Valve "Deactivating" Customers Who Bought "Orange Box" Internationally

According to reader Todd, there are quite a few customers are finding their “Orange Box” games have been deactivated by Valve because they bought them from a seller that wasn’t authorized to do business with US customers.

The seller made the mistake, but the gamers are paying the price.

Todd says:

This complaint is about Valve, a PC video game company which makes games like Half-Life 2.

This effects many thousands of customers.

They recently released a product called the “Orange Box”, which is a bunch of games.
All their products are activated online via unique serial numbers through the Steam service.

Many of us bought the product (and hence, the serial numbers) legitimately online via well known international game stores, as they sell them significantly cheaper than American stores.

We were able to activate the products without a problem.
One week later, Valve, via the Steam program, inactivated all Orange Box games (after they had already been active for some time), stating that they are in the “incorrect territory.”
There was no warning or anything, just completely inactivated.

The thread that was started on http://www.valve.com has been removed by the operators there.

I think this is absolutely reprehensible customer care. We paid for our products, and they just go and remove it without warning from our computers.

Thanks

-Todd

Here’s a thread of irritated Valve customers like Todd who are trying to get refunds from their international vendors (with varying levels of success.) Customers who have purchased the game a second time from a US vendor and are having difficulty adding it to their accounts are having trouble communicating with Valve’s customer service.

Date Posted: Oct/22/2007 7:57 PM
Rating: +1

same crap here
this was my question

======================================================================================

Customer (xxx xxxxxxxx) 10/20/2007 11:07 AM

Hello my cd-key was invalidated and game removed
i get a steam error
Steam – Game unavailable
Team Fortress 2 is not available in your territory

ok so i contacted retailer to get a refund
and purchased a new copy at a local Circuit City here in Tacoma
but when i enter new cd-key says game is already installed log in to steam
but of course that doesn’t work and takes me back to
Steam – Game unavailable
Team Fortress 2 is not available in your territory

so i guess i need the supposedly invalid cd-key removed
so i can enter my new one
thanks

======================================================================================

Response (DougV) 10/22/2007 05:06 PM

Games purchased in Thailand or Russia can only be played from those countries. If you purchased a game from Thailand or Russia and you do not live in one of those countries, you need to contact the seller for a refund.

======================================================================================

Customer (xxx xxxxxxx) 10/22/2007 05:37 PM
yes did you even read what i said?
and do what i asked you to do
guess not

What a mess!

Valve Orange Box for ~20$ [Fat Wallet]

Comments

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  1. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    Well, I guess I won’t be buying this suite of games. Problem solved.

  2. CapitalC says:

    Valve to customers: “Stop buying our products through channels which we obviously haven’t controlled properly, we don’t want your business if it’s not legit.”

    :rolleyes:

  3. hypnotik_jello says:

    valve can go suck a tailpipe

  4. hi says:

    I bought TF2 through steam. No problems. In fact I’ve bought many games through steam with no problems except I hated it when I first bought HL2 and I had to connect to the internet to play it the first time. At that time I didn’t have the money for internet.

  5. XivGNP says:

    The cake is a lie. Oh, and valve is one of the few companies who’s products are so soul-bashingly perfect for me I’m absolutely willing to ignore moves like this. Funny how that works sometimes.

  6. Nelsormensch says:

    While this is definitely absurd and is very poor form on Valve’s part, could it really be that many customers? How many people would choose to get the Orange Box from a physical vendor when it’s available on Steam. Especially if you’re international, as you’ll almost certainly avoid paying taxes on it? I’m in Canada, got my copy off Steam and avoided over $10 in GST/PST and the extra $5 “because you’re in Canada” price bump even though the dollar is nearly on parity.

    Again, this doesn’t forgive abhorrent customer service from Valve, I’m just genuinely curious why anyone would opt to spend more time and pay more when there’s an easier and cheaper option available? Does the Steam store not work in some countries?

  7. Geekybiker says:

    @Jaysyn: You’re kidding right? These guys tried to scam a deal by going through shady international sites and now are paying the price. I dont think they could honestly say they didnt expect this a possible consequence. The not being able enter a new key is a legitimate complaint, but to be fair I’m sure its something valve didnt anticipate having to deal with.

  8. Geekybiker says:

    @Nelsormensch: They did this because they are selling it for around $20 US in a few other countries. This is a pretty normal practice where piracy is rampant. They hope to make commercial level priracy unprofitable and make the product cheap enough that people who would almost certainly buy a pirated copy might buy a legit copy instead.

  9. Shaggy says:

    @geekybiker: “These guys tried to scam a deal by going through shady international sites and now are paying the price.”

    Uh, so shopping around for a good price is “scamming”? With the Internet, buying internationally is now possible, in a way that it never was before. If anybody’s at fault, I’d say that it’s Valve; if you didn’t want people to buy the Orange Box cheaper in another country, then they should have made the Orange Box the same price everywhere.

  10. QuantumRiff says:

    This is no different than the DVD region codes. (or Blue-Ray or HDVD). You can buy an American blockbuster movie in India for $5. it won’t play in American players. (although some have ways around this). I see no problem with this. They are pricing their product at a price the market will bear in that country. Nobody in Russia would buy the game for $60US. Imagine how few movies would sell in India for $20US. (although with our dollar falling, it might soon be cheaper to do so.) Doesn’t the old saying say, “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is!”

  11. Jaysyn was banned for: http://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    @Geekybiker:

    Welcome to the Global freakin’ Economy. Why is it that it’s ok for companies to take advantage of this, but not software & media consumers. Yes, I’m looking at you Region Encoding on DVDs.

  12. warf0x0r says:

    Here is the problem with Software companies also being the publisher, they have to be the bad guy when someone pulls a quick one.

    The forum quote is bad Customer Service, no questioning. But to each person that did this I cannot think of any way you could get away with it because Valve is also the publisher of their software which means they’re definitely able to monitor this stuff much more effectively than companies with separate publishers and developers.

    Although I must admit the question why should one country be allowed to pay less and we pay more simply because we can afford it, ah capitalism.

  13. Crazytree says:

    I bought a copy of Windows Vista in a donkey trading market in Peshawar, Pakistan and it doesn’t work.

    I DEMAND COMPENSATION FROM MICROSOFT!!!

  14. winter_in_asia says:

    What gives with all the crappy game publishers out there these days? First BioShock with all the DRM crap and now this.

    Reason number 17 why I limit myself to console games.

  15. Shadowfire says:

    Is this the right time for “Steam Steam LOL” to be put into play..?

    @QuantumRiff: Does it mention on the box that the game is only playable on US PCs? Or does it say “intended for use on?” There is a distinction there..

