Ever since Valve started selling Steam games at different prices for different markets, people who live in the more expensive regions have been trying to find ways to get cheaper video games. Paths that Valve knows about and that continue to quietly take action.
How SteamDB recently discoveredValve has “added a limit on how many times you can change the country of your Steam account,” whereby users can only change it every three months.
All purchases made by users may also only be made using methods from the region that you have currently selected.
Why / how would users do this? Let’s say you’re in the US and a game you’re interested in is $ 50. For someone in some European markets this game could cost a lot more and for someone in certain South American countries it could cost a lot less.
As an an example, Here are the results of a study by VPNPro again in January, looking at the average cost of a Steam game around the world. As you can see, the people in the US and Canada are not paying what the people in Brazil, Russia, or India are paying.
A Steam user who is being penalized by local pricing – or just trying to get a cheaper game, let’s face it – could try to get a better deal by switching their account to another country and having the storefront do it to have his games bought there.
I suspect that the restrictions based on how often you can change it are to prevent people in the US, for example, from moving their account to another country to buy it and then going straight back there to move play
This movement comes a year after Valve first tried to bridge that price gapwhen they made it harder to buy things from different regions by forcing users to use a local payment method (so you couldn’t use an American credit card to buy a game in Poland, for example).