Valve is continuing to crack down, in a manner of speaking, on the Steam marketplace. A couple of months ago, Steam changed it’s review algorithm to remove any chance of gifted or otherwise unpaid games having poisoned review scores. Then, a few weeks later, Valve announced sweeping changes in it’s price structure that increased prices across the globe for many of it’s customers. A total of ten countries were named to have a new tax-adjusted price attached to titles sold in the countries.
- Switzerland 8%
- South Korea 10%
- Japan 8%
- New Zealand 15%
- Iceland 24%
- South Africa 14%
- India 15%
- Serbia 20%
- Taiwan 5%
- Australia 10%
Now, Valve have taken one more step in what appears to be a bid to further control the digital market for games across more regions.
Specific changes include:
- Gift scheduling: you can buy a gift months in advance and have it delivered to a friend on time.
- Gift recipients can click ‘decline’ on a gift and the purchase will be refunded directly to the giver, rather than the game being returned to their inventory and the charges remaining on their bill.
- You’ll no longer be able to gift games to people living in countries where there is a large difference in the game’s price. This means that gifts sent through the new system will always work on the recipient’s account: “no more worrying if a Gift to Email or Gift to Inventory is going to work,” say Valve.
Valve claim their goal is to remove “friction” from the process, making it easier to share your favorite games with friends, but it hasn’t been received that way in the comments. Most are overwhelmingly negative, and claims of further anti-consumer changes abound within the hysteria. To be honest, it is kind of difficult to see the upsides outside of a more direct exchange process. No major changes to the actual process of key distribution have been announced, so this particular move seems unlikely to push out the grey market key resellers.