No Oceans: EU Saints Row IV Has Stupidest Delay Ever

By John Walker on August 20th, 2013 at 1:00 pm.

We’ve long lamented the inanity of delaying EU releases. Archaic systems meant that games were once released on Tuesdays in the States, and Fridays in Europe. And before the oceans between were concreted over, most were in ignorance of the difference. But now, in our contiguous international continent, this gap has become rather problematic. From the blatantly obvious way it encourages piracy (“This game is available, your friends are enjoying it, but we’re not going to let you buy it!”), via the tiresomeness of not being able to play friends via multiplayer/co-op, to the ridiculous hiding from social media, YouTube, etc half the world needs to conduct to avoid having games ruined, it’s obviously a dated and anachronistic way of things. With PC gaming so dominantly sold online in the UK and US, it’s time for it to end.

Now apply this all to a game that’s not even getting a physical release in the UK! Europe and Asia’s Saints Row IV, that you can’t even find a link to pre-order on PC on its own website, is artificially delayed until the end of the week.

Saints Row IV is out now in the States. One of the best games I’ve played in years, it’s a tremendous thing. But currently, in the UK, its presence on Steam is a bait and switch. Check the Coming Soon list and you’ll be excited to be able to play the game today:

Click through and… oh.

It’s not uncommon for this to happen, as infuriating and stupid as it is every time. The conflict of dates is likely Valve’s fault rather than Deep Silver’s, and SRIV has always said it’ll madly be the 23rd on its store page. But in this instance it’s spectacularly ridiculous, since – for whatever mysterious reason – Deep Silver aren’t selling boxed copies in the UK. Instead they’ve affixed a surprisingly high £40 price tag on the cheapest digital version, (with a bargain £4 off if you pre-order a game that’s already out elsewhere on Earth), and then fruitcakedly declined to release it at the same time worldwide.

The arguments for delayed releases usually come back to retail. EU retail releases on a Friday, the infrastructure is designed around Friday, and changing it would cause the very fabric of space and time to snap and whiplash, throwing us all into the endless void. Digital is therefore simultaneously delayed, so as to avoid furious shopkeepers throwing poo at the windows of games publishers. But when you’ve taken away the physical release, there’s not even this papery-thin rationale remaining. At this point, you’ve simply got stupidity.

So it is that I can report Saints Row IV is out, except it isn’t, and if you’re in the States you can enjoy it now, and if you’re not you can’t, unless you don’t pay them for it, which is illegal and you shouldn’t do it. If you’re in mainland Europe you can pre-order a physical copy, perhaps a fancy special edition, and have it Friday. If you’re in the UK, you can just sit there and stare, wondering at why.

(And Australian viewers have got until 12th September!)

We’ve approached Deep Silver for a comment, but everyone’s very busy with Gamescom kicking off.

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97 Comments »

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  1. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    I was initially excited about this, because I absolutely hate all the gang culture stuff from the previous game (I know that’s kind of the point, but still, it just seemed to sit uncomfortably in there), and thought that this would be some sort of mad new thing without any of that. But having watched TB’s WTF, It seems that version 4 looks like what Blood Dragon is to Far Cry 3. Maybe that’s just because all he did was just roam around the city in his playthrough though.

    TL;DR: This seems like the sort of game to get in a sale, and so I couldn’t care less about launch delays. (IMO)

    • frightlever says:

      A GOTY edition, in a sale. I loved SR3 but I can wait.

    • StephanieDavidson says:

      my buddy’s mother makes $61/hr on the internet. She has been fired for ten months but last month her paycheck was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours. Go to this web site and read more… http://www.Day37.com

    • Lagwolf says:

      Well said… exactly how I feel. Probably pick it up in a sale. Was never that much of a fan of SR3 because I played it solo. It strikes me as better in co-op.

    • KDR_11k says:

      I hate the gang culture stuff as well but got into the series when I was looking for cheap XBox 360 games and found the first Saints Row in a bargain bin. Bought every game after that. It’s not as obnoxiously “gangsta” as the advertising makes it look, even in the early incarnations.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    The mild frustration and angst imposed by the Electronic Oceans is but a part of the ritual necessary to hasten CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.

    • Premium User Badge

      Harlander says:

      How many other annoyances push us closer to the brink of that nightmare scenario?

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      When I buy a bag of gummi bears I make sure that the ones that worshipped me get eaten first.

