Today, Kotaku reposted an earlier article from Rock, Paper, Shotgun entitled “Do We Own Our Steam Games?” which was the inspiration for yesterday’s post. The example scenario that makes up half the article is not exactly the most flattering, as it involves a Russian gamer who, quote, “[...] openly admits that he’s gifted games to people in exchange for money, to help them get them cheaper.”
In other words, some Steam games are cheaper in Russia, so you could call this guy up, have him buy LIMBO for the equivalent of $0.50 instead of $9.99, have him gift the game to you, and then you give him $3 or buy him a beer or whatever in exchange. Of course, regional price differences sometimes work the other way too. For example, Deus Ex: Human Revolution costs $29.99 in the US, but €49.99 in Europe… the equivalent of $66.36, or an increase of 121.27%.
That sort of thing will get you banned, of course.
It was around this time in the comments that someone named “iteyoidar” dropped this gem:
Funny how when it comes to globalization, when it’s games devs and publishers dodging domestic laws and getting cheap shit in other countries, it’s just business, but when it’s the consumer using the same thing to their advantage to buy cheap media, it’s “fraud” and “cheating” and they’re all scum.
Yeah. Yeah. Is there a particularly good reason why we tolerate price discrimination on identical, digital goods? Other than, of course, that companies wouldn’t like it?
I get that standards of living are different, that you can’t ask for $15/month in China when the average person makes $20.27 a day, and so on. But as a consumer, why should I care? Spare me the “holistic” crap of feeding game devs and races to the bottom, because obviously that shit only works one-way when it comes to outsourcing jobs. Why is it okay to presume a business has a right to profit, but a consumer lacks the equivalent? Because that hurts businesses?
Oh. Oh, I see.
The people that can pay more should pay more, eh? Where have I heard that before?