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How to Fix "This Item is Currently Unavailable in Your Region" on Steam

Have you ever experienced the dread of seeing "This item is currently unavailable in your region" when trying to purchase or download a Steam game that hasn‘t been released where you live? As a PC gaming enthusiast, I‘ve faced this frustrating blockade many times when hot new titles launch in another territory first.

Fortunately, with some technical workarounds, you can bypass these geo-locks and unlock full Steam store access regardless of your location. This comprehensive guide will break down exactly why the region error happens, how to fix it with a VPN, plus additional tips for accessing blocked games.

What Does "This Item is Currently Unavailable in Your Region" Mean?

First, let‘s understand what causes the "unavailable in your region" error. Essentially, it means the publisher has imposed regional restrictions on the game‘s availability.

According to statistics from SteamDB, over 34% of games on Steam have some form of region-locking. Popular titles like Lost Ark, New World, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Call of Duty: Vanguard can display the region error in Asian countries, South America, Middle East, and Africa where they aren‘t authorized for sale.

These geo-restrictions arise from:

  • Local content regulations: Some countries require specific ratings or content approvals before sales are permitted. Locking down regions allows publishers to comply more easily. For example, Wolfenstein games featuring Nazi symbols are often banned in Germany and Asia.

  • Music/character licensing: If a game features licensed music, celebrities, or characters restricted to certain regions, the availability gets limited accordingly. This occurs frequently for sports titles with league branding rights.

  • Regional pricing control: Publishers want to optimize pricing based on regional incomes and willingness to pay. Segmenting availability allows them to avoid price arbitrage.

  • Staggered release schedules: New games gradually roll out across the world. Early region locks minimize loads on servers and help resolve launch issues before expanding globally.

In summary, licensing complexities, local regulations, pricing control, and release timing coordination drive the use of region locking on Steam, resulting in the "unavailable in your region" error message.

Bypassing Regional Restrictions Using a VPN

So with the root causes explained, how can you get around these restrictions and unlock regional Steam games? The solution is to use a virtual private network (VPN).

A VPN allows you to mask your real location and IP address by routing your internet traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server in another country. This tricks Steam‘s geo-IP detection into thinking you are connecting from an eligible region.

Follow these steps to set up VPN access on Steam:

Choose a Reliable VPN Provider

For bypassing Steam region locks, I recommend using ProtonVPN as your VPN provider. Here‘s why:

  • Offers unlimited free servers, whereas most VPNs have data caps on free plans. This allows unlimited game downloads.
  • Has VPN servers in 63 countries, unlocking nearly full Steam catalog access.
  • Allows P2P traffic required for large Steam downloads. Some VPNs block this.
  • No logs policy protects your gaming activities and personal data.
  • Apps for Windows, Mac, iOS and Android for full platform support.

Other top choices are ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, TunnelBear, and Windscribe. I advise avoiding shady free VPNs that could sell your data.

Install the VPN App and Create an Account

Once registered, download and install the ProtonVPN app on your desktop platform or mobile device. Sign up for a free account without entering any credit card details.

Their signup process is quick and intuitive:

ProtonVPN signup process

The ProtonVPN signup only takes a minute, with free and paid options.

Connect to a Server in the Game‘s Region

Now browse the list of VPN server locations within the app. Find a country that matches the release territory for the Steam game you want.

For example, connect to a US server if the game is available in North America, or a Singapore server for Asia-Pacific releases. With one click, you‘ll be masked as connecting from that country.

Browsing VPN server locations

ProtonVPN makes it easy to connect to server locations matching your target region.

Access Steam Store and Download Game

With the VPN active, visit the Steam store page for the blocked game and purchase or download it. The "This item is currently unavailable in your region" error should no longer appear.

However, you must keep the VPN connection running during the entire game download process. If disconnected mid-download, your IP will revert and break the link.

Play Game and Manage VPN Connection

Once fully downloaded over VPN, most single-player games can be launched and played while disconnected. But for multiplayer games, you may need to stay connected to appropriate servers.

Periodic VPN access will also be required for any DLC purchases, game patches, playing banned titles like CS:GO in Asia, or redeeming region-locked activation codes.

I advise setting up split-tunneling to exclude web browsing from the VPN tunnel to avoid slowdowns. Also enable the VPN kill switch as a failsafe if connections drop during use.

Tweaking Your VPN Setup for Optimal Steam Performance

While VPNs are highly effective at bypassing region restrictions on Steam, the added connectivity layer can cause hiccups. Here are some tips for optimizing performance:

  • Find fastest servers: Connection speed varies across VPN servers, so switching locations may boost downloads. Test speeds using Steam‘s bandwidth tool.

  • Forward ports: Configuring port forwarding on VPN apps improves speeds by reducing latency and packet loss. Helpful ports include TCP 443, 80, 8080 and UDP 1194, 5000.

  • Disable Steam Cloud sync: If you encounter cloud sync errors or items stuck in limbo, temporarily disable Steam Cloud, apply VPN, then re-enable.

  • Clear browser cookies: For blocked web store transactions, clear cookies and cache to avoid stale region info getting cached before purchases.

  • Use WireGuard protocol: If available in your VPN app, WireGuard offers faster speeds than OpenVPN or IKEv2 with less battery drain.

Proper VPN configuration delivers lag-free online multiplayer and the full Steam store experience regardless of your location.

Other Ways to Obtain Region-Locked Steam Games

Besides VPNs, a couple alternative methods exist for getting region-exclusive games on Steam:

  • Gifting: You can have a friend gift you a region-locked game if they already own it. This fully unlocks the title in your library.

  • Code activation: Some physical or digital game codes are region-free and will activate successfully on Steam in any territory.

However, reliance on gifting or code imports is inconsistent compared to having on-demand VPN access. Also, code resale from other regions may violate Steam terms of service if not utilized properly.

Unlock Your Steam Gaming Freedom

I hope this guide has provided you with all the knowledge needed to troubleshoot and bypass the frustrating “This item is currently unavailable in your region” limitation. Region locks can attempt to geo-fence your gaming life, but tools like ProtonVPN put the power back in your hands.

Remember – always use a trustworthy premium VPN, connect to servers matching your target region, keep your VPN active during downloads, and optimize configurations. Follow these best practices and you’ll gain unlimited access to Steam’s full gaming catalog.

Now get out there, virtually transport yourself to new lands, and conquer exciting PC titles previously out of reach! This is the real geo-gaming freedom. Game on!