Steam Changes its Store Policy to Combat VPN Exploits

/ 4 years ago
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It’s well-known that having a VPN (virtual private network) provider can often come with a lot of benefits. While the chief one is obviously the ability for your ISP to not be able to effectively monitor your activity, it has more widely become notable for it allowing you to change the country in which websites recognize your internet access. For example, through this method, you can watch Netflix’s shows not specifically available in your physically located region.

It has, however, also become rather popular over the last couple of years for people to use this ‘exploit’ in order to attempt to get cheaper video games. Particularly on platforms such as Steam.

Well, in a report via TechPowerUp, while it likely will not have a complete effect on stopping it, Steam has announced a new policy that should see VPN price exploits cut rather significantly!

Steam Launches Anti-VPN Exploit Policy

So, how does this exploit work? Well, video games are not sold at a standard rate around the world. They are, generally speaking, priced to reflect the overall economic state of a countries inhabitants. There is no point, after all, charging a US price for a game sold in Argentina when the average household income is comparatively so significantly different.

This is, however, exactly how the exploit worked. By tricking Steam into thinking you do reside in one of these less affluent countries, you were able to access games often at huge discounts. For example, take the recent launch of the Horizon Zero Dawn PC port. While this cost around $30-$40 in the West, it was available in other parts of the world for only $7. And yes, masses of people took advantage of this!

With their new policy, however, Steam is looking to put severe limitations on this practice!

How Does It Work?

In a nutshell, if your region/location has recently been changed on Steam, your first purchase from that location must be made with the countries actual currency. In other words, it will not allow for an American based bank account to make a purchase on the platform that has been priced (for example) in Pesos.

While we daresay that some workaround will be discovered (if it hasn’t been already) this should, at the very least, severely restrict this type of exploit. Oh, and if you’re wondering why this needs to be done? Well, while the games might be initially accessible quite cheaply, if Steam suspects some fishy business is going one from ‘external’ sources, they often massively ramp the price up and that’s hardly fair on the gamers who do actually live in the country, is it?

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

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