Steam region locking causing problems for traders and gifters

steam region locking

Rust’s restrictions in Ukraine.

Region locking is a practice that appears to be increasingly common on Steam. It’s not new (certain games have been region locked since at least 2012,) but appears to be getting more widespread. Region locked games restrict where a game purchased in a certain region can be unlocked and played. For example, the version of Rust sold in Ukraine can only be redeemed and played in nearby countries.

This is causing major problems for online communities like Reddit’s SteamGameSwap. Games that people have traded for in good faith may turn out to be region locked and non-redeemable.

That may be avoidable with some research, but there are also reports of titles being retroactively region locked which can suddenly leave Steam users with a restricted game in their inventory.

Games reported to have a retroactive region lock of some kind applied to them include:

  • Banished
  • Rust
  • South Park
  • Thief
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Hawken

The Reddit group notes that “Steam has a history or reversing these locks,” but it seems like traders and gifters need to be cautious when setting up trades or gifts.

It’s up to publishers whether they apply region locking restrictions to their games, but Valve supply the means for doing so within Steam.

Thanks to IncGamers tipster Johnny Bravo for word of this.

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  • Zero One

    It seems that region locking is getting ridiculous on Steam. In the past I’ve managed to get some region locked games by buying them from other online distributors like GamersGate, GetGames and GMG. Batman Arkham City, Ghostbusters and Dark Souls are among those locked out of my region. Oddly enough Batman Arkham Asylum and Arkham Origins aren’t region locked while Arkham City is only available after the GOTY was released.

    Now, the region lock system is pretty strict and specific. In my case it’s Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I knew it was region locked but I thought I might be able to bypass it like previous games. Well, I was wrong. It killed my anticipation for future Konami games coming to the PC.

  • Jollywoggle

    I find it funny that Banished is region locked on Steam considering it’s available on Gog.com, completely DRM free.

    • Paul Younger

      I thought that region locking had been removed? At least I saw folk say it had been.