I find this greatly ironical, since I came to the site today on impulse (no pun intended) because I have come to respect Stardock a great deal for not ripping me off - and being exceptionally good value for money. (I bought Sins as a download before it was released at retail in the UK (I believe at the time there was not even a projected publisher for the UK).)
I had been reading Brad's article on piracy and I thought to myself, "hey, I wonder if they've got anything new over at Stardock, seeing as they're one of the few companies left who aren't going to to shiv me up for the priviledge of paying them money!"
And I find then that I have to pay extra for something for the priviledge of Some Geezers (Kalypso apparently) so the French (et al) can have a translation. (A pittance extra granted, - but enough that on my extremely limited budget, I could have afforded a fiver to burn on a whim but £8 is discouraging me. So I'll have to wait.)
I'll be brutally honest; I don't give a flying frack about alternate language translations - because I speak only English. I find it personally offensive that the business people somewhere (and not just talking computer games here, DVDs as well) choose to deliberatly stuff the UK - and Austraila (and any other-primarily English-only speaking country) - for no reason other than they think they can. There's no damned reason all the English-speaking places couldn't have been in the same region for DVDs, for example (not that the whole regioning thing wasn't a deliberate attempt to stuff the customer anyway!) I really hate having to wait six months plus for games (etc) to come out in the UK - if they do at all - because some fracker decided some time ago that geography was a better barrier than language to make money off.
I object to paying for things I don't need, quadruply so when totally unnecessary. It's the principle more than the money too. If for, example, a PDF book company went round saying, "actually, we're going to charge you an extra 50% because you live in Europe so you have to download the French and German (etc) translation too" they'd be laughed out of the market, surely? What's the difference?
I can undestand a price rise to pay for translators for nonEnglish speakers (or vise-versa for games from nonEnglish designers). Fair do's, somebody's got to spend a lot of work to do that. I can understand a price rise for a retail box set (duh). But to charge people extra based on geography for an electronic download IN THE GAME'S ORIGINAL LANGUAGE is frankly ludicrous and there is no amount of justification that Kalypso - whom I for the moment am holding to the lion's share of the blame - can give me that doesn't amount to corporate greed. They (being Kalypso, since it would appear Stardock is being held over a barrel by their pricing ineptitude) could I suppose, say, "well, we have to charge extra for Europe, so we can't show preference to you Brits," to which I would reply, "fair enough, so what are we getting extra, then? Oh, nothing? So you're charging us for something most of us can't use? Nice. Thanks for that. And the reason I can't buy the version that doesn't have the extras I can't use is...what again?" They could say it was something to do with it being the EU regulations or something equally daft (which would merely shift the corporate greed to the EU) or that it would mess up their distribution software or something (which would translate to "we can't be arsed to make any effort on your behalf.").
My confidence in Stardock has taken a minor hit; not a fatal one, since my desire to play decent games is greater - for the moment - than even EA's ham-handed blundering (they're the new Microsoft. They suck, but I don't have any other options if I want to do the things I want to do). And I'm giving Stardock the benefit of the doubt, here, because I'm (probably naively) hoping this sort of thing isn't going to become commonplace.
(If it does, I think in the long run, it'll be more to Stardock's detriment, since if I have to pay extra for the same thing, I for one will be less likely to buy direct from Stardock (which of course gives them all their well-earned profit) and more likely to buy the thing from retail; if the price isn't going to be different to me, I may as well squeeze every last, gasping drop of value out of my purchase (which would be physical disks, boxes and manuals and stuff). (Yes, I'm that tight.)
Kalypso, on the other hand, just filed themselves right up their with EA and Microsoft (and Sony et al and whoever verminous cretin came up with regioning may they burn in eternal agony) on the "complete money-grubbing doodoo-heads" list.
Forgive the somewhat lengthy rant, folks, but this sort of thing has been getting me aggravated for some time now...take it as it is intended; rather verbose, exasperated irritation, rather than boiling anger. It's a sort of backhanded compliment, actually, since I actually think highly enough of Stardock to believe that my opinion actually does matter to them, unlike many other large companies who shall remain nameless. And I hold some hope that enough British people say "I say! That's just not cricket!" there is a remote possibility that Stardock may take that into account next time. I'm not going to shriek and cry blue murder and never buy from Stardock again, because ultimately, at the end of the day, I just want to play games too.
Especially since I'm one of those defensive-type, turtle players who are going to benefit from Entrenchment...