Various developers have been accused of artificially raising their prices before putting their games on sale on the Steam Store, reports say.
Steam Spy, an analytical service that researches data from the PC gaming store, found that a number of products had their prices increased in the days before Steam’s Exploration Sale.
This misleading business tactic allows companies to offer their products ‘on sale’ without actually losing out on the earnings lost by the sale.
Not only is this a questionable practice, it’s also illegal in the United Kingdom. The laws state that the previous prices have to be made clear, and that consumers should not be misled by promotions that do not offer the discount as expected.
One of the games alleged to be guilty of raising their prices before the sale was Epistory, from Fishing Cactus. However, Epistory had just recently left its free early bird price scheme, so it is arguably not guilty of the suspected issue.
If these allegations are found to be true, Valve will surely have to examine the prices set by developers in the run up to its major sales. No suggestions as to any potential legal ramifications have been made yet.
Valve has come under scrutiny for its business practices on previous occasions. A “misleading” use of advertising suggested that GTA V was on sale at a discount of 25%, when in fact the game was only discounted when bought as a bundle with other games, not by itself. The UK’s Advertising Standards Agency criticized Valve for the issue.
Valve has not commented on the sale price dispute.Related Topics: Digital Distribution, Steam, Steam Spy