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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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55 comments
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I guess my point is that we are just another average country, according to that statistics some years even better than Poland, which for me it's just another average country. We are not a poor country by definition. We just use another random currency which in comparison is worth little to the USD dollar, just things cost different, that's what currencies are for basically. That's the standard definition, but ofc there's lots of poverty, but that doesn't make you a poor country in economics standard categorization.

The regional pricing is very recent, 3 years ago we were buying in usd dollars, like everyone, that's proves my point, we are just passing a huge economic and debt crisis since 2 years ago.


Last edited by The_Aquabat on 2 August 2020 at 1:17 am UTC
slapin 2 Aug
Quoting: F.Ultra
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.

Sony made sure everyone gets the same content for regional prices, so you do not get poorly localized version without ability to switch to original language. On playstation you get the same game with all the stuff in it, not crippled version.
Quoting: eldaking
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.
All very true . . . and yet, US citizens on average are not better off when US corporations offshore jobs. That's not who the corporations are doing it for; profits are made but they go to the top. Rather, the average citizen is worse off when that happens, for a variety of reasons. It's certainly not the fault of the people in those other countries where the sweatshops get set up, who are often also worse off, but it's still the case.
So people in the US, or Canada in my case, certainly have reason to be upset when "free trade" results in local industries being destroyed, the jobs associated with them disappearing, the increased unemployment leading to downward wage pressures and so on. Sure, it might still be better (so far) to be unemployed or working gig jobs in Canada than working in the sweatshop in Indonesia where the manufacturing went . . . but that's not a reason to be OK with well paid longer term jobs going away from Canada.
Meanwhile in places like Indonesia, the reason there's tons of people more or less "willing" to work in those sweatshops is typically that they'd be better off as subsistence farmers but they got thrown off their land so someone could have a profitable plantation (and so they'd have no choice but to work in those sweatshops). The "free trade" is bad for both places. They'd be better off skipping the foreign-owned factories paying a pittance and sucking the profits out of the country, and instead doing locally owned import substitution. But the local wealthy comprador class get a cut, so change ain't gonna come easy.

Referring to the other conversation going on, Argentina is actually a case of a country that did prosper from import substitution, building up a solid local manufacturing sector . . . for a while, until the Americans managed to bring in some neoliberal types who got rid of the trade barriers that kept it going (and even for some time pegged the currency to the US dollar, so they couldn't make imports more expensive by devaluing), causing much of the local manufacturing to collapse. So they were back to hoping that various agricultural commodities would command good prices in any given year . . . sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 2 August 2020 at 7:05 am UTC
I guess most of the comments miss the point here, the reddit thread instead is very clear. The problem here is the price increment out of nowhere from one day to another. And this concerns everyone in every country because there is nothing from stopping the devs from implementing that practices everywhere.
How much the game costs in different countries is not important, because you have to take several stuff into consideration to draw a good conclusion like Purchase Power parity and GNI index and other stuff that gets too technical.
this
Quoting: Purple Library Guyimport substitution
you sound you would agree with our politicians current stuff, they mention "import substitution" like in every sentence. Meanwhile electronics and pc parts are the most expensive in the world. (according to the Ipad Index

man I agree with your overall idea....workers rights are important, but you don't understand the situation here, Union leaders are so corrupt that they make Jimmy Hoffa look as an amateur.

For example union truck drivers sabotage train railroads, it's a disaster. Statal union airline workers sabotage other cheaper alternatives and in turn makes all of us air transport more expensive.

they sabotaged, what would be the analog local Jeff Bezos, but guess what ? salary was not the problem the problem is that company workers decided to create their own union, everything is a mess.

Justice can't touch them, they are above law, they have so much power that they are as bad as monopolies imho, if they want they can overthrow a government.


Last edited by The_Aquabat on 2 August 2020 at 8:58 am UTC
QuoteWhy 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.

What a crock of s#*t.

Australia pays anywhere up to quadruple what the USA pays for games / software (I'm talking across the board - not just for Steam)... But I'm pretty sure our incomes are not that much more than the USA!

Heck, if our incomes are so high that the game industry can justify up to quadruple the price for games / software, I must be getting the short end of the stick by a huge margin... Meanwhile, back on Earth, developers come up with a laundry list of "legitimate" reasons why they change so much - but 90% of those reasons actually can't be justified!

--

Quoting: kadogoBut it's sure there are some stupid things like having S1 but not S2 but it's not available in the country at all...

