Translation via DeepL:

EU fines Valve and other video game companies in the millions

The EU Commission has been investigating the business practices of six video game companies - now fines have been announced. One of the companies refused to cooperate with the Commission.

Valve and five publishers of video games are to pay fines of 7.8 million euros, according to EU competition watchdogs. As the EU Commission announced on Wednesday, EU antitrust law had been violated. Valve has become known as the developer of games such as "Half-Life" and operates the computer game platform Steam, on which tens of thousands of games from third-party manufacturers are offered.

The other companies affected are Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax, also among the better-known names in the industry. ZeniMax, for example, is the parent company of Bethesda Softworks, famous for game series such as "The Elder Scrolls" and "Fallout".

Valve's fine is reportedly more than 1.6 million euros. Unlike the fines for the other companies involved, which total more than six million euros, it has not been reduced by 10 to 15 per cent, it says: Unlike the other companies, the Steam operator had not cooperated with the EU Commission.

Of the five publishers, Focus Home has to pay the highest fine (almost 2.9 million euros), the smallest amount concerns Bandai Namco (340,000 euros).

This is what the companies are accused of
The companies are accused of preventing consumers from using purchased video games in other EU countries. Specifically, there are alleged to have been agreements which, among other things, led to activation codes - so-called keys - which are needed on Steam to unlock games, only working within certain national borders. In other words, a game purchased in countries such as Poland, Hungary or Romania might not have been activated in other EU countries and thus could not have been used, according to the criticism.

Valve itself had already emphasised in 2019 that the Commission's accusations did not refer to the sale of PC games on Steam. Instead, the commission accused the company of making so-called geoblocking possible. For this purpose, the company had made Steam keys available to game publishers and linked these keys - at the request of the respective publisher - to certain territories within the European Economic Area, it was said at the time.

Due to the concerns of the EU Commission, those "region locks" were switched off in the European Economic Area from 2015, Valve said - except in cases where local legal regulations or distribution requirements made them necessary.

Around 100 games are at stake
The EU Commission's communication now says the geo-blocking practices affected around 100 PC games of different genres, including sports, simulation and action games. Consumers were prevented from activating and playing PC games purchased from the publishers' distributors. European consumers were denied the benefits of the digital single market by these commercial practices, it added, "and in particular the possibility of choosing the best offer in different Member States".

The antitrust proceedings against the companies had been initiated in February 2017. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented that the fines now imposed "serve as a reminder that EU competition law prohibits companies from contractually restricting cross-border sales".

In December 2018, the so-called Geoblocking Regulation had already been applied in the EU. It prohibits online retailers from geographically restricting the use of PC games sold on physical media. In view of the different prices depending on the country, buying games in other EU countries can be quite attractive for consumers.

1 month ago*

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1 month ago
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Correct me if I'm wrong, there are 2 regions for Europe so 100 games were region-locked or priced differently in one of the 2 regions ?

1 month ago
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I think they call them belarus-region(old UdSSR states?) and the wester region(rich states like france and germany).
You can't use belarus when you are in france etc.

1 month ago
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CIS and EU regions*

1 month ago
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Belarus is not in the EU. Here we're talking about countries in the EU, there was 2 different price for games within the EU.

EU1 region countries:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Netherlands, Sweden or Switzerland

EU2 region countries:
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, the Vatican City, Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania

CIS region has nothing to do with this.

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What I hate about this, is that Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, hell even Croatia are having same prices as most of the rich countries, which is absurd.

60€ for a game, and average sallary is around 200-250 € in Bosnia

1 month ago
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Yes, I know. You can thank EU Commission, they fight hard for your rights!!
I'm not even sure that they think (or care) about what will happen after they sue companies like this and that they're actually harming many customers in the end. But hey, EU Antitrust laws are more important, you know. Too bad for people who can't buy expensive games.

1 month ago
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UK (currently out of EU) and Poland now have their own price columns in Steam store. I think it is Poland that had regional locked versions of some games in the past, and maybe some other Eastern European countries (Czech Republic, Slovakia).

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Some games' region locks are a hot mess.
Like Dishonored RHCP - where RHCP stands for Russia, Hungary, Czechia and Poland
https://steamdb.info/app/217980/
It ships with these languages: English, Russian, Polish, Hungarian, Czech and is probably sold in the above countries in physical stores and maybe keyshops, but on Steam it is only sold in Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Poland - because Hungary and Czechia don't have their own currencies and use euro.

One side effect is that Dishonored GOTY that I bought before they introduced new currencies on Steam, including PLN in Poland, is visible in my library and playable, but according to the store, I don't have it, because Bethesda swapped the version available in the store from ROW to RHCP. Minor problem for the most part, but because of that I cannot use the bundle discount here without purchasing Dishonored GOTY again...

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But UK never used € currency, so they always had their own price using £.

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I doubt they ever had a region locked version either.

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The amount to be paid is chump change for these companies, but the implications of this ruling is that "geolocking" will no longer be possible?
It will be interesting to see further development.

1 month ago
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does this mean region locking is going away - if so good

1 month ago
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No, this only involves region locking in the countries within the EU, which Valve has already disabled in 2015 (AFAIK). This is just a fine for the period before 2015.

