Valve has ended one of its more controversial “back doors”: buying in stores in other countries at cheaper prices, using a VPN.
The controversy with Horizon Zero Dawn has been the drop that has filled the glass of Valve. Hereinafter It will be much more difficult to buy in the Steam stores of other countries, using a VPN.
Steam game prices are not the same in all countries. There are developing countries, with weaker economies or with different currencies, where games cost considerably less, even 50% cheaper. Many people take advantage of this by cheating. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) they change their IP address for that of a country where prices are cheaperLike Argentina, Turkey or Ukraine, they buy the games there making Steam believe that they live there, and then they incorporate the game into their Spanish, North American or other countries’ account where prices are higher.
Hereinafter if you want to buy in the Valve store in other countries using a VPN to cheat the system, you can only do it if you pay with a local payment system of the country in question, like a local credit card. Until now Steam allowed to use your own card, or PayPal. But that has changed, as the Steam Database has discovered:
Valve has recently made changing your store country more strict, which requires completing a purchase using a payment method from that country.
This should hinder the ability of using VPNs to buy games cheaper. pic.twitter.com/IozwoO6gsi
– Steam Database (@SteamDB) July 29, 2020
This practice of buying in another country is quite dark and controversial, because with this system the user cheats Valve using the IP address of another country, it does not pay VAT for the games it buys, and it also damages native users in those countries.
Valve has surely made this decision due to the chaos caused by the reservations of Horizon Zero Dawn, the first Sony exclusive PS4 game to be released on Steam. Many users launched to buy the game in Steam stores in Argentina, Turkey and other countries where it costs much less, using the trick of changing the IP address with a Virtual Private Network.
But this motivated that the price of the game rose 389% in Argentina, 357% in Turkey, 253% in South Africa, and other similar increases in more than 10 countries to prevent this practice, hurting users in those countries with weak economies that are now going to have to pay triple for the game.
Although this decision will provoke protests from those who took advantage of this trick, it is a fair measure so as not to harm players from other countries with less purchasing power. And to pay VAT when applicable …