Let's be frank, Valve Software hasn't had the greatest track record with Australia. In between numerous issues with pricing and using EB Games as an exclusive retail partner, and now with the unavailability of the Steam Deck, they leave a bit to be desired.
Get to the solution, Jon.
1. Get a VPN that can route traffic via the US.
Any will do, personally I recommend OVPN (this is an affiliate link if you feel like checking it out) if you're going for the long game. I'll explain why in another post to come after this.
- Private Internet Access (Australians, this is really damn good if you utilize cashrewards and get that 90% cashback).
- Mulvad (has been recommended to me, never tried it)
- Or just go ahead and use https://thatoneprivacysite.xyz/, they have a pretty good table with data if you're looking for a long term VPN
2. Go ahead and sign up for an account at a package forwarding company.
I utilized comGateway after seeing a post on reddit recommending it. It was simple and I got a nice virtual address without having to pay or verify my identity. Benefit being that it's in Oregon, which doesn't have a sales tax.
Small aside, how the hell does that work. Why does the US have an after sales tax? Here in AUS we have GST (goods and services tax), and that's added into the advertised price of every purchase.
EDIT: Quote from a friend in the US.
Taxes in the US are weird: you've got federal income tax, state income tax, local income tax, various taxes your city can tack on if they want, and then sales tax.
Often states trade sales tax for income tax/other random taxes. for general goods (excluding groceries and things like cars), sales tax ranges from about 6% to 9.5%.
i.e. I split my time between Washington and Oregon, so when I'm in Seattle I pay 9.29% sales tax and when I'm in Oregon I pay nothing. So, if I buy new tech or clothes or anything over about $100, I try to do it in Oregon
That oversimplifies things, but here are the states without sales tax: Oregon, Montana, New Hampshire, Delaware
The more you know, huh. Well I guess any of those four states are the goal for any future purchases!
- Stay away from MyUS, they absolutely fucked me by offering a purchasing service for eBay listings, but not getting to it (two days is more than enough time right?), and then closing my account. Apparently, I have to wait two weeks for a refund, but I have little faith in them after they closed my account, I'll let my debit card company handle that dispute.
- If you have a friend over there who can take care of the handling and forwarding, one of mine recommended PirateShip. Didn't try it.
An aside, if you're using ComGateway make sure you go and throw the Steam Deck URL into the live estimate.
It should come to around 3kg, the package is actually 2KG iirc, but lock in the price anyway.
3. A US steam account.
This one is easy, power up the VPN, set your region to the US, go to steampowered.com and create a US based steam account. Why? Well, you can change the region of your existing account, but I'm not really interested in waiting three months to be able to change it back. There's also the matter that apparently credit/debit cards from regions outside the account region won't work, this goes for Paypal too, since PP advises services of where the account was originally made.
4. A Wise account.
Why Wise? They enable we Australians to create virtual debit cards and transfer any currency to them. Easy as can be. Create a virtual card, but for now don't load it up. I'd rather not get comments complaining about funding issues.
An aside, why are we buying direct from Valve?
That is why, and the pricing is accurate as of 2022 - 10 - 28.
What can we grasp from it?
- The US has the cheapest pricing.
- StockX's EU 256GB model has the best price ratio compared to Valves original pricing. But even that is 125% increased.
- The price of the StockX EU 256GB model is actually $60 AUD more than getting the 512GB direct from Valve (without factoring shipping yet).
- Numerous videos have highlighted the difference in the glare reduction, display brightness and color production of the 512GB model compared to the others.
Got all of that? Here are your final steps.
- Start the VPN.
- Log into your US steam account.
- Choose your model.
- Fill the address details from your parcel forwarder.
- Create a card on Wise. Fill the details in on your steam purchase page.
- You'll finally reach your Review + Confirm page. Giving you the final price. (Had your wise card not been accepted, you wouldn't have been able to reach this point).
- Load up your Wise card with US dollars. (Using PAYID will transfer funds to it within a few minutes).
- Confirm your purchase.
Update - One week later
2022 - 11 - 04
The packages arrived at comGateway. I have to declare a value it seems.
Value declared, just do it in Australian dollars. If you see a "Merchant Needed" mark against the item, it means you need to hit the dots next to packing list and go "Edit Item". Just throw valves details in there and save changes.
Australia is really fucking dumb in that we have an import tax for anything over $1000 AUD. So that'll be an extra 10% on import.
Submitted it as a OneBox entry, because why not save on all of that extra packing waste.
Update - One day later
2022 - 11 - 05
ComGateway have packaged everything into the OneBox.
I had to go in and change the merchant again, had a mini heart attack because I thought it said I couldn't ship to Australia if there were multiple boxes inside a larger box. But upon adding the merchant name it cleared up.
I've made one critical error, however. The declaration/value of the package is in USD, not the currency of the destination country (Australian Dollars in this case). But their customer service team was quick to reset it to 0 so I can redeclare.
All corrected, I added the proper USD value and chose to ship it express. This is exciting.
Will provide another update once it's here.
Update- Two weeks later
2022 - 11 - 19
The deck arrived a few days ago!
I've been having an amazing amount of fun with it as a tool for streaming xCloud to, before handing it off to my partner, the intended recipient for the gift :)
- Steam Deck, 512GB + Dock: $1100 AUD
- Forwarding: $401 AUD (includes import tax of 10%)
Total: $1501 AUD.