  16. skrom says:

    Just another example of people trying to skirt the system by either getting around the intended use of the product (like hacking the iPhone) or tyring to purchase a product where or when it wasnt intended to be purchased (buying games and movies overseas where they are intended to be used or before the street date) and then bitching when the company that made the item cuts them off from using it. Its always because the customer is cheap and is trying to get away with not paying retail price for something. I say good for Valve, teach the cheap asses a lesson. If they werent looking for to rip off Valve, they wouldnt have to buy it twice.!!

  17. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @winter_in_asia: Ahh console games..all the price and half the content.

    But seriously how is he ripping off Valve if they pay for it? Even if its bought in Russia if its a legit game Valve still got its money. They sold it for what they thought they could get it for in that country. Yeah its a little slimey but I think Valve shouldn’t be banning it.

    Thats why I buy all my games at retail here in the US or thru the companies website.

  18. davebg5 says:

    @winter_in_asia: Console games are no different than PC games in this respect…you just don’t see it.

    All consoles have their own DRM schemas and region codes built in. PCs do not, as PCs are “open” systems, rather than “closed” ones, like a console. Thus, the game publishers have to come up w/their own way of enforcing this stuff.

  19. forever_knight says:

    @Jaysyn: lol

  20. Adam Hyland says:

    @skrom:

    Whose side are you on?

    What about people in Canada who still get charged a higher price just for being in Canada even though the “exchange rate” argument doesn’t work anymore?

    How come companies can take advantage of different markets, homogeneous products and digital delivery to maximize profit but we can’t in order to maximize savings?

  21. FREAKHEAD says:

    EA is the publisher, not Valve. This is a region lock issue so I’m not sure why everyone is attacking Valve.

    Valve has continually produced quality product and been very supportive of the mod community. Most game companies push out title after title with rarely a ptach. Valve continues to support games they created or produced 8 and 9 years ago.

    Someone buys a key from a different region and is mad because Valve has fulfilled its contract obligations with the publisher, EA, by preventing this from happening.

    So baffling.

  22. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    There is a huge fatwallet.com thread about this, which is I’m sure where the original complainer is coming from. Basically someone on fatwallet discovered you could get this from a Thai company for the equivalent of $20 US. It involved scanning in and sending them copies of your drivers license and credit card (with some stuff blurred out) to ‘authenticate’ your purchase. The Thai place would then (if you chose) just send you the serial number from the Orange Box.

    Don’t tell me this sounds like it is on the up-and-up. To the original poster, and his buddies on fatwallet, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.

  23. Buran says:

    @FREAKHEAD: Because they aren’t refunding the money that was wasted, which would be the ethical way to go about it, or allowing people who did go buy it again to get what they paid for.

    That’s why.

  24. Xkeeper says:

    @Crazytree: There’s a difference between getting a crappy pirate version from some noname bootlegger and buying the official product.

    Kindly get a brain or shut up.

  25. Gee, I bought it from a foreign site for a ridiculously low price and semi-illegal means, and I’m just outraged that I’m now facing problems!

    Come on, if you’re an honest consumer, you’d have just bought it for $40 or whatever it was when it was on sale. Otherwise, pay the $50 or so now and suck it up.

    Most of the people who try to get the games for super cheap or for free (via fake credit card numbers on Steam) are whiny 13-17 year olds. Get some common sense, guys.

  26. parad0x360 says:

    Once again DRM and stupid rules rear their ugly head ruining another pc gamers day. Its almost as if PC devs and Publishers these days want that medium to die as a viable game platform.

    Myself? While I already have HL2 on PC I bought Orange Box on 360 and have no game shutting off issues as of yet.

  27. gniterobot says:

    Sorry, not feeling bad for those who got themselves into trouble by trying to circumvent established policies.

    If you have a problem with the company not allowing you to purchase a game overseas then don’t buy from the company. Easy as that.

  28. @XKeeper: This is akin to buying a Region 2 DVD and expecting it to work in your Region 1 DVD player. I’m not saying that regions don’t suck (they kinda do) but I can understand the financial, legal (censorship in Germany comes to mind) and business reasons for having regions. Valve is perfectly in the right for denying use of specific-region games in regions they aren’t allowed in.

  29. m0unds says:

    It sounds like these people should be contacting the Asian game vendors they purchased the Orange Box from and ask for a refund. It’s silly to blame the developers because the sellers aren’t honoring their distribution agreements..

  30. FREAKHEAD says:

    @Buran: Did they buy it from Valve?? Why should Valve refund the money? If I buy a game from Best Buy in Russia (its just an example) and it won’t work in the U.S. then the people who made the movie should refund me??

  31. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    BTW the real travesty here is the whole Orange Box concept that makes you re-buy Half Life 2 and HL2 Episode 1 to get Episode 2, Portal and TF2 at a reasonable price. And don’t say ‘they’re just throwing those in for free’ – because they’re not. I already paid for HL2 and EP1 already, I don’t want to buy them again. Knock $15-$20 off the price and don’t include those two, then I’ll buy it.

  32. FREAKHEAD says:

    er I meant made the game

  33. Buran says:

    @FREAKHEAD: Steam games are bought via Steam. Unless I am missing something. So the money goes directly to Valve.

  34. Buran says:

    On a side note I was looking into buying Episode 2 of HL2 on Steam, and I’m SURE I saw a lower price the first time I looked than I did the second time. Are they jacking prices on honest buyers like me because of this?

  35. Buran says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: Sell them to a friend. You can “gift” the games. You can’t sell on an ebay auction or anything, but I’m sure a friend could buy something for you in exchange for you gifting the games to them. I got Ep1 from a friend who bought the Orange Box.

    Now, as for why I discovered a pricejack when I went back to the website to get Ep 2 … what’s up with that? Not gonna pay $30 for that when the full game isn’t that much more and you get so much more. “Episodes” shouldn’t be more than $10-$20. So I’m gonna wait.

  36. FREAKHEAD says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: I do have to agree with you here. They had plans to offer it seperate but they scrapped it. I love Portal and TF2 and have already spent more time playing both then I do most single player PC titles.

    @parad0x360: This isn’t a DRM issue but I understand what you are saying.

    This is a PUBLISHER issue and this is not different than the music or movie industry. Going after Valve for a very common practice. I am not saying I agree or disagree but the point is that this “problem” shouldn’t be a suprise.

  37. Franklin Comes Alive! says:

    @Buran:

    You can buy steam games in stores, and then enter a key into Steam that activates them. In that case, your money would be going to the store, not Valve.

  38. FREAKHEAD says:

    @Buran: I’m sorry but did you read the article? They bought keys from a store in Thailand and had to fax a copy of their drivers license and credit card to make the purchase.

    The price hasn’t changed other than they offered a pre-order special. If you pre-payed for the Orange Box you got to beta test TF2 and got a discount. Not unusual.

  39. Buran says:

    @Franklin Comes Alive!: In that case, I’d be filing a chargeback for a defective good, because obviously a purchase that can’t be used is defective/not as described. Make the dishonest seller eat the cost, as they should.

