Report: Steam Allows Publishers To Crack Down On Cross-Region Gifting

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Report: Steam Allows Publishers To Crack Down On Cross-Region Gifting

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance logo

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance comes with a new "AllowCrossRegionTradingAndGifting" tag.

Valve and Steam can try to hide (or at least, not specifically mention) things to us, but the gurus at Steam DB see all (specifically, all of the Steam database). This time, they've dug up a curious new tag attached to Konami's just-released Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: "AllowCrossRegionTradingAndGifting". In Revengeance's case, the flag is set to "no", which means that players cannot gift or trade copies of the game to players in different regions.

For those not in the know, Steam (until now) has allowed players in different regions to trade or gift copies of games to anyone around the world. While this can be used as a sort of "loophole" to get around expensive region pricing, it has also been used in the past to get around regionally censored games, such as Left 4 Dead 2 in Australia.

But it now looks like that is all coming to an end, as I can certainly see this tag being very popular with publishers, who wish to more strictly control regional pricing. It's unknown how this will effect the sale of retail CD keys purchased from regions other than your home region.

Early reports are indicating that this flag is so far only applying to the Eastern Europe and South American regions of the game, where the prices are traditionally lower than the rest of the world.

We've contacted Valve for an official statement on the matter, and will keep you posted.

Source: Steam DB via NeoGAF

Permalink

Well duh. As a trader I knew it would be cracked down on. It wasn't long until I realized why the giant mass scale game traders sold their games so cheap.

East Europe and Latin America is where a lot of the giant scale game trades came from. People bought them there and sold them to Americans at a profit. It was basically abusing the system, and sometimes it led to scams or bullshit steam economics.

Not to mention some countries have huge cybercrime presence, so you could end up buying a game bought with a stolen account or stolen credit card without even knowing it. If you get caught with that, you end up screwed. They can take away your game, so you're left with no keys and no game.

A lot of cross region game trading was incredibly shady. I knew it would be regulated sooner or later.

So will they fix their fucking prices then? Will $ no longer be = €?
Will adult germans and australians be able to legally "import" a not retardedly censored version of a game on their own?
If yes, crack down all you want.

If not, I'll just no longer buy "violent" games on steam period.

That also sucks if you try to buy a gift for a friend who lives in one of those regions and aren't aware of it.

See, now this is disappointing. I like to buy gifts for Steam friends for Christmas for fun, and this looks like it'll cause problems for that. Well, it's good to know that generosity is less important than profit.

I know this is targeted at scammers and others cheating the system, but there are legitimate reasons for cross-region trading.

Steven Bogos:
Early reports are indicating that this flag is so far only applying to the Eastern Europe and South American regions of the game, where the prices are traditionally lower than the rest of the world.

South American countries have "traditionally" lower prices? IF only we didn't get fucked over almost every other day with double the price just because of someone applying a ridiculous 1:1 conversion this would make sense, but the fact that most people create North American accounts by default just to get around stupid restrictions or pricing shows that it isn't true at all.

We haven't been allowed to trade (EDIT: and gift) many new region locked AAA games on steam outside CIS (aka ex-USSR) for a couple of years now. How different is this?

vdrandom:
We haven't been allowed to trade many new region locked AAA games on steam outside CIS (aka ex-USSR) for a couple of years now. How different is this?

First time its expanded beyond those areas, and those tended to be locked in as the Russian Localization as well.

While it sucks for those who don't abuse the system I can see where Valve is going with this. Now if they could fix the Dollar=Euro issue and drop prices in Aus (and by extension New Zealand) that would make this go down much smoother.

I was surprised to see Metal Gear Rising appear after I turned off a Steam game and saw it there. Intrigued, I clicked on it and it brought me to the home page, apparently it's region locked so I can't even pre-order it which is a balls considering it's dirt cheap at the moment.

Isn't this more because of digital sales tax than greedy publishers though?

Ed130:
those tended to be locked in as the Russian Localization as well.

Yeah, well, most of those had English version available at least. Made it much more bearable for me. Funny thing is that I'd be more than glad to pay their full price to region and language unlock them.

Micheal Herrera:
Isn't this more because of digital sales tax than greedy publishers though?

Nope. Publishers already set the prices on Steam, which is why there isn't parity. The ability to cross-gift has been a huge bug in their craw. Look at how they pushed Green Man Gaming into keeping price parity (Which they now get around by sucking the loss and paying the difference themselves) when GMG became the go-to for buying Steam games from Australia.

Steam, don't become the next Youtube.

loa:
So will they fix their fucking prices then? Will $ no longer be = €?

