Originally Posted by valkynaz
There are many factors, some of them being factors out of their control e.g. different licensing laws in different countries.
An example of this would be Doom 1 & 2, which up until 5 months ago, were banned for sale in Germany, 17 years after release in other countries.
Very good points, well made. I have a lot to say about this issue (region-locking), because I've lived in Poland for the last ten years, and being able to buy anything online in this supposedly digital, shop-free age is a complete game of chance.
The explanation I'd like to contribute has to do with the kind of deal that the publisher makes with different territories for distribution of their boxed copies. For example, Skyrim - CDProjeckt got the rights to distribute it and did a full Polski voice and text localisation for the game. As such, Zenimax (or Beth or whoever) said 'Okay CDP, it's all yours. No one else can buy it anywhere now!' That means no official sources for online purchase & download - no digital copies, in other words.
The only way around this is to buy a serial key from one of the grey sites and plug it into Steam that way. I've done this successfully a number of times with Steam, though I haven't tried it with Skyrim yet.
Some of the online digital retailers are clever too; Steam and GameFly for example, can detect when I'm using a proxy and won't let me fake my way into buying a region-locked game. It's a pain, but what can you do? Wait for the EU to legislate against it I guess. Ha!