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Changing your country on Steam has been made harder to battle VPNs

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Something that has been happening for years now, is that people have been switching around their country on Steam and using VPNs to get cheaper prices - Valve looks to have put a stop to it.

Why was this a thing? Thanks to regional pricing, countries that typically have lower incomes can enjoy the same games as others with lower prices to match. Being able to get around that to buy cheaper games using a VPN was a bit of a loophole, which has been sorted by Valve.

Spotted by SteamDB, It's not entirely clear when this actually went live for everyone. Checking it myself, changing country on Steam is now a bit more involved. Previously it was quite easy with a VPN but if you did it too often, Valve would put you on a cool-down from doing so for a while. Now it seems everyone has the same full enforcement. After changing country, you then need to make a purchase from a payment method registered to that country.

It makes sense for Valve to sort it, otherwise developers have had to adjust prices in other regions to match resulting in people from countries with lower incomes ending up with higher prices. This is apparently exactly happened with Horizon Zero Dawn according to VG247, and when you check on SteamDB you can see the prices across countries like Argentina and Turkey rocket upwards.

Using a VPN or proxy to get around it, was actually already against Steam's Terms of Service, with Valve saying if found out they may place "restrictions" on your account.

What are your thoughts on this?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, Steam, Valve
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Linas 5 days ago
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To be honest, it has always escaped me how games in e.g. Russia cost like 10% of what we pay in the EU. I mean, I do get that purchasing power and salaries are very different, but we are talking about digital goods. It takes whatever amount of money it takes to make a game, in whatever country is was made. It's not like the prices in Russia are lower because it is somehow cheaper to distribute them in Russia. Somehow feels arbitrary and fake in the global economy.
The_Aquabat 5 days ago
Quoting: LinasIt's not like the prices in Russia are lower because it is somehow cheaper to distribute them in Russia.
maybe it has something to do with piracy? here piracy is as bad as Russia.
The_Aquabat 5 days ago
Quoting: LinasSomehow feels arbitrary and fake in the global economy.

well you could argue that world economy is rigged and this pandemia has shown the worst of it with oil prices falling down like never before, the price was really arbitrary all the way.
tmtvl 5 days ago
Quoting: LinasTo be honest, it has always escaped me how games in e.g. Russia cost like 10% of what we pay in the EU. I mean, I do get that purchasing power and salaries are very different, but we are talking about digital goods. It takes whatever amount of money it takes to make a game, in whatever country is was made. It's not like the prices in Russia are lower because it is somehow cheaper to distribute them in Russia. Somehow feels arbitrary and fake in the global economy.

Well, you sell people things at the price at which they'll buy it, not at the price that's fair.
The_Aquabat 5 days ago
Quoting: tmtvl
Quoting: LinasTo be honest, it has always escaped me how games in e.g. Russia cost like 10% of what we pay in the EU. I mean, I do get that purchasing power and salaries are very different, but we are talking about digital goods. It takes whatever amount of money it takes to make a game, in whatever country is was made. It's not like the prices in Russia are lower because it is somehow cheaper to distribute them in Russia. Somehow feels arbitrary and fake in the global economy.

Well, you sell people things at the price at which they'll buy it, not at the price that's fair.
also there's the fact that if there's enough demand you could do "free dumping" once the costs of the original production of the game is covered that's why I think after 2-3 years games costs goes down like even like 90% off. Production costs being covered then it's all profits.
x_wing 5 days ago
Quoting: The_Aquabat
Quoting: LinasIt's not like the prices in Russia are lower because it is somehow cheaper to distribute them in Russia.
maybe it has something to do with piracy? here piracy is as bad as Russia.

It's not related to piracy. It's just related with the concept of marginal cost and marginal revenue in software.

Marginal cost defines the cost associated to produce one extra unit of my product (the extra money I have to pay to produce a new unit). Marginal revenue is the revenue that I get by selling one extra copy. What it's important to note here is that MC & MR usually aren't constant.

Now, if you move to a software scenario you will see that the marginal cost tends to be zero, which implies that the marginal revenue will always be bigger that MC (each time you sell an extra copy, you will always get revenue). So, taking this results to a supply and demand curve, you will find that the total revenue is proportional to the number of units you can sell at a specific price in a specific region, making the maximum profit directly proportional to the selling price you set in that region.

In more human friendly words: in software the max revenue point for a selling price varies between countries so if you want to maximize your global revenue you have to maximize the [Unit Sold] X [Unit Price] equation of each country. So that's why regional prices exists.

Worth mention: a big factor here is Steam. They are the ones that makes possible that the distribution of a game in a new region has zero cost for the publisher.
sub 5 days ago
How about gifting across region?
WorMzy 5 days ago
My opinion is that the price should be the price, and that should be converted to the real-time equivalent for the currency you're buying in.

So game = £10. At time of writing:
  • UK: £10

  • USA: $13.15

  • Japan: ¥1386

  • Europe: €11.12



etc. Then apply whatever local tax applies (which is probably where most of the pressure on Valve comes from, taxperson always wants their cut...).
F.Ultra 5 days ago
Quoting: WorMzyMy opinion is that the price should be the price, and that should be converted to the real-time equivalent for the currency you're buying in.

So game = £10. At time of writing:
  • UK: £10

  • USA: $13.15

  • Japan: ¥1386

  • Europe: €11.12



etc. Then apply whatever local tax applies (which is probably where most of the pressure on Valve comes from, taxperson always wants their cut...).

If you have fixed prices then you will loose lots of sales in countries where income is low while you get next to nothing from countries that can afford to pay. Now if you are a small indie and can price your game sufficiently cheap then this might work but not for big titles that costs billions to develop.
F.Ultra 5 days ago
Quoting: LinasTo be honest, it has always escaped me how games in e.g. Russia cost like 10% of what we pay in the EU. I mean, I do get that purchasing power and salaries are very different, but we are talking about digital goods. It takes whatever amount of money it takes to make a game, in whatever country is was made. It's not like the prices in Russia are lower because it is somehow cheaper to distribute them in Russia. Somehow feels arbitrary and fake in the global economy.

It's 10% in Russia because that is where you have to be in order to sell any games, and it is 100% in EU since we in the EU both have a higher income and have a higher incentive to buy games so if you don't take 100% here then you are loosing potential income.

It's not always just income however, e.g traditionally HIFI is cheaper in Germany than in Sweden because HIFI is seen as a luxury item in Sweden so we tend to pay more while Germans see it as more of a commodity while computers are cheaper in Sweden than in Germany due to Swedes seeing computers as a commodity and not as the luxury item that the Germans do (at least this was how it was some decades ago).
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