You would have thought that Grand Theft Auto V being included in Steam’s Summer Sale would be cause for celebration, but right now developers Rockstar are finding themselves coming under fire for what many perceive as shady business practises by the company in their handling of the game’s addition to the annual sale. While it may initially seem like this is the case, and people have been clogging up Rockstar Support for hours about it, all is not as it seems.
What initially raised the ire of Steam users, with the alleged issue initially being brought to light on the subreddit r/steam, was the game’s retail price being bumped up from $59.99 to around $79.99 on the sale’s page, with Steam then displaying its original $59.99 listing as being a 25% off sale price.This led many to come to the conclusion that Rockstar was attempting to swindle customers by pretending that the game was actually being sold at a discounted price, along with garnering the extra coverage that comes with being placed on the Steam Summer Sale page.
It was also claimed that Rockstar had removed its standard listing of the game, with only its sale bundles (featuring GTA: San Andreas and Max Payne 3, games that retail for between $3 – $5 on Steam) being available to view, meaning that those not in the know about this sudden price hike wouldn’t question Rockstar’s motives. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the game had allegedly been mandatorily bundled with the game’s virtual currency cash cards, which according to Steam’s new refunds policies, means that games cannot be refunded given that the player has already purchased non-refundable DLC for them.
But a little scratching below the surface reveals that the only thing Rockstar are guilty of is releasing a deal that isn’t very enticing, and that it doesn’t appear likely that the company is trying to swindle us out of our money by introducing a sudden price increase of GTAV prior to the Steam Summer Sale. For one, each of the initial, supposedly “marked up” prices of the bundles appear to represent the price of GTAV, GTA: San Andreas/Max Payne 3 and the virtual currency that is included with each bundle. As for the standalone game reportedly no longer being listed on Steam during the sale – it is. However, with the standalone GTAV not being discounted, it wouldn’t appear in the sale page anyway. and it actually does show up on Steam if you search for the game. This also means that Rockstar isn’t trying to covertly sneak around Steam’s refund policy, as the game is available to buy without bundled virtual currency.
All in all, it’s still a shitty sale deal in comparison with all the other great offers that are put up on Steam throughout the summer, but it isn’t an example of Rockstar trying to screw the consumer. Put your pitchforks down, folks.