Out of Territory Orange Box Deactivations

The Consumerist has word that owners of The Orange Box are having their games deactivated if they own a copy intended for a territory other than where they are located (thanks Mike Martinez and Digg). The games activated properly, but after about a week, Steam began returning "incorrect territory" errors in these cases, surprising many users who purchased online or even in local stores, unaware their copy was intended for another region. This is leaving impacted customers in the often difficult position of seeking refunds for opened software.
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40.
 
No subject
Oct 29, 2007, 12:33
40.
No subject Oct 29, 2007, 12:33
Oct 29, 2007, 12:33
 
My guess is the # being "disabled" etc. are very minimal.

The Enrichment Center reminds you that the weighted companion cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.
39.
 
Re: Working again?
Oct 27, 2007, 10:49
39.
Re: Working again? Oct 27, 2007, 10:49
Oct 27, 2007, 10:49
 
They really don't have a choice. They have to reverse course or they're going to have hell to pay.

Just found another very interesting link, about valve disabling entire accounts (not just individual games) for reasons they determine to be fishy:
http://www.slyck.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=37355

How many more?


38.
 
Working again?
Oct 27, 2007, 02:02
38.
Working again? Oct 27, 2007, 02:02
Oct 27, 2007, 02:02
 
People are reporting that their Thai Orange Box games are working again after the latest Steam update. Looks like Valve reversed course.

37.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 21:51
>U
37.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 21:51
Oct 26, 2007, 21:51
>U
 
I seriously doubt that that falls within the rules specified by Valve when they sold those games to those retailers for a much lower price. Why would Valve allow them to do that? It makes no sense.
It is obvious that Valve didn't want those lower priced versions of the game sold outside of those countries, BUT that is not the same thing as only allowing the use of those games inside those countries. It is absolutely ridiculous and greedy of Valve to control where a customer can play his game based upon how much Valve thinks he paid for it. And, that is exactly what Valve is doing here.

The only scenario that I have any sympathy for is for those people who were legitimately living in Thailand or Russia and bought their copy there before moving elsewhere. That seems to be a very small percentage of the people who are complaining about this
It doesn't matter how small the percentage is. The fact is that it should not happen to anyone. Valve shouldn't be locking legitimate copies of the game to a specific region especially when there isn't a fool-proof way to determine geographical location via Steam and the fact that people do travel and move. Traditional PC games on physical media certainly don't have that limitation, and neither should games purchased via Steam.

as I have yet to see any reliable account of this actually happening.
Well then it must not actually happen if YOU don't deem it to be reliable. The point is that it does happen and will happen to anyone who buys a copy of the game in those countries and tries to use it elsewhere.

It's mostly people who thought they were gonna get some too-good-to-be-true deal. I wonder if they send their bank info to those nice people emailing them from Nigeria too.
That is a ridiculous analogy. The copies of the game that customers bought from these retailers were legitimate. These were not "too-good-to-be-true" deals. They were legitimate goods priced legitimately and sold by legitimate retailers. Where these retailers were located is a moot point. Valve should not be gouging consumers in some countries simply because it thinks they can afford it. Even worse Valve should not be gouging customers AFTER they have purchased games simply because they move to another location.

This comment was edited on Oct 27, 13:49.
36.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 19:41
36.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 19:41
Oct 26, 2007, 19:41
 
As I wrote in my post, read through all of the comments at Digg, Fat Wallet, and Ars Technica and you will come across some.
I read through a lot of comments at Digg, and while I saw speculation that it could happen, I didn't see any that said it actually happened to them.

Even a sale on its website to a foreign visitor is still taking place in Thailand where its server is located.
I seriously doubt that that falls within the rules specified by Valve when they sold those games to those retailers for a much lower price. Why would Valve allow them to do that? It makes no sense.

The only scenario that I have any sympathy for is for those people who were legitimately living in Thailand or Russia and bought their copy there before moving elsewhere. That seems to be a very small percentage of the people who are complaining about this, as I have yet to see any reliable account of this actually happening. It's mostly people who thought they were gonna get some too-good-to-be-true deal. I wonder if they send their bank info to those nice people emailing them from Nigeria too.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
Avatar 9540
35.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 17:00
>U
35.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 17:00
Oct 26, 2007, 17:00
>U
 
I haven't heard of any actual case of that happening so far. If you know of any, then I'd like to read about it.
As I wrote in my post, read through all of the comments at Digg, Fat Wallet, and Ars Technica and you will come across some.

