Valve Responds to Steam Territory Deactivations (Updated)

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Update: Valve has sent along a shot of the Thai Orange Box packaging, which bears a warning on the front cover that reads: "For Sale In Thailand Only."

Original Story (published Oct 26): Some consumers who purchased Valve's Orange Box from vendors located outside of their home country--mainly in an attempt to save on cheaper products--have recently reported that their otherwise legally-obtained games have since been deactivated by Valve's Steam software for territory violation.

Talking with Shacknews, Valve's Doug Lombardi now says that the Steam software is merely carrying out this function by design.

"Valve uses Steam for territory control to make sure products authorized for use in certain territories are not being distributed and used outside of those territories," said Lombardi.

"In this case, a Thai website was selling retail box product keys for Thailand to people outside of Thailand. Since those keys are only for use in Thailand, people who purchased product keys from the Thai website are not able to use those product keys in other territories."

So are users who bought the game outside of their own country completely out of luck? It appears so, as Lombardi recommends purchasing a legal copy from a local shop in order to keep playing.

"Some of these users have subsequently purchased a legal copy after realizing the issue and were having difficulty removing the illegitimate keys from their Steam accounts," added Lombardi. "Anyone having this problem should contact Steam Support to have the Thai key removed from their Steam account."

From The Chatty

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    October 26, 2007 11:49 AM

    Honest question: did anyone know this was going to happen beforehand? Did Valve say anywhere in their EULA-I-haven't-read that this was the case?

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      October 26, 2007 11:51 AM

      From what I've read, no, there was no mention of it anywhere.

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        October 26, 2007 12:34 PM

        It's mentioned, it just doesn't specifically say Thailand or Russia. It just says prohibited countries or something to that effect and it's quite ambiguous with all the talk of Depart of Commerce and Terrorist support states.

        Funny that when there's a problem that everyone starts squawking about the EULA, but no one ever fucking reads them. Seriously. Raise your hand if you actually read the EULA for Steam or any game for that matter prior to installing it. I sure as hell didn't, but I also didn't decide to be cheap and buy my copy from another country like Thailand. Then these cheap buyers complain when it turns out they broke the EULA or the law or whatever.

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        October 26, 2007 12:35 PM

        ouch, looks like its sues ville for them then.

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          October 26, 2007 4:00 PM

          I'm going to have to agree with the lawsuit then, even though I bought my copy via steam and own most of their other games.

          If anybody did anything wrong here, it was the Thailand sellers who (I presume) were told about their key licenses.

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      October 26, 2007 12:33 PM

      All I know is if you bought a dvd in Thailand and then moved to the States it technically wouldn't play in any dvd players (ofcourse now there are region free dvd players).

      Valve is just doing the same thing. My question is the same as Schnapple...was this made public before?

      I think it technically is because when I purchased it online I had to check a box stating I was playing it in the country i purchased it in. (i just got it last night!)

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        October 26, 2007 12:35 PM

        It's not quite the same. It'd be as though you bought a DVD in Thailand and it played for a while in the U.S. and then was deactivated. If it never worked in the first place, I don't think people would be up in arms.

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          October 26, 2007 4:11 PM

          Another difference is that you could bring your Thai DVD player with you and keep watching it, it just wouldn't play in US DVD players. So it really is completely different.

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      October 27, 2007 8:06 AM

      Of course not. Valve is still selling UNITS! Greed rules the world!!