Update: Valve taking action against gifts from USA and Russia!

 

People in the Steam gifting-scene from Russia and USA claim that they have received emails from Valve, urging them to stop gifting to players from Europe. On some accounts, buying games has been completely disabled.

This is completely unacceptable. For most of people, buying games via a USA-gifter has never been about getting the game cheaper (at least not for Germans). It has always been about getting the uncut version of a game.

Here’s the rest of the text from the reddit user lighthaze.

“I see Valve’s problem from a monetary point-of-view (games are cheaper in Russia / the USA than in Europe), but I think it’s hypocritical of Valve to use the advantages of globalization, while prohibiting it’s users from doing the same.

As an adult German I am allowed to buy uncut games. Why won’t Valve let me? The German community has been asking for an age verification system for years now and we have gotten basically no answers at all.

Most reputable gifters never used the system to get rich. All they asked for was a small tip and paypal-fees. Seriously Valve, I am disappoint.

There seems to be a lot of misinformation concerning the German system. Therefore I’ll add some infos on how it actually works.

Basically you have two big players:

The USK (German self-monitoring of entertainment software) and the BPJM (Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons). If a publisher wants to publish a game in Germany, the game needs to have an age restriction sticker from the USK. Classifications include "no restriction", "6+", "12+", "16+" and "18+". There restrictions are legally binding for the retail sector. If the USK thinks a game is too violent (rascist, etc.) it can refuse classification. In this case the BPJM can index the game which basically means an automatic 18+ rating AND prohibition to advertise the game (which includes displaying the game in retails stores). Buying the game as an adult is still allowed, but getting it can be a problem. Some retailers still have such games below the counter, but if you don’t want to buy on the Internet you’re probably screwed. Again this is not a situation (directly) forced by law, but a decision made by the retailers due to, probably, low sales.

Important to note is that not the German government censors games. The publishers do, as they want to prevent that their game is being indexed.

Now online it’s a really difficult case. Basically Steam already does illegal things by selling USK 16+ rated games to teens. But nobody seems to care. German players just want an age verification system that lets people buy games they could also buy in a German retail / online store.

Games actually can get banned in Germany. This is the third, but very rare case. It mostly happens to games like "KZ-Simulator" (Nazi bullshit) or other games depicting swastikas (Wolfenstein), sometimes really violent games like Manhunt. Here selling the game is actually prohibited (afaik not buying, but IANAL). Whatever, this case is not that importat, because it happens very rarely.”

Update:

“Concerning buying in another countries store: http://i.imgur.com/QMHnI.jpg

Translation:

Hello XXX,

Thank you for your message. We’ll have another look at your case. Please have some patience.

Best wishes,

Steam Support Team

Please contact us if you have further questions.

Hello XXX,

In order to prevent further deactivation of your account by our system due to suspected fraud, do not use other accounts to deliberately circumvent regional restrictions or prices of games with the intention to send these to your main account via the gifting system.

Please do not buy games in regions in which there is a price difference to your home country and do not use VPN or proxy software to circumvent these limitations.

Such activities are not support by the Steam support and accounts using such actions may be closed and excluded from buying games on Steam.

We are creating the prices together with the publishers and try to keep them up to date.

All prices and limitations of low violence versions are done by us and have a legal background.

If you or your account can be connected again with such activities in the future, a permanent deactivation of your account cannot be ruled out.

*Best wishes,

Steam Support Team

Please contact us if you have further questions.”

Source reddit (fixed some typos).

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Rating: 4.7/5 (15 votes cast)
Update: Valve taking action against gifts from USA and Russia!, 4.7 out of 5 based on 15 ratings
  • http://hlds.pl _KaszpiR_

    Keys will be sent to mails assigned to the accounts on steamunpowered.eu

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    Rating: +9 (from 13 votes)
  • 0cube

    Oh come on you gotta be kidding me… Its just getting worse for german citizens… you have my sympathy…

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    Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
  • http://steamunpowered.eu Zuko

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    Rating: +8 (from 8 votes)
  • mantisghost

    Well valve is not playing fair with its 1$=1€=1Ł so why the hell should we care. Just fcin sue them for discrimination or something

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    Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
  • rpsgc

    But Valve is good! Valve is God, Valve is Mother Nature. Valve loves us, why don’t you love Valve? Valve loves all Its children. Valve is perfect, Valve can do no evil.

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    Rating: -2 (from 26 votes)
  • http://twitter.com/lubci50cal Little Big Kitty

    It`s just sad. Why can`t everyone play the same game for the same price?

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    Rating: +12 (from 12 votes)
  • Dyson

    I think you’ll find any such warnings are only being handed out to people who are mass trading/gifting the same game to hundreds of people for profit.

    As it is, there doesn’t seem to be any actual proof of such emails even being sent out. Certainly the person who complained about this a few days ago on the Steam forums (and I expect the same person who then made the post on Reddit) had no proof whatsoever to back up this claim.

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  • mik0

    I suppose that if I buy something in a country where games are expensive and gift it to someone that lives where they cost less, they are fine with it. Coherence over 9000.
    I understand that they want to keep only the benefit of the market using dishonest behaviour to mitigate the negative side of it. Too convenient and that’s not how it should work.