  40. Buran says:

    @FREAKHEAD: I skimmed it. But I also went off my experience buying steam games, which is, pay, digital download, done, no box. I’m also pretty sure I looked at the price after the orange box came out, not before.

  41. FREAKHEAD says:

    @Buran: well, the price I paid was $ 44.95 for a preorder and it is now $49.00. Also keep in mind that they have it for Xbox 360 which is $59.00. I don’t see any outrageous PC pricing here.

    And again, they bought the keys from a retailer overseas, not on steam so again, I don’t understand the outrage.

  42. MrEvil says:

    The photo ID and credit card scan are so the Thai store knows you’re a legit buyer. Just like stores in the US don’t like dealing with International orders because of problems with stolen credit cards, I’m sure Thailand doesn’t want to deal with it either.

    I think it’s in poor form for Valve to be cutting off gamers even though they have every right to. They should be going after the stores that are violating the terms of sale they have probably stipulated to those foreign stores. It’s better to cut it off at the source than punish all those who quenched their thirst from the leak.

  43. Crazytree says:

    @Xkeeper: So these people bought an “official product” licensed for use in the US?

    Looks like I’m not the one who needs a brain… it’s you and the people who thought buying a cd key from Thailand based on a harebrained fatwallet thread.

    An Einstein caper, indeed.

  44. m0unds says:

    [support.steampowered.com]

    I think this is a totally acceptable course of action for people affected by the sellers in other countries.

  45. Phildawg says:

    THIS IS NOT JUST THE ORANGE BOX! People this has actually been affecting many people with their Half life 2 purchases, Counterstrike source, etc. Also in Australia (since it’s so close to Thailand). Australian retailers actually purchased Thai versions, unbeknowst to the Australian retailer and sold them in their brick and mortar stores. We are talking about games up to 3 years old that at 5pm last Friday suddenly stopped working. 3 YEARS OLD!!!

    This has me so upset, I don’t think I will ever by a Valve product again. If it’s such a big problem, why does Valve even create it to begin with? It’s their fault for trying to charge one price to American consumers and then a price way lower to other regions.

  46. Phildawg says:

    @QuantumRiff: Actually region codes have nothing to do with pricing, it deals with market release dates. If they release a product in one country, they don’t want people exporting that product in mass for massive profit to another country where it has yet to release.

  47. Phildawg says:

    Also just for the record, I bought my orange box from Thailand (2 copies actually) for 32 dollars a piece. I saw circuit city had it on sale for 37.99. Wow I’m so scamming Valve. I guess we just need to price fix everything, but wait… that’s not legal =)

  48. Phildawg says:

    @Crazytree: Hey dumbass, if it’s a legit version of MS Vista, it will work. MS doesn’t make your OS only work in countries it was purchased, haha. Your problem would be you bought a pirated version. I bought a retail box and there is nothing illegal with it. If a class action lawsuit were brought against Valve over this, in U.S. courts, they would surely have a judgement put against them.

  49. Xkeeper says:

    @Crazytree: As soon as you show me where, on the packaging, it says “Licensed for use in xxxxxx” and any information stating that it will be deactivated if you aren’t in that region.

  50. FREAKHEAD says:

    Charging different prices for different regions occurs across all specturms. Music, Games, Movies, PC Software (such as OS and productivity). Again, I can understand the frustration with the situation but to go after Valve is silly.

    If Valve let people to use these products they may be violating agreements with publishers in different regions.

  51. Xkeeper says:

    Where did the end of that reply go? Stupid comment system…

  52. FREAKHEAD says:

    @Phildawg: Try getting support from Microsoft and they won’t support you if you are using it from a different region. The same is true if you buy computer hardware from an overseas vendor, you can’t get hardware or RMA support for said product. This is nothing new. Again, this is a Publisher territory issue not a game developers.

  53. Phildawg says:

    @skrom: Maybe if Valve would of let me buy just TF2, then I would have paid the 30 dollars US and been happy. I don’t care about the 2 hours of portal, I’m sure it is good, and hell at 2hours, I’m sure I’ll play it, but that’s not even worth 5 bucks. And who cares about episode 2? Honestly, in my opinion, the half life 2 series is WAY to drama and not enough action. I bought the orange box for TF2.

    Oh and how did I get around this? I bought 2 copies from somebody in Virginia for 35 bucks a piece… 3 dollars more than what I paid for the Thai versions. And yes, they are U.S. versions.

  54. Phildawg says:

    @FREAKHEAD: Actually I currently own 3 copies of BF2, BF2142, and all expansions and booster packages that are from Thai. They work perfectly fine, I have never had trouble. So this must be something new for EA if it’s them… but I doubt that it is.

  55. Phildawg says:

    @gniterobot: It’s never been an established policy. It’s never been documented anywhere. The only time I have EVER heard of region locking is with the big MMOs and they do that because they have regional servers. Somebody in China can still buy the US copy of WoW. The can only play on US servers though.

  56. FREAKHEAD says:

    @Phildawg: It is b/c Valve has a way to enforce it, they have to. I am also sure that people have downloaded a lot of games (pirated) and gotten away with it, but if a company has a way to enforce policies then I am sure they are obligated to do so.

    If you have a problem with Valve for pricing strategies, then go ahead and complain, I understand that, but getting pissed b/c they had to comply with publisher agreements because STEAM gives them that power, then you’re on your own.

  57. Cell9song says:

    While I feel for the people who are getting screwed (Valve really ought to do something here instead of just cutting them off) people in general need to stop this ‘effing resistance to digital downloadable content. CD/DVD’s are a thing of the past with programs like STEAM. You have to install it (STEAM) anyway so what the hell is the difference? The only ones who should be demanding a hard copy are dial-up users.

  58. Phildawg says:

    @FREAKHEAD: Bro, what valve should have done is punished the distributor, not the consumer. I purchased my versions from Thailand, this is correct. But they were being advertised as for sale to the U.S. And until 5pm last friday, this has worked for EVERY SINGLE GAME out there! I generally buy 3 of each for myself, my brother, and my dad. I might only save 5 bucks, but for me it’s 15. On BF2142, I save about 10 per copy and this save me 90 dollars for BF2, BF2142, and Special Forces expansion. The booster packs all came from EA link.

    Now I’m betting that these Thai sellers made a bundle off me, and this is the real problem. I am just trying to save money because I spend more money on video games than probably anybody in this thread since I constantly buy for 3 people.

  59. Crazytree says:

    @Phildawg: no… you’re the IDIOT who ruined your Steam account buy buying a cd key from some ladyboy in Thailand.

    you will get nothing, you are entitled to nothing… except me laughing in your face.

    You have no case, no recourse and your diaper needs to be changed after your crybaby fit.

    As they say… a fool and his money… soon end up as a crying thread on the internet.

