Steam has been making it tougher to use VPNs to get cheap games

(Image credit: Deviantart user Deniszizen)

Valve has made it trickier to use VPNs take advantage of Steam's regional pricing by introducing additional hurdles before you can change your country setting.

Steam's regional pricing means that, in some cases, there are large discrepancies in the price of games, ostensibly to take into account the cost of living and the economic situation in those regions. Steam makes suggestions, but ultimately it's up to the publisher to set the price.

What prices you see depends on your country setting, but VPNs can be used to trick Steam into thinking you're logging in from somewhere else. Valve's been been trying to put an end to this, however, initially by stopping people from changing country unless they have a payment method registered there. Another step, completing a purchase, was also added, and though it seems to have been a requirement for a while, it's garnered more attention recently after being highlighted by SteamDB.

"If you have moved to a new country, or are living abroad for an extended period of time, you can update your Steam country setting when you complete your first purchase using a payment method from that country," reads the support page. "If your location differs from your current Steam account store setting you'll have an option to change your store region while you view your cart or as you complete your purchase."

That's a lot more hassle than downloading a VPN.

Some VPN users say they aren't just looking for cheap games, however, and are instead using them because there's no regional pricing support in their country and the games are prohibitively expensive, making VPNs, piracy and key resellers a more attractive prospect.

Fraser Brown
Online Editor

Fraser is the UK online editor and has actually met The Internet in person. With over a decade of experience, he's been around the block a few times, serving as a freelancer, news editor and prolific reviewer. Strategy games have been a 30-year-long obsession, from tiny RTSs to sprawling political sims, and he never turns down the chance to rave about Total War or Crusader Kings. He's also been known to set up shop in the latest MMO and likes to wind down with an endlessly deep, systemic RPG. These days, when he's not editing, he can usually be found writing features that are 1,000 words too long or talking about his dog.