Coming from an anti-piracy guy (yeah, there's a few of us left!), it's times like those when piracy is actually justified... If you're not going to make the content available for purchase or streaming, then I'm gonna have no sympathy for you when people steal your s#*t.

Me personally, I just don't bother - I generally don't watch television series until they're available on Blu-Ray Disc, because there's nothing worse than getting into a series and needing to wait 6-12+ months for the next part... If they make it at all.

--

Quoting: LinasSomehow feels arbitrary and fake in the global economy.

This.

Here in Australia, we pay anywhere up to quadruple the price for digital goods (though it can be up to octuple the price, in rare cases)... And the Government conducts an investigation into why this is every few years.

As is to be expected, all of the big companies throw out their "legitimate" reasons why this is - unsurprisingly, none of them stand up.

The Government points out that we're effectively paying extravagant prices for illegitimate reasons, promises to do something about it and nothing happens... Rinse and repeat.

The point is, every time this happens, it is proven that prices are inflated without any actual reason to justify said price inflation.

It's all a big scam to convince "the little guy" who is either not smart enough to realize he's being duped, or too lazy to do anything about it... Unfortunately, that covers 99% of the population.

--

Quoting: The_Aquabat
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.

Of course it is... And it's rigged in the favor of the wealthy.

Same story as always - "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer!"

--

Quoting: eldakingThis looks like you never had to deal with currency exchange. Exchange rates fluctuate wildly, and it is just not feasible to have prices jump around that much. Checking prices daily to see if something is cheaper, not being able to wait for a sale because who knows how much it will cost by then, speculating about the economy to know if it will go up or down in the next few months... nothing works like this.

Bulldust.

We buy a lot of stuff from overseas and when it comes to electronics, we buy approximately 85% of our stuff from overseas... Almost all of the companies we buy from - which are often major companies - have a fixed price and I just pay whatever it converts to in Australian Dollars + shipping (interestingly, it's often still cheaper to do this than to buy said product locally!).

--

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.

One rule for the wealthy, one rule for the regular folks... Besides, businesses often keep politicians in power, which has a lot to do with this.

--

Quoting: eldakingThis "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.

This is both wrong and right... Yes, people in these third-world countries are being exploited by Western Countries, but they're still taking jobs away from said Western Countries, too.

I just changed telecommunications service providers, primarily because all of their customer service is based in Australia, using Australian employees... That means I could get a job there, if I lived in Victoria (I live in a different state).

Had they opted to use foreign call centers in India or the Philippines - like pretty much everyone else - I would not be able to get said job without relocating to another country... Thus, taking my job.


Last edited by Cyba.Cowboy on 2 August 2020 at 1:09 pm UTC
eldaking 2 Aug
Quoting: Purple Library GuyAll very true . . . and yet, US citizens on average are not better off when US corporations offshore jobs. That's not who the corporations are doing it for; profits are made but they go to the top. Rather, the average citizen is worse off when that happens, for a variety of reasons. It's certainly not the fault of the people in those other countries where the sweatshops get set up, who are often also worse off, but it's still the case.
So people in the US, or Canada in my case, certainly have reason to be upset when "free trade" results in local industries being destroyed, the jobs associated with them disappearing, the increased unemployment leading to downward wage pressures and so on. Sure, it might still be better (so far) to be unemployed or working gig jobs in Canada than working in the sweatshop in Indonesia where the manufacturing went . . . but that's not a reason to be OK with well paid longer term jobs going away from Canada.
Meanwhile in places like Indonesia, the reason there's tons of people more or less "willing" to work in those sweatshops is typically that they'd be better off as subsistence farmers but they got thrown off their land so someone could have a profitable plantation (and so they'd have no choice but to work in those sweatshops). The "free trade" is bad for both places. They'd be better off skipping the foreign-owned factories paying a pittance and sucking the profits out of the country, and instead doing locally owned import substitution. But the local wealthy comprador class get a cut, so change ain't gonna come easy.

People on developed countries do benefit from the imperialistic global trade they countries often impose to others. There are several well-paying jobs that are concentrated on those countries as a result of this "division of labor" in which some countries get all the sweatshops and unqualified jobs but all the actual management and research and design are actually done in other countries - that also get the benefits of both cheap imported primary products and locally produced high-tech goods. They also elect governments that "defends their interests", for example by creating the very same legal protections it strips away from people in other countries. They can afford to ignore, for example, the environmental damage their corporations deal to foreign countries, while still working for those corporations in a "local" job.

Of course, the gap between the common worker and the corporate class is still huge and much larger than the differences across workers of different countries, and it would indeed be better for everyone to oppose the interests of the big corps. It is in the best interests of the average citizen to stop the global exploitation of corporations.

