South Africa’s Steam users will finally be able to buy games and software through Valve’s portal using South African rands from next week.
An email was sent out to South African Steam users late last night that read:
Dear Steam User,
Steam will soon be priced in South African Rand!
If your Steam wallet has any money in it on November 10th, 2015, your U.S. Dollar balance will be converted to Rand, at a conversion rate dictated by market value at the time of conversion.
To view your account balance, simply log into your Steam client or the Steam website at http://www.steampowered.com. Once you have logged in, you will see your balance in the upper-right corner next to your account name.
The Steam Support Team
While this is good news for some as you won’t have to whip out a calculator to convert dollars to rands any longer, this is all we know at the moment; factors such as whether VAT will be added to purchases or how pricing will be decided is unknown at this time.
As of right now, it’s actually cheaper to buy Steam games at SA retail; Fallout 4 on PC, for example, can be pre-ordered from Takealot for R630, whereas it’s $59.99 on Steam, which works out to R839.19 at the current exchange rate.
Depending on how the exchange rate affects local game distributors in the coming months and whether or not Steam lumps VAT on top of its already-high prices, it may remain cheaper to stick with local retailers once the switch happens.
For those that think they’ll be able to skirt around the switch using the VPNs currently being employed to fool services like Netflix and Hulu, it won’t be quite as easy: Steam automatically detects where you are connecting from, and changing the region requires sending Valve a proof of address and some form of identification.
Should you have a stockpile of Steam trading cards or items that you don’t use, now would be the time to sell them off for some dollars before the funds in your Steam wallet convert to Rands next Tuesday.
[Source – Steam] [Image CC by 2.0 – Ben Salter]