Paradox insists price hikes “create a more equal price point”
UPDATE: Crusader Kings publisher reverses decision, intends to honour refunds
Paradox Interactive has come under fire after raising the prices for several of its games on Steam, although this has only affected certain regions.
More than 26 markets have been affected, including the UK, China, Brazil, Japan, Russia, and various EU countries, according to a list compiled by Paradox forum user Whiteshade. By way of example, Whiteshade shared an image that shows game prices in Russia rising by as much as 40%.
PCGamesN reports that the publisher has already issued an apology and explanation via its official forums that the price hikes, with a member of the team writing:
"This is something we've intentionally done. The reason for this is to make our prices match the purchasing power of those areas, as well as create a more equal price point for our products across the globe.
"Our prices have remained pretty much the same for several years and it's only natural for us to re-evaluate price points at regular intervals based on the strength of various currencies, fluctuations in world markets and many other factors. This is something that all publishers do and we are no exception."
Paradox apologised "for any frustration this may cause" and hoped consumers would understand why the company had done this.
Evidently, they haven't. As has become customary, disgruntled consumers have taken to Steam to unleash a barrage of negative reviews on the various games now sold at a higher price.
The backlash prompted CEO Fredrik Wester to apologise on twitter for the "poor timing and poor communication" given that the price changes have been "planned for some time".
He also took to the forums, stressing that this is the first time in several years that Paradox has adjusted its prices and that the firm will "stand by" the new prices.
As the Paradox represented said in the initial post, this is not uncommon practice for publishers with games available around the globe. As currencies and exchange rates alter, adjustments are needed in order to maintain the value of the game - i.e. not selling the game for less than it is worth in other markets.
The political turmoil seen over the past year, such as the UK's decision to exit the European Union, have had widespread implications that have dramatically shifted numerous currencies. Even Apple has deemed it prudent to adjust its prices in order to maintain that value.
UPDATE: In an official forum post, spotted by GamaSutra, CEO Fredrik Wester has announced Paradox will reverse these regional prices increases.
He wrote that the decision followed his interaction with consumers and their feedback - although stressed that he never gives in to "mob mentality". Instead, this move is based on discussions with "people who have been active in our community for 10+ years".
He also recognised that the unannounced price changes could have been better explained: "You deserve more transparency and better communication from Paradox when it comes to changing of our prices and pricing policy. Therefore I have decided to roll back all price changes made; any price changes will have to be for future products well communicated in advance."
Due to the Steam Summer Sale that launched this week, Paradox is unable to roll back the prices until after the promotion has finished. Wester promised to refund as many people affected by the price hikes as possible.
"If none of this is possible (I do not in detail know the limits to the Steam platform) we will internally calculate the difference in revenue before and after the price change, double the value, and donate the money to the UNHCR."