As some of you might have noticed, my real life has taken precedence over my blogging for the last half year. Since having started my current job, it’s been a long process to adjust to a new life with new working hours and a totally different job than what I was used to. Those of you that have been with me for quite a while, know that I used to work as a bartender in a sports pub and worked really odd hours.
But at least at that time, my work was close to home and I had way more free time than I have now. Today, I work the usual nine-to-five scheme, and pretty happy about that. But seeing as my new job is quite a distance from home, I’m using roughly three hours of every day getting back and forth to work.
And let’s face it, more often than not I work more than my assigned eight hours. So on most days, I’m way from home for no less than twelve hours. Many people like to jump into the couch and turn on the telly when they got home, but I need to do something, something that makes me interact and get my load off, something to preoccupy me. And for this, I have gaming.
I’ve been a game server administrator for The Oldboys Insurgency servers for quite some time now, a game which is immensely fun and addictive. It’s a free game mod, made using the Half-Life Source Engine. It’s actively developed by a whole range of volunteers from all over the world. I used to be a beta tester for the game back in the day, but because of time constraints I was never able to put in the hours I felt needed to do my part, so I stepped down.
As with any game server, we have an ever-growing community that thrives and prospers with new and old players joining in for a bit of fun every day, 365 days a year. This is what we like to do when we get the chance, and for many, it’s a sort of therapy and for some, it’s nothing but sheer fun. We all have different motives to play, but that’s the beauty of games, they fulfil many different things.
Personally, I have been playing games since I was a little kid, ever since I got my first computer, the old classic C64 by Commodore. I’ve seen the game industry work itself out of the boy’s room all around the world to become a multi-million industry. In many ways, games just keep on getting better and better. The graphics get more and more realistic, the artificial intelligence is starting to get to a level where it actually halfway feels like you’re playing against a human being and the storylines are on the same level, if not better than those found in most major blockbuster movies.
But the thing about most games is that they aren’t free. You have to pay for the pleasure of sitting down in a universe different from the reality you are in, you gotta put hard cash on the table for that time when you can leave your worries behind and just be someone or something else. And as the saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees, so we don’t want to pay through the teeth for the games we want to play.
As a consumer, you are never interested in paying more than you should, and nor should you! Without you and me, and everyone else, there wouldn’t be a games industry. We pay for the games, we play the games, and we make the wheels turn.
But recently, my favourite distributor of games, Steam owned by Valve did something that really pisses me off. Over the last few months, they have had the option for the end users in Europe to choose whether or not to pay in euros or dollars.
Of course, with the going exchange rates, most Europeans have opted for the cheapest alternative, the dollar. But now, Valve is forcing everyone in Europe to pay in euros. From a business point of view, I can surely understand their motives for doing so, but as a consumer, I just feel betrayed, I feel ripped off and last but not least; I feel discriminated against!
Why the hell should I have to pay more for the exact same product than my brothers and sisters in say the USA? The product is the same, distributed through the same channels, with the same cost to the distributor. Nothing has changed in the market that justifies this change, with this rather drastic measure and increase in retail price.
I’ll be damned if I’m going to pay more to get what I want, just because some big-pocketed marketing and finance department wants to stack up their bank accounts. Currently, there’s a rather long list of games that I want to buy on Steam, but seeing as I’m being discriminated against for being European, those purchases can just wait. They won’t be seeing any purchases from me any time soon!
Why Valve, are you doing this? Don’t you know that this is a stupid move on your behalf? Don’t you know that you’ve pissed off thousand of users that are questioning your business methods? Don’t you realise that the increased profits you thought you would get from this new price scheme actually end up losing you money?
When you piss off the end user, the players that actually buy and play your games, and they go off somewhere else to buy your games, you are losing money, and losing money fast? In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a financial crisis going on, which means that your average consumer will go to lengths to find the best price. But you actually go the other way, you increase your prices in times of despair, making sure that people don’t buy your products!
This is an outrage and damned shame! Don’t you see the ramifications? Don’t you see that not only will this lose you money short and long term, and also lose you customers, but it also might end up with people losing their jobs as the game houses don’t get the money they so desperately need to continue with what they are doing?
I beg you Valve, reconsider your latest actions and do the right thing! Do yourself and us as gamers a big favour, let us pay the same price as everyone else! Don’t be money-greedy bastards, don’t be that monster that steals the lollipop from the kid on the corner! Be nice, play nice and everyone will be happy!
If you are like me, disgruntled by the actions of Valve and want to voice your views, frustration and outrage, please head over to http://steamunpowered.eu/ and do the right thing! Just do it!