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Steam Purchases, A quick guide
neX
post Nov 27 2009, 02:54 PM
Post #1
Atomican
Primarch




I am a big fan of Steam (their special sales rock but are the bane of my hip pocket!) and digital distribution, but something is starting to emanate an overpowering stench in the ether.

There is a growing trend within Steam to set prices for like titles at different prices depending on the country you are from. Recent examples include Modern Warfare 2, Borderlands and Napoleon: Total War where the markup between the US and AU release is as much as US$30+. I am not pointing a finger at Steam but more at the publishing houses of said games matching the pricing with retail outlets. Steam have stated they do not set the pricing, but rather versions and pricing is set by the publisher of the specific titles. Fair enough as Steam is just a distributor. 2K Games is one of the publishers at fault here (check out the Borderlands pricing article on Kotaku).

Personally I do not believe that this is fair in the case of digitally distributed material where all that is received is the game code. There are no production costs involved such as manufacturing of discs, packaging, printing or delivery - thus it does not merit an increased price.

As such, the recent issue with the RC status and heavy handed censorship imposed on L4D2 brought to light an alternative when purchasing through Steam - what I have dubbed the 'Country Code Workaround' or CCW. Below are details on how to purchase titles from a region other than the one you are currently located in.

Important note: This workaround will not work in the Steam Client

In general you require a browser, your Steam account, a Credit Card and a few minutes of research.

In general there are three (of concern) regions that pricing is set - United States (USD), United Kingdom (GBP) and Australia (USD+/- markup). In the past pricing has been similar across all regions but is now starting to differ. Steam is not the culprit here but rather the games publisher, eg Infinity Ward and 2K Games.

Preliminary Research - finding the best price

1. In order to check where you can get the cheapest title simply open your browser to store.steampowered.com and search for the title you are after. In this example we will use Borderlands.
2. To check what the pricing is for the title in the three regions use the following code on the end of the URL:
- for AU use ?cc=AU
- for UK use ?cc=UK
- for US use ?cc=US
eg: http://store.steampowered.com/app/8980/?cc=US

3. Take note of the prices for the different regions and then convert them all into AU$ via Oanda Currency Conversion to see which is the best bang for buck.
eg: As of 27.11.09 the US version @ US$49.99 is AU$54.30; the UK version @ GBP29.99 is AU$54.07; wheras the AU version @ US$79.99 is AU$86.89. There is at least a AU$32 price difference! So how much do you want to pay?


Making the Purchase

Here we will make the purchase via the US region for Borderlands

1. Login with your existing Steam account via the website store.steampowered.com
2. Go to http://store.steampowered.com/app/8980/?cc=US
3. Buy Borderlands US$49.99 Click 'Add to cart' - ensure the link you click has the correct US version number in the Add to Cart URL in the status bar; just hover over the Add to Cart button
- Standalone: java script:addToCart( 2196);
- Four Pack: java script:addToCart( 2244);

3. Purchase via credit card - it will state that your location is incorrect.
4. Change your country to United States US. The Country field is the important field here,
eg: US: United States; UK: United Kingdom
State and Zip do not appear to influence the purchase, however, be aware that setting a US state may incur extra fees due to tax. If you do use a state use California and the zip 90001.

5. Make purchase with your Credit Card.


Relevant URLs

Sales Info
Steam Deals and Price Reductions - all recorded in one spot
AU Price Comparison Site - very handy seeing the price difference across the regions

Pricing Issues
Steam and Region Pricing - Atomic
L4D2 Purchase - Atomic
Borderlands Australian Price Fiasco Consolidation Thread - Steam

Edit 1: US States and extra fees due to tax laws - see Making the Purchase, Point 4
Edit 2: Steam Sales info link and minor text and formatting


This post has been edited by neX: Aug 24 2010, 10:44 AM


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Oracle X
post Nov 27 2009, 03:09 PM
Post #2
Hero
Guru




yeah but didn't IW say they were going to ban games bought with faked regions?

What if they start doing this across the board?


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iamthemaxx
post Nov 27 2009, 03:29 PM
Post #3
Super Hero
Super Hero




QUOTE (Oracle X @ Nov 27 2009, 04:09 PM) *
yeah but didn't IW say they were going to ban games bought with faked regions?

What if they start doing this across the board?


Awesome way to actually fix the problem isn't it....
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neX
post Nov 27 2009, 03:32 PM
Post #4
Atomican
Primarch




I think IW really couldn't give a toss about PC gamers full stop with what they have done with MW2 on this platform.

The problem that banning on region poses is when a legitimate copy is bought overseas and brought back to homeland shores.

Oracle do you have a source for the fake region ban statement?


