[Regional restrictions and pricing
Steam allows developers and publishers to change prices and restrict game availability depending on the user’s location. This can cause some games to cost more than retail prices, despite digital distribution removing the costs of manufacturing, packaging, design, and logistics.
Valve also restricts game registration to the buyer’s country of residence. One example of this regional restriction can be seen where Valve uses Steam’s authentication to prevent boxed versions of their games sold in Russia and Thailand, which are priced significantly lower than elsewhere, from being used outside those territories.
Steam offers products in three currencies; US Dollar, Euro and Pound Sterling. The currency is selected automatically based on the user’s location, and cannot be changed. Due to how Steam handles the US Dollar to Euro/Pound Sterling conversion, prices in Eurozone countries are often much higher than in the United States, which has led to much criticism from European Steam users since the Euro support was introduced on December 12, 2008.
It is necessary to validate every Steam game online, whether purchased via Steam itself or installed via a retail disc, the first time it is played, although an offline mode is available.
According to the Steam Subscriber Agreement, Steam’s availability is not guaranteed and Valve is under no legal obligation to release an update disabling the authentication system in the event that Steam becomes permanently unavailable.
Despite this, Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, said in a post on the Steam User Forums that “Unless there was some situation I don’t understand, we would presumably disable authentication before any event that would preclude the authentication servers from being available.” He added, "We’ve tested disabling authentication and it works.