      • Premium User Badge

        Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Do you, like me, do the wriggling mouth-fingers and falsetto screams of horror as you consume them?

        • Squirly says:

          Mine do that by themselves.

          I’m thinking of switching brands.

          • The Ultimate Clone of The Ultimate Warrior says:

            I decimate my Jelly Babies. the remaining nine tenths then offer tribute. I devour them as well.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            I do crazy experiments in grafting body parts. Purple head on green torso with red feet was my most recent endeavor. I once grafted six ears onto the top of one head. Six, all the same colour!

    • -funkstar- says:

      DLC Kranzberg Syndrome

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      (I knew you had to have good taste in books :)

  3. Marinetastic says:

    I’ll pick it up during the Christmas sale, £40 for a digital PC game is absurd.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      It’s weird that the $2 value of physical packaging would somehow make a full price purchase more justifiable.

      • mondomau says:

        I’m not going to defend profit margins, nor get into a debate about what costs publishers incur when releasing a retail version of a game, but I can assure you it’s more than the cost of the plastic packaging.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Once I read costs of “making and putting empty box on shelf” is around 15% of whole game price (shop margins are another bunch of %).

        Yes, that means digital games should be cheaper by around 10% on Steam (let’s give them few $ for servers), instead costing even more than retail…

    • Kohlrabi says:

      You silly british person, it’s totally common for continentals to pay 49€ (42£) even for digital releases. That’s why Greenmangaming was such a great store until they started charging continentals in € instead of £.

      • Premium User Badge

        basilisk says:

        Depends on what kind of a continental you are. The deep backwoods of Central/Eastern Europe are still charged in USD, which is even nicer.

    • bstard says:

      It depends. 1st on what that sign mend, and 2ndly how much you play. My Crusader Kings II with all DLC costed me 150 euro’s orso, but only a few cents the hour.

  4. MellowKrogoth says:

    Deep Silver, don’t do this! You’re leaving a deep sliver in our heart.

  5. Premium User Badge

    bglamb says:

    I remember reading a defence of DRM which explained it’s usually merely intended as a delaying tactic. If it takes a day to crack then it has done its job. The dev explained the difference between a day 0 crack and a day 1-2 crack meant huge differences in sales.

    And yet they enforce a 3 day delay? Madness.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      If this were the case, they would be more inclined to release it on the same day worldwide, not less. There are no oceans for the pirates (ironically). Releasing it to anyone means it’s going to be cracked soon, and delaying it by region makes it all the more likely the delayed customers will resort to using the cracked version (if it’s fast enough).

      I seem to recall the real explanation was just that there are top seller charts, and every major game wants to rank highly on those charts, but the measurement period (starting/ending day) differs depending on which side of the ocean you’re on. So in order to rank as high as possible, you want to release on the starting day. Otherwise, you risk the Week 1 Charts catching the first half of your sales and the Week 2 Charts catching the second half, and ranking highly on neither of them.

    • lordcooper says:

      If that’s the case, why not patch it out after a week or two?

  6. Premium User Badge

    Surlywombat says:

    So UK PC gamers can’t play it now because UK console gamers are being delayed by 5 days… Also it may be good, but its not worth £40. I’ll wait for Christmas when it will likely be 66% off in the steam sale.

    Its a shame, because I really wanted to support the ex-THQ studies who got saved, but both new publishers seem to have decided that they need to get ALL the cost of the studio purchases from COH2 and SRIV respectively. A £30 full price release I would have gone for, but this feels like gouging.

  7. Cooper says:

    Have a chat with Lewie about Deep Silver & pricing & retail versions. He posted some interesting tweets the other day that bear some attention & a bit of journalistic prodding.

    The gist seemed to be that all retail pre-orders were cancelled and, right near the release date GAME became sole distributor in the UK of the retail box copy. The result being GAME do not have to compete on retail price.

    • MadJax says:

      GAME becomes the sole retailer of a certain game/edition once more…

      And they wonder why they almost failed last year… Even if they had the monopoly on retail for certain items, customers are more likely to think “So £40 here…or £25-£30 from this online retailer…”.

      Some stuffy old suits never learn.

  8. Dozer says:

    Australia definitely has oceans. We’re miles away from you, mate. Miles and bloody miles.

