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: 4.8/5 (16 votes cast)
Update: Valve taking action against gifts from USA and Russia!, 4.8 out of 5 based on 16 ratings