Valve has posed another set of restrictions to Steam gifts activation and trading. The new rules limit the number of countries gifts could be activated in.
Steam users in countries located in Eastern Europe and South America, among other regions, are discovering that once a gift has been bought from certain countries, it can only be redeemed in the same countries. Furthermore, if a gift were to be added to a user’s library, it would only be playable within the same countries.
Multiple reports from users residing in countries like Singapore, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, and others are cropping up on Reddit. The reports reference a new warning screen that shows up whenever a game bought as a gift from specific countries is traded.
The result of the new change means that Steam users in any of the countries listed above who added games through Steam gifts to their libraries, can only play said games within those countries. For instance, if game X is bought from Russia and sent as a gift, it can only be redeemed in Russia and can only be played in Russia, meaning that if the user were to travel to another country, they would lose access to the game until their return.
This also seems to apply to region-restricted cd keys, according to some users. Until this new change, region-restricted keys sold by third-party websites would only require activation in the same region, but would allow players to play them anywhere after that. This lead to many users simply using a VPN to activate those keys – which are much cheaper than the ones sold in their region – then switch back to their region of residence and play the game normally.
Valve, as usual, has not officially announced any of those changes prior.