South African Steam games may soon be 14% more expensive

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A couple years ago, South Africa imposed a 14% VAT on digital purchases. At the time, we went looking and it appeared that Steam wasn’t actually applying that tax. Then our Steam changed to local currency, and pricing continued to be great. Well, that’s about to change as Steam is finally complying with international tax laws, which means we’re in for quite an increase.

Reported by Gamespot, an email has gone out to partners today from Steam indicating that it will be including sales tax in storefront prices across ten new countries, including Australia, New Zealand and of course, South Africa. Here are the planned increases:

March 2017:

  • Switzerland 8%
  • South Korea 10%
  • Japan 8%
  • New Zealand 15%
  • Iceland 24%
  • South Africa 14%
  • India 15%

April 2017:

  • Serbia 20%

May 2017:

  • Taiwan 5%

July 2017:

  • Australia 10%

Geez that’s painful. As if the recent budget speech didn’t already put a damper on my shopping as it is, now games are also going to get even more expensive. It’s not going to be too bad when we buy our cheap indie games during Steam sales, but new releases? Looks like even PC games will edge past R1000 mark. Perhaps this will actually be good for the local market, though. I mean, if prices go up like this, buying PC games at retail might become more appealing and maybe our local distributors can negotiate for a better price. Or, we will just end up spending more money on all the things anyway.

Read  Destiny 2 is definitely not coming to Steam, Bungie confirms

Let’s just all be grateful we don’t live in Iceland, okay?

Last Updated: February 23, 2017

Zoe Hawkins

Wielding my lasso of truth, I am the combination of nerd passion and grammar nazi. I delve into all things awesome and geek-tastic. I believe people should stop defining themselves and just enjoy playing games, so let's get on with it!

  • MonsterCheddar

    *Sits and waits for comments filled with outrage.

    • Lu

      *tumbleweed*

  • Lu

    They warned us a while back this would happen. Steam’s prices have been great up to now (compared with the $ price).It kinda sucks, but Death and Taxes. At least there’s still Humble Bundle.
    EDIT: A $60.00 game would cost R778.08. Its current price is R600, R684.00 with VAT. So still better off with local currency.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Humble Monthly ftw!

      • Lu

        Total WarHammer for R154 plus 5 other games? TaxWhatNow?

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          And last month XCOM 2? Shit, I’m suffering over here. Send help. 😀

          • Lu

            Skipped Xcom 2 (Still gotta finish 1). But yeah, R600 or R150…. not a hard choice

  • Matthew Figueira
    • Matthew Figueira

      lol as if I need more games anyway 😐

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        You need more DOTA cosmetics!

        • Lu

          YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH SETS!

    • MonsterCheddar

      XD

  • Tracy Benson

    Can someone ELI5 please: where does that money go? So, Steam are now collecting VAT, who do they pay it to? I don’t know if I understand the mechanics behind digital taxes…

    • They pay a VAT return to SARS and then it goes to worthy causes like Nkandla and eTolls

      • And the fleet of BMWs and Mercs! Dont forget the BMWs and Mercs!

      • Lu

        Gaben is WMC.

      • Captain JJ

        So worthy it makes me want to stand up and sing the national anthem.

        • Lu

          Kazakstan is greatest country in the world.
          All other countries run by little girls.
          Kazakstaaaan. Greatest Exporter of potassium.
          All other central asia countries have inferior potassium.

    • HvR

      Well it is not a digital tax, it is tax “at the till” on a consumables; the same you on 90% of the items in your grocery bag.

      It goes along with about 60% of the money you pay for fuel, 60% of the money you pay for bottle of brandy/whisky/shooters, 25% of that bottle of wine into a big bucket called the general fiscus.

      From the bucket it goes everywhere except where it should.

  • MonsterCheddar
  • K1FF J1MB0B (sizzle edition)

    So in other words, instead of paying 10 cents per game, PC dudes gonna be paying 12c.

    • HvR

      Yes, that scaly Gaben is pocketing the 0.6c

  • Original Heretic

    Still gonna be cheaper than console games… I haven’t bought a new PS4 game in, well, I can’t even remember. Thank oogness for blacklogs.

    • Skyblue

      That and PS+

      • Original Heretic

        Yup. And also, raiding games from my buddy. Between the two of us, we have quite a library of games. It’s a win-win. We’ve made a deal that for single player games, only one of us buys. Then we just pass it across when done.

        • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

          I hear you guy, I steal PS4 games from my Aunt (she jams ps4). Busy playing her battlefield 1 online!

          • Original Heretic

            I borrowed the Uncharted collection from my bud. Never had a PS3, so I never got to jam them. That kept me busy for a while.
            Picked up Uncharted 4 second hand, for a steal. LOVING it. What a game!

          • schitsophrenic-toothbrush

            Yeah dude, Bought the the uncharted collection on PS4 for a steal at like R280 on a special at dion wired and then grabbed uncharted 4 from my aunt. finished uncharted 1, its pretty good

          • Original Heretic

            I’ve loved the stories. I’m a sucked for any kind of good adventure/ancient mystery storyline. And damn, they did them well.
            Not to mention the amazing voice acting.
            All in all, a phenomenal series of games.
            Made me love Naughty Dog even more!

          • Skyblue

            It gets better, trust me. One of the greatest series of games I’ve played along with Mass Effect, GoW, Gears, etc.

        • Skyblue

          Probably the best solution and it keeps you buying non-digital. There is a way around swapping out digital purchases with one friend but I’m too lazy to find it now.

          • Original Heretic

            For the PS games, digital and hardcopies are nearly the same price anyway.

          • HvR

            Digital is more expensive half the time.

          • Original Heretic

            The only one I got cheaper digitally was Dark Souls 3.

          • Skyblue

            True, I just hate physical copies due to clutter. I have enough PS1, PS2, Xbox360, etc clutter in my home. I even still have my C64 from back in the day but that’s a tale for another time.

  • Danny Baromen

    And they were doing such a good job combatting piracy…. oh well…

    • Lu

      Steam is just complying to our government’s laws. If the government decides brown bread isn’t non-vat anymore it doesn’t justify stealing it.

      • BakedBagel

        Thing is, brown bread is brown bread.

        Its not sold as half a loaf.
        You get what you pay for.
        Cant be said for R800 games

        • Lu

          Hahaha off topic but 150% true.

        • No one forces you to buy it…

          • BakedBagel

            True, I understand why people pirate tho.
            Steam’s Refund system helps. Especially when we look at NMS. Can we expect consumers to trust Hello Games? Maybe i dunno.

          • Captain JJ

            Problem is completely misguiding advertising. Still no reason to pirate, but it does say a lot when you spend that amount of money on a game and it turns out not to be anything they promoted it as being.
            Either way, I’ve ran into that myself, all it’s done is made me more careful when buying from certain publishers…or just not buying on release from those publishers at all.
            Piracy is just a different form of greed, because they want it NOW, but don’t want to pay full price for it. Have some bloody patience.

          • Skyblue

            Agreed. I only started playing The Witcher 2 (yes, 2) this week and it’s been in my library since a Steam Sale from… years ago. I wait for just about every title to drop in price as they’re inevitably flawed upon release and this game is proving no different as even after it was “fixed” years after the fact I’m still finding it especially frustrating in certain area’s due to poor development choices.

            Patience is the key here and I have such a backlog that I really have no excuse to pirate games.

          • Captain JJ

            Yea man. I bought Deux Ex Mankind Divided last year, which was my only release title of the year and it just wasn’t worth it. A few months later it’s R150 on sale. So now I happily wait until it’s ironed out. Like you say, that backlog is another good reason.

          • Skyblue

            I never purchased Mankind Divided and it went on sale 3 months after release due to what I’m assuming were poor sales. Huge fan but I couldn’t justify paying that original price for it but it hit the backlog in December. Now to find the time…

          • Captain JJ

            It’s barely worth it at that reduced price. Really disappointing game, considering where it came from. Square Enix went full greed with it.

          • Skyblue

            Damn, now I almost regret purchasing it, almost. Will check it out for myself.

          • Captain JJ

            Look, it’s not a kak game, it’s just nothing compared to the original or Human Revolution. I’d say the coolest thing about the game are the trailers, which speak of an emotional and deep experience. Don’t expect that.

          • Skyblue

            Those trailers were really good, not Dead Island or Ghost in the Shell good but I did enjoy them.

          • Original Heretic

            Eesh, W2 is the weakest in the series… IMO.

          • Skyblue

            I couldn’t finish the first title as the controls were horrendous and trust me, I tried, I really tried. I have the 3rd installed and ready to go but want to finish the 2nd and just like W1, they had me at that intro. It is still seriously flawed in the gameplay dept.

