Valve wants Steam to be the global destination for buying PC games. That intention was made clear this week with an announcement Steam will add support for paying in 10 new currencies. Valve is also adding a brand new region to the platform, which comes with a surprising twist: much cheaper games.
- Argentinian Peso (ARS)
- Costa Rican Colón (CRC)
- Israeli New Shekel (ILS)
- Kazakhstani Tenge (KZT)
- Kuwaiti Dinar (KWD)
- Polish Zloty (PLN)
- Qatari Rial (QAR)
- Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)
- Uruguayan Peso (UYU)
- Vietnamese Dong (VND)
More interestingly, Steam will get a new region called the South Asian Region (SAR). It's an umbrella region covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Here's where the cheaper pricing comes in. Valve is tweaking the prices of games to reflect the economies of the regions that fall within SAR. Typically prices are half what we expect to see in the US and across Europe.
According to PakGamers, it can take up to two years for all price adjustments to be made for a new region. That's because Valve leaves it up to publishers and developers to make the change rather than doing it automatically. However, the price changes are already happening. For example, the newly released Middle-earth: Shadow of War costs $59.99 in the US, but only $29.99 in SAR.
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As you'd expect, Steam restricts sales at the reduced pricing to consumers located in SAR. It's also not possible to buy a game from within SAR and gift it to someone in another region. You'd certainly see some gifting for cash businesses setting up quickly if they allowed that to happen!
While there may be a few grumbles about the reduced pricing, publishers and developers should be happy to have a new region of potential game buyers open up to them. Selling to that region at prices they can afford is better than not being able to sell to them at all.