Steam, Valve Software’s ubiquitous PC games manager and storefront, now lists everything it sells in South African rands.
This change has come six days after South African Steam account holders were alerted by email to the fact that Steam was going to price its goods in rand, and covert any cash in their Steam Wallets into their local currency.
The news initially made us groan, as Steam didn’t say how it was going to handle the currency conversion. And not only that, the rand is at its all-time lowest against the US dollar, leading us to speculate that Valve would set its rand prices at this awful level, and not adjust it even if the Rand recovers its value.
While we still don’t know whether Steam will adjust what it charges if the currency strengthens, what we do know is that for the most part, Steam’s rand prices are actually quite attractive for South Africans. It appears we’ve scored in this changeover, as some games have been priced lower than they are when their dollar prices are converted directly.
Triple-A, recently-released games, for example, don’t cost the R840 they would when converting directly, but R799, and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, a very popular triple-A title which released in early September, is selling for a rather attractive R589.
We did a bit more research by assembling a list of around 20 games, and comparing their before and after prices, and this is what we found:
The conversion brought a few surprises; Assassin’s Creed Syndicate – Gold Edition seems to have all but disappeared off of Steam, and older Bethesda games (while still listed) have no price and are not purchasable at the moment.
Looking at the actual numbers, though, and it’s almost universally good news. Across our sample of games the prices have dropped, with the only outlier being our Wild Card in the form of Batman: Arkham Knight’s Season pass, which ends up more expensive.
Some of the newer AAA games dropped a massive R256 in their conversion, which is the biggest difference in our samples. The smallest drop was Call of Duty: Black Ops III’s Season pass, which only got reduced by R13. That being said, it is still cheaper to buy most of these newer, big-name games from a brick and mortar store.
When this conversion was announced we collectively braced for the worst, but now that we have tangible numbers to look at, it appears South African PC gamers actually came out on top. We’ll keep an eye on Steam and the price of its bounty to see if this changes; in the meantime, enjoy cheaper games, especially with the end of year sales coming up.