  9. Conehead The Barbarian says:

    Um “with a bargain £5 off ” yet the screenshot shows that it is only £4 off.
    And bah to delays.

  10. atticus says:

    The last time something like this happened with a game I was eagerly anticipating, XCOM, I breached Steam’s terms and pretended to be American via the magics of VPN.

    I paid the larger-than-US Norwegian price, even pre-purchased the game too I think, so screw the artifical limitations!

    If it’s released it’s released, and if I paid the cost I’m playing it goddammit!

  11. Pich says:

    At least the brit version has its price correctly converted. Here in the continent it’s €49,99 :/

    • fish99 says:

      Isn’t €49,99 around £40?

      Anyway, £40 is still a very high price compared to what you’ll usually pay in the UK for a new PC game. It’s very rare you’ll pay over £30 and I’ve picked up plenty for £20-25. Pretty sure I got SR3 for £20 on release day.

  12. Phantom_Renegade says:

    What it apparently comes down to is this, their customers are less important then their physical retail partners, even when they don’t actually have a physical release. It’s not like the truck with the games can only ride on friday or otherwise the world explodes, it’s all arbitrary. I feel like there should be competition between them, with the publisher giving a date, that’s worldwide, well before it’s physically possible for any store to have it, and then they compete amongst each other who can have it on offer the earliest.

    Or stop making digital releases beholden to physical availability. The moment the game goes gold, put it up for digital sale. Those who actually want a physical copy will wait (and considering the amount of people at my local gamestore I doubt it’d make a difference, in that there is no one there now) and those that don’t want to wait, or who were getting digital anyway, can actually enjoy living in the 21st century.

    • Ringwraith says:

      Probably worth noting the only place you get physical copies is GAME. As they pulled all physical copies from other places. Where it was £30-£25.
      Hmmm…

      • Phantom_Renegade says:

        Only good thing the European Union brought was the anti monopoly/cartel rules which used to be vigorously enforced. Now I guess that part is as corrupt as the rest of the EU Commission.

  13. Mr. Mister says:

    Two things: Why are we begging for the european release to be on tuesday instead of the usaian to be in Friday, and is it possible to use the same trick that people used to buy Scribblenauts?

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      Because Tuesday is before Friday, duh.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Not sure about the VPN trickery anymore. I’ve been doing it for ages, but the last time I tried it (Brave New World) it wouldn’t work for myself or anyone I know. Valve may have found a way to stop it. Sad face.

      I’m not paying £40 for this anyway. I do very much want it, but for a game that was originally an expansion that’s a ridiculous price.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        It worked for me with BNW, though it took a while to get going! I used spotflux but it was a pain! One thing that may have scuppered you is that steam knows you are preloading even if you have got it to update, so it doesn’t send you a couple of crucial dll files.

      • Tei says:

        They have blocked some VPN services, probably to stop people paying less for some games.
        But the last time this happened one of the free VPN services worked.

        Everyone that wait to the 23, will have his coop with strangers tainted by very high level characters with strange hats uninterested in cooperating (the very definition of USA).

  14. BobbyDylan says:

    Well.. Back to my Europa Univisarlis 4 (Tuesday release) game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Yeah, I try to see the positive here: For the next few days I don’t have to decide which game to play.

  15. Barberetti says:

    Steam only = wait until game is less than a fiver anyway.

    *goes back to playing Sir, You Are Being Hunted*

  16. Premium User Badge

    mickiscoole says:

    The Australian delay is even stupider. It is supposed to be 23rd August, but due to the classification fiasco, there has been a delay in manufacturing the physical copies… So that pushes back the digital version as well.

    • Aardvarkk says:

      To show solidarity I won’t play my usian version until all my brothers and sisters across the globe have access.

    • Premium User Badge

      Thermal Ions says:

      Well the assumption is that it’s due to manufacturing delays, but lets face it, with DS being completely silent on the matter who really knows.

      Result being it’s become a Winter Sale (during summer) purchase for me now instead of a pre-order.

  17. Hakkesshu says:

    FlyVPN is free and works. The setup is a bit annoying, but it beats having to wait three days.

  18. unangbangkay says:

    It’s not just the UK and Europe that’s affected. For whatever mad reason Asians are included in the August 23rd delay for PC. Consoles are fine because most games retailers in the region import from the US, and the “Asian Editions” of console games are usually either US- or Japan-oriented.

