That said I think you're safe with the whole 4 pack thing. It's clear that the intention is to terminate accounts engaging in region pricing circumvention, presumably only those involved on a large scale, but the wording suggests they have the authority to take it much further if they want, and arguably circumventing censorship would be one of the bigger targets to hit.
It's strange in that it's rather explicit - do not sell gifts. I'm not saying that Steam is super sinister and out to get us, I'm just pulling out the terminology (much like people do for Origin or other services) and interpreting it in the strictest way possible. The statements in practice seem to be a lot more relaxed and far less sinister... but the capacity still exists for them to take the stricter interpretation apparently.
(Yes, I am stirring up trouble. Call it an art project.)
...but with that said, the possibility of a hardline stance exists, and that's reason enough to be suspicious.
Getting a statement out of Valve is incredibly hard work. If they respond to my first questions, I'll follow up about gifting.
But I do not think that buying games in bulk from developing countries and profiting from their sale is right. Do I think gimperial should be perma-banne for this? Probably not, either way my opinion on that doesn't matter. I still think it shouldn't be done in the first place.
That is clearly what the EULA is legislating against. Steam are not gonna start banning everyone who splits a four pack or gifts their German friend an uncensored copy of Saints Row, like some have concluded. Yes the EULA does need to be clearer on this issue. It is when trading becomes coordinated, large scale and commercial that action will be taken. And in my view, rightly so.
Unless you mean that people having the chance to buy cheaper games were profiting.
Either way, don't confuse me with this guy: http://cheapsteam.cssdiz.ru/
gimperial - obviously your actions were not close to being on the level of that guy. I still don't agree with what you did though. Getting some mates a few gifts while your out there is one thing, but running up 70+ transactions seems like you took things to quite an extreme and things became organised.
So whilst I still think it's more likely than Valve checking potentially hundreds of PC gaming forums and cross-checking posters' names with Steam names, etc, etc, etc, I don't think it's likely at all.
Perhaps it's something really simple, like gimperial and his friends swapping Steam messages along the lines of "LOL tanx 4 teh cheep russhian gmes brobraham lincoln! Check yo paypaul 4 the fundz." Not sure if Steam can and do read messages sent within their own system, but that seems like the most obvious answer.
weekendwarrio.rs - We've got more games than time...
SA thread(s) where he/she was freely offering to buy at the Russian prices for people, and then "gift" them the game ("Russian prices are sometimes about 50% of US/UK prices, so if you guys see any with a huge difference like that let me know and I'll see what I can do"). And then see, it's not 'gifting', it's offering a service to circumvent the regional pricing.
ARPS unofficial motto - And then we leave. No heroic stands.
They could also just hook an automated search engine to the Steam chat, which raises an alert every time someone mentions "paypal" on Steam Chat.
Then there was silence until Sunday daytime, at which point they said they're looking into it (after RPS emailed them), and I was unbanned Monday daytime. Looks like contrary to popular belief, Steam Support do work on weekends.
vvv If it was simply flagged, why would they reply twice saying "your account is banned and will not be reactivated" & "we will not help you further with this issue"?
Last edited by gimperial; 31-01-2012 at 07:42 PM.
There are a bunch of people who, reasonably or otherwise, have an axe to grind with Steam and are always ready to jump on any perceived fault. In the same way as there are a bunch who want to portray EA as some kind of institutionally evil megacorp. I don't buy into either, and while I'm more inclined to give Valve the benefit of the doubt than I am EA for historic reasons, they can be kind of gnomic in their dealings with the public.
In this case I reckon you've nailed it: someone has spotted this guy's behaviour and flagged it for further action, and it's simply unfortunate that the weekend intervened before it was resolved.