          • Original Heretic

            Weirdly enough, I thoroughly enjoyed W1 (I jammed it on PC way back in the day).
            And I hear you, that intro was amazing.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Yeah it’s a bit of a rough gem. If you’re playing on PC try out the combat rebalance mod, it makes combat much more responsive.

          • Skyblue

            Thx, will check it out after nearly breaking my keyboard killing that damn Kayran last night. Will be back at it again tonight though.

  • Magoo

    Way to promote G2.

  • We knew it was happening for almost a year now. Not a shocker.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      The store already says it includes VAT where applicable at checkout. I thought we already were paying VAT. Heh.

      • Lu

        They discounted us for some or other reason. Chances are though that its still cheaper than the $ equivalent price

      • Nope. Was not implemented for South Africa yet.

        Now it is.

      • Captain JJ

        Yea. Me too.

  • Fox1 – Retro

    In Iceland games would still be affordable.

    Where does Origin stand on this issue?

    • They have been paying vat for a while if I am not mistaken.

  • Viking Of Science

    Well, FUCK.

  • To be fair in most cases if we were still working in dollars the games would have still been more expensive (this was at least true till America became great again).

    • Lu

      Yeah worked it out (See edited comment below). Still almost R100 cheaper on a $60 game

      .

      • And once Pravin gets sacked it will be R20 a dollar again.

        Happening soon enough.

        • Lu

          At least we’ll be able to play Fallout in real life once the nuclear reactor pops…..

          • As someone who works in the civil engineering industry I can say without a doubt that we will be dead and buried before that plant even comes online. Expect striking,wage disputes,corruption,blueprint changes and red tape to make a 5 year build take 25 years.

          • BakedBagel

            Just like our bridges. FeelsSadMan

          • We are still building Kusile. You know that super powerstation that should have been completed in 2013.

          • Lu

            Good point.

          • Kensei Seraph – Terran Ghost

            25 years.
            I see that you are an optimist.

    • BakedBagel

      [FREEDOMS INTERNALLY]

  • Captain JJ

    Games on Steam are still so cheap, so it’s not really going to bother me much.
    Also, Humble Monthly ftw.

  • HvR

    If we lived in Iceland, my income tax will half. No school fees, no medical aid.

    Now we are sitting at whole new PC every month or both consoles.

    Yeah will gladly pay that extra 10%

    • Iceland Income Tax rates are actually very comparable to ours with the exception that their top rates are even higher.

      apparently on health care you are going to be paying around 15% of the cost but that’s not bad.

      At 4.3% unemployment it is tempting but on the other hand remember the entire country virtually went bankrupt during the banking crisis.

      Apparently they also have amazing fishing so I’d love to go there on holiday… not to live though. It’s too teeny

  • Craig “CrAiGiSh” Dodd

    “It’s the end of the world as we know it”

  • Kensei Seraph – Terran Ghost

    I’ve been thinking about moving to Japan.

    • HairyEwok

      Same, problem for me is, the cost of living there is way waaaaay higher than what were used to. New York is used as the global standard at 100%, Japan is at 90% (so 10% cheaper). To give an idea where we sit, South Africa is at 46%

      • is Australia at 120%? I can definitely attest to our cost of living being cheaper than most places.. but it does feel to be increasing over the last few years.

        Also our cost of living excludes luxury things like fancy tv;s etc surely? They are so expensive here

        • HairyEwok

          Yeah it really does feel like cost of living is getting more expensive (maybe due to so many things actually being imported these days) and really puts strain on the lower and middle class South African.

          I’ve checked the index again and Australia is actually cheaper than Japan by a small margin, their cost of living is at 86%.

          But yeah the index I’ve looked at is just the basics, no luxuries included, here’s the link to it so you may have a look at it yourself 🙂

          https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/rankings.jsp

  • HairyEwok

    Well that’s it. Now I’ll only be able to afford 1 game with me saving up the whole year and using my bonus.

  • Galbedir

    Sucks but i’ll be fine, I have a steam backlog that will last me for years to come.

  • NOOOOOOOOOO! damn

  • Justin Hoar

    That’s why you wait for Steam sales

  • Deceased

    Whoooo!!!

    Then once the petrol-price increase hits, our digital games should also get more expensive – and don’t forget the incoming sugar-tax ( to promote a healthy life-style ) … well, we’re fucked 🙂

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