You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page!

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

By - | Views: 18,027

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
10 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
55 comments
Page: «4/6»
  Go to:

Quoting: F.Ultra
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.
The small indie doesn't have the marketing to sell gajillions of copies, though. I don't think they're in a position to happily lose sales.
F.Ultra 1 Aug
Quoting: Purple Library Guy
Quoting: F.Ultra
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.
The small indie doesn't have the marketing to sell gajillions of copies, though. I don't think they're in a position to happily lose sales.

Of course, I was more thinking in the terms of a single dev indie studio does not have to sell that many copies in order to keep afloat as compared with when you have an actual team of people that needs wages and so forth. Could have worded it better since of course not all indies are of the single dev type.
F.Ultra 1 Aug
Quoting: slapinWell, in case of Ubisoft or when you either VPN or torrent, this choice will bias things towards torrent which I don't like. I wonder why Sony Playstation managed to do it right and Steam can't do it...

What do you mean by "Sony Playstation managed to do it right"? AFAIK they have both regional locking and prices.
eldaking 1 Aug
Quoting: KimyrielleI guess that's part of the "Globalization is for big business, not customers!" textbook. Apparently it's totally fine for a US company to ship your job to Vietnam because wages there are a fraction of what they are here, but if a customer goes "Ok, I can make that work for me too, and shop where it's cheaper!", the same companies go "Oh no, YOU can't do that. Only WE can!"

Too funny.

Getting slightly off-topic, but I disagree a lot with how this is framed. This "Americans lose jobs to people that receive lower wages" is a load of bull; the person receiving poverty wages is not "taking your job", they are being exploited by your country. If an American wants that job, he can take it - I assure you immigration is a lot easier in that direction. As a bonus, you get their prices for videogames... People in the US benefit the most from the cost reductions of exploited labor; implying that US customers, of all the people in the world, can't benefit from globalization is not quite right.

This is a very literal "first world problem"...

Yes, globalization is for big businesses. They can set up a company in the US, pay taxes in Ireland, dispose of their garbage in China, exploit workers in Mexico, and get IT support from India. But for the people whose country is the one with all the big businesses, the right thing is to have more solidarity for the fellow workers of other countries, not thinking about how they get "cheaper" (not really) videogames.


Last edited by eldaking on 1 August 2020 at 3:40 pm UTC
wwwow I'm surprised how many people have a stereotype of third world countries, many here think that they are like a slum dumpster. Third world is a Cold War definition you should update your definitions, here for example, GDP is comparable to a Scandinavian country (but yeah with double population) and GDP per capita is comparable to some eastern european countries like Ukranie, or Poland. We are not even a low income country considering statistics just a middle income. I'm not saying there is no poverty which there is but the mayority of my country is quite nice. Sad that you have that picture of some countries. I hope that stereotype don't stick and maybe you should come to take a tour . It's just that cost of living is quite a less here even for the CIA factbook Argentina is ranked quite good in therms of Purchase Power Parity.

but likewise I guess it's understandable, I'm totally ignorant of countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuanie, Hungary, lots of countries for me are like "exotic", I guess Argentina is likewise exotic for some people in Europe or North America.


Last edited by The_Aquabat on 1 August 2020 at 8:50 pm UTC
F.Ultra 1 Aug
Quoting: The_Aquabatwwwow I'm surprised how many people have a stereotype of third world countries, many here think that they are like a slum dumpster. Third world is a Cold War definition you should update your definitions, here for example, GDP is comparable to a Scandinavian country (but yeah with double population) and GDP per capita is comparable to some eastern european countries like Ukranie, or Poland. We are not even a low income country considering statistics just a middle income. I'm not saying there is no poverty which there is but the mayority of my country is quite nice. Sad that you have that picture of some countries. I hope that stereotype don't stick and maybe you should come to take a tour . It's just that cost of living is quite a less here even for the CIA factbook Argentina is ranked quite good in therms of Purchase Power Parity.

but likewise I guess it's understandable, I'm totally ignorant of countries like Estonia, Latvia, Lithuanie, Hungary, lots of countries for me are like "exotic", I guess Argentina is likewise exotic for some people in Europe or North America.