Out of curiosity, why would the removal of region locks be a good thing?

1 month ago
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why would it not? ok if you are in rest of the world where like me we have no problem trading games but in places like Russia the limited makes buying and trading harder

1 month ago
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The average salary in countries like Russia, India, Argentina, etc. are very low compared to "rich" countries like Germany, USA, etc.

For someone living in USA a typical AAA game might be 1% of their monthly income, but for someone in Russia it's 10%. This will make Russians buy games far less often and will likely increase piracy rates (like they were before Valve introduced Steam and regional pricing in Russia), at the same time making game publishers less money, since regional prices are set to whatever will maximise profits even at a lower price point.

1 month ago
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well i don't think all people in aaa+ rich countries are rich and still pay higher prices - why should we pay more for the same thing - unfair , if i get on a bus and say tom cruise get's on the bus should the fee he pay be more than me

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Obviously not everyone in the US is a millionaire, and not everyone in Bulgaria is a homeless bankrupt. On average though, there is a major difference. An engineer in the US will be paid $100k a year, but the same engineer doing the same job in Bulgaria might be paid $30k in their local currency. It's irrelevant whether or not it's fair. It's a different economy, different country, different currency.

Or, in another example, a bus fare between 2 towns 10 kilometres away might be £7 in the United Kingdom, but it's going to be 10zł in Poland for the same distance. 10zł has the value of £2. Why do Polish people get cheaper buses than those in the United Kingdom? Because they earn less money. If bus fares in Poland were 35zł, a lot less people will be buying them and bus companies will earn less money.

It's not a matter of "why do I pay more" or "it's not fair", it's just a business practice to allow shops, services, and sellers to maximise their profits in other regions and at the same time make it more affordable for the people living there.

1 month ago
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"Why should we pay more for the same thing?"

For the same reason we earn more for doing the same work

1 month ago
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i don't agree sorry

1 month ago
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You don't agree that people get paid different amounts, or you don't agree that society is structured to be unfair? Not agreeing here seems like a rather bizarre perspective, right in line with denying that the sun exists. In any case, downward regional cost adjustments are done to bring costs in line with regional income, so it's.. absolutely nonsensical to argue against in the first place. If you follow that logic, then they also need to pay the same for sundries like food. Which either means you want them all to starve to death, or that you want better-off first world countries to start contributing funds to balance out the economies of less economically stable countries.

Of course, that's in one direction. If you look at the way they inflate prices in certain regions- namely, the EU- solely because they can, then you can definitely could argue a greed-driven disparity which unfairly targets certain regional groups. Though if we look at a broader picture, EU citizens typically have so many more benefits on the whole relative to US citizens, that "higher priced luxury goods" is a small price to pay, even before you realize that bundles largely negate PC game cost concerns to begin with. Not that that negates any considerations of "unfairness", just that it limits the amount of ire one can really direct towards it.

Best way to think of it is that the US is a club, with an entry fee. The EU is a much nicer club, and they charge more, but they still serve the same drinks. East European countries are hole-in-the-wall clubs (again, with the same drinks), but you can avoid having to pay entry fees because of their low-key status. Ultimately, yes, the costs differ for the same products, but that's reasonable relative to the environments (ie, the same as with clubs).

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well you are a bit out of touch with the world there buddy "sorry" not so sorry

Salary in my country for an engineer goes as low as 15-20k a year. While there are countries that pay up to 5 times that. Not to even mention USA. I earn under 10k a year (after taxes) in my current workplace. For referance there is a manufacturer that makes cars near me. The country they are from is closing down their plant because engineers there cost 3000-5000 eur a month. In my country they can pay them 1000 - 1500 EUR. They do absolutely the same job, but due to economic situation in the country thay can afford to do that

And I do no less then, lets say, someone who earns 40-50 or even up to 100k a year in other countries.
Whether it's fair to lower prices for us is debatable and I don't really care for that because I don't care to buy a game even at 20 EUR price tag. BUT Kajo86 brings up a great point. We do about the same job, yet earn less.
Roughly people earn around 1000 eur before taxes (which is decent wage). After taxes it's around 700 EUR, take about 200-300 for rent, 100 for food, 100 for fuel. And you almost have nothing left.

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For the same reason we earn more for doing the same work

"By the same premise [as us earning more for doing the same work]" would be better phrasing.
Sharing a premise indicates a connected or comparable argument. "For the same reason" indicates a shared justification or causation. In this case, there's no justification for either, and the causation is, strictly speaking not correlated, unless you're going broad enough to attribute it to "humans are greedy, shitty little fuckers". In which case.. yeah, that's fine.

tl;dr version::
Reason [in the usage synonymous with rationality] has nothing to do with this shit. :P


Edit:
For any German-native speakers, here's a proper interpretation of the above text, if needed:

As "Reason" translates to both ursache/grund and vernuft, I pointed out that premise (a direct conversion of the word prämisse, also relatable in some aspects to voraussetzung) is a better option for Kajo's statement, as ursache/grund would only apply if we're discussing broad factors like human greed [as obviously there's no other direct correlation between the factors pushing inequal pay for identical labor, regional economic disparity, and region locks], and vernuft is clearly lacking within such matters.

