Dollar No Longer Weak Vs. Euro (on Steam)

Illustration for article titled Dollar No Longer Weak Vs. Euro (on Steam)

Last week Steam switched over its pricing to make dollars, euros and pounds equivalent. As you might imagine, this hoses UK/EU customers, and they're not too happy about it.

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First, the Steam announcement, dated Dec. 17:

Products on Steam are now priced using local currency in the United Kingdom (Pounds Sterling), and Europe (Euros). All other countries remain in United States Dollars.

Sounds innocent enough, right? Nope. All currencies are equivalent for pricing purposes. So a $9.99 game costs €9.99 and £9.99. Quick check of the exchange rates shows that is, in US Dollars, $9.99, and $13.85 and $14.83, respectively.

Put another way, Call of Duty 4, a $49.99 title, would be equivalent to $69.35 and, working backward, amounts to about a €14 difference, or an extra 25 percent that Valve (and the publisher) make on the exchange.

A group has been set up on Steam to protest the difference.

Sure, retail copies of games sold in Europe may not be pegged to their U.S. retail price. And fine, maybe there's a headache maintaining three different pricing structures. But the point is that Steam had been selling in U.S. dollars and European customers, no different than tourists buying physical goods, took advantage of the exchange rate. They're now hit with 25 percent markup. Don't expect them to suddenly accept your business argument.

Steam Group 1€ ≠ 1$ [Steam, thanks Stephan, Faithry, and Marius]

DISCUSSION

Just a small detail, since I've seen the argument used a couple of times:

Nowhere in Europe is healthcare free.

"Universal" doesn't mean "free", and VAT wouldn't be nearly enough to pay for healthcare - not even close.

We all pay for healthcare, except it's taken from our paychecks and from the companies' payroll taxes, then redistributed by the state so that even people with low income or various disabilities will always have access to at least a minimum level of care. By and large, Europeans also pay significantly higher income taxes than Americans.

It's called redistribution. You may disagree with the economic model, but please: enough with this idea that Europeans magically get free healthcare. Our governments are in as deep a budgetary crisis as everyone else's. They certainly don't have secret funds to pay for our health: the money comes from somewhere, and that "somewhere" is our pockets.