I think we are probably just going to go around in circles here, but the entire reason I have a problem with this is because, from all accounts, these are legit paid for keys. No different than if I took a trip to Japan, purchased a game and brought it home with me.
This is the crux of the problem; if it's one person that travels over there, spending $500 on airfare to save $10 on a game, then it's not a big deal. In the internet age, though, one person there can quite easily buy 10,000 copies and re-sell them to individuals in the US, then it becomes a major problem. It's the problem of having a digital good - there's zero transportation cost involved in selling across borders
Look, there's really only two possibilities here - either
1) The game is sold at the exact same price globally, at a price point which maximizes the revenue for the company (which basically means the US/Euro price), which means the price is vastly out of proportion to income in developing areas (which then means that they'll sell basically zero non-pirated copies in those areas)
2) The game is sold at a cost somewhat relative to (a) the wealth of that country, such that it's actually reasonable to ask people in developing countries to legally purchase it, which requires some sort of control on the good to restrict it to that region, and (b) the nature of the organization purchasing it, such that a cyber cafe / whatever can be encouraged to legally purchase a number of licenses instead of pirating the game, which also requires controlling the ability of those licenses to be spread outside that industry
To go back to someone else's example - it's the exact same situation as Microsoft selling corporate windows licenses. It makes perfect sense to sell one giant corporate license to a company, both for cost and for ease of use (not having to keep tract of tens of thousands of windows licenses), but if companies start reselling them it would destroy the value of the individual licenses
Now, if you want to argue that Valve should pro-actively create different types of key #'s, such that it's obvious that they're region restricted / etc, I might not disagree with you... but again, it's probably the case that Valve really doesn't generally want to bother with this (as long as it doesn't become a major problem), and it's only when they start seeing a fairly large # of people taking advantage of the loophole that they need to take action
Value conscience consumers incentivize companies to be more efficient and offer more value in their products. Which in turn benefits all consumers, even you.
I've purchased most of the AAA 360 titles over the past couple years, and I don't think I've paid less than 25% off the entire time. If you don't think a game has $60 worth of value to you, if you wait 3 months you can easily get it for $40 (and probably less), without resorting to buying from questionable sources or importing Chinese versions or whatever.
The problem is that most gamers want to have both - they want to not pay full price (generously), but they also NEED to have it the week that it comes out. This comment was edited on Nov 22, 2009, 01:14.