Users from these regions will no longer be able to send or receive gifted games from any other region.
One of the greatest things about Steam is how consumer friendly and non-invasive it is to its massive user-base all over the world. However, a move made by the company earlier in the week has taken away a huge chunk of freedom from users in some regions. Fans have discovered that Valve “flipped the switch” on every game sold in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Russia, Southeast Asia, South America, and Turkey regions, disallowing users in these places from sending or receiving gifted games with other users.
For a bit of insight on why and how this happened, we need to look back to December of last year, when Valve introduced a AllowCrossRegionTradingAndGifting tag, that publishers could turn on to stop gamers from gifting its game across regions. As for the why, well, global currencies rise and fall in strength, so that that games in say Russia, when converted to the local currency, can be considerably cheaper than games in the USA. There’s also the matter of censored or banned games, which players in unaffected regions can trade in.
Anyway, according to some reddit sleuths, Valve went ahead and took that AllowCrossRegionTradingAndGifting and turned it on for every game in the affected regions. While it won’t affect games already in players’ inventory, any new game purchased by these users will be greeted with some variation of the following message:
Gift purchases for Crusader Kings II can only be added to the gift recipient’s library if they are in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan
PC gamers are understandably upset at this change, as the ability to “grey import” a title from a cheaper region is something we have been able to do ever since importing existed. Region-locking has always been a “console problem,” but now it looks like its seeping its way onto the PC too.