The likliest cause of a translation issue may fall in grund/ursache having a less strict usage in German, instead of translating to a more strict interpretation of "cause" [why or from what something originated], or a difference between strict definitions and more casual misapplications of any of the words involved in the matter. Other words which may relate to a translation issue translate more broadly, as with zweck matching closer to the English word "purpose".

In any case, in proper English, "for the same reason" would not at all indicate that one is addressing a similarity in structure, and would instead only be used to indicate a shared cause. For example, "Thanks to losing my job, I've been eating nothing but ramen. For the same reason, I'm concerned that I'll be unable to afford my rent next month." has a shared causation of <job loss> and thus works naturally and coherently with the phrase.

Further, the function of the above text was to use the distinction between Reason's two meanings to focus on the vernuft interpretation. This allowed me to both engage in some jesting/teasing, and also to use the distinction to support Kajo's overall sentiment by adding emphasis to it. At no point was there any intention to argue Kajo's intentions with the word they used (while the word was actually improper for the usage it was applied to, the intention was nevertheless of course completely clear).

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Duly noted, thanks
I'm not a native speaker :D

1 month ago
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While I was technically correcting the misused word (I don't know enough Italian to add a translation explaination for that, sorry), my main purpose was to note the distinction between the two different meanings of "reason" and use that to playfully support your sentiment. Your intention comes across just fine with "reason", and I wouldn't have mentioned the distinction in definition if I hadn't wanted to use it as a foundation for my jesting and agreeing with you. Just in case that wasn't clear. ^.^

1 month ago
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C'mon, that's splitting hairs...

Also, I think causation applies here, so, by your own logic, using "same reason" would be appropriate.

1 month ago
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They could put $60 in every country and lose money. Here, for example, seven years ago the estimative for pirated games were 82% and it was worse before. So, yeah, it is not fair like everything.

1 month ago
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why should we pay more for the same thing - unfair

Let's rephrase it then.
Why should you get higher salary than people from the same job in poor country?

1 month ago
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Because that is the salary for that country. They can always automate the job and forever lose the salary, making the company better off. Should you go ahead and force companies to pay more if that is what can happen?

1 month ago
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This can only be done to some extend. And going into another country can be countered by import taxes etc.

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I heard in several other threads about relatable topics, that people in Eastern EU are still having the same price as us (€60) despite being in a more "poor" country. I can't confirm that since I live in NL (WEU), but if that's true then they would have the biggest positive if the regionlocking inside EU was gone.

1 month ago
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The pricing of games is up to the publisher. Steam allows publishers to set regional prices in Poland for a very long time now, and several games are cheaper there than in the rest of the EU. You can check store prices on SteamDB, here is the page for Witcher 3, for example.

Many publishers don't use regional pricing for Poland and other "poor" EU countries because they're either greedy or want to prevent these cheaper keys from being bought by users in "rich" countries like Germany or France. Right now there are no region locks in the EU, so nothing is stopping Germans from buying keys in Poland.

but if that's true then they would have the biggest positive if the regionlocking inside EU was gone

I think you got it wrong, Steam region locking inside the EU is gone since 2015. Valve is being fined because they were region locking EU keys before 2015, it just took 5 years for the EU comission to decide on the fine. It would probably be good for Polish users if Valve started region locking again, but that would be against the EU single market policy so Valve would get fined again.

1 month ago*
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I'm Hungarian, and I can confirm that our prices are the same. Before 2015 there was the EU2 region for the Eastern EU countries, which meant some games were cheaper for us. I remember that Croteam wrote a warning back then because they had to raise the price of The Talos Principle and they were sorry about that.

1 month ago
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EU2 was slightly cheaper but only for a few games, the majority had the same prices. Now in PLN the prices are better, not by much, but about 10%, thanks to the default conversion rate set by Valve. Plus we have Polish prices for Witcher and Cyberpunk. But there are also a few cases where PLN price is higher than in EUR or pretty much the same.

1 month ago
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Totally, I live in Bosnia and we have same game prices as "rich" countries.

So game is 60€, and average salary is anywhere from 200-300€, when you pay the bills, and other expenses you really can`t buy a 60€ game here.

1 month ago
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Would sure wish we'd have lower prices like in Russia. We have almost the same average income as Russia but the same prices any other "rich" country here in Romania. I don't think it will happen any time soon (or ever) but it would be the sweetest thing ever.

1 month ago
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I second this, we have highest prices on game, with crappy income...

1 month ago
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Imo, the only good thing that would come from removing the region locks would be being able to gift things to friends. I'm locked and when I want to gift a game to someone special to me, I have to buy it outside of Steam, which makes me pay 20 times more what a game is worth, but I'm aware that if the locks were removed people would sadly abuse the system again.

1 month ago
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so basically they want valve to have one price throughout the eu countries? if valve removes the region locks, then people will just pay whatever the cheapest price is. so in order to prevent that, will valve just use the highest (or lowest lol yeah ok) price and make them all equal? please correct me if i'm wrong as i know almost nothing about region locks or eu pricing. been living and buying games in the states my whole life and have never had to deal with region locks or regional pricing.

