How much is too much to pay for a video game? Dropping 60$ on some long-awaited titles once or twice per month will probably not set you back a whole lot when you live in the US, the UK, Canada, etc. But it’s probably fair to go “what the fuck? no!” when a game costs half of your salary thanks to the terrible regional pricing, and you also might need to learn a foreign language to play it.
Capcom Fighting Collection, DNF Duel, and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star Battle R are all well on their way. How well they do in Western Europe and Northern America? I don’t know. But I know one thing, they can kiss that Latin American market sweet goodbye. And that’s not a small market! Why? Well, regional pricing. The bad kind.
How Does Steam’s Regional Pricing Function?
Steam allows creators to provide games at several pricing points in different regions, as well as providing suggestions for the best price point based on each country. The reason for this is because the minimum salary in nations like Argentina, is roughly 350 burger bucks, making a $60 videogame purchase a chunk of at least 15% or more of a person’s earnings.
It doesn’t take a genius to realize that that’s not very appealing to customers in such areas, thus the pricing must be lowered in order to persuade people to buy these products. This is why for example, Mortal Kombat 11 is priced at $9.75 USD for Argentinian folk.
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What you need to understand is that regional pricing is not just “being nice” to the people who have it worse. It’s a tool for companies to fight piracy, and to make sales where no sales would take place if you remove the regional price.
Just check out some of the prices these games will go for in Brazilian Real:
- DNF Duel (US PRICE: $49.99) – R$ 279,90
- Capcom Fighting Collection (US PRICE: $39.99) – R$ 169,90
- JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure All-Star battle R (US PRICE: $49.99) – R$ 199,90
According to Google, the minimum wage in Brasil right now is around R$ 1212. I imagine dropping 280 of that (28%) for ONE NEW GAME.
And compare that to other games on the market, for example, this release from 2021 that does have fairer regional pricing:
- MELTY BLOOD: TYPE LUMINA (US PRICE: $49.99)- R$ 93,99
You could buy Melty Blood: Type Lumina 3 times over, instead of one copy of DNF Duel. And I imagine that thanks to this terrible regional pricing people will just gravitate to other fair-priced products, or just pirate the bloody game. Either way, resulting in lost sales for each of these three titles.
As one user from the ResetEra forum put it, “If I waited for localizations as a Brazilian I wouldn’t have played some of my favorite games. Hell, it’s the reason I know English. They expect you to pay half your monthly salary AND learn another language, then blame piracy if it sells like crap. But I would like to see how it would sell in the US under these conditions”.
In other news: