Steam is now Regionally restricted

Hairless Mammoth

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Flames66 said:
I think I see where you are coming from here, but I disagree. The system should be completely unrestricted by region and every game should have a universal global price. Locking things by region is severely outdated and needs to be forgotten more thoroughly than using mercury to treat headaches.
I, too, think most region locking is stupid and gouges people in many wealthy countries when comparing to equally wealthy countries like Japan and the US. It is pretty greedy and lazy for companies to turn the $ into £ or the euro sign and call that the new price of something. Nintendo is especially bad about region locking their portable systems, the kind that might cross borders often.

I just proposed that policy because I watched a Total Biscuit video weeks back where he explained how low prices can be for games in poorer parts of the world. I had the general idea things could be cheaper in some regions, but TB made me think about it and opened my eyes to see more of the world's game economies. Dropping region coding entirely invites the scumbags to take advantage of lower prices in poorer nations, which in turn means the companies will just raise to prices to the point where the scumbags are defeated but the honest people in those areas can't afford anything. I do agree that segregating regions that (should) pay about the same (Japan, North America, most of the EU, etc) needs to die.

KingsGambit said:
I've never had any trouble with Steam, online or off. Okay, I have a couple of times some time ago but for the last couple of years it's worked fine for me.

My credit card is registered to NY, USA. When I initially visit the site, I see everything in GBP. When I login, it switches to USD. I'm in London, UK but buy in USD from US store without issue. I just came back from three weeks in HK and Indonesia. Steamguard kicked in when I tried to use the site (despite my laptop's browser being authorised previously), but let me in once I put in the code (Holy crap are games cheap in Indonesia! I wish I had an Indo credit card for the amount I'd save!). I'll admit I did go online once or twice (installed some small, indie games over slow, free WiFi) but mostly offline.

There was one change I noticed. Previously, once switching to offline mode Steam would simply always start offline thereafter until manually going to Online mode. Now every time it's started it asks which mode you want, if it was offline previously (or if it was online previously but no Internet connection is available). I used the client to buy GTA5 and a couple of other things while I was away.

So I think any such suggestions are rather unnecessary. Saying that, the restrictions on gifts actually came in some time ago. I think I got lucky with timing when I traded some TF2 keys for a Mafia 2 DLC not available in the West, with a player in E. Europe who could buy and trade it. I didn't see there was an issue with "playing" said games till this post.

For the overwhelming majority of people, this won't be an issue. Most players buy from the store and play from their library. Those that trade, usually do so within the "regions" so there's not so much crossover. And these restrictions likely only apply to few games. I expect it's to do with third party sites selling russian keys (I think my copy of BL2 on Steam came from one of those).
It's good to hear you didn't have too much trouble. It seems like they do follow some of what I said (or better thought out policies.) I guess everyone's best bet when going on a long trip is to go offline at the last possible minute, maybe research what happens in situations like theirs to prepare for any problems, and hope for the best. Most users should be fine.

The article linked in the OP does make the issue a bigger deal than it is. The gifting/trading restrictions make sense. I think there was an Escapist article a while back (Maybe it was the Total Biscuit video mentioned above?) saying Steam was cracking down on abusing trades and gifting to get lower prices. What I find interesting is the OP article mentions a user who moved back to the US from Ukraine. He couldn't use his Ukraine purchased copy of Skyrim and had to get Steam Support to delete it from his account so he could rebuy it as the US version. Maybe they are stricter with certain areas and activities.
 

RL Link

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lacktheknack said:
I DID read it, and saw this:

The restrictions may also apply to more than just gifts: A user who purchased Skyrim while he was living in Ukraine found that it wouldn't run when he moved back to the US; ironically, he couldn't re-buy it until he contacted Steam support and had the original key deleted from his account.
Sorry ahead of time if I fucked up quoting, but uh... The Skyrim thing? That's old news. There was already a few games that were region locked and were tagged "RU" and "ROW" even before the changes. I know this because I used to trade for games (albeit only like 5-10 games) and would have to ask if it was ROW or not for some of them. I would assume Ukraine falls under RU as well.
 

PsiChaos

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erttheking said:
I never got the point of region locking. I mean how does ANYONE benefit? It feels like being a dick for the sake of being a dick.
I despise region-locking, but there is a complicated reason for it. At it's most basic though, there's a bunch of legal red tape in regards to product licenses and it's a lot of time and money to actually be allowed to distribute a product to multiple regions. There was also the NTSC/PAL compatibility issue back in the day, but that's mostly irrelevant today. That said, nothing really prevents anyone from selling a physical copy of a game from one region to another thanks to First Sale Doctrine, and most consoles have abandoned region-locking to cut down on console modding/hacking and pirating. Digital distribution vendors like Steam don't really have the luxury of First Sale Doctrine, since they technically don't sell a product, and most likely have some legal restrictions placed on them by license holders regarding which region can access which games. Fortunately, proxies or VPN makes accessing foreign marketplaces a cinch
 

Fappy

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LucasGrimms said:
EDIT: Oh no, he just edited his profile to do some sensationalism crap. My opinion of him has lowered 10 points.
What kind of point scale are we using here? Is 10 a lot?

P.S. It's a TechTeam prank. Users can't pretend to be banned like this :p
 

Dandres

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Mister K said:
People are so easily bought. Tell them you are selling big games for half the price and they are willingly puting on DRM leash (which Steam has always been). And only after the collar becomes too tight to breath in they start to understand.
Agreed, I have been able to avoiding using Steam so far because of this. My computer is on a DRM free diet of games.
 

RedDeadFred

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May 13, 2009
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Fappy said:
Don't you just love it when companies treat their customers like criminals? If this is as bad as it looks I hope Jim calls them out on Monday.
Demon ah!!!!!

I'm sure he'll have a field day with this. Maybe not this Monday though, unless he hasn't made the episode yet. I look forward to it.

Anyway..... what is the point of doing this? I don't plan on moving countries or anything, but how could they think this could be anything but bad?
 

Lil_Rimmy

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Well, it only applies to gifts, however games that are banned in places like Australia (AKA HOTLINE MIAMI 2 WINK WINK) can't be bought here so I guess that's region locking? Huh, I guess that means I can't be gifted it, but then again, yay for the devs being nice to Australians.
 

President Bagel

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It's 4:08 A.M. here, so forgive me if I'm not reading this correctly (sleep now), but did I just see someone get permanently banned for mentioning Jim Sterling?
 

TheAsterite

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DrOswald said:
erttheking said:
See, digital distribution has changed the rules a lot on how games can be sold profitably. The cost of selling another unit is virtually zero.
This is the funniest thing I've read in a while. So you're saying paying for an air conditoned warehouse with server/networking equipment or renting a cloud service, paying for the huge bandwidth required to upload games, paying for i.t. personnel, and paying the programmers who developed the distribution software is virtually zero?
 

Shadow-Phoenix

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And they still don't have a decent refund policy than EA let alone customer service, they still price games around the world as £25-$25-25Euros, it's just bloody stupid, the region gifting restrictions annoy the hell out of me ebcause I've got friends all around the world, since this is to undercut key sellers why don't valve combat piracy?, oh wait gaben said ages ago that you can't combat it yet you'll try combatting key sellers yet fuck over the consumers anyway, if I cannot gift my friends a game in another region then I'm sorry but that is anti consumer to me, it prevents me from actually sending gifts to others that I made friends with, it completely throws out the fact we can make friends with others around the world yet we cannot make use of a service/feature that's been around for years now.

Seriously stop that shit, I don't care what's misunderstood, I've always seen Valve going down a slippery slope for years now, I still have games on their client but it doesn't stop me from seeing the bad they do, the bad will always be brought up over what good there is because we don't want the bad to exist.
 

Elijin

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It bums me out this topic is filled with UK and Americans saying how its a non-issue, and people shouldnt have been trying to get super cheap games from obscure regions in the first place.

What about us Australians, who just wanted to pay a reasonable price for digital goods, and purchased US copies? It must be nice to live in a place where you hear something like this and can only think that people were abusing it for lols, and not that some places have ridiculous digital pricing.
 