1 month ago
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i would guess the law would likely take the average price across the board

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As I understand it, it's not about the comission seeking one price between EU countries at all. It's that the EU has a < single market > concept, meaning that you have the right to sell and contract between any member nation. Region locks which limit games to specific member states are thus a violation of those regulations. The important sections from the thread post are two of the last paragraphs:

"[EU consumers cannot be denied] the possibility of choosing the best offer [available across] different Member States".

The antitrust proceedings against the companies had been initiated in February 2017. EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager commented that the fines now imposed "serve as a reminder that EU competition law prohibits companies from contractually restricting cross-border sales".

Thus, it's not strictly an issue to, say, sell content at a higher price in [ex.] Germany- you just can't limit Germans from being able to purchase the same game (at a cheaper price) from other regions within the EU. And, to once again quote, therein lies the issue with region locks:

activation codes - so-called keys - which are needed on Steam to unlock games, only working within certain national borders. In other words, a game purchased in countries such as Poland, Hungary or Romania might not have been activated in other EU countries and thus could not have been used, according to the criticism.

/

will valve just use the highest (or lowest lol yeah ok) price and make them all equal

Strictly speaking, pricing'd still be a publisher decision; The issue as it relates to Valve is that Valve allowed publishers to set region locks which ignored EU regulations. As far as how publishers would market it? Hard to say. It may be that it's still possible to find cheaper physical boxes in certain states (but not online), or maybe that publishers'll favor releasing at higher base prices and lowering the price faster [thus allowing more adaptability to different consumer budgets], or similar.

VPNs are the real issue, I'd imagine, since they limit publishers from even being able to soft-lock purchases by region [meaning a diverse single market isn't easily possible with digital goods]. Assuming publishers ignore the existence of VPNs or have some kind of way of limiting their functionality, then there wouldn't be any real need for adjustment by publishers as far as using region-based pricing within the EU.

been living and buying games in the states my whole life

That's kinda the thing. Imagine if you weren't allowed to activate a game bought in, say, North Dakota, in any other state. Since the EU member states function similarly on such matters to US member states, it's a fairly comparable perspective. You'd probably have some outcry here in the States if they started trying to pull that here, as well. So it's not like the EU commision is being at all unreasonable, or overly rigid on rules. It's that the region locks as they stand are, well... problematic.

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yeah sorry, i should have worded that first sentence better or put it at the end of the paragraph maybe. i just meant if valve removes region/al locks/pricing, that could result in a singular price throughout. else everyone would be purchasing solely from wherever a particular game is cheapest.

1 month ago
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Just like you have people rushing to preorder games, you'd still get a lot of sales from people who just don't bother looking for bargains. So it's not as if consumers would be "solely" purchasing from the cheapest EU regions- it's that those who are aware of the matter and feel it's worth the time and effort [eg, to manipulate a VPN], would be able to get a better deal.

It's likely not really affecting sales or pricing considerations as much as one might initially think. After all, the fact that games usually plummet in prices within a half year of release isn't really hurting initial sales, either, right? Patience and effort are both things that a lot of consumers just don't put much value on.

Though I'd imagine the removal of region locks made it so they don't set prices too low in regions like Poland, now. Actually, I just checked a few games on SteamDB, and it seems as though the Polish currency is pretty in line with USD pricing for the games I checked. Rather, EU pricing is no longer just 1:1ing Euro against USD, but actually often having a higher base price now as well.
[A few games that used to have a converted price of about +12 - 15% over USD are now at a whopping 40 - 50% over. o.O Not sure how much of that relates to a fall in USD valuation, but since the games are showing a higher list price for EU games- eg, 20E versus $15- there definitely seems to be some regional publisher inflation involved regardless.]

So perhaps publishers responded simply by inflating basic pricing, to scalp those non-bargain-hunters all the more, to make up for the bargain hunters who'll take advantage of now having access to a single market.

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so the only reason i get paid more is so i can be charged more - great

1 month ago
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Do you prefer to receive $200 per month and pay less? You can do that.

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well that's not any different then is it

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Well, the game is usually $40 = 20% of $200. So, $60 = 20% of $300, if you receive $300 monthly, yes it is the same thing. I don't know how much you receive and i don't want to know, i'll just consider you are right.
It does not matter, the publishers just want to maximize the profit. They don't sell the games in "rich" countries for $50, for example, because they don't think the sales will rise enough to compensate the $10 "loss" on each game. The games were $60 in "poor" countries on the past, they just did not get the same profit they have now.

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Nothing will change, this is just a fine for what Valve and the other publishers have done in the past.

Valve removed region locks inside of all EU countries in 2015, so since then any game purchased in any EU country could be bought and activated in any other EU country. Nothing was stopping Germans or French customers from buying cheap games in Poland, as long as you could somehow access the Polish version of the Steam store (eg. by actually going to Poland).

Valve still allows publishers to set different prices in multiple EU countries, and it's unlikely they will stop.

1 month ago
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Nothing was stopping Germans or French customers from buying cheap games in Poland, as long as you could somehow access the Polish version of the Steam store (eg. by actually going to Poland).

what's stopping people from using a vpn to shop around for the lowest price? sorry if that's a stupid question but again, i know pretty much nothing about regional anything. just curious.

