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.”


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


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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This Post Has 19 Comments

  1. suonevarAndrew


    Here is a little info about non existing concentration camps, you are tital ignorant and idiot Dereck
    And it is because idiots like you why those restrictions are still in power

    Read and make some research before you post anything about concentration camps

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  2. 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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  3. 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:


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  4. 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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