Support for the Australian dollar is finally live. Some studios are still getting around to making their games available locally, but for the most part, prices and games have remained largely untouched.
But then everyone got to work, and very quietly, prices started going up.
When the Aussie dollar was finally enabled for consumers just after 1030 AEDT, I quickly scoured a bunch of games through Steam to gauge the initial impact of the change. For the most part, it was in line with what Aussies were already paying once currency conversions and bank fees were factored in.
One of those games was Assassin's Creed: Odyssey. Priced internationally at $US59.99, the immediate change was a positive one for Australians (emphasis mine):
The price of AAA games is now much more reasonable - but only compared to what was originally charged on Steam. Assassin's Creed: Odyssey was selling for $US59.99 earlier this morning, and that's still the global USD price. However, Aussies can now buy the game digitally for $69.95 - not the cheapest offering, but it's also not absurdly overpriced compared to retail the way blockbusters on Steam used to be. Civilization 6 is currently available for $20.98, which is incredibly reasonable given that Americans are being charged $US18.
But that was this morning. Shortly thereafter, the price of Assassin's Creed: Odyssey had risen to $89.95.
Assassin's Creed: Origins got a quiet price bump as well, going from $69.95 to $89.95. The Crew 2 is now priced at $89.95, and while I didn't check The Crew 2 earlier this morning, a price hike was recorded there as well.
It's worth pointing out that it doesn't seem like Ubisoft are the only publisher to have adjusted prices today. Here was the Aussie price for Civilization 6, as screenshotted at 1041 AEDT:
Now, the same game is $26.98. It's still discounted by 70%, but that's because the RRP was changed from $69.95 to $89.95.
The changes so far appear to be done on a game by game basis. Rainbow Six: Siege was priced at $20.98 immediately after the change, and is still priced at $20.98 at the time of writing. Spec Ops: The Line, another game published by 2K on Steam, hasn't had any changes in pricing since the AUD went live.
It's worth noting that the changes outlined above are in line with Steam's pricing recommendations after the pricing matrix was updated. So while the recent changes are certainly disappointing, it's not wholly unexpected.
When developers were notified that front-facing AUD support was being enabled, Valve did notify developers that top-selling games that are priced at parity with their global USD price sold 21% better over the last year. The prices for some big games are now more in line with what the digital RRP would be. It means buying directly through Steam for the biggest games - a lot of prominent indies remain unaffected, although it's very much a case-by-case basis - isn't quite the bargain it used to be.
But buying from third party marketplaces is still a good bargain. Take Odyssey. Instead of paying $89.95 on Steam, you can grab the game for $58.46 through Fanatical. Green Man Gaming only sells in USD, but their price of $55.58 (pre-bank fees) is also miles better than what you'd get on Steam.
I've reached out to Ubisoft and 2K to ask for comment on the changes. Ubisoft didn't have a statement at the time of writing, but did confirm they were investigating. If I hear back, I'll update this post with their statement.