1 month ago
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Inside the EU? Pretty much nothing. Using VPN on the Steam store is against their TOS so they might ban your account, but nothing is stopping you from buying keys from digital stores in Poland or Bulgaria and activating them in Germany, you don't even need a VPN for that. Keys meant for any EU country can be activated in any other EU country.

Most people don't know that or don't want to bother shopping around on foreign sites just to get a game 50% off. If they did, they would be buying exclusively from grey market sellers already, or just pirating.

1 month ago*
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Inside the EU? Pretty much nothing. Using VPN on the Steam store is against their TOS so they might ban your account

Not unless they want another fine. Pretty sure those TOS are illegal under European consumer laws.

1 month ago
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That's the thing: They aren't allowed to block you from accessing any country store. So they aren't allowed to redirect you as frenchman from the poland to france store.

1 month ago
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So.. tl;dr version:
EU Comission: You can region lock your games all you want, just don't region lock them between EU member states.
Valve: :sticks fingers in ears:
EU Comission: No, we're serious.
Valve: FINE THEN.
Eu Comission: Okay, good. But you're still gonna have to pay a fine for that whole singing and ignoring us bit, earlier.

1 month ago*
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XD

1 month ago
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LMAO

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like it or not, justseedy isn't wrong.

if a publisher sells a game for 20€ (converted) in "poor" countries they obviously still make a profit. otherwise they simply wouldn't do it.
if they sell the same game for 60€ in EU / US they just make more profit.

i don't see any ferraris or rtx 3090s being sold for 1/3 of the price in "poor" countries either.

1 month ago
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It is because is hard to piracy a rtx 3090 or a Ferrari, usually those things are more expensive or nonexistent in poor countries (at least in the "poor" country i live)..

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if a publisher sells a game for 20€ (converted) in "poor" countries they obviously still make a profit. otherwise they simply wouldn't do it.

If the price of the development is more than 20€ on average then no, they can not afford to sell it for everyone at 20€ lol.

While the 60$/€ price is more or less traditional, in each country the number sales depend on the willingness and ableness of people buying the game.

If 100 people buy it for 20€, then it generates 2000€ income. If 16 will buy it for 60€, then it will generate 900€ income. While capitalist corporations do want the most most out of a game and its sales, they compare that sale not to other countries, but to other prices in the same country.
If it's already available and many people buy it for 60$, then they would only sell it for 20€ if it would generate at least 3 times the number of sales, so they would net on it.

And we're back to the point, that 60$ or 60€ in most western countries "worth" a lot less. Living usually costs more, but in many cases food costs the same. Technology and imported goods are actually cheaper than in poorer countries, because of the taxes and exchange rates you mentioned. I earn above the the Hungarian average, and it takes me more than one and a half DAY to earn 60$, while the US currently vocal for the 15$/hour *minimum salary, with what you can earn 60$ in four hours, one-third of the time.
I know this raise is the main topic because this would be a livable minimum wage in the US, but again - we're comparing one country's acceptable level of income to another one's above the average income. The difference is LOT bigger than 3-fold. And there are poorer countries in the EU, or around the world.

To circle back to the start - 60$ is absolutely affordable for a western European or American worker, after all it's not a daily expanse. Also, this is the maximum price of the game, not counting any sales.Wait a month or two and it's 20-40% off. (For everyone, generally)
You can't make games cheaper and double the sales of something that was already super affordable to begin with, even more with sales in mind.
If there'll be ever a single price, it will be to raise maximum income of the corporate, and the poor countries will pay for it either at full US/EU price, or an inbetween one, which is a raise compared to the local price. And the richest countries stay as they are, or get a discount. Talking about equality and stuff.

(Btw your GPU and card examples:Tech is prices towards the west and never, ever discounted in poorer countries. And luxury cars are luxury, which means they deliberately priced a lot higher than their technical worth, because people buy it for the the prestige. The producer follows a different method of maximizing profits)

1 month ago
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Comparing physical goods to arbitrary goods(software) is somehow off.
Developmentcost for sotware is something different than the raw cost of produciton(physical).
Hell a bit cost no a single cent, so any price from 1 cent to infinte is okay. Making profit itself is different then.

1 month ago
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Hell a bit cost no a single cent, so any price from 1 cent to infinte is okay.

Are you high?

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He may be high, but he's got the spirit. A digital copy can cost 1 cent and developers can earn back invested money if enough sales are made at this price they set.

Physical things generally don't go below they initial cost to make because every other unit has the same cost. Digital copies on them own don't have an inital cost, so the prices can vary according to number of sales made..

1 month ago
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Physical things generally don't go below they initial cost to make because every other unit has the same cost. Digital copies on them own don't have an inital cost,

Their individual cost is the cost of making the game / current copies sold. And while in theory they could sell the game for a single cent, in the real world it's literally impossible. It would cost 10k sales to get back the price of even submitting the game to Steam. Cyberpunk 2077 sold ~ 13 million copies, which would mean $130,000 Usd. With even $15 salary/hour that's 8666 manpower-hour, which is 4 (!) people's work 40 hours a week for a single year, calculated at ~ minimum salary. And this is one of the top seller games right now, otherwise each person's salary would cost 1500 sales each hour to just break even - and again, at minimum salary.
And at that point the corporation that is making the game to break even could just fire everyone, and the CEO can go to flip burgers and actually have more money (running a corp has additional expenses than creating a product) with less stress. There aren't a lot of quality games happening that are completely and 100% free, because breaking even is not enough to live. And people with enough free time and ideas to make a game while having a day job is quite low.