But it is naive to think that, in "colonial" relations between countries, only the very top class is benefiting... or supporting it. It is most clear when people support "America first" policies (or their equivalent) - aggressive foreign policies with obvious repercussions in other countries, but they get to benefit from the "economic growth", local jobs, and so on. Other people are taking the lion's share of the profits (through direct exploitation, lobbying, etc), sure, but there is a difference between "exploited to work in sweatshops" or "denied medical supplies" and "got a smaller share of the plunder from the US-sponsored coup that kept fruit prices low".
QuoteHad they opted to use foreign call centers in India or the Philippines - like pretty much everyone else - I would not be able to get said job without relocating to another country... Thus, taking my job.
funny I worked for a call center (a very big company) that sells pc parts in the USA here in my third world country and never fell exploited. USA or western countries exploiting others it's just a stereotype, globalization is good and have brought progress to the world economy like never before, global poverty is record low. I'm not saying that explotation doesn't exist but when you account and balance globalization, the benefits surpass the negative stuff.


btw, as I said "Third World" is an outdated definition from the Cold War, per definition Ireland, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland and Yugoslavia, are "Third World". It's just as awkward as using "Axis" and "Allies" from the 2nd world war to categorise countries. The Berlin Wall has fallen it's ridiculous to still use that definition.


Last edited by The_Aquabat on 2 August 2020 at 2:31 pm UTC
F.Ultra 2 Aug
Quoting: slapin
Quoting: F.Ultra
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.

Sony made sure everyone gets the same content for regional prices, so you do not get poorly localized version without ability to switch to original language. On playstation you get the same game with all the stuff in it, not crippled version.

If you speak one of the major languages yes, for my language there exists close to zero games on either platform unless it's something that is targeted for very small children (and even then most of the time English is the only option).
Quoting: eldakingBut it is naive to think that, in "colonial" relations between countries, only the very top class is benefiting... or supporting it. It is most clear when people support "America first" policies (or their equivalent) - aggressive foreign policies with obvious repercussions in other countries, but they get to benefit from the "economic growth", local jobs, and so on. Other people are taking the lion's share of the profits (through direct exploitation, lobbying, etc), sure, but there is a difference between "exploited to work in sweatshops" or "denied medical supplies" and "got a smaller share of the plunder from the US-sponsored coup that kept fruit prices low".
You are conflating two different phenomena. Yes, US citizens benefit when US-sponsored coups keep fruit prices low. That is, where countries are coerced to produce things for export that could not be produced in the US in the first place (bananas, coffee, local mineral resources) and to hand them over for cheap.

US citizens do not benefit when US-sponsored coups and coerced trade deals create a situation where capital can readily arbitrage wages across countries. Yes, they get some cheap goods at Wal-mart, but their losses in wages among other things far more than make up for that. This loss is both direct, in that the manufacturing jobs themselves went somewhere else, and indirect, in that the bargaining power of labour is greatly weakened. When capital is very mobile and there are no trade barriers, it creates fairly direct competition between a wealthy country's labour and poor countries' labour--corporations can credibly threaten to move production elsewhere, and at the political level all kinds of social supports, labour rights, health and safety rules etc. can be evaluated in terms of "competitiveness" with those other places. Indeed, half the point of the whole exercise is not the production that happens in the poor countries, it's breaking the unions and cowing the left-of-centre political parties in the rich countries; "there is no alternative". If there are multiple poor countries, it also forces their wages, environmental standards and so on into competition with each other, making it harder for them, too, to improve living standards.

Old style imperialist coups for cheap resources are still going on; case in point, Bolivia. US consumers will no doubt benefit from that, at the direct expense of the Bolivians, if they can't reverse it. But if you look at the impact of NAFTA, it had negative impacts on the ordinary citizens of all three countries--Mexicans because their corn farmers couldn't compete with massively subsidized American (GMO) corn and so they had to flee to the cities and find sweatshop work in foreign-owned maquiladoras (or in prostitution, or drug dealing etc). Americans and Canadians because, just as Ross Perot predicted, there was a giant sucking sound as good union jobs went south and the manufacturing heartland turned into the "rust belt".

Offshoring production via neoliberal free trade is, as it were, imperialism come home to roost--it is an effort by elites to gain at the expense of the lower classes of rich and poor countries alike. It is distinct from classic imperialism even though the same people are often doing it at the same time.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 2 August 2020 at 6:48 pm UTC
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