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.