So why were they being sold to people outside of Thailand?
The box only said "for sale in Thailand." A Thailand store which sells the box to a foreign visitor is still selling the box in Thailand. Even a sale on its website to a foreign visitor is still taking place in Thailand where its server is located. There was nothing explicitly on the box or even in the Steam subscriber agreement that states that Valve's games are restricted for use by region. These are legitimate copies of the game, and as such they were activated for foreign customers who bought them. Valve retroactively decided to deactive them simply because it is greedy and figured that it wasn't paid enough for the game.

They shouldn't buy from shady companies.
As I pointed out below not all (or necessarily any) of these companies are shady. Zest is a major game retailer in Thailand. It sold the legitimate copies of The Orange Box that were available to it.

This comment was edited on Oct 26, 17:09.
34.
 
Re: No subject
Oct 26, 2007, 16:16
34.
Re: No subject Oct 26, 2007, 16:16
Oct 26, 2007, 16:16
 
So say I live in the UK but I am russian. My native language is russian and I have citizenship there.

I buy a russian game for the language and whatnot (I buy all my software regionalised - I still think in russian) If the box had no marking of "for use in russia only" Then I would be very very pissed if this happens.

Luckily due to the strong pound vs dollar I got mine form steam.

This comment was edited on Oct 26, 16:20.
Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
33.
 
No subject
Oct 26, 2007, 15:47
33.
No subject Oct 26, 2007, 15:47
Oct 26, 2007, 15:47
 
I live in Thailand. I bought the Orange Box here. It costs 575 Baht = US$17. This is the legitimate version. The box is marked "For Sale in Thailand Only." There is no mention of it being not for use outside of Thailand. BTW, the street warez version costs about $3. Lots of tourists buy legitimate local versions as well.

I used to do a lot of travelling between here and the US, staying at either place for more than a month at a time. If my account is deactivated when I try to play steam games in the US, I will be very pissed. To me, I bought the legitimate version in a legitimate location.

I believe Valve has no way of determining who bought a gray import and who fit my case by the way they have been banning people.

32.
 
No subject
Oct 26, 2007, 14:17
32.
No subject Oct 26, 2007, 14:17
Oct 26, 2007, 14:17
 
IMO, Blue's writeup is misleading. This only applies to boxed Thai and Russian copies, which are available for $5-$10 USD there. If you buy the game on Steam, there are no region restrictions.

The old adage "if it's too good to be true" rings well here, although I would've MUCH preferred if the games didn't work right off the bat.

31.
 
How many more?
Oct 26, 2007, 14:01
31.
How many more? Oct 26, 2007, 14:01
Oct 26, 2007, 14:01
 
How many more things must happen, before those defending Steam to their graves begin to wake up to the inevitable facts? Demand steam reform or removal.

30.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 13:58
30.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 13:58
Oct 26, 2007, 13:58
 
In addition other people such as military personnel have reported that Steam games they purchased where they were stationed didn't work when they returned home to the U.S. Therefore, these customers should NOT be penalized for that.
I haven't heard of any actual case of that happening so far. If you know of any, then I'd like to read about it.

From what I read online from people who had this happen to them, the boxes said "For sale in Thailand" NOT "only for use in Thailand".
So why were they being sold to people outside of Thailand? Maybe the customers should be going after the company that was selling things that they shouldn't be and getting a refund there. TNSTAAFL. They shouldn't buy from shady companies.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell (I think...)
Avatar 9540
29.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 12:15
29.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 12:15
Oct 26, 2007, 12:15
 
I'm comparing steam restricting access to your PC game and the situation I described (which as you said is not going to happen to PC DVD games.. exactly the reason why I'd prefer to get a DVD rather than steam for the said example of the game).

If the option existed, would having the UK copy of the Witcher over steam in the US be illegal and subject to deactivation? It sounds like it would be, as the UK Witcher version is not intended for the NA territory.
The only way of knowing would be if someone from the US buys a UK copy of a Steam game and Valve deactivates it. While Valve might have the option to do so, it's less likely that they would. After all, with what's actually happened they can use the "it costs less there" excuse. If it happened with a UK copy of a game Valve would only have the legal technicality to defend itself with.

