Why is steam so much overpriced?

It still amazes me how steam seems to have turned into the queen mother of fair pricing after it was regarded as an incarnation of evil when it first appeared (also due to other reasons obviously).

I was chasing Fall of the Samurai:
Steam EUR 29.99 (USD 40)
Retail EUR 16.90 (USD 22)

Guess which one I bought.

Are they trying to kid their customers?

Are they just greedy?

What’s the reason for such nonsense?

The party line is that Steam doesn’t set its own prices, the game publishers do.

Why didn’t you buy it from Green Man Gaming and then register it on Steam? Its been 33% off since before release there…


It used to be similar in the U.S. back when retailers still sold PC games. I used to find cheap PC games regularly at EB Games and Walmart and other small mom & pop game stores. But I haven’t seen PC Games at retail stores in a long time, except full priced boxes sitting at Walmart and Target.

Consider yourself lucky that you still live in an area where PC games are still on shelves at retail. Because the more likely you are to see them at retail, the more likely they are to go on sale so that they can be sold and their inventory cleared to make room for new stuff.

I guess we are talking about recommended retail prices. Those are non-obligatory as far as I’m aware.

So they can mark it down by 50% some day for 24 hours and make it look like an awesome deal.

I would like to buy games directly on steam without the hassle of chasing the best prices online. That’s would actually be one of the few positives of steam in my opinion: a one-stop-shop.

That’s certainly a good point. The game has only been out for a couple of weeks so it hadn’t have to be cleared already. The price in retail is based on free market economy. Steam is annulling the formation of prices. Steam is not part of a free market economy.

Pretty much.

I assure you nowhere in US retail are prices much lower than Steam, if at all, outside of sales or other temporary discounts that Steam is not mirroring. I think you’re seeing an artifact of regional pricing that Steam asserts is publisher-forced.

I think its the publishers trying to keep the retail chains alive.

Well, for us europeans, Steam being much more expensive (except for the sales, of course) is the norm rather than an exception.

It’s almost always more cost effective to have a physical item shipped halfway across europe than to pick up something digitally on Steam - this is often even the case for stuff that’s been discounted on Steam, except when it’s one of these crazy >75% off sales.


You can buy it from GMG for cheap and use the key on Steam because Shogun uses SteamWorks for copy protection. Do your homework.

The sales come and go so fast that you really have to shop around with digital PC games purchases. Always check cheapassgamer.com and, at the very least, compare Amazon against Steam and vice versa when you’re looking to buy a particular game. I actually think Amazon has consistently better prices than Steam.

Move to the States. Problem solved.

Longer answer: your scenario is a very rare one for Steam’s U.S. site. This makes me think that something about your region is the cause rather than a Steam policy of “trying to kid their customers”.

I think that Steam caters to impulse buyers en masse, most likely people will pay more to get it right now.

Competition will help, but aslong as Steam and Gamersgate aren’t setting prices, there is no real competition, the only thing Steam can do is offer more services.

Its clear there is a lot more at stake here than just greed.

This reminds me: why are Gamestop employees so helpful and nice?

This conversation went down last week, when Best Buy didn’t have AC V in stock, and I had to go to Gamestop.

GS Employee: “Do you have a power up card?”
Me: “Nah.”
GSE: “Has anyone ever told you about the power up card?”
Me: “Ya, I’m just not interested. I don’t feel like giving out all my info and getting emails.”
GSE: “You don’t like saving money?”
Me: … “Just don’t worry about it, man.”
<rings up the game>
GSE: “Now, what games would you like to pre-order?”

You know why I have the card? To get the magazine. It’s one of the few physical gaming mags left in the US that covers all platforms (including PC) and still gets exclusives to upcoming games. Yes, it’s got a lot of marketing fluff, but it’s the only game in town.

Truth, and honestly it’s not half bad either. Sometimes an article will be over-the-top fanboish, but most of the time they are decently written and the Gamestop brand name gets their guys into just about every developer/publisher out there, so they can often have an interesting interview or game preview that is more in depth than the web articles.

I think the best thing is that the magazine is pretty much free if you buy stuff from Gamestop with any regularity. I originally got the PowerUp Rewards Pro for the magazine, but the discounts my son gets on all the used games he buys, plus the trade-in bonus on stuff, plus the ability to cash in points for $5 off coupons and the occasional “Buy 2 Get 1” offers, and in the end you end up saving as much or more than the $15 the membership costs, which equals free magazine. Deal.

Also, maybe it’s a total abberation or something, but the employees at the Gamestop my son and I frequent actually are pretty nice people, and I usually enjoy talking to them for a bit about games and game related stuff. Maybe it’s just because they recognize my son and I, so we don’t get the constant stream of offers and sales stuff, instead it’s just “Hey guys, what’s up?” followed by fun game talk.

I hate stuff like that. On more than one occasion I’ve just walked out of a store and abandoned a purchase because of some pushy prick at the checkout.

GSE: “You don’t like saving money?”

That’s your best opening to stop him in his tracks though. Just look him in the face and say, “No”. Where’s he going to go from there? You’re done.