  60. Phildawg says:

    I only bought 2 copies of orange box because my dad isn’t a fan of the half life series =) incase anybody wondered.

    I’m just trying to get a good deal, and I’m patient. I don’t mind it taking 2 weeks to play the game, I’m busy anyways so playing games for me at least is for the weekends. Now my dad and brother play during the week but they have plenty of other things to play the first couple of weeks of a release. haha!

  61. Crazytree says:

    And for those of you too stupid to realize, the reason some companies sell software products in third world countries at discounted rates is because the people there can’t afford to buy the games at American prices. It is not designed for morons to go and buy games from third world countries to try and get a deal.

    Region locking is fully supported by various Federal laws. I don’t think region-locked DVDs and DVD players come with a legal disclaimer… they’re region locked and that system is protected by the DMCA among other laws.

    Buying the game in Thailand is no different than buying a counterfeit software program in any country. They were both purchased for a use not intended, authorized or allowed by the publisher.

    I have done some litigation work involving proprietary software/design… and I can assure you that this imaginary lawsuit would not even make it past the summary judgment phase… in fact it probably would not even get to that point because no lawyer with half a brain would touch this loser of a case.

    Next time I would avoid buying software from Thailand, Nigeria or Turkmenistan… especially if that software requires online validation like YOU KNOW Steam is going to do.

    If you sent $20 to some idiot in Thailand… then you’re not really in position to be calling others “dumbass”.

  62. Phildawg says:

    @Crazytree: Actually, since I was so delayed I never entered the keys into my steam account. I’m shipping them back to the seller, he paid the shipping and refunded my money. I picked them up for 3 dollars more in US from eBay seller in Virginia. It’s an inconvenience, but I hardly ever get screwed. Deal makers aren’t known to be stupid, we don’t pay full prices, those are the stupid people.

  63. Crazytree says:

    @Phildawg: “But they were being advertised as for sale to the U.S.”

    don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

    especially if it’s by someone in a third world country who wants your money.

    protip: don’t send money to Nigeria either.

  64. Phildawg says:

    @Crazytree: You mean you don’t own a region free dvd player? lol and DMCA has nothing to do with region locking, haha, it deals with copyright.

  65. Geekybiker says:

    I think people forget that you are purchasing a licence. If you read the EULA it states that valve retains the right to terminate your licence. So even if they bought this game in the US for $20 and valve decided it wanted to ban them they wouldn’t have any recourse. Its very similar to MMORPG’s ability to ban people.

  66. raindog says:

    @crazytree: I guess it’s not surprising that an anti-consumer troll would also be racist, but wow.

    @iransofaraway: What exactly does “semi-illegal” mean? Other than the laws against false advertising, would you care to tell us which law has been “semi-broken” here?

  67. Phildawg says:

    @Crazytree: I admit, I am very frustrated by the actions of Valve as they are cutting the customer, when the one to blame is the distributor. I called the guy a ‘dumbass’ because he was being one. He was first being a ethnically prejudice by making fun of the naming structures of foreign countries. He then proceeds to talk out his ass about something he is completely ignorant on. He finally makes a comparison between buying a pirated copy for 25 cents of an OS and saying 10% off a retail international copy. I say it again, he is a dumbass.

  68. Phildawg says:

    @raindog: I know don’t you just love these arrogant bastards who, while trying to prove a point, will use racial, ethnic, and cultural prejudice to prove their point. Almost as bad as me calling them a bastard =) But I speak freely when I think the moment calls for it!

  69. y2julio says:

    @Buran: The seller is not dishonest. The buyer is.

  70. Zunnoab says:

    If these were actual copies of the game they deserve a big fat lawsuit. This is really stomping consumer rights if I understand it correctly. They need a nice slap to the face (Valve) and they need it now.

  71. y2julio says:

    @Crazytree: You are correct except in one small thing. The reason they price their products differently in countries like Thailand is because of piracy. They sell it at a low price to prevent people from buying a pirated copy. It’s not because they can’t afford. It’s simply due to the high level of piracy. The buyers are all at fault for buying it from a outside channel not intended for this market.

  72. Oyn: Dont Sorry! says:

    @Phildawg: Err… you know you can buy each game on STEAM separately, right?

  73. majortom1981 says:

    Why iss everybody complaining., the quote specifically stated that they knew it was from another country and cheaper then the u.s. They should not be blaming valve because they screwed up.

  74. y2julio says:

    @Zunnoab: [en.wikipedia.org] :) You should read up on “grey market” before blindly blaming valve.

  75. Phildawg says:

    yea but I own all the previous versions of the game and I want to play portal… I mean I would never pay to play portal for 20 bucks, but the orange box can be purchased in US for 38 dollars. I saved 6 bucks by going to Thailand = 12 dollars since I bought 2. I ended up getting orange box for 35 on eBay from US seller.

    On steam they want 30 for episode 2, 30 for TF2, and 20 for portal. I really only want portal… and maybe I could buy TF2 for all the pc’s and swap logins to play portal… but that’s against their EULA. If I’m paying 50 bucks for TF2 and portal on steam when I can get all 3 for 35 on eBay from US seller… well it makes things a lot less complicated =)

    Good point though, valve just mis prices their products separately.

  76. y2julio says:

    @Hyland: Because it’s THEIR product and they price it accordingly to that the market they are selling it in will support.

  77. y2julio says:

    @y2julio: ugh, they need a edit function. “They price it accordingly to what the market they are selling it in will support.”

  78. Phildawg says:

    oh even better! i could buy just TF2 copies then download portal on usenet, it’s all over there =) (I won’t do this, but really, the people who know how to find deals, know other routes too, we just try to keep it legal, as much as the developer wants us to =)

  79. skrom says:

    @Phildawg:

    So make your Dad and brother buy there OWN copies and you can save money that way.

  80. skrom says:

    @Crazytree:

    And they were probably more of a dumbass for sending a copy of their driver license and credit card to some unknown person in a third world country KNOWN for infestations of identity theft

  81. Konchu says:

    I actually think its kinda crappy to just lock these out like this. Not sure if this is stated inside the games packaging that it is not for resell outside of said country it probably does but it better. As someone who imports console games I cant see were this is any different.

    But the bottom line is this they should have never let the codes activate at all on a US Steam account if this was an issue and in violation of the terms of use. How do they determine if this is in violation in the 1st place what if you had someone that had a US steam account that got it while they were in school in the US or an exchange student that bought the game back home and is now connected to a US IP address.

  82. MarceloAbans says:

    Let the buyer beware.

  83. forumreader says:

    Wow, somewhat hard to read this thread with Crazytree ignorantly flaming every person with the issue.

    I agree with the guy up there that said while Valve has every right to deactivate these accounts, there has to be a better way.

    Also, it’s not like these cd-keys never worked or Steam didn’t accept them. People were playing Orange Box for at least a week (and some Counterstrike players for years) when the killswitch went off on a Friday with no support around to answer questions for those involved. That’s a little dodgy.

