How Gamers Used a VPN to Get Early Access to Fallout 4

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The much hype the video game industry created about Fallout 4 has finally paid out. How can it not, when it’s the biggest video game of the year. After being waiting for it open mouthed for almost a month or so some people just couldn’t hold any longer. A tech-savvy person had posted an interactive article guiding the fellow fans of fallout 4 on how to get Fallout 4 before its release date.  And that’s when all hell started to break loose, at least for some Virtual Private Network servers. It started off as a small thread on Reddit, but soon it got a viral following among the gaming community, mainly due to the eagerness of the impatient gamers, but also due to the step by step clear and precise up to the point guidance given in the Reddit thread.

fallout 4 screenshot

So what was this article all about?

This article explained a technique which is extensively used by anti-government individuals, journalists and other activists who are living under despotic regimes to avoid surveillance by third parties called “Virtual Private Networks”  or better known as VPN’s. What is a Virtual Private Network? Well, that’s a question anyone who’s not familiar with the tech industry will get. Well to answer that we’ll look at the definition given by Life hacker which can be understood by someone who’s not coming from a technical background. Life hacker defines virtual private networks like this

Businesses use Virtual Private Networks to connect far-flung branches in a more secure way than the public internet, and others can use Virtual Private Networks to get access to networks when they’re not physically connected on the same LAN (Local Area Network) or as a way of securing and encrypting their communications and related information when they’re using an untrusted public network.

When you connect to a Virtual Private Network, you usually launch a Virtual Private Network client on your PC (or click a link on a distinct website), log in with your identifications, and your PC exchanges trusted keys with a server located somewhere else on the globe. Once the two computers have certified each other as genuine using digital certificates, all of your internet communication is encrypted and protected from surveillance.

So fundamentally someone who’s in one region of the world can make it look like he’s from some other region of the world by routing traffic through the addresses in different parts of the world. One might think the procedure is complex. But the guy who posted about this method in Reddit made it look like a cake walk for the general masses.

Although the game was to be released on November 10th in the USA it was already November 10th for some areas of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and most of the commonwealth. Well, that’s when USA Gamers start hating the whole concept of time zones and start wishing for a flat globe. But because of this smart guy for some people the wait is now over, although it’s not the same for the most doubtful users who decided to hold on to their nerves till steam officially released the game. Even though the PC users were lucky in that sense the PlayStation and the Xbox players had to wait that long day counting each second that passed by because the trick of Virtual Private Network didn’t work on them.

This is not the first time something of this nature has occurred. In the past also gamers have used this method of hiding their original location to get their games ahead of the scheduled release. And the more bold ones have decided to take benefit of steams country wise pricing policy and buy the games by showing that they are from some other region. But it has never been used so extensively like it happened at the dawn of fallout 4 release. Demand is such that two Virtual Private Networks suggested in the Reddit user’s article, namely F-Secure’s Freedom and VyprVPN had tweeted in their Twitter profiles that their servers in the land down under have hit the mark, but they had also mentioned that they will take all steps necessary to keep the service running and improve customer satisfaction. This type of scenario bears ample evidence as to the scale this happened. In steam, this type of activity is strictly prohibited. Under the terms and conditions of steam, it mentions that

You agree that you will not use the IP proxy or other ways to cover the place of your residence, whether to circumvent geographical constraints on game content, buying at pricing not applicable to your geography, or for any other purpose. In case you do something like this, we may terminate access to your Account.

But the gamers are showing that they are not only brave in the virtual world, but in the real world also by openly violating this. But Valve the gaming company which powers steam has not done anything to prevent users from doing this. Well, after all they might understand the pain that the gamers have undergone for months to play this. The confidence in gamers about openly violating this policy is such that In the Reddit thread the user who provided all the guidance have told specifically that steam won’t do anything if users go through VPN’s and download the content ahead of its release. Well, seems he wasn’t wrong after all. Perhaps policy makers of steam don’t mind people buying their games ahead of schedule as long as they get their half of the flesh. And adding to that many gamers showed the true spirit of gaming by helping other gamers on many other forums after they got the initial tutoring from their mentor at Reddit. Many Xbox and PlayStation users who were not that lucky as their PC counterparts are thinking of switching into PC’s as their main mode of playing games. Such is the interest of gamers towards great games such as fallout 4.

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