They may have the spirit, but it would barely work in a vacuum, even less on Earth, considering interest in videogames (there is a finite number of people, and even fewer who are interested/reachable for a game, which massively caps the income, and therefore the variety of the game). And even less if you add just a pinch of financial reality to it.
It's like the physics problems in elementary when you treat a car as a moving, infinitesimally small point that actually has no volume to it. It works on paper, but not for a fraction of a second in real life, outside of simplified and ideal models.

1 month ago
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Nope, but you are an idiot it seems.
Else explain what a key cost to make. Initial cost is something different than production cost. And showing all those numbers show you got no clue what you are talking about.
When they sold 10 million keys at 40$ they made back their development cost. But those keys simply costed nothing to produce in itself as they are arbitrary made. Unlike physical goods, that cost alone with their production. So any key above the point of initial cost can cost siimply nothing for customers as the thing is done.

1 month ago
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Nope, but you are an idiot it seems.

You're the one arguing about how a company should price their games to make no money after years' work lol.

Else explain what a key cost to make.

You can generate any number of keys, but as you were talking about breaking even (and not making a profit) the cost of one key will come out of the full cost of making the game, divided by the number of keys to break even. If the game cost $10M to make and you make 1 key, you have to sell it to $10M to be at 0. If you generate 10M keys, then they cost $1 each on the market to break even.
There is an average price linked to each key as the company gets the money spent on development back though each key. This is how basic economics work! They sell X at highest price, then Y at a discount, then Z at a discount... and by going your way of "breaking even with no profit" the sum of the keys sold multiplied by the average selling price will give the cost of development (and other extra costs). And you know what: the cost of the keys is the development cost, which is a fixed cost. After that, generating keys give no variable cost, but they increase production output, so the average cost goes down, along with the marginal cost. But this is economics 101, nothing advanced.

When they sold 10 million keys at 40$ they made back their development cost.

also the whole arguement started about region locks. Now everyone just pays 40$ and fuck it? Or maybe it's really not as simple as you say? What if discounting the game by 50% does not double the sales of the game, because the product does not have perfect price flexibiltiy (which would mean half price means double sales, third price means triple sales, etc) ?

Just pick up an economics books before starting a rant about some communist ideology about knowing upfront sales numbers and aiming at breaking even.

1 month ago
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You keep talking nonsense. A key cost NOTHING.
That's basic economy. The sellpoint is something different than cost.
And after years, why should a key cost something(like the initial price)? Simple said: BS.
It's not actual anymore. When someone want to play it, it just don't make sense to pay the same price as it was introduced. And selling the key after turn point for the same(or nearly) price as introduced is just a greedy move(commun capitalism). But all prices of a key have no point for why they are choosen and are simple choosen by other means than cost.

What BS do you come up with flexible? Did I talk about doubled sales for half the price? No! So spare that nonse.
When 50 keys are sold for 10$ it's the same as 100 keys for just 5$. As the cost don't increase with the number of keys(which you simply fail hard to understand despite your economic nonsense you try to make you sound smart).

1 month ago
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You keep talking nonsense. A key cost NOTHING.

Then please generate me a single copy of a game that you make, starting now.
Oh wait, suddenly you NEED TO DEVELOP THE GAME TO HAVE A SINGLE KEY.

What BS do you come up with flexible?

Seriously, read just a bit from a basic economics book if you don't even know what fixed and flexible costs are. Or just google it, wikipedia can explain it to you. You lack any basic knowledge in the field, there is no point going on further. You're just repeating your wishes and ideologies.

1 month ago
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You are retarded beyond imagination.
Nope the key still cost nothing. Development is something different.
How about reading books yourself what is development and key?

Your BS of flexible has nothing to do with the cost of a key. So bringing this into a discussion is just pure nonsense.
But you fail to comprehend many easy things, so it's no wonder it seem?

1 month ago
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I do totally agree with what you are saying here. The situation is such that the 60+ EUR price tag is justified with expenses there are with running a company and making such a game. Not doubting that for a moment.
Though the initial argument stands - generating a new digital copy/key is free. So if they lower the price and sell that way to someone who wouldn't have bought it for the full price is still a sale. And they really didn't lose anything in lowering a price for some region. While making a car or GPU still required money to make that new unit to sell. So in a way what you can sell that way is finite to what you produce, while digital keys can be infinite (meaning you have to treat the sales and price generating of it differently) ...

Of course the situation is such that you can't sell infinite amount of keys. And professional grade productivity apps show it perfectly - those tend to cost several hundred euros for a license because there aren't that many clients and they have to earn back running costs of the company. All I wanted to point out - MeisterLeuchte totally missed with his comparison

1 month ago
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So if they lower the price and sell that way to someone who wouldn't have bought it for the full price is still a sale. And they really didn't lose anything in lowering a price for some region.

