Saturday, December 25, 2010

How to miss a Steam Christmas sale

Christmas, a family holiday, where many people spend time away from home and at some sort of family gathering. So do I. But of course I took my laptop, so I would have full connection to wonderful world of the internet. Or wouldn't I? It turns out that the internet isn't all that "inter" these days, and there are a lot of invisible walls causing you trouble if you dare to move from home.

Every year Steam is doing a Christmas sale. Great offers, many very good games at seriously reduced prices. So I wanted to pick up this or that game, only to be blocked every time by some error message: "There seems to have been an error initializing or updating your transaction. Please wait a minute and try again or contact support for assistance." The message told me nothing, and trying again sure didn't help. So after a few days I contacted support, which replied to me another day later with this gem:
Thank you for contacting Steam Support. Our records indicate that your purchase was declined due to your current IP address differing from what is on file with your billing information. We have removed the lock on your account - you will now be able to purchase additional subscriptions.
Apparently traveling is illegal in Steam land, and leads to your account being locked and unable to purchase additional games. You need to contact customer support and beg them to let you buy games from Steam if you dare to use a laptop from a different location with a different IP. And they can't even tell you that straight in the error message on the site, leaving you only with some nonsense message of "an error initializing or updating your transaction" which tells you absolutely nothing about the real problem.

Well, since all this took several days, many of the games I wanted to buy weren't on sale any more. I'm so not buying them at full price, angry as I am at Steam right now. If they want to make their service unusable to anyone traveling, and confound them with stupid error messages, they are going to lose sales over it.

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