  84. CyberSkull says:

    The Orange Box is a Lie!

    Seriously, I thought computer games were free from this region bullshit. So if I do some travel my games can get invalidated by my IP address just like that?

    You suck Valve.

  85. Phildawg says:

    Yea it really is important that Valve at 5pm Friday decided to crack down on this major distributor (which is not Zest or the sellers, the distributor is the one selling the games to the stores to sell to us!) anyways, it was retroactive and hit folks who had purchased international versions over the past 3 years. It especially hit Australians hard because a lot of Thai stuff creeps into their stores since they are so close.

    This is a distributor problem, not a store problem, not a consumer problem. A major warehouse was selling these all over as if they would work anywhere… and guess what? for years they have! It CLEARLY is not stated in any of my manuals! And surprisingly, most of these manuals are completely in English and can be almost identical to the US version.

  86. Consumerist Moderator - ACAMBRAS says:

    @Crazytree:

    @Phildawg:

    I’m getting complaints about both of you — please take the flamewar elsewhere.

  87. i mean did you morons seriously think you were going to get away from region locks?

    the lesson you have learned today kids is that you never fuck with Big Brother’s money, no matter where on the planet you are, so do as you’re told dammit!

  88. clank-o-tron says:

    FYI, as someone who’s dealt with Steam customer support before, I can assure you that exchanges of this sort are not uncommon. I’m not uncompassionate towards the volume of nerd-rage they have to field every day, but I had to wait a week to get a canned response pulled directly from their support page (which I told them I’d already visited).

    Steam is great when it works – I can take some of the greatest games available on the PC anywhere – but when it fails, it fails hard. For example, if the complainants in this story dispute the credit card charge, their Steam login will be deactivated and all of the games they’ve purchased thus far on steam become inaccessible.

  89. davidc says:

    I am getting a little tired of all this “anti-global” garbage. If I want to buy a product, why should I be limited to the “United States”?

    If I bought a “comb” in India, would it refuse to work on my hair when I brought it home? Then why should Software or DvD’s do the same?

    Answer: They should not. A product is a product is a product.

    It’s time for the courts to get involved in all of this and let companies know that just cause they don’t like “where” I bought their product, they don’t have a RIGHT to disable it’s use.

  90. y2julio says:

    @david.c: They never wanted you to buy it from the any external distribution channel. How hard is that for you to understand? It’s their product. They can sell it however they see fit. Why should companies revoke their right to sell their IP at whatever price they want for different markets just because you don’t agree in the price. They aren’t forcing you to buy anything.

  91. Phildawg says:

    @Consumerist Moderator – ACAMBRAS: Thanks for the warning. Sorry to others for my sometimes abusive comments. I am very passionate about this and my posts definitely show this. I don’t believe that any copyright holder should be allowed the power they currently have and then wield that just to disfranchise consumers.

  92. Phildawg says:

    @BigChiefSmokem: lol I like this post. It really is hard to stick it to the ‘man’ nowadays!

  93. Phildawg says:

    @y2julio: See though, this is just as silly as how people visting France in the 80s-90s??? could make a lot of money by smuggling over ‘Levi Strauss’ clothing as there was an import ban on it.

  94. Phildawg says:

    @y2julio: Until 5pm on Friday, they weren’t forcing us to do anything. Keys were revoked starting from 3 years back.

  95. thenino85 says:

    Heh.

    Heh, heh.

    You guys just loved the convenience of Steam, didn’t you? “Man, all I need is a Steam account and I don’t even need to reinstall games when I format my computer!” “I love being able to access my games from everywhere!”

    Welcome to the reality of digital distribution. You own nothing. If you so much as sneeze in a way the company doesn’t like, they can take away your purchase and not give it back. Yes, you can get the EULA overturned in a court of law and probably get your purchase back. It’s not that difficult. But be prepared to pay far more in legal fees than you ever would have if you just rebought the content on a different account.

    I’m not an anarchist or a socialist. I’m actually a red-stater. One that believes in property rights as one of the cornerstone of a proper society. Once you buy something, you own it. You don’t own the distribution rights, mind you, but you own the product you purchase. Most companies are trampling all over this idea, and it is the duty of any proper American to protect their property rights from them. Hack for freedom, I guess you can say.

    Last night, I actually decided to read the EULA for my Wii. (I was really, really bored.) They make the claim that, should you use any non-Nintendo product (like, say, a memory stick that isn’t the overpriced Nintendo licensed Sandisk one), that they have the legal authority to fry your system. Not just that they aren’t responsible for damage that system updates might do. But that they can fry your system for your insolence. Go read it if you don’t believe me. Welcome to your brave new world.

  96. devilgoku says:

    Repurchase “the orange box” from steam, steam will clear the charge and give you all the games back. Essentially, they just removed the games from your steam temporarily. Check the forum if you don’t believe!

  97. Akin says:

    @thenino85:
    I think you missed the part where people bought things in a shady deal that involved giving their personal information to people in shady countries in exchange for a lower price. I smell identity theft.

    I myself am for being able to buy physical non-bootlegged products from any region I wish, but buying anything from Thailand or Russia is extremely shady.

  98. Deltakiral says:

    Regardless of how they got the game they paid money for the game and for Valve to do this is pretty low. I mean they should be happy people are buying their games, considering the PC market and the amount of piracy. Well this why I don’t play PC games anymore.

  99. bobfather says:

    I was one of the unlucky few to get burned by Valve. I wrote a pretty long email to Valve support concerning the situation, and I got a two line response from DougV that essentially said “sorry, nothing we can do, not our fault, get your money back.”

    I just want to reiterate that Zest and Luckito are legitimate retailers, and many people who purchased from Luckito have already gotten refunds. Zest has been a bit slower on this situation, but they’ve promised everyone refunds as well (no doubt credit card refunds take a few days to process even from stateside retailers, nevermind overseas).
    I won’t be buying any more games from Valve, especially since we’ve been treated so poorly. If you even try to create a thread about the territory error over on the Steam forums, the threads are immediately locked and deleted by the moderators, and there is plenty of precedent for that behavior occurring in the past. I urge people not to support companies that do business this way.

  100. Phildawg says:

    I bought my copies from Australia! I don’t think I made that clear earlier actually. But I was told by the seller his supplier is in Thailand and he just found out when people began complaining the keys stopped working.

    I don’t fully understand how it all works, but I am fairly certain there is some big distributor in Thailand/Russia who was taking these products and selling them to many others, such as Zest, my seller, etc. They were then reselling the goods (you didn’t think Best Buy actually bought their copies of the games from EA right? There is a distributor involved).

    Anyways, these sellers didn’t think anything was wrong until stuff went bust.