    Also, I’m saddened to report that VPN software doesn’t seem to work. Not sure if it’s because I’m doing it wrong or if because Steam’s gotten too smart for that sort of thing. By the way, try that sort of thing at your own risk. It could be a suspendable offense.

    • Teovald says:

      It is a bit sad that Valve can confiscate your games (and that’s the problem, they are not yours on Steam..) if you piss them off.

    • Hexaphim says:

      You need to connect to the VPN, start up Steam and unlock the game. Then switch to offline mode, and stay in offline mode until the game is released in Europe.

      Or so I’ve been told, anyway.

  19. CaLe says:

    I just used Spotflux to unlock it. I’ve done this with loads of Steam games before and it works fine.

  20. Teovald says:

    And since I am in France it is the 23th.
    Is it because we offed our king ? To be honest he kinda deserved it, with the whole royalty and all.

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Hey, the Englanders killed their king first! Our coup that reinstated monarchism just sort of stuck, and didn’t get all messy and interesting like France’s.

  21. Drake Sigar says:

    Not to derail the electronic oceans bit, but £40? I haven’t paid that amount for a PC game in 28 years.

  22. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    £40?

    Tee-hee.

    Ha….haha……….. HAHAHAHAH!

  23. Cryptoshrimp says:

    Well, I’ll get it somewhere else, then.

  24. Urthman says:

    This is retaliation for John’s article about Deep Silver’s silence, right?

  25. AbyssUK says:

    Does Origin do this ? I seem to rememeber BF3 being released globally digitally…but i an known to be quite stupid.

  26. Ein0r says:

    If i cant take part at the day 1 hype, youtube videos and forum comments with my first hand experiences, i am not interested in this game anymore!

  27. Kinch says:

    Meh, I thought I’d play the game tonight but then noticed the release date in EU. Guess I’ll have to steer clear of all the YouTube ploughthroughs.

    At least I didn’t have to pay 40 quid. Bought it on GMG because I think they have the best deal currently – $40 incl. a 20% coupon (GMG20-4B9NY-L4FEN, valid through 23 Aug).

    • Premium User Badge

      Gap Gen says:

      Interesting! But yes, I’m not £40 worth of interested in this. Seems like fodder for steam sales in a few months or so.

    • PeteC says:

      It’s just over £21 on Nuuvem. The sites Brazilian so it’s in Portuguese but it’s easy to figure out what to do. There’s also Google translate if you’re stuck.

      Almost half the Steam price makes the wait much more palatable.

  28. trjp says:

    Isn’t the “there’s no retail version” argument moot as it ONLY affects the PC – the console versions of this will be retail and will be delayed until Friday and thus the PC version gets the same treatment?

    Arguably, releasing the PC version today and the console versions of Friday is just as stupid – so you need to expand your campaign to get shops to sell games on a Tuesday and – erm – gl with that one.

  29. Keyrock says:

    Sucks you folks across the pond have to wait a few more days. I stayed up late last night to get my grubby digital hands on this (I’m paying the price for staying up late today) and the game is every bit as ridiculously fun as most reviews have told. Even before you get super powers the game is a flat out riot. The 50s simulation at the beginning, in particular, had me doubled over laughing. I love the little touches too, for example, if you use a gamepad (360 controller in my case), most games have 2 different speeds you can move at depending on how far you push the analog stick, essentially walk and run. In SR4, there are a bunch of different speeds you can move at depending on how far you push the analog stick, right down to super duper slo-mo.

  30. Jad says:

    Wait, what? Yes, there is no physical PC release, but there is a console one. And the console release date for the UK is the 23rd.

    As you already said, retail on neither side of the ocean wants to change its standard release dates, so the console dates are set. And Deep Silver is certainly not going to be releasing the PC version before the console version! They probably think we should be falling over ourselves in thanks that they’re releasing the PC game in the same calendar year as the console version. (Ubisoft)

    For the majority of AAA games (not all, but the majority), the PC is still the smallest chunk of the of sales pie, and not the driver in any way of release timing decisions.

    • Pokefreak911 says:

      At least you get the games! Us Nintendo guys get hated on by all of the publishers.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        Nintendo makes people now?!

        • 2helix4u says:

          I think its Nintendo who hates the third party publishers. Oh well, more room on their systems for Mario, Mario bros, Mario Kart, Mario Tennis, Mario Party, Mario Golf and Mario vs the London Olympics.

