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Valve makes Steam payments easier in piracy-heavy Brazil
Valve makes Steam payments easier in piracy-heavy Brazil
November 6, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

November 6, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
More: Console/PC, Business/Marketing

In an effort to improve its foothold in Latin America, Valve Software is now allowing users in Brazil to pay for games on Steam using the country's local currency.

This is a particularly notable move for Valve, as Brazil is commonly known as a market rife with piracy. With Valve allowing users to pay for their games using Brazilian Reais, Brazilian consumers will now have more incentive to acquire their games via legitimate, and hopefully more convenient means.

To enable this change, Valve has partnered with UOL BoaCompra, a Brazilian marketplace for digital games. For now, Brazilian users can only pay for their games using the online payment system Boleto, though in the coming months Steam and UOL BoaCompra will add support for deposits, account transfers, PagSegura, and local credit cards.

Valve added that this move is part of its ongoing plan to make payments easier for users around the world. For more details on Steam's Brazilian payment options, check out the store's official website.

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Jared Morgan
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This is another important step, at least in my opinion, for creating a very strong market in Brazil. The conditions there have been consistently improving, especially with recent political/gaming campaigns like "Jogo Justo" that have been pushing for Brazil to adjust its import and censorship policies for items like games.

Strong piracy rates exist there for various reasons, but there has been a lot of interesting activity in Brazilian government in regards to game censorship, negative attitudes towards games, and bringing in business that will, at least initially, send most of its revenue to other countries. These attitudes and policies have recently started to change, and this is starting to show. Companies like Ubisoft, Blizzard, Riot, and now Valve have been taking more business to Brazil.

Fabio Macedo
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It's important to let it be known that the actual reason for Steam/Valve to move into the country has nothing to do with piracy. It has to do with competition.

In the end of 2011 two new local online stores had taken the downloadable PC gaming market by storm with low prices since it is not heavily taxed and regulated by the local government as pretty much all other imported goods are. Very recently the most successful of them, Nuuvem ( disclosed that more than 10% of their sales were for foreign users since their prices are actually better (for example, recent releases and pre-orders like Borderlands 2 and Bioshock Infinite go for R$ 90, or about US$ 42-43)

I'd bet my whole collection that Valve noticed a dip on sales in the country since at least the beginning of this year and made its move to counter that. One of the obvious evidences is that the prices Steam is practicing in Brazil are indeed very similar to Nuuvem's, with at most a R$ 5 (US$ 2-3) difference either above or below in most games.

Steam itself has been a very important factor in making people go for PC games and rely less on piracy, thanks to its promotions. Nuuvem and Xogo came to make the *fixed* prices lower. Steam is just reacting to competition now. We've heard about this "ongoing plan" years before, but Valve didn't seem in a rush to put it in practice until now that... *looking at his own Steam library* ...more than 90% of the games I've bought for the PC this year were acquired on Nuuvem, while the same percentage would be true to Steam until the end of 2011. Coincidence? I doubt it.

Luis Guimaraes
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Also, must add that EA Origin at launch already supported local currency pricing and boleto (which is not an online system, but a printable barcode bill you can go to the nearest corner and pay with cash or debit card.

Simas Oliveira
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True. And EA's Origin has been giving away games lately to promote itself, another thing they might be worried about. If you go to any mall/market/groceries store, you can buy a kellog's corn flakes box and get a free game code inside. Not sure what the game being offered is though, since I didn't buy one (no interest whatsoever in Origin).

Joao Bernardes
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I just checked and, from Brazil, I'm still able to pay with all the payment methods I had available before, including Paypal and international credit cards... The news is that now I can also pay with a "Boleto" (which is actually Portuguese for a bank payment slip). It does make it easier to buy in Steam without requiring both an international credit card and wanting to use it over the Internet (I know a lot of people here who still feel quite wary about doing that).

Fabio Macedo
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Which is other reason why Nuuvem and Xogo became so popular: they do accept all the payment methods Steam is about to adopt, all from the very start of their businesses last year.

Bruno Xavier
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PagSeguro and BoaCompra are jokes. Creds forever.
Anyway, funny how they come writing all about "piracy-heavy" Brazil... Do Gamasutra think we are Paraguay? Or, why don't you gamasutra talk about China like that in your articles??
China is the biggest barn of piracy, of all times! And all I see Gamesutra saying is how wonderful their mobile market is. Fucking joke.

Marcelo Souza
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Brazil IS piracy-heavy. There is no way around it. Of course, it MIGHT not be as bad today as during the time of Playstation 1 and 2, in which almost all games sold in Brazil were bootleg. I don't know why people get so riled up about that, since it is the truth. Still today, you can see lots of street peddlers selling XBox 360's disks, with little or no fear of any reprisal.

I am truly happy about Steam's arrival in Brazil. It is a step forward in promoting the local market, and it shows that Brazil is closely watched by all gaming companies in the world.

The prices are fair, and after a while, people will have all payment options. It's a win-win scenario for the Brazilian gamer and for Steam.

A small correction: The payment service offered by UOL is called PagSeguro, not PagSegura.

Higor Bimonti
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The title says all: "piracy-heavy Brazil". It's sadly true, but it's changing. You might think why Brazil is a piracy-heavy country and I have some not-news answers:

1. In Playstation 1 & 2 era, Brazil didn't exist for Sony or any developer. Then an imported PS3 had cost R$8000 (or $4,000, when in USA it's price was $499.). An original game on a disc had cost R$300+ (or $150) That wasn't fair! The only way out if you wanted to play something was going to the dark side.

2. Ultra-high taxes. Those prices I mentioned have high taxes built in. 60% of an imported game is tax. What's the only way out? Piracy again.

Finally it's changing... with big companies like MS, Ubi, Riot, Valve seen in Brazil a possibly emergent market where they can make some money since their origin countries are on a heavy crises period. With their help and the pressure of the players, the government is sloooowwwlyyyy, really sloooooowwwwwwllyyyyy, opening his eyes to the money it's losing with piracy and illegal importing.

Let's see.

ralf risi
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The most important thing is that valve show for brazilians costumers something that none of the others companys in brazil does, respect for they costumers.

It doesn't matter if is to fight piracy or the competition.