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  1. #1
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    A tale of 38 Studios, Steam, IP blocks and an unplayble game (RPS please help!)

    Given the very recent news of 38 Studios near certain demise, this issue is now of even more importance to those of us affected by it. I've been wanting to post this topic for a while, but only now has the forum let me.

    I read an article on here that was posted some time ago in which RPS highlighted the situation of a Steam user in Russia who has having problems with their games on Steam. On behalf of a countless number of people who find themselves in the same situation as myself, I humbly request that RPS do the same to highlight the following problem.

    You may recall that back in February, a game called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning was released on the PC. The game was made available through Steam (and other places). Knowing that this game was getting DLC in the future and that I was to be leaving the UK to temporarily work in Japan (for a few years), I decided that Steam was the best place to purchase the game.

    I made that choice, as did others, knowing that even if the game was not available in Japan, it would be possible to have friends in the UK, etc., gift the DLC when it was released. This idea was further endorsed by Steam supports' assurance that "Purchases made directly through Steam are not restricted by territory."

    How wrong that turned out to be.

    It has been almost four months since the game was released. Yet it still remains unplayable in Japan. The large library thumbnail view simply states the game is "coming soon" a sign it's stuck in a perpetual pre-order state. Worse - for those of us who did preload - it cannot even be uninstalled! Put bluntly, as soon as a Japanese IP address is detected by Steam, the game vanishes. It is IP blocked not just from purchase, like is generally the case, but from being interacted with too.

    Now here is where it gets really frustrating. Seeing that 38 Studios were the publisher of the Steam version, they were asked about the block. In response gehrig38 (their rep) adamantly stated that they are not the publisher, and that EA are the publisher. They further stated that EA are responsible for the IP block. Note that no other EA game on Steam has ever been IP blocked in this manner.

    I'm sure you can guess what's coming next... When EA were asked (by several different people, on several different occasions) they have maintained that they have nothing to do with the Steam version and therefore have no knowledge of the IP block, nor can they do anything about it - they can't even add the game to Origin. They also state that 38 Studios are solely responsible for the Steam version.

    We also then discovered that the Origin version of the game (and retail for that matter) are not IP blocked at all, despite 38 Studios' claims that they were. It is ONLY the Steam version that has continued to remain unplayable for almost 4 months now. 38 Studios have been paid by myself and others for a game that they have so far refused to allow us to use.

    Steam support are also now refusing to provide any information on the situation or help of any kind. Yet they still inform customers inquiring about similar situations that "Purchases made directly through Steam are not restricted by territory."

    I know the simplest solution would be to just purchase the game again from GamersGate or somewhere other than Steam, but why should we? We have already purchased the game! Another possible solution would be to use a VPN, but that can result in a disabled Steam account. Yes, we realise that regional restrictions are not going to go away, but those should NEVER extend beyond the point of purchase. Especially without any warning and when the purchased is made in a "normal" region (i.e., not a super cheap one like Russia) on a service that boasts the ability to play your games from any PC. And to reiterate, a service that actively advises customers that games are not restricted by territory when purchased from them!

    Ultimately, all we want to do is to play the game that we have purchased, been gifted, or traded for. The game 30 Studios have already received our money for. Further to that we would also appreciate more honesty on the part of Steam and 38 Studios. To this day, there is zero warning on the Kingdoms of Amalur Steam store page regarding this IP block. Thus, many others may well find themselves in the same situation.

    Recent events also now bring into question, what exactly will happen now? The listed publisher 38 Studios, is all but gone. EA deny any connection to the Steam version of Amalur, so who is going to be responsible for finally removing this block and finally allowing the game to be used in Japan?

    I have also found out that this is not the first game to be handled like this on Steam, and I doubt it will be the last. So it would be really helpful if RPS could bring some very much needed attention to this Steam specific problem.

    Thank you
    Last edited by IHaveNoIdea; 25-05-2012 at 04:06 AM. Reason: Forum ate post formatting

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Likely Valve thinks your account has been compromised, just as banks automatically bar international debits.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Likely Valve thinks your account has been compromised, just as banks automatically bar international debits.
    ?
    the hell? where that post comes from? what you said has nothing in relevance to KoA being IP blocked.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    ?
    the hell? where that post comes from? what you said has nothing in relevance to KoA being IP blocked.
    He moved from UK to JP. He logged onto Steam, which saw an unfamiliar IP and blocked him. Hence my supposition.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    He moved from UK to JP. He logged onto Steam, which saw an unfamiliar IP and blocked him. Hence my supposition.
    ?
    the fuck you are talking about?

    When you log from another ip steam asks you to put a code which they email to you (not sure whether you can turn it off). yet that does not have any relevance to what OP is saying. He is not saying his steam is blocked but that KoA is blocked. And that happens with few other games in Japan too.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    When you log from another ip steam asks you to put a code which they email to you (not sure whether you can turn it off).
    Crossing international borders changes their protocol. My bank doesn't care if I purchase something in New York at 11:30 and Phoenix at 11:45. It does care if I purchase something in Tokyo at 11:57 without giving forewarning.

