Steam-conomics: Which Countries Pay the Most for Steam Games?


Steam suggests international prices to developers when they set their U.S. dollar price. “Many games choose to ignore our recommendations and determine their own pricing in each currency, and that’s just fine,” the platform explains.

“But we hope the recommendations are a useful data point for developers who don’t have the time or interest to research pricing in each currency themselves.” These prices are often set lower in lower-income countries or where the currency is struggling.

But one side effect of being a global gaming store is that it’s easy to spot price differences between the same games in different territories.

And for a while, the enterprising gamer could dial into Steam via a VPN connection and access cheaper prices intended for low earners, which impacts gamers who are genuinely located in those countries. For example, while Argentina and Turkey enjoy the lowest price premium in general, some developers have been forced to hike their prices in those areas just because gamers from healthier economies have swooped in to get cut-price content on Steam. The platform’s owner, Valve, has made that more difficult in recent years.

Just how significant are these price differences? And are the disparities consistent across titles and genres? The answer to the latter question is a distinct “no.” So we compared the prices of the top 2,000 games in 41 international currencies to see who’s getting the best deal on Steam.

What We Did

Guide Strats first listed the 2,000 most popular games on Steam as of August 2023, noting each game’s current price in every country, genre and publisher. We then calculated the price premium for each country’s currency (compared to the global average price) across all 2,000 games and just for Steam’s top 50 most-played games. Finally, we identified the games, genres and publishers for which U.S. gamers pay the biggest premium compared to the global average.

Key Findings

  • Swiss gamers pay the biggest premium for their games – some 64.33% more than the global average.
  • The 50 most-played games are around 55% cheaper than the global average when paying with Argentine Pesos or Turkish Lira. This might explain why Steam announced the upcoming change to USD as the main currency in those countries.
  • Americans pay the highest premium on Stronghold Crusader 2, which costs 87.56% more than the global average when paying in dollars.
  • Capcom’s games face the smallest markup for American gamers, costing just 5.38% more than the global average.
  • Indie games cost 48.45% more than the global average when bought in the U.S., the highest markup of any genre.

Argentina Has the World’s Cheapest Games on Steam

There are millions of active users on Steam at any moment. But this market is by no means evenly spread. Some 90% of that revenue comes from just eight countries, most significantly the U.S. (39%), Japan (23%), the UK (9%) and France (9%).

Notably, five of those high-demand countries are among the 15 with the highest price premium (the Euro, as used in France among many smaller European Steam markets, is also among the high-premium currencies). Switzerland is an outlier due to its incredibly high average income. With French GameStop just over the border, it might be worth a stroll to pick up a hard copy.

(Click for full-size)

Asian and Middle Eastern markets benefit the most from Steam’s price disparities, with publishers charging many of them comfortably below the global average. The countries with the cheapest Steam games are European, although the cheapest of all is Argentina, whose Peso is currently “the world’s weakest currency.”

Russia’s low Steam prices have less to do with the war than with ongoing price dynamics: pre-Steam, cheap hard copies were the norm, and any attempt to raise prices now would likely play into the hands of the country’s flourishing community of software pirates.

(Click for full-size)

Perhaps surprisingly, the price disparity on the most popular games is slightly less than on the broader selection of games. U.S. and Canadian gamers each pay a lower premium, with the Canadian dollar dropping from ninth to eleventh highest premium when only the 50 top games are considered.

On October 25th 2023, Steam announced they would no longer support regional currencies in Turkey and Argentina, changing them to the US dollar at the end of November 2023.

When explaining the reason for the change, Steam stated that “Exchange rate volatility in Argentina and Turkey in recent years has made it hard for game developers to choose appropriate prices for their games and keep them current.”

Steam will introduce new regionalized USD pricing to 25 additional countries in the LATAM and MENA (Middle East, North Africa) regions.

The data from our study was collected before this change. We will need to wait a few months for prices to stabilize before we can update our data set.

High on Life Among Games with Biggest U.S Markup

The U.S. is Steam’s biggest market in some way. U.S. publishers account for nearly half of Steam’s sales and 30% of available games. Still, Americans may pay up to 87% more for a game compared to the global average, according to our research. Stronghold Crusader 2 is the worst offender, leaving American reviewers and gamers wondering how such a lightweight gaming experience could demand such a cover price.

(Click for full-size)

We found 16 games with a premium upwards of 80%. Among them is High on Life from Squanch Games, which came out at $59.99 in the U.S. — where perhaps its Rick and Morty-style humor might be better appreciated than in non-English-speaking countries.

Like Stronghold Crusader 2, gamers have suggested that High on Life does not pack the punch of ‘gamier’ games, considering the price, even if it is amusing for a while.

(Click for full-size)

European publishers account for three of the four worst offenders for hiking prices in the U.S. The top two are Sweden’s Paradox Arc and Austria’s THQ Nordic — which is a subsidiary of Sweden’s Embracer Group. The other top four company for U.S. price hikes is no less than Valve itself, the owner of Steam and developer of games, including the Half-Life series.

Valve has 16 games on its Steam Platform, costing an average of 42.79% above the global average.

(Click for full-size)

As far as it can be considered a genre, indie games suffer the biggest markup in the U.S. compared to the global average. This may be connected to the fact that U.S. indie developers are the best-paid in the world. Americans recognize that developing a career as an indie developer is a brave and potentially insecure path to take, and the economic risks of working beyond the security of a big studio pay off in the creative risks that indie developers are licensed to take.

Nearly half of all indie games on Steam fail to sell more than 300 copies, so indie creators may set their prices high to try to make their money back. Meanwhile, strategy games are big sellers on Steam — and developers who think strategically have figured out a price point that is both acceptable and rewarding!

The Virtual Game Store with Real Price Differences

Back in the day, to buy a new video game, you would need to go to a brick-and-mortar shop. Or perhaps place an order via a cheaply produced glossy catalog and wait for your disks to arrive. Either way, pre-web, most gamers weren’t thinking about a ‘global gaming community’ or disparities in international game pricing.

Steam, and digital distribution sites like it, changed everything.

You can get the newest game with a click the second it drops and then swap tips or jibes with fellow gamers on the opposite side of the planet in Steam’s forums.

The price, if you’re willing to pay it, is not just cash money — but the knowledge that some of the folk playing alongside you paid considerably less for their game.


This project explores the differences in game prices on Steam depending on the currency you purchase them with.

We started by building a seed list of the 2,000 most popular games on Steam as of August 2023, based on

For each game, we pulled the current price in every country, the genre of the game and the publisher.

This allowed us to first calculate the price premium by currency (compared to the global average price) across all 2,000 games.

We then calculated the price currency by currency across the top 50 most played games on Steam.

Finally, we calculated the games, genres and publishers US gamers pay the biggest premium for, based on the US dollar price premium for each metric compared to the global average.


  1. Steamworks – Build & distribute your games on Steam. (n.d.).
  2. Steam Usage and Catalog Stats for 2023. (2023).
  3. Clement, J. (2022). Monthly consumer spending on video games in the U.S.
  4. Why are people so angry about the price? :: Redfall General Discussions. (n.d.)

Guide Strats Staff

10 articles

The Guide Strats team includes editors, contractors, and other contributors who help us create awesome gaming content.