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Steam Cracks Down On Account Region Swapping Abuse

June 23, 2021

By: Patrick Perrault

 
 

It's now going to be harder to buy games cheaply if you're from a first world country, as Steam is finally beginning to crack down on account region swapping abuse. Check out the comment that was tweeted by Steam Database below:

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

Interesting stuff, and the situation around region swapping was covered further a week ago in the GameDiscoverCo game discovery newsletter. In it, Simon Carless talked about how a unnamed Steam developer noted that their Argentinan game sales are suspiciously high. How is that the case? Well, they were 6-7% of their total sales, and Argentina has around 44 million people compared to Brazil's 210 million population. Why is that the case? Well, check this out:

 

Steam currency
Hmmmm.

Basically, the Argentinian version of Dicey Dungeons is 87.4% cheaper than the American Dollar equivalent, which means that certain enterprising souls can buy games relatively cheaply if they can finagle it. How? Well, it's rather simple: use a VPN. Or, you used to be able to until a few months ago. Now you apparently have to buy a Steam game with a local payment method. So, basically, if you want to buy a Argentina-priced game, you now have to buy "with a credit or debit card from Argentina or the country where the region will be changed."

In this Reddit post, a user is offering this very service where two specific services are offered

 
 
  1. A Steam Argentinian account is created and sent to the buyer for $10. You can then usually share the game via Family Share with your main account.
  2. The Reddit user will log into the buyers account for $20 and change the region of the store by "making a purchase within Steam with an Argentina card."

This is honestly quite the rabbit hole, and if you'd like to read more be sure to read the full newsletter post here. This isn't the first time regional pricing has caused issues, with Russia having been a traditional place for problems. This has led to region locked keys in the past, as developers, and Valve try to balance serving a world market where what the value of money is varies greatly. When $15 is a lunch in America, but a month in some parts of the world, finding that balance, and preventing exploitation of it is challenging and reflects the world's challenge to adapt to the global market.

For more information on Steam, stay tuned to TechRaptor.