One of the biggest problem is the theme of the topic - forcing the EU to have a single price. As I guess you already know, successful (or in some cases, irrelevant) games does not need to decrease price because people will still buy it like candy. And if a game flops, they start discounting it.
The issue with the "lower general prices " that it leaves smaller wiggle room to minimize losses by discounts, and despite how much manpower goes into economics, it's still an empirical science that often reacts to happenings, rather than lead them. They definitely could decrease the prices (but it would be pretty sure that the overall profits as well, and who would want to do that?) but how much? It's not an easy change to make, even if they'd force to do that, as I think we all know at least some about surprise flops or surprise successes in the gaming world. And they don't like to gamble.

Also a thing I'd like to emphasize: a universal price at its lower is super unlikely, and whatever in between solution the industry would find would put a higher toll on the already poorer regions, while leaving more money to the richer ones. And I say this as someone who is not affected by this change, as I already pay full price with fraction of the income.

It would be a lot better - of course - to have a universal "gift all" situation back, but we either should go back to the time when everyone was buying games from Russia and Oceania, or leave the poorer regions alone and maintain regional pricing that reflects more about the income of the region/country. (And mind you, buying indies from Oceania would still fuck over small studios and individual developers. AAA studios and Valve - I personally wouldn't mind them taking the hit on their profits)

1 month ago
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Region locks are still bad. No way to argue they are good. Having still the high price for ANY country show the greed of a company.
Not the EU law is flawed, it's how companies handle countries with their pricement(and sales appear global).
And what is the excuse for Indies?

1 month ago
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It's obvious you don't know how sales of either work if you make such a comparison.
Physical goods have about the same cost to make for every new unit they make - if an RTX card costs 200-300 to make, it's going to sell for roughly the price Nvidia has asked for it. If a Ferrari costs 300k to make , it's going to cost the price they ask. If they don;t sell a unit in poor country, they will sell it in rich country and it wont be considered a lost sale.
For digital goods there is a set cost at the beginning. Lets say 1 million euros. So how they earn it back is irrelevant. Either they can sell 20 000 copies for 60 EUR or they can sell 60 000 copies for 20 EUR. They get the same income and if they don't sell a copy in poor country - that's a lost sale. So if they can get at least 20-30 EUR for a copy from poor countries - that is only profit.

So it's either - sell a copy for a lower price or don't sell it at all. The two models of business is so different you can;t even compare the two. Same as games going for 90% off after a while it has been on a market or going in a bundle. At this point they already have reached break even point and made profit. Everything after that is already profit. That's why RTX cards or a ferrary never goes for nearly nothing after years of being on a market - they still retain their original cost in them. (there is of course market depreciation, but that's a different story altogether)

So they are not comparable in such a way you describe. Yes - there are price deviations from region to region anyway. But that is done by changing the profit part of the price (product still retains the initial cost as I mentioned earlier)

For this not to turn into something else - I understand there are bunch of other expenses and even a game developer has to pay upkeep and workers their wages. But so does manufacturers of physical goods. Here I'm referencing ONLY how it's made and how the price is set, because that is different between phsyical products and digital licences of a product that doesn't have ongoing fixed cost to make.

1 month ago*
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Since I started this thread, here are my 2 cents:
The vote is of noble interest. But since we live in a capitalist world, my guess is that publishers will just rise the base price of their games in poorer countries to minimize their losses. What - in the end - will result in more piracy from those poorer countries. If your average monthly wage is 400 Euros and a game costs 50 Euros, you might want to spend those 50 bucks elsewhere.

1 month ago
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"If your average monthly wage is 400 Euros and a game costs 50 Euros, you might want to spend those 50 bucks elsewhere."

Exactly. That's why there are different prices for different regions - the alternative choice of the publishers would be leave those countries and not sell anything there. I'm quite sure nobody really want that.

1 month ago
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Yeah, in my country the price of an average AAA game costs like 40% of the minimum wage of a person (No regional pricing), those 40% are better off spent in something that can keep em alive..

1 month ago
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EU antitrust law had been violated

In a way, it's nice that they do something against regional pricing. But in another way, if they really want to shove anti-trust laws into companies that deserve it, they should look towards Google and the like before looking towards Valve and a bunch of other gaming companies...

Also, hurray for DeepL

1 month ago
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"On 27 June 2017, Google was found guilty and was fined €2.4 billion (about US$2.7 billion), the largest such antitrust fine issued by the EC."

Wikipedia

1 month ago
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Yeah but apparently this wasn't enough since they're still buying companies like we go grocery shopping...

Feels like they just paid the fine (with the money they're saving from unpaid taxes) (did they even pay the fine?) and carried on with their business as usual.

1 month ago
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Guess that's the problem with not being able to put companies in jail.
I wonder if there's any amount of money Google could be fined that would prevent them from ever breaking laws again when they make such a profit from it.
Kinda like oil companies using crappy tankers bought through shell corporations, knowing they are crappy and will break at some point.
You can fine them all you want but they make about 100 times the fine with the tanker in one week so...

1 month ago
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The alternative is to smash cartels and break up companies, if these are manipulating the market or abuse their power. Although I already read about threats towards the big tech companies even by US politicans, I'm not sure if the US law would really allow it. And to get it going, you would need a large political interest in it, consumer protection organisations usually aren't as loud ($$$) as the tech lobby is. And to be fair, the national product and jobs are valid reasons to hope for a change of the company's behaviour first.