The Euro price includes sales tax or VAT in the price which by EU law is at minimum of 15%. The difference between the two currencies has been around 18%-28% for the last 5 years. The difference is not going to Valve but to the respective national governments.

I know Steam does sales and all but who ever keeps the games at $=€ needs to stop if this goes through.

:( This was how I got Saints Row 4 though! I hope Ubisoft play nice and let me get the uncensored verson.

Glademaster:
I know Steam does sales and all but who ever keeps the games at $=€ needs to stop if this goes through.

Look at my post above yours

albino boo:

The Euro price includes sales tax or VAT in the price which by EU law is at minimum of 15%. The difference between the two currencies has been around 18%-28% for the last 5 years. The difference is not going to Valve but to the respective national governments.

If you want to have a free at the point of use health service you are going to have to pay more for your games

No English versions for me anymore, I guess. Crud.

I wonder what happens if I buy a steamworks game from, say, gamersgate. Will Steam crack down on that, too?

Ultratwinkie:
Snip

This is all correct and I agree with it.

In all honesty, I've never engaged in cross-region trading. Stopping this while also allowing publishers to discriminate price by region stinks a little, though.

So murrf.

Murrf I say.

I've been helping a few of my german friends get uncensored versions of their games using this. They'll be very disappointed to learn that it will no longer work.

While it's also a bit of a drag that I might not be able to buy cheaper steam keys anymore either, that in itself doesn't bother me too much. Steam sales are ridiculously plentiful, and I'm patient enough to wait until what I'm interested in becomes teh cheap.

If it is that way, they'll need to address the castration of violent games in Germany, add an age check to enable us to buy the normal violence versions, else I think a lot of german people will complain or pirate those games, because well: bad service.

Clive Howlitzer:
That also sucks if you try to buy a gift for a friend who lives in one of those regions and aren't aware of it.

Well let's hope not many games make use of that function. Then it won't be that bad - chose a game that is giftable and you are done.
If many adopt it, probably better gift somewhere else. Sending steam wallet value is an alternative, but not that great if you want to gift something specific.

mindfaQ:
If it is that way, they'll need to address the castration of violent games in Germany, add an age check to enable us to buy the normal violence versions, else I think a lot of german people will complain or pirate those games, because well: bad service.

You are complaining because steam is obeying the national law of the democratically elected German government on the grounds of bad service. If the German public want to change the law they can express their democratic will at the ballot box. It is not the job of a foreign company to attempt to overthrow the express will of the German public.

Totally forbidding this is stupid.
But I understand why limiting it might be necessary (even if I don't agree with it)
I think limiting cross region gifting to 1 game per months and receiving 2 games per month would be much smarter

Ed130:

vdrandom:
We haven't been allowed to trade many new region locked AAA games on steam outside CIS (aka ex-USSR) for a couple of years now. How different is this?

First time its expanded beyond those areas, and those tended to be locked in as the Russian Localization as well.

While it sucks for those who don't abuse the system I can see where Valve is going with this. Now if they could fix the Dollar=Euro issue and drop prices in Aus (and by extension New Zealand) that would make this go down much smoother.

There's a lot of problems outside of what Valve can do when it comes to the prices. Publishers set the prices on Steam, not Valve. There's also sales taxes. It still sucks though. Considering my currency is worth about fifth of the American dollar I wouldn't really mind a 1 to 1 conversion though...

OT: I understand why they do this, it's probably both pressure from publishers and government since this undercuts both of them in terms of income and taxes. Oh well, there's still Steam sales.

if they are doing this just to continue their price gouging they are scumbags, i hate that everything in the store is 30% more expensive just because i live in new zealand

This is unlikely to affect indie games, which is about 99% of the games I buy on steam and gift to friends. So I don't worry too much about it.

Ronack:
Steam, don't become the next Youtube.

Actually, all steam has done is given the Publishers the ability to stop inter region trading of given titles. In short Steam is simply doing what any good distributor does, giving the people selling a little more control.

Pricing, and whether or not it's allowed is actually (sad to say) in the domain of the publisher.

heroicbob:
if they are doing this just to continue their price gouging they are scumbags, i hate that everything in the store is 30% more expensive just because i live in new zealand

There may be so regional taxes and tariffs at work there that require the extra 30% to offset the added cost. This is the danger of international business. different countries have different taxes, tariffs, regulations and laws which invariably have an effect on the cost at which foreign goods can be sold in the country.

Valve likely added that feature under pressure from publishers. if you dislike it... well an option is to simply boycott the publishers or games that do this, let them know you don't 'like it'. That's pretty much the only thing they understand, but again even publishers are bound by international laws and additional tariffs...so yeah, complicated issue.

