The story goes like this: people browsing the web found out that they could get cheaper activation keys (around $20) from stores located in Thailand or Russia. Needless to say, they went for the deal and now the deal has gone sour.

A thread regarding the matter was quickly started on Valve’s official forum, only to be removed in a short while. No doubt that Valve would be quick to answer the problem if the keys had been illegal to begin with. However, it seems that they were legitimate purchases.

The discussion is heating up on several forums. A user going by the name of SLAMER writes on the Fatwallet forum:

It seems totally wrong that Valve can do this. They are valid retail keys purchased from a legitimate retailer (Zest have several stores in Thailand). They are not stolen or pirated. There was no indication in the terms that said you could not take it to another country. Valve themselves are selling it internationally to my area (via Steam) so saying the ‘game is not available in my area’ is in fact a lie. I think that we need a lawyer or someone to pick this up and advise if they are breaking any laws by doing this and maybe pressure them to reactivate these games that we purchased legitimately.”

So Valve isn’t happy with consumers looking for better deals. One can understand the company’s point of view (they are, after all, looking to make a profit). Then again, such drastic moves are certain to drive customers away to pirate land. But let’s finish this properly and have a quote from Valve own marketing campaign:

"Play your games on any PC: Once you have a Steam account, you can sign in from any PC and access your games. Your games are associated with your account, not your computer."