Steam must pay licence fees to sell games in South Africa


The FPB will demand that Steam pay an annual licence fee to distribute its digital products in South Africa, it told MyBroadband.

Steam is an online game, software, and video entertainment marketplace operated by Valve – and the most popular online PC gaming platform in the world.

This comes after the FPB published a draft review of its tariffs. It has increased the price of classifying content and proposed the introduction of a per-title and per-season licensing scheme for online distributors.

The FPB said the tariffs apply to movies, series, games, and apps.

Its proposed pricing scheme is summarised in the table below.

Number of titles Films/Games Series
0-499 R259.31/title R1,037.24/season
500-999 R207.45/title R829.79/season
1,000+ R165.96/title R663.83/season

If a distributor offers over 1,000 titles, the fee for 0-499 titles is applied to the first 499, the 500-999 fee is applied to the next 500 titles, and the 1,000+ fee is applied to the rest.

How much Steam must pay

Steam reports that it has 18,720 titles on its platform. This includes games and software, but excludes mods and downloadable content.

It isn’t clear whether the FPB will apply its tariff for series to episodic games, so our calculation is based on the per-title tariff.

Steam also has 714 video titles in its catalogue, with several of these series which have multiple seasons, but they have been excluded from the calculation.

Using the cheapest tariff for all the games available in South Africa through Steam, we calculated that:

  • Valve must pay the FPB R3.17 million to distribute games in SA.
  • This is over triple the amount Netflix would have to pay – R1.02 million.

When an online distributor pays its annual licence fee, it buys the right to self-classify content and submit it for verification, the FPB told MyBroadband.

“We will also provide training for their classifiers on a quarterly basis, and when needed,” said the FPB.

Now read: Bestselling games on Steam in South Africa

Forum discussion

Join the conversation

  • divantitus


  • Cathal

    This is how gaming dies in South Africa.

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Cathal

    But in all seriousness, they tried the same with Netflix last year and Netflix still hasn’t paid. I seriously doubt that something would happen if Valve didn’t, and I’m honestly of the mind that Valve shouldn’t pay anyway.

    The FPB is reaching and they’ll fall out of their comfy chair if they try and reach further. Angering multiple international companies, risking the country’s access to these, will not end well for them if the consumer eventually suffers.

  • This is HOW piracy starts;

  • Mubeen Dhorat

    The Zupta Brigade can now afford an upgrade to their private jet.

  • Cathal

    Honestly I feel that’s a terrible way to go. Piracy hurts the developer, not the FPB, who are in the wrong here.

    Perhaps we’ll need to do what highly censored countries do? VPN all the things!

  • I have reason to believe that Multichoice/Naspers is behind this brave new FPB. They desperately want to stifle the competition of international companies.
    Taking a leaf out of the South African taxi industry’s playbook; instead of improving your service and reducing prices, just buy a gun (aka FPB) and shoot down the competition

  • Nico Kilian

    ermmm.. No!

  • Daryl VS

    Tell them to f off. There’s nothing they can do.

  • ZenoDiac


  • tjitah

    I believe you may be right

  • Yagya Dollie

    Film and publications board has become a criminal organisation no different from the mafia running a protection racket.

  • nah, countries with VPN”s are the ones struggling with net neutrality right now – because their ISP’s are going: WTF are you doing with your internet? Why so much data/ why are you so bandwidth heavy? meanwhile the user is streaming: while uploading stuff – while sharing torrents, and 5 people in the house playing games/downloading game updates etc – because their lines are capable of doing this 🙂

Steam must pay licence fees to sell games in South Africa

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