And as per usual the paying consumer gets screwed over by the gaming industry, under the guise of dealing with piracy/scams.

You see Vavle, this wouldn't be an use if you didn't have regional prices and reactions in the first place.

There is always gog though, and I do love gog. They are one of the few places I actually buy games from, now. I boycotted Steam long ago thanks partly due to it's regional pricing.

Well, As a south american who was going to get a credit card so he can buy lots and lots of games from steam now that he has gotten a well paid job, i feel very VERY very dissapointed that this is something.
I just love how this goddamn industry that i love and have been supporting for a while has nothing but discontent for me.

And then they complain about piracy and low sales.

Ed130:

While it sucks for those who don't abuse the system I can see where Valve is going with this. Now if they could fix the Dollar=Euro issue and drop prices in Aus (and by extension New Zealand) that would make this go down much smoother.

Yeah, that's never going to happen. Hell, they could probably end the "Australia Tax" policy and Steam wouldn't lower their prices.

But this is Steam and Valve so it's somehow a good thing.

This sucks, but I can't complain or get mad too much. There's a good explanation for it, and I never really did trading that much either.

I have friends who moved to different parts of the world. It seems shitty that I won't be able to gift them things like this any more.

BigTuk:

Ronack:
Steam, don't become the next Youtube.

Actually, all steam has done is given the Publishers the ability to stop inter region trading of given titles. In short Steam is simply doing what any good distributor does, giving the people selling a little more control.

Pricing, and whether or not it's allowed is actually (sad to say) in the domain of the publisher.

heroicbob:
if they are doing this just to continue their price gouging they are scumbags, i hate that everything in the store is 30% more expensive just because i live in new zealand

There may be so regional taxes and tariffs at work there that require the extra 30% to offset the added cost. This is the danger of international business. different countries have different taxes, tariffs, regulations and laws which invariably have an effect on the cost at which foreign goods can be sold in the country.

Valve likely added that feature under pressure from publishers. if you dislike it... well an option is to simply boycott the publishers or games that do this, let them know you don't 'like it'. That's pretty much the only thing they understand, but again even publishers are bound by international laws and additional tariffs...so yeah, complicated issue.

For Australia, it depends on the physical location of the Steam server. There was some kind of inquiry here and digital downloads from a foreign server aren't subject to GST (our version of VAT). Nor are they subject to import duty due to the low value. I would imagine NZ is similar.

(Captcha - describe Twitter banner with any words. Answer - digital diarrhea.)

albino boo:

mindfaQ:
If it is that way, they'll need to address the castration of violent games in Germany, add an age check to enable us to buy the normal violence versions, else I think a lot of german people will complain or pirate those games, because well: bad service.

You are complaining because steam is obeying the national law of the democratically elected German government on the grounds of bad service. If the German public want to change the law they can express their democratic will at the ballot box. It is not the job of a foreign company to attempt to overthrow the express will of the German public.

I have to ask this, but seriously? There is no "law" for this. There is a rating system, but that isnt law by any means, thats like saying PEGI is a law. it really isnt, its a classification process of what content is suitable for which agegroup. Add to that the sheer fucking paranoia of basicly everyone over the age of 40, and politicians loving to drum up the "Violent Video Games" argument, seriously you think the US is bad? We've had that shit since 10 fucking years, we had that before some dude went on a killing spree.

But you know why it sucks? Because this classification board cant just classify games as, you know, suited for agegroups, no, they can also declare a game, ANY game unsuited for consumption for ANY agegroup. Example, Dead Island, a game made by a german developer, published by a german publisher, can not be legally sold within Germany. Reasoning for this? Zombies are "people", and you can kill "people" in those games because zombies are "people". Pixels, PIXELS ARE PEOPLE is their argument, and every fucking politician, even the most liberal, leftist cunt will drag out the video-game argument ad nauseum as long as old farts are scared of the new medium, because fearmongering is fucking fun.

So please tell me again about "democratic" or "laws" when some cunt, in the agerange of 50 and up, can tell me what i can and can not see. That is censorship pure and simple and it needs to stop. There is a huge difference between "only suited for adults" and "nope, not even adults" and while i would agree that Steam cant really do much but comply with whatever trading law applies there, the fact that i can legally, go to the UK or the US or anywhere outside of germany, buy a game there and bring it home with me, no questions asked pokes fucking giant holes in the argument. Hell i can just take a 6 hour trip, to austria, and get a german version of any game ever made there, why? Cause they arent as anal about "violence makes children into murderers"

/rant

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