Several years ago Steam did a very clever decision to support several distinct regions by allowing publishers and developers set specific pricing for those regions and also allowed them to set specific reginal restrictions which can limit languages available for the game, the ability to gift the game or simply the inability to play the game if your IP is detected as being from the "wrong" country. It was a nice step, the one that, it seems, eventually made the previous software piracy heaven CIS region and, mainly, Russia, the second biggest market for Steam. However, sometimes the tools given to publishers, either wittingly or unwittingly, used for some questionable practices. You may remember Borderlands 2 RU 2k fiasco from last year, but there are smaller problems from other publishers that seem to fall through cracks. Which brings me to the conversation I've had with Steam support over the last week. You can read it here.
To give some background to the differences in pricing - the regional pricing on Steam can be set to either entire regions or separate countries, this i know for sure from one developer i know personally. This, ideally, allows for every game developer and?or publisher to select the optimal price for any given region/country and get people interested in buying your game, which is good for everyone involved (if the game is any good, of course). For CIS region, which is the majority of the post-soviet territory, there's usually one pricing, in USD, while Russia gets an equialent of that USD pricing, with slight or major differences in any direction, but in their currency, which is rubles. Most indie or middle-tier developers tend to not overuse (or use at all) the regional restricions and just slightly adapt the pricing, while most AAA titles from big publishers go all the way with all the restrictions they have. And that, in itself, is not a bad thing when done right. However, there are several examples, which i outlined in my talk with Steam Support, where the pricing has been either intentionally or unintentionally selected in a very unfavorable (and legally questionable) way for CIS region. Examples i used included Resident Evil: Revelations pre-order, which costs full US/ROW 49,99$ price, yet is region restricted and has the same id (and regional settings) as Russian version, which costs about 20$. Dishonored, which tells outright on the steam store page, that if bought it will be playable only in CIS territories, yet costs full 60$. Star Trek pre-order, which has the same problem as the RE: Revalations. And, if you think Russian store doesn't get any wrongs, for a very long time Skyrim expansion Hearthfire was at about 20$, 5$ more than other expansions, while everywhere els its price was 5$.
With so many regional options, you'd expect mistakes, especially the ones that go in favor of publishers. What you expect as well, however, is an adequate reply to people pointing out those mistakes, which is - fixing these mistakes and refunding people, who were decieved to pay more for a cheap product in some way. What you don't expect is Steam support saying that there is no problem. You might also notice, that there was no fix as for Ms. Splosion page (addition that it contains GFWL on store page, which is a requirement), something i pointed out in the first question, as well. I honestly don't know how to even react to this, as i thought that Valve did care about their reputation.
LOOK WHO CAME: