Wednesday, June 3

EA and the Dollar/Euro Simoleon exchange

A while ago I shared a blog entry by Tobold regarding Steam and other game distribution channels weird take on the Dollar / Euro exchange. I'll quote:
Over the last 365 days 1 Euro bought you between $1.25 and $1.60, with an average of $1.40. Thus if you could find suckers to which you could sell 1 Dollar for 1 Euro regularly over the last year, you made a 40% profit just from the exchange rate. But who would be willing to pay 1 Euro for 1 Dollar? Unfortunately all European customers ofSteam, as well as some other online game distribution services, as well as some MMOs, including Free Realms.
It's interesting to note that SOE has always allowed EU players access to the US servers and vice versa, while NCSoft prohibits this to avoid lawsuits by Eurpoeans over paying more for the same service (should they pay in Game Euros for access to US servers for which US Citizens pay substantially less).

I can only think of one reason why nearly every gaming company rips of European customers this way, because they can. Because they can get away with it. Because those European suckers are still going to buy the games. Because ever since the Euro got introduced those European bastards are illegally downloading more games than US citizens do and they had to pre-emptively raise prices to compensate. It's not like high prices increase priacy. The RIA and MPAA told us it doesn't and they should know.

Electronic Arts has figured they can go one better. They're trying to charge a Console game price for Sims 3:

59.99 Euros = 85.23 US Dollars

Because they think they can. I don't even think I'll play the game much. I spent hours with Sims2 making housing plots and checking out the mods community, but judging by the way things are set up this time round, the modding community is being forced underground as Sims3 is way more online. I fear it's going to be as lame and as much a waste of money as Spore was.
Incidentally, Spore and Mass Effect were put on Steam in a Spin Control action following the Spore SecuRom drm debacle as a lot of people pointed to Steam as an acceptable use of drm, not because they expected to actually sell much online as evidenced by the fact Mass Effect is actually a lot cheaper through EA's own digital store.

Anyway: Some prices and their real exchange rates:
  • Sims 3 Boxed retail in NL stores: 59.99 Euros = 85.23 US Dollars.
    At this point I decided NOT to buy this game.
  • Sims 3 Digital Download on Direct2Drive (country restrictions apply so Europeans can't purchase this game): 49.99 US Dollars = 35.19 Euros
  • Sims3 on : 39.99 British Pounds Sterling = 46.52 Euros (+P&P)
  • Sims3 Digital Download on EA Store Netherlands: 59.99 Euros = 59.99 Euros so hosting facilities for Digital Download cost as much as boxing the game and selling it to stores.
  • But wait, has a special offer for a mere 29.99 British Pounds Sterling = 34.88 Euros (+P&P)
Normally I'd much prefer a Digital Download version as the boxed version comes with a must-have-disc-in-drive lock along with whatever digital rights scheme EA slaps onto the game (in this case you need an online account e.t.c.) but if the box plus postage & packaging somes out 15 euros (21.31 US Dollars) cheaper than the boxed version (which may I add would try to force me to play this game in Dutch) I'll go with the boxed version.

Heck, Ordering the boxed version from Amazon in the US would still be about 10 Dollars cheaper than the EU boxed version and that's including import taxes on top of P&P.

You know, whenever you want to give EA a break and are willing to entertain the thought they've changed from the company that buys up talent then ruins it and tries to squeeze every last drop from their customers like there's no tomorrow....

Most people around me consider me nuts for legally owning every game I play and the same for DVDs. Schemes like these make me think they're right.


  1. Yeah, they are a bunch of greedy bastards. Good thing I am not planning to play Sims 3. Although I think I would have loved it, I have somehow never played any of the Sims games. So I'll skip it now too. But I could of course buy the UK version and send you the disk ...

  2. Thank you for offering, but that way I'd have two discs as I made use of the Amazon UK offer. I didn't put that quite clearly, but as it comes out under 40 euros I was willing to pay that.

    I was gonna refuse on principle, but my skills at sophistry allowed me to argue that buuying the UK version means to EA that the price of the UK version is acceptable whereas the mainland one isn't. :-)