NuclearKangaroo

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This is but a stepping stone, to something far worse. Next thing, they'll have complete region locking on the games, and we are screwed, time to make sure the games I buy, comes from GoG.com, whenever possible.

And I hope Gabe will do something to change this, seems like there are very very evil people inside Valve, who aren't doing stuff, in the consumers' interest.
 

faefrost

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lacktheknack said:
Lilani said:
I have to go with the "misleading thread" camp--it has only to do with gifted games, and for a pretty legit reason of preventing people from taking advantage of local pricing quirks.
AT God said:
STEAM IS NOT REGIONALLY RESTRICTED, YOUR THREAD TITLE IS INCORRECT.

The article you linked clearly says this applies to gifts, if it applied to games purchased through steam (NOT GIFTED THROUGH STEAM), it would mean that steam is region locked.
CommanderZx2 said:
Ah as I expected the thread is full of hyperbole and clearly people haven't actually read the post.

This is to do with gifted games rather than just games in general, such as moving your PC to another country your games will still work fine.
I DID read it, and saw this:

The restrictions may also apply to more than just gifts: A user who purchased Skyrim while he was living in Ukraine found that it wouldn't run when he moved back to the US; ironically, he couldn't re-buy it until he contacted Steam support and had the original key deleted from his account.

Also, Valve straight up won't let me buy Puzzle Quest 2, and a quick Google search shows that other Canadians are having the same "problem".
Valve is simply the distributer. Ultimately when he see issues involving individual games such as you describe it is a matter of deals and contracts of the publisher. Zenimax may insist on regional restrictions. Valve may not be contracted to sell Puzzle Quest in Canada, etc..
 

DrOswald

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TheAsterite said:
DrOswald said:
erttheking said:
See, digital distribution has changed the rules a lot on how games can be sold profitably. The cost of selling another unit is virtually zero.
This is the funniest thing I've read in a while. So you're saying paying for an air conditoned warehouse with server/networking equipment or renting a cloud service, paying for the huge bandwidth required to upload games, paying for i.t. personnel, and paying the programmers who developed the distribution software is virtually zero?
Developing software (and paying people to do it) is a one time cost.

Once the servers banks are in place for distribution they are there and using them is extremely cheap. See, one 50gb download is not exactly taxing on a server bank.

Bandwidth is extremely cheap.

I sell software for a living. Software that weighs in at 20-50gb depending on the package the customer buys. There is no significant cost (we are talking pennies at most) for making another copy of 50gb of information and getting it to a customer. We send hundreds of gigabytes of information daily between our servers and our customers servers, and that is only our on site servers. There is no significant cost to copying and distributing information once the system is in place to do it.

Hence why I said the cost of "selling another unit" - all the cost is up front, one time cost or volume independent once the system is in place that can handle it. You know, like Steam, and it's massive server banks that exist all over the world already.
 

DrOswald

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Elijin said:
It bums me out this topic is filled with UK and Americans saying how its a non-issue, and people shouldnt have been trying to get super cheap games from obscure regions in the first place.

What about us Australians, who just wanted to pay a reasonable price for digital goods, and purchased US copies? It must be nice to live in a place where you hear something like this and can only think that people were abusing it for lols, and not that some places have ridiculous digital pricing.
See, it would be nice if you actually read the details here, because you Australians can still buy US keys and they will still work. Or at least these changes will not have changed the way this works for you.

This is why I say this is laser targeted at the opportunistic jerks. Because these particular changes only effect them.
 

Olrod

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So... was Fappy banned for mentioning a certain ex-Escapist video game journalist?

Was his leaving really on such bad terms that mentioning him warrants banning?
 

AyaReiko

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I think its a mix of two things;

1-- Attempt to neutralize key re-sellers
and
2-- Placate idiot governments who still think banning/censoring video games will solve their problems

Everything else is collateral damage.

(sidenote, boy do I need a new avatar...)
 

Level 7 Dragon

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Mar 29, 2011
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As someone living in Russia, it kinda sucks.

I'm planning on moving to the West down the line. It's silly that I won't be able to play games I bought four years ago because they were just a bit cheaper back then. Worst of all, I don't think it's possible to re-buy certain games. So if I got Dishonored here, I'm boned.