Steam has been a place that gamers enjoy due to enormous discounts during the summer and winter seasons. In addition to that, people that live in certain countries outside the U.S are able to purchase games at an insanely low price and resell them to those within the U.S for an even better price than Steam. This creates many opportunities to open up online "shops" because let's be honest here, who doesn't want to buy a Steam game from someone at a lower price than purchasing it directly from Steam?
For those that don't know how this works, there are two differences with Steam game purchases, one is a "Key" and the other is a "Gift". With a "Key", the person is unable to send it to anyone, however, they can redeem the Key whenever they feel like doing so. A "Gift" on the other hand can be sent to anyone's inventory and the recipient can choose to keep it or send it to someone else. This is how people are able to open up the online "shops" and keep customers happy with their prices.
Apple just closed their Russian online stores indefinitely due to the difficulty of adjusting prices as the Ruble is fluctuating heavily at the moment. It looks like Valve is following suit, not by closing shop, but taking measures to protect PC game publishers on the Steam platform with a region lock. Other countries will also be affected , as the online storefront is region locking games in an effort to prevent exploits of the low currency values in Brazil, Indonesia and the neighboring areas. So it looks like the day has unfortunately arrived, a day which both the customers and sellers didn't want to ever be a part of. Tomáš Duda, the developer of Euro Truck Simulator 2 stated this on his Twitter:
"All games purchased on Steam in Russia and CIS are now region locked. All of them. Yes, your game too. RT."
This was followed up by a picture on his Twitter account:
What does this mean for the seller's who make serious profit for purchasing games and reselling them to people within the U.S? They won't be able to make the amount of profit they used to. However, they can still sell it to the people within the countries listed when 'Gift purchasing' a game (as shown in the image above). There is some good news that can be taken out of this, for those that have previously purchased games from international sources, your games are safe. This new update only applies to purchases from this point on.
How will this affect the popularity of Steam? Do you think Steam will ever deactivate this region lock?