Valve is leaving it up to devs and publishers to update their pricing themselves. If they don't, and their games fall below the minimum pricing threshold in any particular currency, that game simply won't be available for purchase in that currency until it gets raised. And if you really want to sell something—perhaps a microtransaction—at a lower price? Why, Valve has an answer for that, too: Have you ever heard of its microtransactions API and the Steam Item Store

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.