          Thats right… this thread is now about console wars.

          To be on topic this whole release thing is stupid, why wouldn’t you want to get your overpriced game to as many people as possible before someone releases the “free edition with all DLC and no DRM”.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Not that it matters, but I have a physical copy of SR4 sitting on my desk right now. The NA digital release date actually did manage to coincide with a physical release on all platforms here.

      I don’t really understand why the standard day for releasing entertainment media hasn’t been homogenized globally by this point. I can’t imagine “omg it’s tuesday!” or “omg it’s friday!” being big enough traditions that they can’t break with convention.

      • Jad says:

        You’re right, I should have said that there is no physical release in the UK.

        And I totally agree that the release dates should be standardized, but I think you’re slightly overestimating how many regular consumers know about this, how many Britons know that their game is coming late — although that’s changing everyday — but more importantly, you’re grossly underestimating how stupid and head-in-the-sand retailers can be.

        For the record, I’m an American, and I would be totally fine if our traditional release date was pushed back to Friday. It’s a good day, I often don’t get time to play games until the weekend anyway, and it’s not like it’s not been done before — I remember Skyrim was released on a Friday to coincide with 11-11-11. But somebody needs to change their release dates, Europe or NA, I don’t care who it is.

        • HadToLogin says:

          “Why not both?” asked little girl while changing release day to Other-Day :P

          But more serious – I prefer Friday – 48 hours of non-stop gaming for nearly-everyone, as opposed to Tuesday’s few hours of playing + 8 hours of work cycle.

  31. Pokefreak911 says:

    Holding back digital games to tie in with physical games is dumb. If you really want a physical game over a digital one, you are definitely the kind of person who can wait.

  32. Panda Powered says:

    Publishers never seem to do this when they know a game is crap…

  33. Sidewinder says:

    Am I the only one who read that and thought “They’ve already made a Saint’s Row/Europa Universalis 4 crossover?”

  34. JohnnyPanzer says:

    I can’t shake the feeling that, in the future, early 21st century PC gaming will be used as some sort of paradox in economics classes.

    We have a situation where the providers of a product are trying their very best to kill the market and will go to any lengths in order to avoid profit and promote piracy, while at the same time, we the customers are prepared to break the law, put on our skii masks and break into the offices of the publishers and sneak some money into their safe. It boggles the mind…

    This is why I love publishers like Paradox Interactive: They don’t dumb their games down for no apparent reason, they don’t gouge you right in the wallet, they keep patching and improving their games for years and most importantly, they will not threaten to kill your dog if you hand them some money. They’ll just give you the product you paid for and, if the stars are aligned, they’ll even thank you for it. How hard can it be?

  35. Premium User Badge

    melnificent says:

    Thinking about picking it up for £20ish now and then VPNing to download and play.

    Is it worth £20?

    • Tei says:

      You dont need vpn to download, only to unlock and launch. Nobody can say if you will like the game.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Only if you want to play offline, without achievements etc – when you turn off VPN, steam will see you’re in region who can’t play game yet and lock it again.
        But in that case, aren’t you better off grabbing a torrent, which won’t risk you getting ban on account for breaking TOS (“no VPNs allowed” – not that anyone was banned for just playing out-of-region games, but there’s always first)?

  36. Thundermourn says:

    I am noticing this kind of late but games in eu usually unlock at around 6 pm I think. That’s what I have found unless I am just lying.

  37. gschmidl says:

    Even dumberererer, I *can* buy the Season Pass right now. Just not the game.

  38. Yokorose says:

    I remember reading up about this before and the reason behide it is the US think its better to release a game at the start of a week where everyones at work and ends up phoning up sick then on a Friday when its the weekend.

    • Apocalypse says:

      different timings for paychecks are iirc the main reason for this. Which is even more ironic as most people are salary earners and do not get each week their paycheck anyway these days.

  39. Apocalypse says:

    I have a Delaware billing address and a us server which does give me a united states IP address to us for services like netflix or hulu.

    1209 Orange Street in Wilmington is a quite common address for such business practices or so I was told. ;-)

  40. Malk_Content says:

    I got incredibly excited when I first read the title thinking that some mad man was making a Saints Row mod for Europa Universalis IV. After taking the time to not be an idiot I am more upset that such a thing will never exist than I am about this real game delay.