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    Rating: +3 (from 7 votes)
  • silentus

    Hmm I live in Poland in Olecko (check it on google maps if u want) near Russian border, 35km from Kaliningrad to be exact. And I wonder, can I go to Russia buy game there and then add it to Steam – will that be considered as fraud by steam? If yes well then how this is any different form me buying tank of gas in Russian petrol station (gas in Russia is much cheaper), and all is legal – you can for example buy full tank of gas, box of cigarettes, 2 bottles of vodka and so on.

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    Rating: +13 (from 13 votes)
  • http://www.steamunpowered.eu stranded

    @silentus

    you have to inform Steam Support if you’re about to buy in the store from another country, for example when you move, then they switch something on your account and you can, although you need a legit Russian IP

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  • http://www.gamekeydistrict.com gamekeydistrict

    It was bound to have happened.Publishers along with VALVE are becoming greedy day by day.They charge full 59 euros for a new game which cannot be resold as well. and still want to earn more money.

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    Rating: +5 (from 5 votes)
  • Dragoon

    The guy almost got it right with the USK age rating. Just a little misconception. If USK refuse classification and the media becomes indexed it’s like a tighter 18+rating. Basically index games have the same age rating as hardcore porn.
    It’s still allowed to display them in retail stores, but as it is with porn you have to ensure only people 18+ can see them. Most video stores have separate sections that are visual shield and limit access to adults. In these area porn, very violent movies and games can be freely displayed.
    It’s not to prevent sales but that a 8 year old don’t get by random see a DVD box with a girl boned in every hole.

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  • Dyson

    Ok, I see we now have an update that fully explains his issue. And he’s still wrong. The issue isn’t gifting across regions. The issue is that he’s made dummy accounts and used VPNs, etc., to purchase from them to gift to his main account. He’s lucky he hasn’t had all his accounts permanently disabled for that. It’s stated rather clearly in the SSA that such activity is not allowed; and it’s never been allowed since Steam first started.

    Had he simply done what most people do — get friends/relatives over seas to gift the games — there’d be no issue at all. I’ve lost track of the number of games I’ve been gifted that are not available locally/overpriced locally over the last seven years, and neither I, nor those gifting to me, have ever been told to stop.

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  • mik0

    I think that somehow my post got wiped, it should have been the first post but now it’s gone (or replaced)

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  • maxenmuxer

    Ich würd sagen da hast du dir ne faxenklatsche geholt

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    Rating: -2 (from 2 votes)
  • http://steamcommunity.com/id/dereckjc/ Dereck

    There’s huge problems with Germany’s video games laws… I had a german version of Turok on the N64 and the freaking cavemen – CAVEMEN – are replaced by shitty robots done in 5 seconds (basically they just replaced body parts with basic shapes and painted them chrome).

    I completely understand German gamers wanting to bypass these restrictions that don’t serve any purpose – we’re not gonna turn into murderers or learn how to use a weapon just because we play video games. Movies and other medias are subjected to the same shitty restrictions mind you, and if you put 2 and 2 together, you get it: it’s all because of the Third Reich, which by the way ended 67 years ago (it’s not like it’s still fresh in our minds). I kid you not, you can’t even tell people that concentration camps never existed. Even if it’s false, this is an attack to freedom of speech.

    We can also link those restrictions to the fact that US version on Steam cost 60$ whereas in Europe they’re 50$. Right now, as of this very moment, 60$ = 48 euros (and euros were worth even more in recent days). That means you’re ripped off by a euro every time you buy a game. After 10 games, you could have saved 10 euros, enough to buy yourself an extra game.

    The only thing I can recommend if they don’t want your money is ThePirateBay. They’ll want your visit and they’re always happy to see you.

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    Rating: +1 (from 5 votes)
  • Cold

    I don’t worry so much about gifters making money but about greedy Valve, money milking customers in a entirely unacceptable & immoral way.

    Why do games cost so much more in Europe than in the US? The current steam winter sale offers Alice Madness Returns as -75% from 49.99€ (yeah right, nice price increase just before the sale to fool german customers) for 12.49€ instead while the same game has a -75% price decrease in Great Britain from 14.99 to 3.74 pounds and in the US even from 19.99$ to 4.99$ – which is only 3.65€. So I have to pay 4 times as much for the same game just because I live in Germany? And that often for games which are horribly cut because Steam is obviously unwilling to implement an age verification system? Why is that so?

    Has Steam/Valve stripped down it’s “good guy” image and became EA like greedy? The regional price differences are unjustifyable exept for one purpose: making more money from people who “pay anyway”. That’s why people get fooled that they would make a bargain when in fact there was a price increase right before and that’s also why germans will never see an age verification system and why gifters from the US and Russia receive treats from Valve now to “stop or else…”: They want to force those customers of the overpriced regional steam stores to be able to buy only there to maximize profit! A

    The only thing I wonder about is why it is cheaper in the UK store than in the rest of europe?

    Everyone who want’s to ask Gabe Newell directly why that is so: Here you can write him an email:

    http://www.valvesoftware.com/email.php

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  • Foul Fagus

    So, I have a friend in Dubai, and while she doesn’t play video games much, if I hypothetically wanted to steam gift her Spec Ops: The Line, I’d run the risk of getting my steam account banned?

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