The day before yesterday, Factorio developers, Wube Software, faced furious backlash from Russian gamers following a sudden and dramatic increase in the price of a game on Steam in Russia. The price increase resulted in a flood of hundreds of negative user reviews.
As shown by SteamDB (opens in a new tab), the price of Factorio in Russia has held at ₽520 ($9) since the launch of Factorio in 2020. However, on July 14, it jumped to ₽10,000 – more than $174. This is a hefty price tag for an indie game on Steam in any country, and it happened without any communication from the developer as to the reason for the raise or even acknowledgment that it happened.
Predictably, this has led to confusion. Some users speculated that this was a mistake – someone at Wube pressed the “0” button too often in an attempt to increase the price to a more reasonable $1,000. Others, however, took it as a sign that the studio did it on purpose.
On the evening of the next day after the price increase, the price of Factorio in Russian was reduced to ₽1,000 ($18), which is only twice the previous price, not 20 times. Perhaps the developers are trying to quietly brush off an unfortunate political statement (and some on the Steam forums are clearly of this opinion), but I think this rather indicates a simple mistake on the part of Wube when trying to implement a more reasonable increase. For example, the US price rose from $20 to $30 in 2018, after two years in Early Access, while the Russian price remained unchanged until this week. Regional pricing in other countries also increased on July 14, although apparently not to the same extent as in Russia.
Wube Software has not yet made public comments about the price change, so at the moment it is not entirely clear what it was.