    If it's not that, then it's an Oceans-on-the-Internet problem, and a twenty second search confirms that KoA hasn't seen a JP release. In that case, I'd suggest IP laundering or piracy.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Crossing international borders changes their protocol. My bank doesn't care if I purchase something in New York at 11:30 and Phoenix at 11:45. It does care if I purchase something in Tokyo at 11:57 without giving forewarning.
    i've crossed an ocean, a whole continent, a whole hemisphere and my steam doesn't care.
    and it wasn't even about steam. it was one game on steam. so what you posted didn't really make any sense did you. if he said steam was blocked... you might have been onto something.
    it is single game on steam, which he sees as preorder on store page. so steam works fine. the game is blocked.

    and that happened before. a member here and on gog called bansama also has massive issues with steam and japan. It has been happening for years, so not something recent or one/two game problem.

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    i've crossed an ocean, a whole continent, a whole hemisphere and my steam doesn't care.
    and it wasn't even about steam. it was one game on steam. so what you posted didn't really make any sense did you. if he said steam was blocked... you might have been onto something.
    Different games have different masters have different policies. Valve just enforces them. The gist is the same. Now, if you don't mind, I'm going to get my seven chuckles from your "it don't make no sense" parroting. Hahahahahahaha. Seriously, man. Stop trying so hard.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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  9. #9
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    VPN FFS.

    10 char

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    anyhow

    Japan is very shady place for PC gamers. There are some restrictions, monopolies on game publishing going on. Would love for someone to actually clarify wtf is going on there. What is valve hidding, what publishers are hidding.

  11. #11
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    If valve won't honour their purchase and play anywhere statement and the developer and publisher are passing the buck, your options are either a proxy to a territory that currently has it available, buy it again from a service that isn't locking access in Japan or become an evil pirate that is responsible for the destruction of the games industry (and definitely not stupid practices like this).

  12. #12
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    If you choose the middle option you should also demand a refund from Steam and if they don't give it take legal action.
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  13. #13
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    Hmmmmm....

    In Japan too and not ideal at all hey.

    I got KoA from a bricks and mortar shop so it's fine with Origin installed.

    Do you have a CD key type of thing?

    I've registered a few games on Origin with that and been able to download them so it's worth a try.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Question: Sorry if it's been covered (I only skimmed the post) but is the game available for purchase from Steam in Japan?

  15. #15
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    @soldant
    It has been almost four months since the game was released. Yet it still remains unplayable in Japan. The large library thumbnail view simply states the game is "coming soon" a sign it's stuck in a perpetual pre-order state.
    Not sure wether the game shows like this in Japan or on his Steam, but I think it's the former.

  16. #16
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    Again VPN. Given the company has just gone up the wazoo your IP problems are the least of their priorities. If you want to play the game use a VPN. Being all indignant about it serves no great purpose (also the Russian dude was trading games for money).

  17. #17
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    Just to say again what RogerMellie says, you should be able to register the key on Origin, so no need to buy again.

    As far as I know VPN won't get your account banned for activating a game, especially a once off, if you bought something and then traded through a VPN, then you might have problems.

  18. #18
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    There is no problem here.

    The OP purchased a regionally restricted game which works as advertised in the region he purchased it in. (EDIT: we learn later in the thread that he lives in Japan and never bought the game from steam at all -- a friend in the UK gifted it to him over steam across regions)

    This is often done knowingly to bypass regional license restrictions or to get super cheap versions passed from buddies/traders in Russia, etc..

    Hey steam doesn't have a license to sell this game in Japan, so I'll snag a copy in the UK!
    Oh wait it doesn't work in Japan, what a shock. Durrrrr.

    If you buy a game outside the region you are going to play it in, the risk is all yours and steam owes you nothing.

    No offense but don't expect much sympathy. I have none.
    Last edited by BenWah; 25-05-2012 at 03:21 PM.

  19. #19
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    Kiril, wouldn't an account signing in from Europe and then, say, an hour later from Japan raise digital eyebrows with Valve's account security algorithms? I'd imagine if you intended to use a VPN or other proxy, you'd have to use it permanently to avoid raising suspision.

    The rest is all a bunch of total bullshit, so knock it off already.
    When I buy a pair of shoes I expect to be able to use them when I go on holiday and not have to ask the local distributer of the region or the shop that I bought them from if it's ok to do so. I don't think it's unreasonable for someone to expect to play a game they paid for in their home country abroad either.
    Last edited by Xune; 25-05-2012 at 01:11 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenWah View Post
    There is no problem here.

    The OP purchased a regionally restricted game which works as advertised in the region he purchased it in.


    The rest is all a bunch of total bullshit, so knock it off already.

    You're not fooling anyone.

    If you buy a game outside the region you are going to play it in, the risk is all yours and steam owes you nothing.
    Except Steam support told him the opposite. He even asked before the purchase and was assured it would work without problems. How exactly is that solely his problem?

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