    So please, do not play ignorant any longer. People did not just buy the orange box, and they just didn’t buy from Thailand. This is something that affects all steam games from that distributor but were obtained from channels beyond just the distributor. My seller paid postage and full refunds on all of his copies sold (he said he had sold 120 copies and was going to lose 5000 US dollars over this).

  101. raindog says:

    Whether or not you’re “smelling identity theft” is irrelevant to the fact that Valve has been selling software around the world with no pre-sale notice that it will be disabled without refund if you play it outside the country it was sold, and now, up to three years later, is deactivating that software without notice.

    DVD and game console regions are pretty clearly labeled; in contrast, there is no standard for enforcing regions in PC software, and the users had no reason to expect this practice to start now, out of the blue.

    Valve is clearly in the wrong here. If there were enough people involved to start a class action suit, I bet an awful lot of accounts would be restored within days if not hours.

    But I doubt it’s actually big enough of a deal for that. More important is that people start to realize that games that require revocable online activation, like anything running through Steam, are a risky investment. If you “buy” such a game, at best your investment only lasts as long as the company is in business and doesn’t mess something up. At worst, you may be paying for nothing at all.

  102. XTC46 says:

    My thought on DVD regions, and prices differing in countries is this:

    If a company can out source to get the lowest rate for labor, why cant we do the equivalent and shop where it is cheapest?

  103. hypnotik_jello says:

    Wait, people still play video games?

  104. Eleo says:

    I don’t think this is a nice move. I think Valve should let these players play their game, and then make it clear in future releases (or even this one, starting at a specific date) that buying overseas is no longer acceptable. Because right now it seems like they’re trying to make up for potentially lost money by being mean to customers who didn’t pay enough, rather than trying to legitimately enforce an existing rule.

  105. Reiji says:

    Okay, first off – Zest IS a legit store. They are like Thailand’s version of GameStop (on a smaller scale). They have four locations in major shopping centers, plus their online store. A member on cheapassgamer.com actaully lives near one a has purchased there before.

    Second – There’s nothing illegal about buying overseas. I was one of the people who bought through this site and I paid full retail price, 575 Baht. Also, the game worked fine for a full week before Valve decided to block the keys, so they obviously didn’t care about it before this. Why did they start now?

    Third – Since when is PC software region-locked?? I read a forum where a gamer from the UK had bought a game on Steam, travelled to the US for a few weeks with his laptop, and discovered that he could no longer play that game, which he 100% legally purchased, because his current IP address was from the US. How is that fair?

  106. InThrees says:

    All hail the global marketplace!

  107. Buran says:

    @y2julio: Really? Then I guess that all the times I’ve bought stuff out of the country (not software) means I’m dishonest? Someone out of the USA was willing to sell it to me for less, even after the cost of shipping to the USA.

    That makes me dishonest? Why? No, it just means I took the time to find the best deal.

    If I am sold something, and not told that it won’t work just anywhere, and the store takes international orders, I consider the item defective if it then proves to not work when I get it home. The store certainly knows where I live from my shipping and billing addresses.

    Don’t like having to issue refunds to foreign buyers when something you sold didn’t work for them and you failed to tell them about it? Then don’t take orders from foreign buyers in the first place! Duh.

    But I guess to some people I’m a cheater for actually taking advantage of good deals.

  108. Firstborn Dragon says:

    Okay, with the presence of ebay, used game stores, and such how can ANYONE know where these games came from? Seriously.

    I have NEVER seen a region locked game before. DVDs yes, but not games. Hell, a lot of players buy Japanese versions of counsel games before they come out over here. Eruopian players normally do the same thing due to the later release date, or even the lack of a release date.

    THIS is the reason I go for hard copies of all my games, and refuse to buy anything from download media. Easy to change the rules on a downloaded copy. Not so easy with a hard copy media which can be used on any PC even if it’s not net bound. If the game dosen’t have a hard copy CD version avalible? I don’t buy it.

  109. strakallah says:

    The problem is with people who A: Assume that if you buy it from Thailand that you are buying it off the back of a donkey and B: Have never purchased from Zest so have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA whatsoever in the slightest of what they are talking about. In Australia, the Zest deal is very appealing because we are limited to the amount of data that we can download. However, going to EB and buying a game will see a 20 or 30% markup above steam. So the logical answer is to go to Zest and buy it as I have done 10 times before without a problem. The other issue is that Steam says in their advertising that you can play your game that you purchased anywhere on any computer. They then turn around and say “no sir. We didn’t mean it like that”. Zest is a fantastic retailer and is the only option for us in Australia that don’t feel like paying twice the amount for games that people in the USA do.

  110. crypticgeek says:

    Granted, customers of deactivated products should have gotten an email explaining what was going on and why. However, I see no reason why Valve doesn’t have every right to price their products how they see fit and enforce it. It’s like buying a product with a European electrical plug because it’s priced lower and then complaining that it won’t work in the US. Sure, it’s a better price…but it’s not meant for use in the US and they certainly don’t have any obligation to accommodate such use.

    As a software developer I understand where they are coming from. Piracy is rampant, especially in certain geographic locations. Different pricing schemes can be used in these areas to help encourage consumers from buying instead of stealing. Earning a little less is better than earning nothing at all. The market over here can bear more, so you pay more. Nothing wrong with that. I think you’d find it difficult for anyone to say US retail price for the orange box isn’t an absolute bargain already. These people are just complete and utter tightwads.

  111. INRIhab says:

    I’ve never seen a region locked PC game until now. You generally get locked DVD’s due to PAL and NTSC, they’re not compatible. If I buy a PC game in Britain thats no Orange Box it will work in any country without fail. Valve seem greedy here and want to thrive on exchange rates, I know I can get the game cheaper in the US then the UK, but they’re forcing me to buy it in my country.

    There is laws set in Europe that we’re allowed to buy anything from any country within the EU and it shouldn’t have limitations. Any who disagree can research Itunes in Europe and why the prices aren’t the same, not limited to that you’re locked from purchasing from those regions. The European commision are pressing on Apple to sort it out as it goes against our laws. Maybe this is something that will eventually get sorted out here, as it goes against European law.

    I know some of these games where bought in Thailand, but the same applies if anyone in Europe buys in another European territory. Valve already got sued once in Germany for this kind of tactics back in 2004.

  112. a says:

    I have a copy of a Thai version, I have the box and all with me and nowhere on it does it say that the product is territory restricted or that distribution outside of that region is prohibited/unlicensed. It just says that the product is “For sale in Thailand only”.

    Whats really upsetting is that Valve originally said on the Q&A page that the reason they were disabling CD-Keys from Thailand and Russia were that e-tailors were sending CD-keys only and that the users were not reading the restrictions on the box( but there is nothing about territory restrictions on the package). I sent the Valve a question about this and to give me a legit reason for disabling my keys days ago and I still have no answers from them, but the seemed to have changed the Q&A to this topic.

