Steam Region Lock guide - gHacks Tech News

Steam Region Lock guide

Region locking refers to making games available only to a select region. The popular gaming platform Steam distinguishes between three different region lock states.

  1. Games that can only be purchased by users of a certain region and play-locked at the same time.
  2. Games that can only be purchased in a certain region but can be played if you live outside that region.
  3. Games that are not locked at all.

If you are using a single store then you will never encounter any issues as the store is only displaying games to you that you can buy and play.

There are situations however where region-locking becomes an issue. As you may know, games on Steam may be priced different depending on which store you browse.

It is usually the case that games in the Russian store are cheaper than games in Europe or the US, which is why some gamers buy in the Russian store whenever games are available there for a cheaper price.

While that requires some research, game language comes to mind, it is usually not a problem unless you run into games that are region locked.

Steam region locks

region locks check

Probably the easiest way to find out about region locks on Steam is to use the Region Locks website.

Using the site is actually pretty easy.

  1. Open the Steam store in a web browser of choice.  You can open the country-specific store that you want to make purchases in, or your own as both are working just fine.
  2. Right-click on the game that you want to check and select copy link location from the context menu.
  3. Paste the whole url into the Steam Game ID form on the Region Locks website and remove everything but the number after /app/.
  4. The url http://store.steampowered.com/app/72850/?snr=1_7_7_151_150_1 would be turned into 72850 for example as this is the game ID for Skyrim.
  5. Now you need to select your country, and the country that you want to buy the game in.
  6. You are then informed if you can buy and play the game in your country, or if that is not possible.

region locked games steam

Note: You can use a VPN to buy games that are purchase-locked on Steam, and you can use the same VPN to play them in your region if they are country-locked as well.

Manual checking

There is also a manual way of checking the information as Reddit user  CyberMarco points out. All checks follow the same process regardless of whether they are region locked or not.

Process

  • Open your region's Steam store and browse to the game that you want to check.
  • Open a second browser or private browsing mode, and load the same store page in another region's Steam Store.
  • Hover your mouse cursor over the "Add to Cart" button on each store, and compare the number that shows up.
  • Open the Steam Database website and append /app/xxxxx/ to the end of the url where xxxxx is the game ID that is displayed in the address bar of your browser, e.g. http://steamdb.info/app/72850/
  • Switch to Packages, and click on the links that correspond to the IDs that you looked up earlier.
  • Locate the "only allow run in countries" and "purchase restricted countries" information on that page.

If the game is buy-locked or region-locked, it is stated here. All countries where it can be bought or played are listed here.

steam-region-locked

If the information are missing, it is not locked and can be purchased.

Closing Words

Finding out if games are region locked or buy locked can also be useful if you are trading games regularly on Steam, or have friends who live in other countries who you gift games with occasionally.

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Comments

  1. dwarf_t0ssn said on November 22, 2013 at 1:53 am
    Reply

    This is why game keys that seem too good to be true on eBay usually are just that. Bought Dead Island key (awful game!) on eBay, and it activated just fine, but the game was removed from my account a few months later.

    I only noticed because a warning popup appeared. Forget what it said. Anyhow, it was a eastern-europe key so it seems they get games a good deal cheaper than us in the states.

    I doubt they’d revoke a whole account over an out-of-region key mishap like this, but you still lose money. Agree or disagree, that’s the way it is.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 22, 2013 at 10:25 am
      Reply

      I agree that there is always the risk of losing money when you buy keys from other regions. While it may work fine most of the time, you never really know where that key came from.

      Maybe the key that you bought on eBay was stolen in first place, and got revoked because of that.

  2. GK said on November 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm
    Reply

    What is region locking designed to thwart? Piracy? What purpose does it serve other than annoying gamers who travel across the globe?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm
      Reply

      It is anti-consumer. It has been designed so that you cannot benefit from a global economy — by buying in other countries where it is cheaper — while they are allowed to produce in those countries to increase their profit margin.

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