24 Jul

Why are dollars euros?


Why must I pay 4,99€ for a pile of bits that Americans pay $4,99 for? I’m just saying. Why is it that I have to pay more for a product that doesn’t have to cross any borders, or be subject to any taxes or customs fees? The bits do cross a border, yes, but we’re not yet at the point where there are really actual borders on the web. And I hope (thoughI fear) that we will never get to such a point. Imagine the number of hops that your packets take. Then imagine paying taxes or fees to each of those hops, the countries they are in. Yeah.

I can’t understand why the dollar, which is worth less due to immensely complicated global financial reasons, is suddenly worth as much as our euro. Two arbitrary currencies, the values of which are determined and controlled by various factions, companies, governments, trade, politics and a number of other factors, are suddenly worth exactly the same. Except they are not.  If I were to go to a currency exchange, and buy the sum of $4,99 from the nice lady at the counter, I would pay less than 4,99€ *with* exchange fees.

This doesn’t compute. I may be a stupid individual, but someone, somewhere, is making money, and it sure as shit isn’t me. If the game is made in the states, the people making the game are making american dollars, and spending them on american goods, bought from american companies, fueling their cars with american fuel etc. etc. ad nauseum. I do the same here, only, I didn’t make the game. I’m just trying to buy it. Why should the differences in income vs. expenses between countries affect each other in this matter? His cost of making the game doesn’t go up just because some nobody Finn buys it. (baring stuff like bringing the game to a new market and associated costs; even shipping doesn’t count with digital delivery)

I can’t for the life of me grasp this. From my perspective, a game that is made in a cheaper (from my perspective) country, is suddenly more expensive for me? Shouldn’t the more valuable euro work to my benefit?

Now, I don’t honestly know whether Steam charges game developers more money to make their game available in all markets. I honestly don’t. I haven’t seen a prompt like “this game isn’t available in your region”. I  have seen that on other distribution platforms, such as offers on say GameFly. YouTube. I don’t understand those either, but at least they are apparent and clear to me. In Steam, maybe those differences in region are hidden from my view, and I can live in happy bliss. A happy happy bliss until I see a game or piece of content posted somewhere for a dollar sum, and then have it fart in my face and turn the dollar-sign to the euro-sign. Magic!

The inspiration to this post was Indie Game: The Movie – Special Edition. I bought the DLC for 4,99€, where as americans pay $4,99. Which, with today’s exchange rate is ~3,80€. I can get a cup of coffee with the difference. Not from a Starbucks, though.

I do however recommend you go out and buy the DLC/Movie anyway. I’m watching the content right now, and it looks awesome! Oh, and you can get it on Steam.

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