In case you’ve never paid attention to those silly numbers at the bottom of your till slips, we pay 14% tax on almost everything we buy in South Africa. This hasn’t applied to the digital distribution juggernaut called Steam, but according to an email sent to developers by the platform’s creator, that may be about to change.
GameSpot first broke the news after getting hold of said email, which explains that ten countries (including South Africa) will soon see a region-appropriate sales tax being added to the prices of everything on the Steam storefront. The email details all of the countries that will be affected, how much tax will be reflected in product prices, as well as when all of this will be implemented.
South Korea 10%
New Zealand 15%
South Africa 14%
The tax will be included in the price of everything in the store upfront, meaning that “the customer will pay the price displayed on the storefront, and the tax will be separated out afterwards”.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that a game that costs R1,000 now will cost R1,140 after tax, however. We can’t really be sure until Valve clarifies, but it seems as though it’ll be up to publishers whether or not to up the price of their games. Publishers could decide to price their games as 100% plus 14%, sure, but if they’re comfortable with taking the entire tax hit themselves, they might be able to do so. Even if they’re only able to to take half of the hit, that would only be 7% extra we would have to pay.
Hopefully Valve chimes in soon to explain the situation, and if they do, we’ll let you know.