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Thread: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks12 View Post
    I never really buy games off steam until the sale as I buy it elsewhere... steam is stupidly overpriced and the sales are only old games .
    +1, steam is overpriced for new games and you can get the same game for much less, even after 2-3 months, steam keeps the price but other sellers prices drop too much, steam is great on sales, you can snag lots of games for a fraction of the price.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Never used a Russian key before, but if they apply this to EU and US keys for UK folks I will just buy less games ahead of sales.

    I may even stay away from games in sales if they aren't reduced enough for me to be happy to buy.

    I think the less supply will affect the price of supplies moving forward, it will only get worse if they do restrict more in future.

    In reality it wont affect me as I will refuse to be bent, region locking to an extent is wrong in my view. Its anti competitive in nature in my view.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    I play regularly with a lot of European/Nordic types. Will this affect my ability to gift them a game (or vice-versa?) ovr Steam? If it does, gutted. If it doesn't, will Key resellers move into a gifting to your account from where the title is cheaper?

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    Comfortably Numb directhex's Avatar
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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by Tpyo View Post
    I play regularly with a lot of European/Nordic types. Will this affect my ability to gift them a game (or vice-versa?) ovr Steam? If it does, gutted.
    It could potentially affect you, if Valve consider one end of the transaction to be in a cheaper pricing band. e.g. Russia->Norway is now blocked. UK->US is not.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    What a horrible move by valve seriously WTF
    "A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in."


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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by directhex View Post
    It could potentially affect you, if Valve consider one end of the transaction to be in a cheaper pricing band. e.g. Russia->Norway is now blocked. UK->US is not.
    Thanks for the warning. This has also been used (my friends) to circumvent the censorship (a watered down or censored release of the same game) some countries put on certain games, so that would also end up being impossible if this happens.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    It's kind of funny really. All these big companies base their HQs in tax havens to avoid paying corporate taxes and for some reason that's okay because whilst it is completely immoral, it's technically legal. Yet if Joe Public tries to save a few quid by essentially taking advantage of a very similar method of saving money, big companies are able to somehow prevent that.

    The value of the product being sold - a digital EULA - is the same regardless, and yet different territories are charged wildly different amounts. Local taxes have almost nothing to do with it and in fact it is the seller who's almost solely responsible for this variance in the majority of cases. If selling practice were fairer in general then this wouldn't be an issue, but the fact of the matter is that it's not fair. Supply and demand doesn't really work the same way for a non-physical, non-service item that has no warranty and no buyer protection.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by Syphadeus View Post
    It's kind of funny really. All these big companies base their HQs in tax havens to avoid paying corporate taxes and for some reason that's okay because whilst it is completely immoral, it's technically legal. Yet if Joe Public tries to save a few quid by essentially taking advantage of a very similar method of saving money, big companies are able to somehow prevent that.

    The value of the product being sold - a digital EULA - is the same regardless, and yet different territories are charged wildly different amounts. Local taxes have almost nothing to do with it and in fact it is the seller who's almost solely responsible for this variance in the majority of cases. If selling practice were fairer in general then this wouldn't be an issue, but the fact of the matter is that it's not fair. Supply and demand doesn't really work the same way for a non-physical, non-service item that has no warranty and no buyer protection.
    This. Such a good point.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Recent posts are barking up the wrong tree IMHO, and I fear are symptomatic of the rich minority wanting to protect their wealth at the expense of the poor majority.

    Think about it from the rest of the world viewpoint. It's not about local taxes so much as currency.

    Imagine (superficial figures to make a point) a game needs to cost $50 for the first 6 months of sale to make the development loan financially viable. Say half a day's take home pay in the US. Imagine a situation in Russia where there are 30 roubles to the dollar, so a game costs 1500 roubles. This is already likely to be more than half a day's take home pay, so either games have to be discounted from the US price to be equivalent value, or they just cost more relatively.