1 month ago
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I agree. Companies like Google employ a lot of people, as do the companies working in their gravity so of course, they can't be dismantled. I'll tell you though that if CEOs were spending time in jail every time they break the laws just like the rest of us would, that would change things lol
The thing is companies that big used to be pretty untouchable but the market was taking care of itself. Nowadays, stock holders don't care about the ethics of a company, they just care about the bottom line. So companies and their decision makers just keep breaking laws with complete impunity. Oh well.

1 month ago
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Just because you read about one thing doesn't mean another was or is being ignored.

1 month ago
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Yes, but the fact is that it is. Reading about one thing plainly reminded me of that.

1 month ago*
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"...except in cases where local legal regulations or distribution requirements made them necessary."

Haha, nope. They also disabled these ones which might be a problem with local legal regulations, but without knowing what they were actually doing and without checking the regulations in detail. For Germany, titles were blocked that were allowed in general, but were not intended to be sold to persons younger than 18 years.

1 month ago
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Yeah, that is an issue I did not run into until very recently. I don't exactly know when the change rolled over but I was so annoyed to not be able to see items on my wishlist anymore solely because they may in part feature mature content. :/ And I figured an important change like that would at least get some sort of public acknowledgement to the target area's users? Just today I stumbled across a thread of someone confused why something was hidden "according to your preferences" when they had clearly set mature items etc as allowed in their preferences. I double-checked with some items I used to have on my wishlist which are now magically vanished and not accessible anymore. Fucking bull. This is like youtube pre-emptively blocking music vids in Germany because the GEMA might claim (never mind that GEMA even claims where it has no right to :/ ).

1 month ago
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The change had happened in December, shortly before the winter sale started. You can still purchase these games by putting them to the basket from your wishlist or by viewing the sub page for it (go to SteamDB and use package link).

1 month ago
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Some mature games are now blocked due the violation of german law of protection kids/teens. Their mechanism to disallow non-mature audience to view/purchase said games were non-existent for the law and Valve/steam failed/ignored that and got now f*(don't know the exact reason) so they force a total block of those content/games.

1 month ago
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And the core of the problem is: they refuse to set up an approbiate age verification tool. This would solve most of these problems.

1 month ago
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Yeah that's definitely one of the more bothersome things. Not like other online stores have done this for years, right? With our IDs primed for this kinda thing, it's just needlessly frustrating, haha.

1 month ago
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Which age verification tool? Why not simply something already in use in one of the EU member states?

1 month ago
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Um, I thought it was EU laws that started this whole "region" BS? Are they just dumb?

1 month ago
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Got any source for that?

1 month ago
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I don't that is why it's a question. I did find this however "Another reason for region locking is cultural sensitivity. Some games just aren’t available in some regions because the type of content they contain has been banned or would be offensive to gamers in those regions." I recalled there being something with Germany specifically where you can't have any Nazi stuff in your games so Wolfenstein has to be region locked to everything besides Germany? Also AU has some weird laws too? I never looked into it so I don't know if this has anything to do with what they are fining Valve over but it does seem like a mess that could have been avoided?

1 month ago
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Laws in a single EU country aren't EU laws tho.

Since I have no idea about you and will never learn more about you, are you dumb? Questions like that don't make much sense now do they?

1 month ago
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tips fedora

1 month ago
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I was just interested why you thought that the EU 'started this'. As far as I can find out it was the interest of customers to have regional pricing and publishers being interested in selling more games.

1 month ago
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The only interesting part are,

"...those "region locks" were switched off in the European Economic Area from 2015"

1 month ago
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Global locks are the only interesting thing to get rid off. And they would only rise the prices if that happens...

1 month ago
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Yea, the problem is more people would be buying from RUS to get cheaper prices as long as that version has English in it. Flip side is now all games around the globe cost the same so some areas will be super F'd

1 month ago
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The problems is that nobody would ever sell anything to RU at their prices and they would go back to 100% piracy. So instead of getting a game trader's paradise you get a pirate's paradise.

1 month ago
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Talking about the whole situation about fining them - it's quit clearly just a way to get some easy money. Not that they care about pricing stuff diferently, you can go across the border and get same stuff cheaper/ more expensive in other countries anyway. None of that matters to EU. So sensibly shouldn't this. It feels more or less bureaucratic nonsense to rake in money.

And what would removing regional pricing accomplish ? Make it more expensive to everyone. So rich countries would get 60 EUR pricetag for games and so would poorer countries get the same pricetag. That's a fairy tale of expecting to leave lower prices but removing regional blocks I get that this is about period before 2015. Im regarding region restrictions as such, as this discussion has seem to trailed off into that direction

1 month ago*
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thats why we were allowed to use VPN activations for years now legally! i bought dozens of rus keys in the past and activated them without any reasons to be scared.
also the option to get your money back started back in the EU, even when it wasnt possible according to the Steam ToS. The EU made it possible

1 month ago
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That doesn't apply to russia or VPN. It only applies to europe and region locks were disabled in europe years ago.

1 month ago
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its only about eu region locks.

1 month ago
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So glad that I don't live in Europe.

1 month ago
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