Steam is the de facto choice when it comes to gaming on PC. There are many imitators but Steam is the real granddaddy of digital game distribution platforms. There are over 125 million active accounts on Steam, Xbox Live in comparison only has 55 million active users.
We recommend Express VPN to unlock games on Steam, they have a fast and simple interface to bypass any restrictions.
These 125 million users come from all around the world and this means there are many different time zones and release schedules. Though the trend of having staggered release dates for games has slowly waned as digital stores have become more and more popular there are a few games that still adhere to the regional staggered release method. In the pre PS360 era it was not uncommon for those in Europe to be waiting months after their US counterparts for a game release (if games ever released at all!).
Post 2006 saw games in the US usually release on a Tuesday, Europe Wednesday and the UK a Friday. I can remember my younger self, wondering who was responsible for the injustice of the oft common Friday release in the UK. Thankfully these staggered releases are slowly being phased out, quite often many of the biggest games are being released worldwide on a Tuesday.
This is still a big issue in many gaming communities. Dark Souls 3 recently for example caught come flak for releasing earlier in different regions. The Dark Souls community really relies on that sense of wonder, adventure and discovery. Tips, tricks and interesting finds are often discussed and one region having access to this earlier than another can easily fragment a player base.
It is important to note, do not buy a game from a different regions store. Doing so is a direct violation of Steam’s Terms of Service and can result in a ban of your Steam account. Unlocking a game is completely fine and doesn’t violate anything in the ToS.
On Steam the store is based on your IP address location. This allows you to use a VPN to spoof your location and gain access to a different regions store. Let’s say that in New Zealand a game unlocks 12 hours earlier than in your own region. If you connect to a VPN server located in New Zealand and log into Steam, you will be met with the New Zealand Steam Store. If you then navigate to the game you want to unlock in your Steam library, you should see the unlock timer has moved forward 12 hours (or is unlocked). You can now freely download the game and get playing.
You don’t have to stay connected to the VPN once you have started to download the game, so feel free to disconnect if you get a faster download speed. You will have to reconnect though when you launch the game until the game unlocks in your own region.
Now there are many different Steam Store regions, meaning which VPN provider you choose is an important factor in getting this to work. More often than not it is the Oceanic countries that have games released the earliest due to the time difference, so VPN vendors that offer Australia or New Zealand are always a good place to start.
ExpressVPN are a great choice for unlocking Steam games early. They have servers in 94 countries, including Australia and New Zealand. There is no limit to how many times you want to switch servers so ExpressVPN really makes for a good pick if unlocking Steam games early is important to you. ExpressVPN isn’t overly expensive either if you are looking for a year’s subscription, coming in at $8.32 a month. Short term $12.95 is a bit dear for a month’s access but ExpressVPN is a quality choice for those looking for a long term option.
NordVPN is another long term solution, coming in at just $5.75 a month for a one-year plan with their current discount. There is even a limited time deal at just $3.29 a month for a two-year subscription One month comes in just one dollar cheaper than ExpressVPN at $11.95. NordVPN doesn’t offer as many countries as ExpressVPN, at 57 countries represented, but the most important ones are present. Australia, New Zealand and sometimes Hong Kong is a great option to have as they occasionally get games earlier over there.
TunnelBear is a good free VPN choice. You get 500MB free data a month and access to servers located in twenty different countries, though sadly Australia is only accessible with a paid account. TunnelBear does offer access to Hong Kong and Singapore, both rather often get games releasing earlier in their regions. If you have a specific game that unlocks in one of these regions, TunnelBear’s Little plan is a great cheap and cheerful choice for specific use cases.
CactusVPN is another good monthly choice. They offer servers in nine different countries, including the likes of Australia and South Korea. Whilst the amount of countries isn’t as high as those listed before, the price per month is a great value proposition. At Just $7 a month you aren’t tied down any longer than you want to be. They offer a great 30-day money back guarantee as well if you aren’t happy. A nice little bonus to that price is that their Smart DNS service is thrown in as well, meaning it does a little more than just VPN.visit: Cactus VPN
Hopefully in the future there won’t be any need for a VPN to specifically unlock a game early. We are really now living in an age where staggering release dates simply does not make sense. Games have their own thriving communities that love to discover things together and hampering this interactivity serves no one. There are over 125 million users on Steam from all around the world, drawing arbitrary lines in the sand seems like an archaic idea.