Online digital storefront Steam allows its users from across the world to change the store currency to that of their local currency. Doing so allows users to purchase games at a much more reasonable price which scales up and down with the currency’s value. However, Steam’s leniency towards this matter has resulted in many people taking advantage of the system with the use of VPNs. A new update to Valve’s store policy means that less people will be able to exploit this mechanic.
Within Steam, users can head to the store and wallet country tab to change their currency to that of their current country. The store only permits this when the person making the change is currently located in the country, but users have long used VPNs to bypass this restriction.
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
After changing the store country to someplace with a low value currency like Argentina or Colombia, users are able to purchase games at very low prices. Valve obviously intended for this to help gamers from poorer nations afford games, but Steam users from across the world have taken advantage of regional pricing. Although not all games support regional pricing, most games on the digital storefront’s massive library do, even big triple-A titles.
Now, Valve has changed its policy so that successfully changing your store country requires the user to complete a purchase using a payment method from that country. This will make it much more difficult for users in other countries to hop regions, and will ensure that regional pricing is not exploited.
The change comes just a few weeks after Horizon: Zero Dawn suffered a price hike. The exact reason behind it wasn’t officially stated, but it’s speculated that it was due to too many people exploiting regional pricing. The move was met with quite a lot of backlash, but it makes sense that Valve is finally cracking down on those who use VPNs to buy games at reduced prices.