On the cusp of the big Steam summer sale, a lot of company activity has seen sudden price hikes for products. Several games have gone up in price, in order to make their discounts seem artificially higher, in essence misleading their customers. This was discovered in reddit’s dedicated Steam community, where they list Gaijin Entertainment, makers of War Thunder, as one of the repeat offenders on the matter.
In this modern age, we can now track and follow up on these price changes through some sites, such as Steam Prices. For instance, the list includes sudden price spikes for developer PlayWay’s line of simulator titles, which have since dropped back down to their original price, after this event was revealed. Please note, however, that not all games are artificially raising their price. Some had timely discounts or are Early Access games that have raised their price just now in an opportunist manner, such as DayZ notoriously did in a previous sale, to look more enticing.
The practice of price hikes before a sale is considered misleading and illegal in multiple countries. If anything, it’s just dishonest to trick customers. Despite retractions, be wary of companies who try to pull this off in the first place. They might not have your best interests in mind.
In recent news, a Steam curator group also came into the spotlight over supposed blackmail attempts. An organization with over 16,000 members, called Original Curators Group, threatened the developers of Subnautica to provide keys or have their company suffer negative reviews for that game and any other of their titles.
Steam might be heading in the right direction with its contested refund policy, but there are still many pitfalls in the giant that is its online store. Consumers might now have a security net, but it’s still common sense to research any product before purchase.
Update 11/06/2015 11.13PM: A thread on reddit is currently looking into games who have suddenly changed at the announcement of the sale. Most notably, Grand Theft Auto V caught the ire of fans for removing the base game from being sold, only upmarked with currency, then reverting the deal and putting up the normal game without a discount. As the above, the same caution applies that not all games are necessarily in a price hike, but rather coming out of Early Access or such.