The greatest thing Steam has ever done

#1 Edited by dudeglove (7241 posts) -

A small number of you may or may not have noticed lately (either via glancing at TF2 item prices on the official wiki or live in Russia and use Steam), that Steam recently added roubles as a payment option, rather than remaining as dollars. For example:

lol, Russian Hill Racers

At the current exchange rate, 799 руб comes to about 26 bucks (FYI, in the US, Driver San Francisco is currently 50 dollars - so suk it, America). So this begs the question: Why did Steam change their payment option to facilitate roubles, when they could sneakily overcharge on the dollar front and essentially profit off the exchange rate (e.g. If the Witcher 2 is $19.99, it may be worth less than that in actual roubles, but Steam just rounds it up to a nice n' friendly .99), not to mention the fact that there are less numbers involved (e.g. 40 bucks is 1225 roubles)? Or, admittedly, it could be the other way around.

That reason, GBers, has finally been revealed. On the front page of the Russian Steam client, this appeared today.

oh it's on now

These kiosks are, like, the GREATEST THING IN EXISTENCE. For all of Russia's faults, they still manage to periodically come out with things like this magical device - seemingly delivered from the gods themselves. And. they. are. everywhere. Why they don't have them in the UK or US continues to baffle me (actually, I think it's a patent issue)

But what does this ubiquitous innocuous box do, you ask? Everything. Forget the PS3. This does everything. Pay as you go mobile phone? Check. Internet payment for all the obscure providers in the city? Check. Utility bills? Check. Police fines? Check. (No, seriously, you can pay for your speeding tickets via these things, rather than standing in a long ass queue at the bank). In other words:

And the final cherry on the Valve cake? This effectively gets around the old chestnut of additional credit card charges (and more importantly, any worries that your details may be at risk). All you do is walk up to one of those bad boys, punch in your user id, feed that glorious beast some cash, then walk away like this guy.

All of you may now defect from the West with a clear conscience.

Edit: The official statement

Xsolla And Valve Announce Cash Payments to Steam in Russia
Press Releases - Valve
17:03
Gamers Rejoice! Available immediately, over 38 million players in the Russian Federation can add value directly to their Steam Account Wallet via their local cash kiosk.
LOS ANGELES, CA- October 20, 2011
Xsolla, creators of the world’s largest payment network, and Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today introduced cash payments to Steam from kiosks throughout Russia.
Over 450,000 cash kiosks throughout Russia now offer gamers the ability to add value to their account’s Steam Wallet, enabling millions of gamers to purchase, download and play their favorite games using Steam, the world’s largest social entertainment platform.
Valve chose Xsolla, the leader in game monetization solutions in Russia, to help them make Steam more accessible to gamers in the Russian market.
“We are thrilled to make Steam more accessible to the Russian market, and we believe Xsolla is an ideal partner to help make this happen,” stated Jason Holtman of Valve (Steam).
Albert Donahue, Vice-President & Co-Founder of Xsolla commented: “Xsolla's partnership with Valve (creator of Steam) will enable millions of gamers in the Russian Federation to enjoy Steam. Steam revolutionized the way games are distributed and experienced- Not only are players able to enjoy over 1500 games through Steam, but they are also able to enjoy the experience with friends and other gamers via the Steam Community, which has over 30 million players. We are excited to partner with Valve to bring Steam to Russia.”
About Xsolla
Xsolla specializes in online games, providing localized in-game payment solutions for global reach. Xsolla has been developing monetization tools for MMO, Social, Mobile and Casual Games for 6 years. Xsolla's headquarters are in Los Angeles, California with offices in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Xsolla partners with over 200 payment service providers offering credit and pre-paid cards, mobile payments, premium SMS, E-wallets, cash and e-cash, payment kiosks and offers — all within one platform- with no installation, currency exchange or chargeback fees.
Xsolla works with more than 300 publishers worldwide, including Gameforge, Bigpoint, Wargaming, Aeria Games, InnoGames, Travian Games and more. For more information, visit Xsolla online at www.xsolla.com.

Four. Hundred. And. Fifty. Thousand. Machines.

#2 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

Do you have to...Putin...your bank details with every purchase, or do you just insert cash?

:D

#3 Posted by TheHT (10248 posts) -

How convenient. No sort of service fee? Who's behind these things?

#4 Posted by Subjugation (4693 posts) -

I don't want to Putin too much effort into my response, but I would feel Vlad for not trying at all.

#5 Posted by dudeglove (7241 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

Do you have to...Putin...your bank details with every purchase, or do you just insert cash? :D

Nope, just regular banknotes. No credit cards, no people looking over your back to see your PIN. Think of it as a vending machine THAT BRINGS JOY but not chocolate.

#6 Posted by mandude (2667 posts) -

@TheHT: Quite evidently, God?

