Tobold's Blog
Monday, June 08, 2009
 
Buying The Sims 3 online

After hearing good things about the latest version of The Sims, I decided to buy The Sims3. So I first headed to Steam, where to my surprise it turned out that Steam doesn't have *any* The Sims games. Well, no matter, I was going to compare prices first anyway, and Steam doesn't do well in that respect in Europe, due to their 1:1 dollar to euro conversion.

Next stop, the EA Store, checking if buying from the source is maybe cheapest. Far from! While I could find out that The Sims 3 in the USA costs $50 (36 Euro), the EA Store automatically sent me to the Belgian page. Not only didn't I want to buy the French or Dutch version of the game, I also certainly didn't want to pay the outrageous 60 Euro they asked there.

So I headed to Direct2Drive, where The Sims 3 was on offer for $50, but for USA and Canada online. But a helpful link sent me directly to Direct2Drive UK, where I finally bought The Sims 3 for £34.50 (39 Euro). Direct2Drive also has a very fast downloader, so it took only 2 hours for the complete 5.6 GB of the game. I don't know if that is the case for all versions, but mine came with $10 worth of 1,000 SimPoints to spend on microtransactions in the Sims store. Well, given the low quality and amount of content of some of the Sims 1 & 2 expansions, microtransactions might be the better deal here.

Lesson: If you live in Europe, be very, very careful what you pay for a game download. If you aren't, you might end up paying more than 50% more than if you had compared prices. Rule of thumb: If the price is being displayed in Euro, you are being scammed. Try to buy in dollars or pounds!
Comments:
Yes, very good advice indeed.
 
Excellent advice, I'm looking forward to reading what you think of the game.
 
How do you think Amazon for prices, Tobold? Usually they are pretty good in the UK.
 
had to buy it for my gf.
she enjoys it as usual, it's more like sims 2.5, because everything is better, but not revolutionary.
 
Best place to get the game in Europe (but only until last Friday) was Amazon.co.uk which had a very good pre-order deal for 29.99 British Pounds Sterling , as mentioned here.
It even got delivered on Saturday early afternoon :-)
 
Oh, you live in Belgium? Translating games to Dutch is a bad idea except for children games. I remember how they tried to sell Black & White in Dutch here. That ended up with tons of people sending their game back to ask for an English version. An eventually a big patch that allowed you to patch your game to English...

As for cheap games, Play.com always has good prices and free shipping. Delivery is usually within the week. And if you preorder you'll have the game one or two days after it's in the shops. you can find a oxed The sims 3 copy for 38.99 euro.

@Gordon: With amazons shipping prices I feel like I'm being ripped of. To give you an idea: The Sims 3 is up for 34.23 euros on amazon.co.uk. Cheap right? Just take a look at the shipping costs: 5.69 euro. I've bought dvds at play.com including shipping costs for 4.50 euro. And for some crazy reason shipping a video game shipping cost is close to three times the cost of shipping a DVD. Besides all that I just hate to have to calculate the price of shipping, it's not transparent at all.
 
I always buy the physical disk for games. I like having it to hand if I need to restore my computer, plus (as you found out) it does cost more direct from the company. I compared the prices between Amazon, Play and Blizzard's online store for WotLK, and Amazon and Play were both considerably cheaper than from Blizzard.
 
Why buy downloadable content at all (steam, direct2drive etc). The prices are just crazy most of the time. Today I wanted to buy Company of Heroes: Tales of valor and I looked around on both steam, direct2drive and on local store and local store was 9-10 euro cheaper then the second alternative: direct2drive. I cant believe that a downloadable content is more expensive then something that needs a package, dvds and transported to resellers and to stores, it is just crazy.

Only time I ever buy anything through steam nowadays are when they lower prices on selected games during weekends.
 
Why buy downloadable content at all?

Because A) it isn't always the most expensive. For example while The Sims 3 was cheaper on Amazon.co.uk (Euro 34) than on Direct2Drive (Euro 39), it was more expensive on Amazon.de (Euro 44) and Amazon.fr (Euro 52). And you already mentioned things like Steam weekend deals, where games can be much cheaper than in a store.

And B) buying games as download can have certain advantages. For example buying The Sims 3 was an impulse buy of mine, on a Sunday morning. I would have had to wait until Monday if I had wanted to go to a store, and longer if I had ordered the box by mail order. In addition the downloaded version doesn't require me to keep the DVD in the drive to play.

I prefer not to buy *everything* at one source, but to check out different sources for price and convenience. There isn't one place which is always the best.
 
I prefer Digital Distribution if at all possible.
In addition to what Tobold mentioned there's the benefit of not being dependent on a breakable hardware key (otherwise known as a compulsory CD-in-drive).
When I recently bought and installed a new CD I was very glad to be able to have Steam quietly installing most of my favorite games in the background while I was doing the CD/DVD swapping thing for those few games I must have that are on disc only and doing other first install configuration drudgery. The install-from-disc games all needed to update after install. In one case the auto-update used defunct URL's. All the stuff from Steam comes in up-to-date.

I do think Steam became less attractive with the coming of the EU store and the 1 dollar = 1 euro exchange rate. Direct2Drive i long since abandonded because most of the games I'd be interested in were for US residents only.
 
You also forgot to mention that unlike Steam, D2D does not require a background program to run for their products, which is a nice plus IMO.

I also had zero issue installing the same purchased copy of Sims 3 on my second computer, and they can both run at the same time, something that I think is impossible with Steam.

The download speed was also great, over 1m the entire time, making getting even larger games like The Sims a breeze.
 
@Tobold. As I have pointed out, that 34 euro deal at amazon is NOT cheaper then direct2drive once you add the shipping costs.

As to why get it from a download shop? It's actually safer. Your physical disc can break but you can still redownload your games. And with all these platforms you can also just burn it on a cd if you like. Of course, steam can just disable or your games for no good reason too... While with services like gog.com I've got my games. DRM free services like gog.com are the best. Platforms like steam are fine with me for bargains such as the penumbra package I bought for 5 euros this weekend.

I'll also add the gamersgate.com shop. It has comparable prices to direct2drive and has some better user feedback.
 
I have bought tons of games from Direct2Drive mainly because I like to have the assurance that the game will be there to download as long as D2D is alive (no worry about losing or breaking disks).

I have used other digital services but D2D remains my choice (For modern games, older games I like GoG.com) - Steam has to be running in the backround for their games - Gamersgate is nice but you download a downloader for the game and I believe you have limited download time (a year or so?). EA online store also has a 1 year limit (with purchased DL protection)
 
Just this weekend I also joined Steam for an impulse purchase: Bioware's single-player Jade Empire (comes after KOTOR and before Mass Effect). The $US15 price was very reasonable for an older game, and I didn't have to spend any time hunting it down at local stores or waiting for mail-order shipping.
 
Where can I find the glittery cover collectors edition of the SIMS 3? I preordered it for £10, from a site that I forgot to favourite - I think it was Gamestation but they said in store they don't charge for pre-orders. Did it in the last few days. Can anyone help please? It is a present for my partner(Birthday) and now I had to tell her, and now look like an idiot because I can't find it. Screwed things up royally.

Please help. :'(
 
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