    Fine. Now the rouble collapses to 60 per dollar. What do the shops do? One thing is to increase the price to 3000 roubles for the same game to maintain cost equivalence ($50). But this is now several days' take home pay - the relative cost to the game player has gone up massively. Alternatively they can price the game according to how affordable it is locally - keep at 1500 roubles and now only sell at an equivalent $25 dollars per game. If everyone paid that would it pay off the development loan? No, because it was financed with a different market projection.

    So why not develop games at the $25 dollar sale point? A quarter day's take home. Sure - many games do. But when the currency shifts this is now much more than a quarter day's in non-western markets.

    People asking for a global price are failing to account for the differences that exist in disposable income around the world. They are in essence asking to pay much less in value for games than their counterparts in poorer regions. THAT to me is what is unfair, not regional pricing.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    I've not really thought much about this issue before, generally when I want to buy a game I want to find it at the best price I can get it for so have been happy to buy from trusted key sellers on eBay, however I have tried to see it from Valve's point of view and these are my conclusions.

    Valve have set up an infrastructure to allow people to become part of an international gaming community but in doing so they have also made it possible for parts of that community to find exploits that allow those parts to profit from the infrastructure by reselling activation keys outside of Steam's usual trading options. This means that the sellers make money on sales where Valve don't and yet Valve still have to face the ongoing costs of running and supporting the infrastructure.

    If we were to put this in to more tangible terms, it would be like a property developer building a shopping mall and opening it to the public to then finding traders coming in and openly setting up their own market stalls that compete directly with their rent paying shop owners in the mall. With these traders selling cheaper products and not paying any rent on the space they are using there, effectively reducing the amount of trade that their legitimate trading partners can get and potentially stifling the profits of company that owns the mall.

    If this new policy results in decreasing numbers of people activating new titles without reducing their turnover that will prove to Valve that they were right to take this action as they would have stopped the trade of non-profit making licence keys that some sellers were exploiting. On the other hand if their turnover also drops alongside the number of activations then that will show that there are other issues that Valve need to address.

    These conclusions are based purely on my analysis of a business case, I'm not an expert in this matter so please don't take me task over a weak analysis.

    It doesn't change my opinion on the pricing for games, which in my opinion are mostly too expensive. That said I thought that games such as BF4 were too expensive, I have complained bitterly about bugs in that game and have still clocked up 100 hours of entertaining game play which at £40 to £50 for the premium edition (depending on when it was bought) works out to be really good value. Yes, I know that I didn't get BF4 from Valve, it's an illustration, there are games on Valve that I got for less than £5 and have not even played for an hour, which compared to BF4 makes them really bad value. I think for me what I need to learn to do is to become more selective with the games that I buy instead of trying to be more selective with the price I pay, that way instead of paying say £50 on 6 games over a period of time, I should wait for the one game I'm likely to spend time on and pay £50 for that so that I get the good value game with 100+ hours instead of the £5 game that I run for as long as it takes to complete the tutorial and never look at again. I also think it is important that we support the infrastructure not just by using it but by also contributing towards the costs by buying products from time to time, if sales decrease pricing will need to be looked at in order to increase revenue, sales are one of the tools that are used for this but if sales still continue to decrease during sales periods then they would need to look at the bigger picture. I feel that it's not Valve that are setting the prices it's the market, if the market is prepared to pay the price then the price must be right, when revenue starts to drop prices will drop until the market starts to buy again.

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Recent posts are barking up the wrong tree IMHO, and I fear are symptomatic of the rich minority wanting to protect their wealth at the expense of the poor majority.
    Or how about people don't want to be subsidising others? Or paying more than is needed for big corporations to post larger profits? Why not start charging based on personal income? Generalising by region isn't exactly fair, there are rich and poor in each territory.

    Do we pay more for the hardware over less well off countries because the makers think they can squeeze us more for it?

    Software pricing has always been questionable but in recent years has become VERY nefarious due to the initial price of a game not being the total cost. For example, I am sure many people would have been happy paying £40-50 for BF4 IF all the mappacks came with the game on release.....but being expected to pay £120 for the full game does nothing but make peole want to find a cheaper way to purchase it.