    What more upsetting is that Valve is locking up every single thread related to this topic as if they didn’t want anyone to notice. Great customer support eh?

  113. Trai_Dep says:

    Here’s a question. Say I’m an expatriot living in Oz or Thailand, have purchased the game. Then move stateside. Boot up my computer (sigh – if only Valve deigned to support Mac, but I digress), launch Team Fortress 2 and Valve nukes it. Completely legit use of the game, not restricted by anything that Valve or EA warn against. Yet I’ve just had my games stolen by Valve.

    That doesn’t seem right.

    If this situation isn’t right, I’m not sure the one that some have experienced is, either.

  114. RabbitFly says:

    This is why I no longer buy valve games.

    Through the times I have spent hundreds of dollars on valve products, cause I liked what they were doing and I never had a problem.

    But one extremely important thing has become apparent. They do not care about their customers. Actions like these is the reason Valve has many outstanding customer support problems, and multiple complains as a business. They don’t care about their customers. Which is pretty far out there considering it is we who let them do what they love the most.

    Seeing as all valve games and countless other games are purchasable and only playable through their steam portal. They should really have gotten their act together with customer support. But instead they have a I am right and everyone else is wrong attitude where helping a customer comes second to everything else.

    They will rather steal your money and force you to pay double than help you out with your problem and make for a better community.

    Personally I am never buying any game that goes through steam again. Therefore goodbye valve games. Which means I am missing out on great games like Team Fortress 2 and Left 4 Dead.

    But the lack of security that comes with their customer support just isn’t worth it. To know that if the off chance that something would happen to your account (IE the current deactivate issue) you are better off just buying a second copy of the game rather than asking customer support to resolve the issue.

    In my opinion someone should step up. I feel like they are stealing my property. Things I have payed for. Where I bought it should not matter at all, as I paid for it fair and square.

    Or how their VAC ban system works. It does do well to stop hackers and cheaters, but the system is full of policies which make for a very un-secure situation.
    Like if you were to get hacked, and banned because of it, you would have to repurchase every game you owned cause they will be near worthless.

    I understand how they need to go down on cheaters, but you should never ever do such things on the expenses of your paying and loyal customers.

    I am sorry for ranting, but I am pissed and I hate valve for what they do and what they stand for. Which is funny cause under a year ago I liked them a lot and I bought almost everything they gave out.

  115. jamar0303 says:

    A legit situation that would also be affected is if someone is living in Thailand, buys the game, and then moves to the US (college, returning ex-pat, whatever). What do they do? Certainly not buy another copy, that’s for sure. I never bought anything from Valve before, and with this announcement, I never will.

  116. Echodork says:

    What? International software retailers don’t follow strict commercial guidelines? You don’t say.

    Sucks for the people involved. Still the best game package out there this year.

  117. zibby says:

    I guess saving a few bucks can be expensive sometimes.

  118. lemur says:

    The situation is more complex than most people think. A few comments…

    1. Some of the people commenting conflate “legal” and “right”. It so happens that something illegal can be right and something legal can be wrong. An example of the former is the American War of Independence which few American would consider wrong but any rational observer would find illegal. (I don’t know any state in which revolution is legal.) An example of the latter are “do not resuscitate” orders which are legal in some states but which some people find wrong on religious grounds. Actually these examples show that the criteria by which we judge things to be legal and those by which we judge things to be right are quite different. In my second example, for instance, legality is determined by the legal code and the fact that the situation is wrong is determined by people appealing to religious rules.

    2. Is Valve right? I don’t think so. Companies want to be able to outsource and get their materials at the cheapest cost but do not want to allow customers the same benefits? I don’t think that’s right. In fact, the way the economy and the law is evolving, I think we are slowly returning to the servitude (servitude in the sense of “state of being a serf”) of the Middle Ages. Companies are finding arbitrary ways to make us shell out money to them as often as possible and the reasons they come up with are pretty arbitrary. Although the parameters are different, at it’s core, the situation is quite similar to a Lord imposing a tax on his serfs. The greatest tragedy arises when the serfs start thinking that the Lord’s arbitrary taxation is the natural way things should be.

    3. Is Valve’s action legal? Possibly but there again there’s enough grey here that I would not want to judge prematurely the legality of Valve’s action. The argument that sellers “should have known better” is not very convincing in a civil case. Something more substantial has to be put forth.

    4. Could Valve do things differently right now? Probably not. I’m aware I’m speculating here. However, it seems likely that Valve has contracts that spell out how it will carry on business with the EA and the retailers. For instance, there are probably clauses that prevent Valve from undercutting the retailers with Steam. There are probably also clauses that specify how the retailers are going to sell Valve’s products. We now know that Valve does not want their retailers to sell outside their assigned markets. The easiest way for them to enforce that rule when rogue retailers violate it is to revoke keys that have been sold outside their markets. I’m not saying this is the best way, just the easiest because it does not require legal action on their part. It is just an instance of the general strategy companies use to enforce their rules: they do not bring the customer to court or to arbitration right off the bat to get a ruling confirming their allegations, rather they act right away to their own benefit and hope that the customer won’t attempt legal action.

    5. Who is to blame? The rogue retailers are the ones that have most responsibility in this because they did not stick to their agreement with Valve (or EA). They should fully reimburse all of their clients whom they knew were outside their assigned market. Valve has some part of blame because they created this mess in the first place. But I’m not convinced that they should reimburse anyone because ultimately the responsibility is the retailers’. However, Valve needs to consider how much their reputation is going to be tarnished if their customers are not satisfied.

    6. Could Valve do things differently in the future? Yes, they need to rethink their distribution channels and the rules that govern those channels. It is hard for me to see what advantage there is to release their own titles both in cardboard boxes in stores and on Steam. I think Steam is the only way to go. Perhaps there are countries where there is a market for boxes but broadband penetration is not high enough for Steam to work. So maybe I’m missing something. However, I still think that if they had released the Orange Box only on Steam they could have avoided this mess.

  119. cynon says:

    Valve and Steam are both pieces of SH**. I bought HL2 the day it hit the shelves, anticipating the same great gaming experience I got with HL1. SURPRISE! It didn’t work because I couldn’t log on to the servers.

    This is a point many people have made: If I require your servers to play my stand alone game, what happens when your servers don’t work?

    Not to mention the fact that if you complained on the forums, they deleted the messages and banned you from posting. None of these problems are new, and they are the reasons that I will never knowingly buy another valve game, and I will never use their Steam(ing POS) distribution system.

    Valve and Steam fanboys need not reply –I’ve heard it all before.

  120. point09micron says:

    @crypticgeek:

    “It’s like buying a product with a European electrical plug because it’s priced lower and then complaining that it won’t work in the US.”

    No, it’s like buying a device with an American plug in Europe, then the manufacturer kicks down your door and takes it away from you after you’ve used it for a week.