Not entirely sure where this is coming from, just to check I went through all the posts in this thread so far and yours is the only one that contained the term "third world". Also I see exactly zero people comparing Argentina with "a slum dumpster" or anything even near in comparison.

edit: And btw Argentinas GDP per capita is 62% of that of Poland and 255% of that of Ukraine so not sure where "GDP per capita is comparable to some eastern european countries like Ukranie, or Poland" is sourced from. And Argentina have 4 times the population of the highest populated Scandinavian country (Sweden).

I used the Wikipedia numbers for reference.


Last edited by F.Ultra on 1 August 2020 at 9:21 pm UTC
Quoting: F.Ultraedit: And btw Argentinas GDP per capita is 62% of that of Poland and 255% of that of Ukraine so not sure where "GDP per capita is comparable to some eastern european countries like Ukranie, or Poland" is sourced from. And Argentina have 4 times the population of the highest populated Scandinavian country (Sweden).

I used the Wikipedia numbers for reference.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/75/08/c9/7508c96d723ac0c86cd89bbe173c14b3.jpg

that's outdated, now we are probably a middle-middle income not high-middle income, we have some fluctuations here. in economics the pandemia has been catastrophic here, more than the average.
but to be fair for statistical measaruments, the categorization of income, is very broad in the same category you could have very big differences.


Last edited by The_Aquabat on 1 August 2020 at 9:51 pm UTC
F.Ultra 1 Aug
Quoting: The_Aquabat
Quoting: F.Ultraedit: And btw Argentinas GDP per capita is 62% of that of Poland and 255% of that of Ukraine so not sure where "GDP per capita is comparable to some eastern european countries like Ukranie, or Poland" is sourced from. And Argentina have 4 times the population of the highest populated Scandinavian country (Sweden).

I used the Wikipedia numbers for reference.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/75/08/c9/7508c96d723ac0c86cd89bbe173c14b3.jpg

that's outdated, now we are probably a middle-middle income not high-middle income, we have some fluctuations here. in economics the pandemia has been catastrophic here, more than the average.

What is the source though? Wikipedia uses the IMF estimates for 2019 so hardly "outdated" since that would be the very latest available data possible.

Completely off topic though since this is not a thread about the Economic siltation in Argentina (a topic that you for some reason brought to this thread). And if you didn't get it from my prior post you cannot say that Argentina is like Poland or Ukraine when there is a huge difference between Poland and Ukraine to begin with.


Last edited by F.Ultra on 1 August 2020 at 9:52 pm UTC
Quoting: F.UltraWhat is the source though? Wikipedia uses the IMF estimates for 2019 so hardly "outdated" since that would be the very latest available data possible.

Completely off topic though since this is not a thread about the Economic siltation in Argentina (a topic that you for some reason brought to this thread).
it's data from the world bank here it's more updated.
 
https://miro.medium.com/max/1000/1*w9cdWPA7xFDkieFNLre_hg.png


yes I know it is not the topic but if you follow up the linked thread to ResetEra there's some mentioning that, I'm sorry I went off topic.


Last edited by The_Aquabat on 1 August 2020 at 9:59 pm UTC
F.Ultra 1 Aug
Quoting: The_Aquabat
Quoting: F.UltraWhat is the source though? Wikipedia uses the IMF estimates for 2019 so hardly "outdated" since that would be the very latest available data possible.

Completely off topic though since this is not a thread about the Economic siltation in Argentina (a topic that you for some reason brought to this thread).
it's data from the world bank here it's more updated.
 
https://miro.medium.com/max/1000/1*w9cdWPA7xFDkieFNLre_hg.png


yes I know it is not the topic but if you follow up the linked thread to ResetEra there's some mentioning that, I'm sorry I went off topic.

And if you use the comparison function on the World Bank site: https://data.worldbank.org/?locations=AR-PL-UA you see the same differences that I quoted earlier from Wikipedia.

edit: And more to the topic at hand, looking at the GDP per capita between Sweden, Argentina, Poland and Ukraine show why game devs wants to apply different prices in different regions: https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.CD?end=2019&locations=SE-AR-PL-UA&start=1960


Last edited by F.Ultra on 1 August 2020 at 10:25 pm UTC
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

You need to Register and Login to comment, submit articles and more.


Or login with...