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The Rand on Steam - Are you happy with the change?

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The South African Rand is now officially supported on Steam. We reported earlier this year after a Steam update was data-mined that “The Rand is coming to Steam”. Last week my colleague Han Cilliers asked “How will the Rand coming to Steam affect South African gamers and game developers?” With the Rand now on Steam, here is a look at how the pricing of digital goods on Steam has changed for the better and some emerging issues with the change.

Games are now cheaper on Steam

If you log onto Steam today, you will notice that your Steam Wallet funds are now converted to Rand. The conversion is based upon today’s relevant market value exchange rate. It is important to note that it is not possible to switch back to paying in Dollars.  

Last year we reported that SARS is enforcing VAT on digital goods. With the news that the Rand is coming to Steam, concerns were raised as to the effect on South African Steam users. At the time of writing tax is not added separately on the invoice when you buy games. However, the Steam message when you buy a game continues to read that:  “VAT included in all prices where applicable” on a game’s listing and when checking out. At the time of writing it is unclear if VAT will be added separately at a later date; however, it does mean cheaper games for now.

If you take a look at some of the games on Steam, you will see a decent little price drop since the change, for example:

Further, some pre-orders on Steam are extremely well priced at the moment:

The price drop on AAA pre-order titles is insanely good at the moment. Although the price drop is definitely noticeable for games already released, it is still cheaper to buy most of the latest games at a local shop. You can check out the “SA price comparison for November's game releases” by my colleague Han Cilliers.  

If and how local shops will respond to the drop in price remain to be seen. Any form of price drop is generally a good thing for consumers. However, there are some issues that come with the change.

There are some issues with the change

If you use PayPal to purchase games on Steam, I’ve got some bad news for you. PayPal is not currently supported as a payment option for South Africans on Steam. MasterCard and Visa credit cards are still supported. However, with PayPal users could previously link their bank account and pay without ever having to enter credit card information. At the time of writing it is unknown whether or not the PayPal option will return.

With the switch to Rand comes another issue. South African users have been reporting that there are a number of games no longer available for purchase. Thankfully, Valve has said that it should be a temporary issue and that all games will again be available.

“No changes have been made to the contents of your library. All of the languages and features in the games that existed when the store was priced in USD are still available.”

Further, with the switch to Rand you can no longer gift games for people outside of your region. So if you have a friend overseas that wants to send you a gift or for whom you would like to send a gift via Steam, it is not possible anymore.

Are you happy with the switch to Rand and the reduced price? What do you think of the issues that come with the conversion to Rand? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

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