Some Companies Caught Inflating Prices on Steam Before Sale

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

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The Steam sale is an oft-loved gaming holiday, where numerous gamers lighten their wallets on many games that have come down in price. Some of us will buy games that we might never even play just because of how cheap they are. Of course, with anything celebratory that people love, corporations are going to try find ways to manipulate and ruin it.

Just a day before the sale, Bethesda’s Wolfenstein: The New Order was hiked up from $45 to $60, before being put on sale at half-off for thirty dollars. Ubisoft similarly hiked up the price of Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag from $29.99 to $39.99 before putting on a 40% sale bring it to $23.99

Perhaps the worst offender in this pile goes to Rockstar Games and their chicanery with Grand Theft Auto V. Rockstar hiked the game up to eighty dollars and then bundled their game with a card that gave them consumable items in the game. There is no other way to purchase the game and many are worried this means it will not be privy to Steam’s refunds due to this. Those of you who are debating getting it, should also keep in mind that the far superior Saints Row IV is only ten dollars.

Of course, gaming corporations trying to manipulate consumers in such a way is nothing new. While the actions of Rockstar and its contemporaries aren’t ethical by any means, they are unfortunately not illegal. If we want this kind of thing to stop happening then we need to act as conscientious consumers and keep our eye for this kind of obfuscation and speaking out to Steam itself to let them know that we do not approve of this.

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About Jerry Hrechka

Jerry Hrechka is a writer and journalist. He was born in the Catskill mountains and now resides in Georgia, still trying to work out how exactly that happened. His work can also be found on nerdstock.com as well as on his horror podcast 1001 Frights.




  • Infophile

    From what I’ve heard, this actually is illegal in many of the regions around the world where Steam does business. In the US, it falls afoul of the FTC’s “Deceptive Pricing” regulations. See here, right at the beginning: http://www.lawpublish.com/ftc-decprice.html

    (c) The following is an example of a price comparison based on a fictitious former price. John Doe is a retailer of Brand X fountain pens, which cost him $5 each. His usual markup is 50 percent over cost; that is, his regular retail price is $7.50. In order subsequently to offer an unusual “bargain”, Doe begins offering Brand X at $10 per pen. He realizes that he will be able to sell no, or very few, pens at this inflated price. But he doesn’t care, for he maintains that price for only a few days. Then he “cuts” the price to its usual level — $7.50 — and advertises: “Terrific Bargain: X Pens, Were $10, Now Only $7.50!” This is obviously a false claim. The advertised “bargain” is not genuine.

    So, consumers in the US are well within their rights to complain about this to the FTC. Whether or not they’ll act is another question, but this is indeed a violation.

  • Another_Unknown

    I’m more interested in Indie games on Steam and some titles that I missed because I don’t own a PS3 (like Valkyria Chronicles). So I don’t care about mainstream games like GTA or Assassins Creed. I don’t see anything wrong with Indie games price so far.

    Also, I must agree about Saint’s Row IV being better than GTA IV.

  • Nathaniel Brownson

    While I do enjoy Saint’s Row more than GTA, this is still an article about corrupt business practices, and has no room for your irrelevant and unnecessary opinions on videogame quality.