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mark84
post Dec 16 2009, 11:08 AM
Post #5
Hero
Champion




Nice post.

Beware though if setting country as US. Some states charge an extra tax on things like this, and generally adds another $3-5 to the purchase price. Florida I think it one of the ones that doesn't charge a tax.

When you get to the review order stage, double check there's no tax added in. If there is go back and change the state to something else.

Might want to add that to the OP neX


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kasalal
post Dec 16 2009, 03:40 PM
Post #6
Atomican
Master




Nice post.
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VannA
post Dec 16 2009, 04:01 PM
Post #7
Super Hero
Guru




QUOTE (iamthemaxx @ Nov 27 2009, 03:29 PM) *
QUOTE (Oracle X @ Nov 27 2009, 04:09 PM) *
yeah but didn't IW say they were going to ban games bought with faked regions?

What if they start doing this across the board?


Awesome way to actually fix the problem isn't it....


The ACCC would eat them.

Region Coding is technically against Australian Law.

But you'd have to be willing to take them to court :(
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nesquick
post Dec 16 2009, 06:16 PM
Post #8
Atomican
Titan




QUOTE (mark84 @ Dec 16 2009, 11:08 AM) *
Nice post.

Beware though if setting country as US. Some states charge an extra tax on things like this, and generally adds another $3-5 to the purchase price. Florida I think it one of the ones that doesn't charge a tax.

When you get to the review order stage, double check there's no tax added in. If there is go back and change the state to something else.

Might want to add that to the OP neX

I set mine as California and its all good.


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DaCraw
post Dec 17 2009, 12:53 AM
Post #9
Atomican
Mafia Winner




I've never understood how they get away with this. The Trade Practices Act explicitly prohibits a supplier making it known to a retailer that they will cut supply unless a minimum retail price is maintained (s48, s96(3)).

How, then, can it be that Valve are compelled to honour the RRPs?


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neX
post Dec 17 2009, 10:20 AM
Post #10
Atomican
Primarch




Updated OP - thanks mark84


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phatbeat
post Dec 17 2009, 12:49 PM
Post #11
Atomican
Primarch




Great Post!! Very helpful for a virgin steam user. This should be a sticky!!!


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NukeJockey
post Dec 23 2009, 01:40 PM
Post #12
Hero
Titan




I just got the rockstar complete pack off the US site for 46 bucks.


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bushi
post Dec 23 2009, 07:10 PM
Post #13
Atomican
Guru




I just can't seem to get it to work.

"Your purchase has not been completed. Your credit card information has been declined by your credit card company.

Note that in some cases, your credit card company may put a 'hold' on funds in your account, but you will not be charged. After reviewing the information below, if you believe your card has been declined in error please try your purchase again."


I have it set as US, CA, 90001.

Don't know what the hell is wrong. Tried Paypal aswell but it was giving me errors as well.



And yes I have more than enough funds in my account.

This post has been edited by bushi: Dec 23 2009, 07:26 PM


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NukeJockey
post Dec 23 2009, 08:27 PM
Post #14
Hero
Titan




I get that error sometimes, just gotta keep trying.


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bushi
post Dec 23 2009, 08:43 PM
Post #15
Atomican
Guru




So it should work eventually?

I tried it twice until it wouldn't let me purchase anymore.


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VannA
post Dec 24 2009, 08:30 AM
Post #16
Super Hero
Guru




If your address doesn't match the address that is on the CC, some places can and will decline.
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bushi
post Dec 24 2009, 08:50 AM
Post #17
Atomican
Guru




Meh.

Might get a mate to gift it to me. This stinks.


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phatbeat
post Dec 24 2009, 09:32 AM
Post #18
Atomican
Primarch




QUOTE (bushi @ Dec 23 2009, 08:10 PM) *
I just can't seem to get it to work.

"Your purchase has not been completed. Your credit card information has been declined by your credit card company.

Note that in some cases, your credit card company may put a 'hold' on funds in your account, but you will not be charged. After reviewing the information below, if you believe your card has been declined in error please try your purchase again."


I have it set as US, CA, 90001.

Don't know what the hell is wrong. Tried Paypal aswell but it was giving me errors as well.



And yes I have more than enough funds in my account.


I had the same problem trying to buy L4D2, got annoyed so I will probably just get it from play asia.


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Gasman
post Dec 24 2009, 09:45 AM
Post #19
Atomican
Master




Nice post, I will be adding that to notepad and saving it for later use.

Thanks.
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neX
post Dec 24 2009, 07:42 PM
Post #20
Atomican
Primarch




@bushi Try just setting the Country field as United States and leave everything else as your AU address. Some CC companys also verify on the state and postcode. The only essential field according to Steam is Country.


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