Steam Converts Canadian Gamers to Canadian Dollar Pricing
With a couple of week’s notice, Valve has added local currency pricing for Canadians. This past Tuesday, October 7th, Canadians found the Steam Store showing prices in Canadian dollars rather than US dollars. This resulted in a price increase on the face of the store but this may actually be working to the benefit of the Canadian consumer.
The reason that the new prices might work out more favourably for Canadians is because exchange is taken care of up front with the risk taken by the publishers and store as they set the Canadian dollar prices. Prior to the conversion, the exchange rate was done after payment was made through your credit card company.
Currently, apart from $60 USD games that now retail for $70 CAD, most of the games have seen a roughly 10% increase on the face of the store. That is to say that a game that was retailing for $50 USD is selling $55 CAD. As of writing, the market exchange rate is $1 USD is equal to $1.11 CAD. As banks and credit card companies have a cash exchange rate that effectively acts as a 4% commission on the exchange transaction, for the most part, the Canadian dollar prices are actually beneficial to Canadian customers compared to the previous USD prices.
The “increase” in prices of games in Canada isn’t new. Console games and hardware have undergone a price increase in Canada over the course of 2014. The prices of games and consoles started the same as the US prices ($60 for triple-A games and $400 for a PS4 console) but that increases during the year. Now, console games run upwards of $70 CAD and the PS4 costs $450.
The difference between the console price change and the changes to Steam is that the brick-and-mortar stores are seeing actual changes in the Canadian price paid while the Steam Store is changing the currency presented so it almost works out to the same Canadian dollar value leaving the buyer’s pockets regardless of the currency shown on the store.
So while the conversion to Canadian dollar pricing on Steam worried me at first, it turns out that this is a good thing. Unlike what we’re seeing at the brick-and-mortar shops, Steam is doing a fair job of pricing for the Canadian market.