Valve is reportedly removing access to purchase games for Brazilians if the games are submitted to Steam without age ratings. There doesn’t appear to be any official announcements about it, but Brazilian gamers have been discussing the issue at length, and reached out to OAG to put a spotlight on the Steam game pages being blocked in Brazil.
It started with a thread back on October 11th, 2019 from user DarkSpartan. He lamented the lack of purchasing options for certain games on Steam, and the fact that this move came without any warning, notice, or heads-up from Valve before enacting the change.
A Brazilian gamer translated parts of DarkSpartan’s post into English, where he stated…
“I talked with a developer whose page was being blocked in Brazil, he was not aware about this new rule but in a few minutes he was able to unlock the game’s page, after the same having its age rating approved. But I can’t confirm if this is valid for all games in this situation.
“Summing it up, new store pages from games that did not receive an age rating by developers or publishers, from now on are being BLOCKED on Brazil until they receive one. In other words, no one in Brazil will be able to visualize, buy, add to wishlist, search on store, see on new releases list, see the name of the game, developer or publisher, none through Steam!”
After some users found out that entire store pages were being blocked, they decided to keep an eye on the developments with an updated list of the upcoming games being affected over on Scjogos.com.
When one user reached out to Steam’s customer support about certain upcoming games not being available on Steam in Brazil, support responded with the following message…
“I can understand the concern you may have in the matter, but allow me to try and clarify it.
“Since games are now required to have a rating in Brazil, the publisher of the game would need to complete a process to establish a rating for their game .
“For any games you wish to purchase in the future and you find it is not rated, would recommend reaching out to the publisher of the game. The publisher would have better information on If They plan on having the game available in Brazil.
“Thanks for using Steam “
This created another conundrum because as some gamers pointed out, they can’t even access the store pages, which have been completely disabled in their region.
Users who have access to the store pages are being encouraged to contact the developers to fill out a form that would allow them to receive a rating for their game so it can be sold digitally in Brazil. In the forum they shared an image of the self-rating process that Valve implemented for developers in order to receive a rating so it can be sold in Brazil.
DarkSpartan reached out to Brazil’s CCI, and they confirmed that digital games will require an age rating if they’re to be sold in the region. They give him the runaround by having him to contact Valve or the developers about acquiring an age-rating if they want their games to be available for Brazilian users.
According to the Scjogos listing, more than 80 games have been affected, but it doesn’t appear to be retroactive. This is only happening for newer games. Brazilian users are met with the following error screen if they attempt to access a game without an age rating.
You’ll also note that games on the list that have been made unavailable in Brazil also no longer show a store page or pricing details through the SteamDB entries.
For example, Fantasy Grounds – Pathfinder RPG – GameMaster Guide‘s DLC isn’t rated, and so Valve applied the automatic block for gamers in Brazil.
The major issue that most gamers have is that Valve is using a rather blunt force approach to dealing with the problem by completely blocking access to the app by Brazilian gamers instead of simply disabling the purchase button on the Steam store page until the developer can apply an automatic age rating for the app.
This new measure is an update on the Brazilian DJCTQ certification process, which they began enforcing more aggressively back in 2013, as reported by Windows Central. The newest update, however, has made it highly inconvenient for Brazilian gamers to access upcoming or newly released titles.
To make matters worse is that many other developers – especially those from Asia – who can’t speak or read Portuguese have no idea what’s going on, and unless the community informs them about the change they just don’t know about the process or requirement to apply for an automatic age rating to sell the game in Brazil.
Valve has never responded to any of our requests for comment, but I’m sure if enough Brazilian gamers make a stink about the issue then one of the larger outlets part of the clique will get a comment from Valve, and possibly get them to make an official announcement about the issue.
(Thanks for the news Plake Filmmaker)