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  • Steam prices compared with physical stores.

    I don't know if you guys in the US have this "problem".

    I was looking at prices for Portal 2, I just finished the first one the other week and I am looking forward to playing the sequel. Now, the price at my local electronics store is 349 swedish kronor (SEK), 39.35 �, 57.4 $.
    349 SEK is a reasonable price for a PC game here in Sweden.

    What I wanted to do was to get Portal 2 directly from steam, to save me the trip and a day (the store was closed). I am not going to pretend that I did not want a physical copy to save the environment, but still it is a factor. I log in to steam and I am greeted with a big ad for Portal 2. I click the ad and I see the price, 49.90� which is in SEK is roughly 443:-, 72.9$

    So local store price: 57,4$
    Steam online store: 72,9$

    This is not uncommon, I have seen this for all the major Steam releases the past three years, but I cant wrap my head around it. The lower price gets me a game box which I can put on display and bask in nerd glory, the higher price does give me acces to the game 10 minutes after the purchase, but other than that? Nada.

    Why is it cheaper for me as a customer to buy a product that has been produced, packed, transported around Europe, put in a distributors warehouse, repacked, and then finally put on my stores shelf.
    And we are not talking about a coffee machine here, it is just software, ones and zeroes.

    I am not normally stingy, but there is something about this that I don't understand which makes me reluctant to pay the higher price.

    Have you experienced this where you live?
    Perhaps you can fill me in on why this is happening?
    I have heard that in the US there is a uniform system regarding game prices, like every major release is 60 USD, budget is 39.99 USD or lower, is that true?
    "Nemo Saltat Sobrius, Nisi Forte Insanit"

  • #2
    Re: Steam prices compared with physical stores.

    I would buy have bought my games on Steam if the price was cheaper than in the shops but it is not, they do have great sales!. But I can always get new releases cheaper by going to the shop, I recently bought Crysis 2 in the shop for €39.99 and at the time it was €59.99 on steam.

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    • #3
      Re: Steam prices compared with physical stores.

      Originally posted by MrMojay View Post
      I would buy have bought my games on Steam if the price was cheaper than in the shops but it is not, they do have great sales!. But I can always get new releases cheaper by going to the shop, I recently bought Crysis 2 in the shop for €39.99 and at the time it was €59.99 on steam.
      Thanks for replying, I have thought about it for some time, but I have never seen anyone talking about it.

      I agree, they have relly great sales, I picked up a GTA bundle a couple of months ago (GTA, GTA2, GTA3, Vice city, San andreas) for 7,49€ :)
      "Nemo Saltat Sobrius, Nisi Forte Insanit"

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      • #4
        I'm terms of back end costs, steam is lots of pieces of software (main client software, server side software, forums, web site, etc.) which is constantly being worked on and improved. Steam is also a large network of local servers and infrastructure, which is constantly growing to keep pave with capacity, and being maintained to reduce outages. Steam is also a bunch of content constantly being created for new games, promoting, etc., and it's a bunch of purchasing agents creating and managing relationships with publishers and indie developers.

        This is compared to a decades old process of stamping cheap plastic discs and sending them around the world on a tried and trusted haulage infrastructure. The same thing happens with all online services. People forget that there's more than just the bandwidth costa involved.

        In terms of which you should pay for, as a consumer, the choice is up to you. Steam sells convenience in terms of not having to go outside in three muddled of these damn team tornadoes :) and in terms of keeping your game patched, not having to get our of your chair to switch discs when you want to play a different game, not having to even know where your disc is, etc.

        I recently pre-ordered portal 2 from amazon because I saved $10 over the steam price, even though I knew I'd have to wait 6-10 days after release date to get it. Other people I know got it from steam because playing it asap is more important to them. That's the great thing about having choice :)


        [Spartan 9]

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        • #5
          Re: Steam prices compared with physical stores.

          Originally posted by Lien View Post
          I have heard that in the US there is a uniform system regarding game prices, like every major release is 60 USD, budget is 39.99 USD or lower, is that true?
          Most games in the US start at $50 (Portal 2) now, with only really the extremely well known ones (Crysis 2, CoD) being sold at $60; but I can remember even a few years back that $40 was the average price and you would only pay $60 for limited editions (Oblivion). :(

          But yea you are correct, overall for PC games there is a uniform system so most of the games you buy on the release date will either be $50 or $60, and the cheaper ones are either expansions or budget.



          Former TG-21st
          Swift Mobile On Target

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          • #6
            Re: Steam prices compared with physical stores.

            I see the price of new releases being pushed to the $59.99 mark, weather that be to pay for the increased cost to manufacture games or just to standardize the price with console versions. I am not sure... But when PC COD hit the market at $59.99 I thought they were nuts, but then they sold a ton of copies... and now it's the trend. Hold out two months and STEAM (in the US) will have it on sale...especially PORTAL 2.. where they own the product and can get folks who haven't bit on it to try it for $30.00 over a $60.00 gamble..
            |TG|ARMA Pathfinder
            ..now where did I put my keys?

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            • #7
              Re: Steam prices compared with physical stores.

              Originally posted by Lien View Post
              Perhaps you can fill me in on why this is happening?
              I'll admit I'm talking out of my ass, my guess is that it has to do with government-imposed fees (or red tape) somewhere between you and the provider. As in, the online provider is being charged more (or forced to jump through more hoops) to distribute their goods than the local brick&mortar store. An example of this in the US would be Amazon.com effectively removing itself from the state of Illinois in March.

              (Basically, Amazon.com does not collect state sales tax because, well, taxes vary greatly from state-to-state and it would be more or less a logistical nightmare for them to try and regulate each purchase themselves. States that have tried to force the issue through legislation usually codify it as "Protecting Main Street Businesses!" and have, essentially, entirely failed to make Amazon do a thing for them.)

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