Turkey and Argentina, if you’re an avid gamer these countries among many others have provided the perfect scapegoat for regular consumers to being able to purchase brand new games for pennies on the dollar.

So much so that even I myself have received a permanent suspension from the Steam Community on one of my accounts for “abusing regional pricing”.

Because game developers are essentially forced to lower their prices for impoverished nations, especially due to the “volatility” of many such currencies that has seen the Turkish Lira lose 33% of its value over the past year alone, a 54% drop for the Argentinian Peso.

Developers are forced to radically drop their prices for games, subscription services and more specifically for these regions because in business it’s better to receive a couple dollars for a digital sale in Argentina / Turkey than to simply price out the whole nation entirely by having them pay insane amounts of money in their local currencies that they genuinely cannot afford.

This is Payday 3, and right now a brand new game that honestly shouldn’t be worth $40 USD can be purchased right now if you’re in countries such as Turkey or Argentina for essentially 50% off.

But the main benefit of switching to Argentinian Pesos or the Turkish Lira on your Steam account has always been older titles, indie titles and the like, for instance Rust is a very popular online game that made its official full release on Steam back in February of 2018.

And the price for these poorer nations? A 70% slashing, effectively turning a game that costs $40 USD on Steam down to around $11.30

This has been the norm with Steam for many years, and over the past several years Valve have tried to crack down on users manipulating regional pricing by forcing you to authenticate with a localized payment method in the country you attempting to switch to.

But now Valve has had enough, as the exchange rates of the Argentinian Peso and Turkish Lira continue to drop, for mundane shovel ware titles that cost less than $1 USD in these local regions, the prices that Turkish / Argentinian people pay apparently falls below the processing fee for Steam, so why would Valve be providing a service to impoverished nations at a loss?

Valve makes a shit load of money re-selling the games of others on its monopolized Steam store, of whom have entire control over your account in case you’re a malicious user, an online troll or maybe you’re openly racist in-game, and when it comes to poorer regions Valve is seemingly tired of making a fraction of their profits.

Commencing from November 20th, Steam will transition to using USD as the currency for sales in Argentina and Turkey. This change will be enacted through the introduction of two new pricing regions: LATAM – USD (encompassing Argentina) and MENA – USD (encompassing Turkey).

Valve has clarified that the considerable exchange rate fluctuations in Argentina and Turkey over the past few years have posed challenges for game developers in setting and maintaining appropriate game prices. Transitioning to pricing games in USD for customers in Argentina and Turkey is intended to offer “increased stability and consistency” for both players and partners on Steam, when in reality it offers increased profits for Valve and game developers.

This change will also ensure the continued availability of a diverse range of payment methods for Steam users in these countries and territories.

On November 20, 2023, just a day prior to the commencement of the Steam Autumn Sale 2023, any remaining balance in your Steam wallet will be automatically converted to USD, reflecting the exchange rate for that day, similarly to how Valve retroactively changed my wallet balance from USD to AUD several years ago.

It’s important to note that game prices should remain unchanged unless game developers and publishers take the initiative to manually submit and publish new prices, of which they more than likely would, at least those released by AAA publishers and studios.

In cases where developers have not yet entered prices for the new regions, default USD pricing will be displayed until they provide prices in the designated LATAM-USD and MENA-USD fields.

This expansion encompasses 25 countries spanning across two distinct regions: Latin America and the Middle East/North Africa. Among these, the remaining countries added to the new pricing regions did not previously have the option for local currency support, which include:

Central America:

Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

South America:

Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname and Venezuela.

Middle East:

Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Turkey and Yemen.

North Africa:

Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Sudan.

I remember quite some time ago, Gabe Newell himself was being interviewed and one of the main topics of the interview was regarding video game piracy.

The head of Valve brushed off Piracy as being a main concern in the gaming sector because it genuinely isn’t, piracy mainly stems from accessibility issues or as Gabe Newell puts it “bad service”.

According to Valve’s suggested retail prices for games under these new LATAM-USD and MENA-USD monikers, prices are going to substantially increase for those who are in the aforementioned regions, with Valve’s new suggested prices essentially being more than double what they originally were in USD terms in the regions of Argentina and Turkey.

For instance, if a game is being offered by a developer on the Steam Store for $9.99 USD, the suggested LATAM-USD / MENA-USD price will be listed as $5.79 USD, a substantial drop in comparison to what Americans will be charged to pay, but if we compared that to the old prices found in Argentina and Turkey, which were $3.37 and $2.18 respectively, you’ll find that Valve have essentially doubled the price for such a game in these regions.

For instance, $60 USD titles will now default to $27 as opposed to roughly ~$18 USD when previously converted into Turkish Lira, compared to retail pricing these changes mean absolutely nothing except more money into the pockets of developers who more than likely don’t even deserve your cash, and Valve as a third party agent for hosting said game on their lovely service.

But to the people of Turkey, a $60 USD game has just now risen in price by 48% at the minimum, to the people of Turkey, Argentina and elsewhere these are massive price increases and could very well be the difference between sales and piracy.

Obviously, developers can still individually alter retail pricings for any specific region / currency as they see fit but will they? Probably not. But these massive price increases for third world nations serves as a reminder that we aught to return to tradition, by sailing the high seas.