Basically it comes down to whether Valve is an evil soulless corporation like the major movie studios or EA. If you believe they are (and a few people on here certainly do), then go ahead and view it as a slippery slope situation. Personally, I don't think they would get away with it. In fact, they may even change their policy after the backlash from this situation.

which as you said is not going to happen to PC DVD games.. exactly the reason why I'd prefer to get a DVD rather than steam for the said example of the game
Actually, it wouldn't make a difference for Valve games (like The Orange Box). You have to activate it through Steam regardless, so even if you had a DVD of the game from Thailand, Valve would see where it came from and deactivate it.

28.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 12:12
28.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 12:12
Oct 26, 2007, 12:12
 
If Valve had region-locked the Russian and Thai versions from the start, it would never have been a problem. If that was the case, the few people who try importing it would let everyone know that the games did not work.

But Valve only changed its policy after thousands of people bought their foreign copies, knowing from forum posts that there was no region-lock. When you retroactively take away priveliges without warning, customers are obviously going to be mad.

27.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 12:06
27.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 12:06
Oct 26, 2007, 12:06
 
Valve Fans will defend anything. Why should Americans pay more for something. Nice way to treat your customers by making them pay more so some people that didn't make you who you are, pay more.
It's not just Americans. It's Americans, Europeans, basically anyone where things are normally sold at retail prices. It's not about Americans paying more, it's about certain "enterprising" individuals paying less.

This comment was edited on Oct 26, 12:17.
26.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 11:34
26.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 11:34
Oct 26, 2007, 11:34
 
Valve Fans will defend anything. Why should Americans pay more for something. Nice way to treat your customers by making them pay more so some people that didn't make you who you are, pay more.

25.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 11:27
25.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 11:27
Oct 26, 2007, 11:27
 
That's not at all the same, and is not in any danger of happening any time soon. Gogamer sells normal retail copies of games (albeit the UK versions in most cases). Stores in Thailand and Russia (and many other countries) sell pirated copies of games and legal copies that are specially packaged and priced for that area.

I'm not talking about it actually happening to PC DVD games. I'm comparing steam restricting access to your PC game and the situation I described (which as you said is not going to happen to PC DVD games.. exactly the reason why I'd prefer to get a DVD rather than steam for the said example of the game).

If the option existed, would having the UK copy of the Witcher over steam in the US be illegal and subject to deactivation? It sounds like it would be, as the UK Witcher version is not intended for the NA territory.
s{
This comment was edited on Oct 26, 11:28.
24.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 10:41
24.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 10:41
Oct 26, 2007, 10:41
 
Sooo, if you only want to pay $10 for the game, then feel free to move to Russia where you will be able to play it again, being the country that particular box at that price was intended for.

"In Soviet Russia - game play you!"

The Enrichment Center reminds you that the weighted companion cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.
23.
 
Re: I feared something like this...
Oct 26, 2007, 10:06
23.
Re: I feared something like this... Oct 26, 2007, 10:06
Oct 26, 2007, 10:06
 
If I buy an import copy of the Witcher at gogamer, I sure hell wouldn't want to be treated like a pirate. In a steam only world, that can certainly happen.
That's not at all the same, and is not in any danger of happening any time soon. Gogamer sells normal retail copies of games (albeit the UK versions in most cases). Stores in Thailand and Russia (and many other countries) sell pirated copies of games and legal copies that are specially packaged and priced for that area. This obviously concerns legal copies, since they were able to activate the games. This situation is similar to that of Windows XP Starter Edition, which is only available in certain countries. If you tried to install somewhere it isn't available, I highly doubt Microsoft would let you activate it.

The only way this would happen with GoGamer and similar sites is if games started being truly region-locked like DVDs. That's not what's happening here.


This comment was edited on Oct 26, 10:10.
22.
 
No subject
Oct 26, 2007, 10:03
22.
No subject Oct 26, 2007, 10:03
Oct 26, 2007, 10:03
 
To lazy to read - but is this like getting games from gogamer and getting a UK version of the game?

I have many games from them that have the UK age restrictions on them. Glad I bought through Steam on this one!

The Enrichment Center reminds you that the weighted companion cube will never threaten to stab you and, in fact, cannot speak.
21.
 
No subject
Oct 26, 2007, 09:51
21.
No subject Oct 26, 2007, 09:51
Oct 26, 2007, 09:51
 
I don't get it...how is this Valve's fault? This is the fault of either the reseller not telling the customer that the game was region locked or the customer for thinking they were pulling a fast one and getting some great deal.

If you buy a game from a company in Russia and you install it and the game is only in Russian....is it the fault of the company who made the game? Even if the ordering page was in English? IMO it's not. The reseller, perhaps...depending on the circumstances, but not the company who made or published the game.

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