A complicated set of restrictions has been implemented that has effectively killed off one avenue through which cheap European CD keys are sold online.
Engadget reckons that the changes, which apply to games that are given as a ‘gift’ directly through Steam, have been put in place as a response to the plummeting value of the Russian rouble which, as reported yesterday, has seen Apple halt online sales in the country.
Valve’s new region locking regime is complicated and can be seen in full on Reddit. The headline facts are that games now purchased in territories such as Russia, Brazil, Turkey and some Asian countries can only be gifted to a strict pre-determined set of other nations.
For UK consumers who are accustomed to buying cheap keys online this will present a problem for traders who exchange goods via Steam gifting. Region-free CD keys should not be affected, however, although Kotaku does say that these restrictions appear to apply to all games, regardless of specific locks (or a lack thereof) publishers might’ve had in place”.
Note that the UK is among a number of regions to have no restrictions imposed – presumably because we pay more than anyone else so who the hell would want to import a UK key, right?