  121. arcticJKL says:

    How about they just make games that work without the internet.

  122. guspaz says:

    If you’re importing games from Russia to save a few dollars, maybe you need to reconsider your purchasing habits…

    I don’t feel much sympathy for the people who had their Russian games deactivated and had to get a refund (at least they got one), but I do feel sorry for the people who get screwed by customer service while trying to then buy a real local copy to fix the problem. That’s inexcusable.

    So, I guess you could sum up my opinion as, I don’t feel sorry for the victims, but I am disappointed with Valve.

  123. Reiji says:

    @guspaz: When you’re a student, saving $30 + $5 for gas is a pretty big deal, especially when it doesn’t take much effort.

    Also, here’s a direct quote from steampowered.com:
    “Play your games on any PC: Once you have a Steam account, you can sign in from any PC and access your games. Your games are associated with your account, not your computer.”

    Any PC? That’s simply a lie any way you look at it. I know people throw the “false advertising” card around more than they should, but isn’t this pretty solid ground for legal action?

  124. darious says:

    I got hosed by Bioshock’s online activation so these people have my sympathy. If this is the future of computer gaming, I’m taking my money elsewhere.

  125. fuchikoma says:

    I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE Steam, but Portal looked so original and great that I wanted to support them by buying it, and I’m glad I did.

    …however, this is the last time. They did not mention regional lockouts unless it’s in microscopic print in a corner somewhere. I read their whole TOS and agreed to it before opening the box. They are quite simply stealing from their paying customers, and in the event they make another game I want, (please don’t ban me for this,) I will download a cracked copy. If it is by the Portal team, I will get in touch with them personally and pay them directly, but I will not support Valve, Steam, or any of this Digital Rights Removal BS.

  126. BugMeNot2 says:

    What valve has done is a violation of US Federal and State consumer protection laws.

    Under the uniform commercial code, software is explicitly defined as a good. Not a service, not a leased work, and not a license. A good. Most people seem to think that the EULA and license agreements are some kind of bible and that everything they say is true and law. That couldn’t be further from the truth. An examination of case law in the US will show that courts have historically sided AGAINST EULAs and other forms of clickwrap and license agreements. And even if the court upheld a EULA, a contract is not a license to break the law. EVER.

    Most EULAs are what are considered an unconscionable contract under the law. The negotiating power between the two parties in a EULA (the company and the customer) are disparate, EULAs tend to be one-sided, and they tend to be designed to exploit one party. The courts have frequently refused to enforce such contracts, as Linden Labs can attest to.

    The customers in question have made a legal transaction to purchase a copy of The Orange Box. The law does not distinguish the fact that it was bought internationally when it comes to fraud. If the distributors are selling copies of The Orange Box to people in other countries, that is an issue between Valve in the distributor. It does not give them the right however, to steal money from people who have purchased that product.

    And no, it isn’t the resellers obligation to give a refund, it’s Valve’s because it is Valve who disabled access to the good in the first place. This is the equivalent of stealing a good that a customer bought from their house.

    My advice to the people who were scammed by Valve is two-fold :

    1.Issue a chargeback on your credit/debit card.
    2.File a complaint with the FTC and your Attorney General against Valve for fraudulent business practices.

  127. oritpro says:

    Nice going Valve, punish your paying customers. This is going to cost you a few sales on this end for sure and most likely many more as this story continues to propagate the net.

    Hope ya get sued over this.

    Sincerely

    An ex-customer.

  128. Trackback says:

    Your Kids May Be Telling The Whole Internet Your Secrets Privacy is probably the most important thing you can teach your 12 year old right now.

  129. seishino says:

    @Phildawg:

    TF2 actually is available alone for 30 dollars… through steam.

  130. gaedlun says:

    I’ve always wondered why people put trust in valve and their
    steam. All I heard about steam was that it is
    so hot that it “burned” the people.

    However, maybe it’s time for people to look for free alternatives, there are tons of free and open games (also multiplayer games) out there, just a few of them. I eg. like Deliantra ( [www.deliantra.net] ).

    The good thing about free games is that you don’t pay, and still get fun. And if it is not fun, you haven’t lost anything but
    time. In case of free software games you can even participate
    in creating and developing the game, which extends the lifetime of the fun even more.

    Microsoft burned me enough years ago, I’ve been on Linux
    ever since, and found enough games to waste my time there.
    Sorry if this sounds like i’m a fan-boy for free software,
    just want to point out that there are alternatives if you
    are open minded.

  131. Reiji says:

    It looks like Valve caved and the consumers won again. My and several others’ keys are working after applying a Steam update.

  132. bobfather says:

    Likewise – my key is working again as well.

  133. dlab says:

    @Geekybiker:

    Dude, you’re an idiot. Read an f’in economics textbook (supply, demand, price, quantity, hello?).

    Man, I miss the days of 8-bit Nintendo when buying a game meant you owned it, and you could use 3rd party products with it, and firmware upgrades didn’t exist.

  134. consumer_999 says:

    As long as people keep supporting steam it will continue to screw gamers over.

  135. Severius says:

    That’s why I don’t buy anything by Valve. Consumers can buy what they want, from wherever they want. I want to buy something from a foreign website, the manufacturer can’t tell me no. Not to mention how Steam sucks ass and rips off the people who purchase games there.

  136. guardian86 says:

    Hello REIJI

    I just read that your cd-key is working fine. Could you please better explain what exactly did you do?

    I got my boxed version on Saturday and tried to register but it failed :(

    What’s worse it’s like 6 of us bought the game.

  137. Reiji says:

    @guardian86: All I did was login to Steam. I got a popup window saying that Steam needed to restart to apply an update and then the games reappeared on my game list. It’s possible that they may have only reactivated the keys that were already registered.(?)

  138. This is akin to the Students and Educators version of software, when you are clearly not. I temped at a place that did this and got a BSA audit. They certainly got their “cd keys” taken away. Complain to the original distributor in Thailand, not the seller or Valve. They are the ones who did something wrong here.

  139. Reiji says:

    @StartingAces: The difference is that Student Licensed software actually TELLS you that it’s intended for student/teacher use on the box. Even the Thai retail box, much less the EULA, has no mention of it being only for use within Thailand.

  140. zibby says:

    Damn. I was hoping the pwnage would continue.

  141. Odysseas Mavroforos says:

    I appears that this is not the only problem steam causes to paying customers:

    [www.allroundgeek.com]
    [www.allroundgeek.com]

  142. Anonymous says:

    Hello i am from Holland.My son bought Saints Row 2 in a decent shop in my hometown and payed a decent 40 euro for it.After a few days we were told (not even asked) to pay 50 euro for the game…to steam. The support site is more a barrier than helpfull,with all its de-and commands.I did nothing illeagel and than they confiscate the game key,there is no way to contact directly about the problem.this smells like arrogance and thievery.Is there any solution coming up