Players complain that VPN abuse is inflating the preorder cost of Horizon Zero Dawn on PC

(Image credit: Guerilla Games)

PC players in territories that traditionally pay less for digital games have seen the pre-order price for Horizon Zero Dawn skyrocket after players reportedly used VPNs to secure the game for significantly less than the price listed in their own regional stores.

In a ResetEra thread outlining how the practice hurts people in regions with less money, members detailed how the price has shot up in a number of countries, including Argentina, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, and China.

"I know there's a thread about HZD coming to steam, but this is more about regional pricing and how people from rich countries can screw over poor count[r]ies by taking advantages of it," wrote a poster on ResetEra (thanks, VG24/7). 

"So, when Steam open up preorders on HZD, the price of the game in Argentina was 539 pesos (about 7 dollars). Overnight, that price went up 2100 pesos. This is because of the amount of people buying the game using a vpn to get game cheap Sony decided to up the price.

"For everyone that doesn't know, here in Argentina we have high inflation numbers every year," the post continued. "Due to customs, buying hardware here (consoles, PC parts, etc) can cost 2 or 3 times more than in the US. Gaming is an expensive hobby and here even more so. The only good thing we had in the last couple of years is having some stores on pc with competent regional prices, but if people in other countries keep abusing this, we won't even have that.

"In the end, I just wanted to vent a little and bring awareness that if you're in a first-world country and abuse regional pricing to get games cheap you're actively hu[r]ting people that most likely have a lot less income than you."

A similar thread on Reddit claims prices have increased from 5 per cent in Canada, to 289 per cent in Argentina, with Turkey, Russia, South Africa, Columbia, and Brazil all reportedly seeing at least a doubling of the original price, if not more.

Others, however, maintain it's "not as easy" to purchase games via VPNs any more, and instead suggest the game might have been incorrectly priced in the first place.

"I'm Argentinean and bought the game yesterday. But it was pretty obvious that there was an error with the pricing," countered another poster. "That was WAY too cheap for an AAA game on release. The price it has now makes more sense. I don't think anyone would have complained if it was at that price from the start."

The Horizon Zero Dawn Complete Edition for PC contains both the base game from 2017 and all previously released downloadable content, including The Frozen Wilds expansion that takes Aloy to a completely new area of the open world. 

As for what's next, Horizon Forbidden West was announced just last month as an upcoming PS5 game. An exclusive to Sony's next-gen console, the next instalment is due to release sometime next year. Can we expect a PC re-release for that sequel too? Here's hoping. 

Looking for something new to get stuck into? Here are the best PC games right now.

Vikki Blake
Weekend Reporter, GamesRadar+

Vikki Blake is GamesRadar+'s Weekend Reporter. Vikki works tirelessly to ensure that you have something to read on the days of the week beginning with 'S', and can also be found contributing to outlets including the BBC, Eurogamer, and Vikki also runs a weekly games column at NME, and can be frequently found talking about Destiny 2 and Silent Hill on Twitter.