#7 Edited by BraveToaster (12590 posts) -

Sounds cool, but I can see a lot of elderly people being afraid of the glowy box. The elderly don't matter anyway.

#8 Posted by McShank (1628 posts) -

Very nice. Happy to see russia has something useful for once that i wish the US had : /

#9 Posted by dudeglove (7241 posts) -

@TheHT said:

How convenient. No sort of service fee? Who's behind these things?

One of the main companies, at least in Moscow, is Qiwi who I believe are trying to get their machines into Europe. The kiosks will take a commission that scales according to the amount you... ugh... put in. I forget how much. For certain kiosks, specifically the ones dealing with the phone networks, there is no charge for topping up the balance on your mobile.

#10 Posted by Tebbit (4435 posts) -

Meanwhile I still have to put up with USD instead of my beloved NZD. Those kiosks are cool as hell!

#11 Posted by dudeglove (7241 posts) -

@Axxol said:

Sounds cool, but I can see a lot of elderly people being afraid of the glowy box. The elderly don't matter anyway.

The elderly are the ones clogging up the banks, so steer clear.

#12 Posted by Synthballs (2193 posts) -

@Subjugation said:

I don't want to Putin too much effort into my response, but I would feel Vlad for not trying at all.

Oh wow, this is the best thing I've read in a while.

#13 Posted by Hamz (6845 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

Do you have to...Putin...your bank details with every purchase, or do you just insert cash? :D

I cracked and let out a chuckle at this one. Well done mate!

#15 Posted by Hamz (6845 posts) -

In a serious note though Valve have always been pretty pro-Eastern Europe when every other company is crying bloody murder about the piracy rate of their games over there. I'm not surprised to see Valve actually making it ridiculously easy for you to purchase games from Steam and at a reduced cost to other parts of the world as opposed to forcing you to pirate them instead.

#16 Posted by dudeglove (7241 posts) -

@schizzy said:

Wow those kiosks are pretty amazing.

It's really not an exaggeration to say they are everywhere. Even in piss-soaked underpasses that go under major roads, or small grocery stores out in bumfuck nowhere.

#17 Edited by Red12b (9044 posts) -

that's pretty cool man, I'd probably use em more for my fines than anything tho, great little thing

#18 Posted by Azteck (7447 posts) -

Sweden has Euro, meaning everything is about twice as expensive here. I am not pleased.

#19 Posted by ViciousReiven (793 posts) -

Ugh I need this, for someone who doesn't have any form of credit those things would be a Godsend.

#20 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

I wish we had those Kiosks as well...

#21 Posted by dudeglove (7241 posts) -

@Hamz: And wouldn't you know it? Gabe Newell just gave a talk in Seattle on video game pricing and talked about this very matter.

Gabe Newell: It’s interesting to touch on a number of pricing and service issues, because it will help convey the complexity of what we’re seeing in the entertainment space, and there’s probably also going to be lessons in it for other people trying to create value on the Internet.
One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It’s a service issue. The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates. For example, Russia. You say, oh, we’re going to enter Russia, people say, you’re doomed, they’ll pirate everything in Russia. Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market.
Ed Fries: That’s incredible. That’s in dollars?
Newell: That’s in dollars, yes. Whenever I talk about how much money we make it’s always dollar-denominated. All of our products are sold in local currency. But the point was, the people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localize their product into Russia. … So that, as far as we’re concerned, is asked and answered. It doesn’t take much in terms of providing a better service to make pirates a non-issue.

#22 Posted by DrPockets000 (2859 posts) -

@Tim_the_Corsair said:

Do you have to...Putin...your bank details with every purchase, or do you just insert cash? :D

Shut up and take my follow

#23 Posted by Kazona (3055 posts) -

My ass is moving to Russia. All hail mother Russia!

#24 Posted by Brendan (7508 posts) -

@dudeglove said:

@Hamz: And wouldn't you know it? Gabe Newell just gave a talk in Seattle on video game pricing and talked about this very matter.

Gabe Newell: It’s interesting to touch on a number of pricing and service issues, because it will help convey the complexity of what we’re seeing in the entertainment space, and there’s probably also going to be lessons in it for other people trying to create value on the Internet.
One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It’s a service issue. The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates. For example, Russia. You say, oh, we’re going to enter Russia, people say, you’re doomed, they’ll pirate everything in Russia. Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market.
Ed Fries: That’s incredible. That’s in dollars?
Newell: That’s in dollars, yes. Whenever I talk about how much money we make it’s always dollar-denominated. All of our products are sold in local currency. But the point was, the people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localize their product into Russia. … So that, as far as we’re concerned, is asked and answered. It doesn’t take much in terms of providing a better service to make pirates a non-issue.

He kicks all of the ass. All of it.

#25 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

City 17.  It's safer here.

#26 Posted by TurboMan (6932 posts) -

I just pay all my utilities bills and speeding tickets online anyways...

NO THANKS, RUSSIA.

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