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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