    The publishers made this situation from their own greed.
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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by shaithis View Post
    Or how about people don't want to be subsidising others?
    Yes indeed - that's the viewpoint which leads to a low-taxation no healthcare or other benefits society. Why should you subsidise the living costs of someone who has a disability for example?

    In my opinion being civilised is defined by how well we treat others, particularly those not as well off as ourselves.

    But if your viewpoint is of the free capitalist variety then surely you recognise the right for a private company to chose a charging scheme of it's own rather than being dictated to by red tape?

    Or paying more than is needed for big corporations to post larger profits? Why not start charging based on personal income? Generalising by region isn't exactly fair, there are rich and poor in each territory.

    Do we pay more for the hardware over less well off countries because the makers think they can squeeze us more for it?
    Absolutely - prices are driven by market affordability. You even pay more for a tank of petrol in some areas compared to others independently of cost-factors.

    Software pricing has always been questionable but in recent years has become VERY nefarious due to the initial price of a game not being the total cost. For example, I am sure many people would have been happy paying £40-50 for BF4 IF all the mappacks came with the game on release.....but being expected to pay £120 for the full game does nothing but make peole want to find a cheaper way to purchase it.
    As always, if a game isn't value for money then don't play it. Regional pricing is a way for shops to try and make games actually value for money, particularly as a temporary measure in response to volatile currency. The alternative is to stop selling in non-western regions - all that would achieve is forcing up the price of games for everyone even in the west.

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    Well this is very annoying.

    I thought this was only for steam gifts?

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    Re: Valve starts to 'region lock' Steam activations

    Quote Originally Posted by kalniel View Post
    Yes indeed - that's the viewpoint which leads to a low-taxation no healthcare or other benefits society. Why should you subsidise the living costs of someone who has a disability for example?

    In my opinion being civilised is defined by how well we treat others, particularly those not as well off as ourselves.

    But if your viewpoint is of the free capitalist variety then surely you recognise the right for a private company to chose a charging scheme of it's own rather than being dictated to by red tape?

    Absolutely - prices are driven by market affordability. You even pay more for a tank of petrol in some areas compared to others independently of cost-factors.

    As always, if a game isn't value for money then don't play it. Regional pricing is a way for shops to try and make games actually value for money, particularly as a temporary measure in response to volatile currency. The alternative is to stop selling in non-western regions - all that would achieve is forcing up the price of games for everyone even in the west.
    I'm not convinced that direct comparisons to "free market economy" actually hold true for digital games. You can no longer compare it to a physical good or a service rendered. With Steam you technically don't even get a proper warranty, there is no buyer protection and there is no cooling period or distance selling regulation.

    What am I buying when I "purchase" a game on Steam? I don't own the game. I don't possesses a physical item. I'm paying to download code and for singular use of the code.

    You talk about free market economy. What if the availability of the so called product is infinite? Because in this case it is. There is no supply constraint. So technically if price is a barrier they could have the asking price and make the same amount of money from more people downloading their right to use the code and play the game. Due to lack of any after sales service or support, ostensibly the cost of doing this is negligible because they maintain servers and nothing else.

    So my question is, why does it cost me significantly more to buy a game on Steam compared to, say, someone in North America where you cannot argue currency volatility or take home pay?

    You don't even need to think I'll just hand you the answer: rip off Britain. It's not my viewpoint that I don't consider poorer people and, in fact, I'm offended at the suggestion by the other poster. If being financially sensible is in bad taste, then I think a person in Russia who's spending large portions of their income on entertainment media is the one who needs to reprioritise. But I'd say that's an entirely different argument anyway and should not divert attention away from the fact that whichever way you cut it, Western customers are being charged unfairly higher prices for downloads. Taking a 'if you don't like the price don't buy it' approach might be fine for you, but that is neither useful nor does it add anything to the discussion.

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