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Valve are making it harder to buy Steam games from other regions again

They're limiting how often you can change your country

Valve have reportedly added a new restriction on how often Steam users can change their account's country, in what appears to be another measure to stop people from buying cheaper games from other regions. According to SteamDB (a third-party tool that tracks Steam's goings-on), you can no longer update your country more than once every three months - perhaps a little unfair to anyone who actually does move to a new country each season, but it should help shut down more Steam users who're abusing the system.

Last year, Valve already made it harder to change your store country on Steam by requiring users to make a purchase from the country they claimed they were in with a payment method from said country. This made things difficult for people who use VPNs (virtual private networks that let you pretend you're browsing the internet in another country), because they could no longer say, "Hey Steam! I'm in France!" before whacking in some UK bank details.

For context, regional pricing on Steam is typically done so that games can be sold cheaper in lower-income countries. Users have tried to abuse this for ages - which I kinda understand, I can appreciate a good bargain hunt. However, this often means that publishers end up hiking prices for those lower-income regions, which sucks for the people who actually live there. Notably, this happened with Horizon Zero Dawn when it came to PC (it saw a 389% price increase in Argentina).

Interestingly, earlier this year Valve and a number of game publishers were fined by the European Commission for geo-blocking Steam keys in certain EU countries. While Valve might've meant well trying to keep prices low in certain areas, technically that's a bit naughty in Europe. The European Union's Digital Single Market rules require that everyone who lives in the EU should be able shop around and buy things from all other EU countries.

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Imogen Beckhelling

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Imogen is a lore enthusiast and lover of all the fun shenanigans game communities get up to. She spends too much time playing Overwatch, and not enough time having interests that aren't to do with video games.

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