Valve has been selling Steam games at different prices in different global markets and this obviously leads to one thing. People in more expensive regions have been trying to find ways to get cheaper video games. Of course, Valve knows about this and continuously, and quietly, working on cracking down on it. The latest in its crackdown attempts, as SteamDB discovered, is Valve adding a limit on how often you can change your Steam account’s country.
In a further crack down on people buying games in cheaper regions, Valve added a limit on how often you can change your Steam account’s country.
Country may not be updated more than once every 3 months. Purchases can be completed using a payment method from your current region.
— Steam Database (@SteamDB) June 23, 2021
Steam users can now change their country on their account only once every three months. Also, any purchases made must be done only using methods from the region the user currently has selected. This can be best explained with an example – as a user in the US, you want to buy a game that’s for $50. However, that game is cheaper in some other European markets or in some South American countries. It could also be more expensive, but the main idea here, for users, is to look out for a cheaper deal.
A study done by VPNPro in January this year looked into the average cost of a game on Steam across the world. As the map shows, people in the US and Canada are not paying what people in India, Brazil, or Russia are paying. So essentially, a Steam user might be at a disadvantage, in many cases, thanks to local pricing and would want to try to get a better deal by switching their account to a different country to trick the storefront into letting them buy their games from there.
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The restrictions Valve has put in on how often you can change your country are to stop people from one country moving their account to another country to buy a game and then moving it back to play “as opposed to simply leaving it in the cheaper country for good”, as Kotaku points out. As any gamer will tell you, using a VPN is terrible when it comes to multiplayer games.
This new restriction to stop people from changing the country on their accounts comes a year after Valve first tried to close this geographical pricing loophole. They made buying things from different regions harder by forcing users to use local payment methods – like you could not use an American credit card to buy a game in Poland.