Valve has recently released a new feature to their Steam service that was requested by publishers – and it’s not one we as gamers are going to enjoy.
The new flag that publishers can toggle when submitting games to steam is AllowCrossRegionTradingAndGifting which is exactly what it says it is. You toggle it to yes or no to allow your games to be traded or gifted across regions.
Currently this flag only appears to be utilised in South America and Eastern Europe where past games were often picked up for very cheap and then gifted to your main account.
However there is a darker side to this with it possibly being utilised in the future to crack down on games that governments aren’t happy with. Germany and Australia spring to mind where gamers are often forced to either import or buy games via different regions in Steam to get the real version.
And these restrictions aren’t only applicable to games as the software catalogue of Steam has the same restrictions with the audio digital workstation software, Sonar X3, being the first piece of software to release with the flag disabled.
The first game to sue this that is pre-order title Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance which is currently available for $14 in Brazil and $20 in America or if you are a real cheapskate it would be better to buy it from the Russian store where it currently retails for $10 – a full 50% cheaper than the American store.
I can’t imagine Valve are happy about this but they have to play a balancing game between publishers and gamers. Now we will have to see if gamers accept it.
Last Updated: December 20, 2013