Steam’s regional pricing system typically offers games for cheaper prices in areas with poorer economies. Some users have taken advantage of that fact and used VPNs to hide their locations and purchase games at an often-substantial discount. Valve already has numerous restrictions in place to stop that practice, and it seems the store has now added another.
Now, you need to complete a purchase with a payment method from the country you’re claiming to be from before Steam will approve a switch to your store region. As SteamDB notes on Twitter, this stricter rule should make it more difficult for those using VPNs in an effort to take advantage of regional pricing.
Earlier this month, there was a bit of kerfuffle around Horizon Zero Dawn’s Steam price, which got a sudden increase in regions outside the US. Neither Valve nor Sony have confirmed why, but many observers speculated that this was due to players making use of VPN trickery to get a discount.
The Steam subscriber agreement explicitly prohibits users from using a VPN to take advantage of regional pricing – or any other reason, for that matter. “You agree that you will not use IP proxying or other methods to disguise the place of your residence, whether to circumvent geographical restrictions on game content, to purchase at pricing not applicable to your geography, or for any other purpose. If you do this, Valve may terminate your access to your Account.”
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
There are plenty of free Steam games you don’t need to trick Valve into letting you play, if you’re short on cash right now.