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Valve have made it harder to change your store country on Steam

It's likely to stop people who use VPNs from taking avantage of cheaper games in low-income countries

Valve have made the way you change your store country on Steam a lot more strict. Now, if you switch your country setting to somewhere else, Steam requires you to make a purchase with a payment method from that country. But what does that mean for you? Well, if you're one of the people who uses a VPN to try and get games a bit cheaper... it's gonna be a whole lot more difficult for you to do that.

While this might immediately look like a bit of greed from Steam, it actually goes a bit deeper than that. Regional pricing on the storefront is done so that lower-income areas can get games cheaper. Those who use VPNs (virtual private networks that let you get around geo-restrictions and, say, pretend you're using the internet in France) have taken advantage of this in the past to get their games for extremely low prices, which, in some cases, has forced publishers to up the price of their games in those low-income countries to stop people from doing that.

Most recently this happened with Horizon: Zero Dawn. After its PC release date was announced, there were loads of reports that its price across various countries was fluctuating due to people using VPNs to buy it. As reported by VG247, when Steam first opened preorders in Argentina, it cost just 539 pesos, which is only about 7 US dollars. That price then shot up to 2100 pesos overnight (which is about 30 USD). That's a 389% price hike, and a bit unfair on actual Argentinians.

Regional pricing does exist for a good reason, and while it might be frustrating for some, hopefully this will stop VPN-users from unduly taking advantage of it. It's worth noting that using a VPN is against Steam's terms and conditions anyway, and can earn you a ban if you're caught using one. So, uh, if you are upset, maybe don't complain too loudly.

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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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