How to Unlock Games on Steam early using a VPN

Oliver Bradshaw | 11 May 2019

How to Unlock Games on Steam early using a VPN

Steam is the de facto choice when it comes to gaming on PC. There are many imitators but Steam is the real granddaddy of digital game distribution platforms. There are over 125 million active accounts on Steam, Xbox Live in comparison only has 55 million active users. In 2019 we have seen Steam go from strength to strength and it popularity increase.

We recommend ExpressVPN unlock games on Steam, they have a fast and simple interface to bypass any restrictions. 

These 125 million users come from all around the world and this means there are many different time zones and release schedules. Though the trend of having staggered release dates for games has slowly waned as digital stores have become more and more popular there are a few games that still adhere to the regional staggered release method. In the pre PS360 era it was not uncommon for those in Europe to be waiting months after their US counterparts for a game release (if games ever released at all!).

What time do Steam games unlock?

During 2019 we have found that in most cases the majority of Steam games are released to the general public at 10AM PST. This is not a hard and fast rule though with Steam sometimes releasing some of the Big Name games at various other times (e.g. Midnight).

Post 2006 saw games in the US usually release on a Tuesday, Europe Wednesday and the UK a Friday. I can remember my younger self, wondering who was responsible for the injustice of the oft common Friday release in the UK. Thankfully these staggered releases are slowly being phased out, quite often many of the biggest games are being released worldwide on a Tuesday.

This is still a big issue in many gaming communities. Dark Souls 3 recently for example caught come flak for releasing earlier in different regions. The Dark Souls community really relies on that sense of wonder, adventure and discovery. Tips, tricks and interesting finds are often discussed and one region having access to this earlier than another can easily fragment a player base.

It is important to note, do not buy a game from a different regions store. Doing so is a direct violation of Steam’s Terms of Service and can result in a ban of your Steam account. Unlocking a game is completely fine and doesn’t violate anything in the ToS.

Steam Geo-Blocking

On Steam the store is based on your IP address location. This allows you to use a VPN to spoof your location and gain access to a different regions store. Let’s say that in New Zealand a game unlocks 12 hours earlier than in your own region. If you connect to a VPN server located in New Zealand and log into Steam, you will be met with the New Zealand Steam Store. If you then navigate to the game you want to unlock in your Steam library, you should see the unlock timer has moved forward 12 hours (or is unlocked). You can now freely download the game and get playing.

You don’t have to stay connected to the VPN once you have started to download the game, so feel free to disconnect if you get a faster download speed. You will have to reconnect though when you launch the game until the game unlocks in your own region.

Which VPN Server to connect to for Steam?

Now there are many different Steam Store regions, meaning which VPN provider you choose is an important factor in getting this to work. More often than not it is the Oceanic countries that have games released the earliest due to the time difference, so VPN vendors that offer Australia or New Zealand are always a good place to start.

So why wait till you favourite game on Steam is available for download in your region. Grab yourself a vpn subscription to circumvent Steam geo-blocking, connect to an Australian or New Zealand vpn server, and start playing !

Here are our list of vpn providers that we’ve personally tested and recommend for use with Steam:

1. ExpressVPN


Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

ExpressVPN is currently our #1 pick for accessing Steam primarily due to their vast network of servers at their disposal. They currently have 6 servers to connect to in Australia, as well as a server in New Zealand. These locations are going to be your best bet to be able to access your game early on Steam, as they are the first global city to see midnight due to their time-zone location.

ExpressVPN - Australian servers

ExpressVPN is one of the biggest players in the market which means that they have a pool of VPN Server and Software Developers available to ensure that their vpn servers are always well spec’d, optimised for speed, with ultra-fast backbone internet connections. When speed and reaction time matters in your Steam game, you’ll be glad you went with ExpressVPN.


All ExpressVPN plans include the following features:

  • Simultaneous connections: 3
  • Jurisdiction: British Virgin Islands
  • Countries: 94
  • 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
  • VPNCompass Speed Test: 75.44 Mb/second


  • 1 Month: $12.95
  • 6 Months: $9.99
  • 15 Months: $6.67 (*Special Offer)

Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.

visit ExpressVPN

2. NordVPN


Money-back guarantee: 30 DAYS

NordVPN is another of the big players when it comes to vpn access. With over 4000 servers globally, and 480 servers in the Asia Pacific region, their network of servers is huge to say the least. NordVPN currently has 186 servers in Australia and 18 servers in New Zealand, so finding a fast server to connect to will not be a problem (remembering that AU and NZ locations are typically granted first access to Steam games).

NordVPN - Australian servers

DNS leak protection and an internet kill switch are included on all NordVPN plans, which means that Steam will never detect you are using a vpn even if your vpn connection does momentarily drop out. Their app (Windows, Mac, iOS and Android) are all first rate, and we experienced no buggy functionality when we tested them in our VPNCompass office. They are not the cheapest vpn service provider on market, but in our opinion the extra few dollars that you’ll spend on them each month is well worth it.


All NordVPN plans include the following features:

  • Simultaneous connections: 6
  • Jurisdiction: Panama
  • Countries: 63
  • 30-day Money-Back Guarantee
  • VPNCompass Speed Test: 63.25 Mb/second


  • 1 Month: $11.95
  • 1 Year: $6.99
  • 2 Years: $4.99
  • 3 Years: $3.49

Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.

visit NordVPN

3. CyberGhost


Money-back guarantee: 45 DAYS

CyberGhost is our third choice as a solid vpn provider to connect to Steam. They are a huge global corporation, which means that they too have the financial means available to keep streaming and gaming services unblocked. Whilst many regular vpn users are aware that CyberGhost are a leader in allowing users to bypass geo-blocks to access Netflix and BBC iPlayer, it’s less well known that they also excel at permitting Steam access. Feedback that we’ve had from members of the online gaming community (,,, etc) has been positive, with excellent server speeds reported.


All CyberGhost plans include the following features:

  • Simultaneous connections: 7
  • Jurisdiction: Romania
  • Countries: 60
  • 45-day Money-Back Guarantee
  • VPNCompass Speed Test: 64.75 Mb/second


  • 1 Month: $12.99
  • 6 Months: $7.99
  • 18 Months: $3.50

Note: All prices are in USD, and are Per Month.

visit CyberGhost

What were the Top Games on Steam in 2019

The following is a list of top games on the Steam platform during 2019:

  1. Dota 2
  2. PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  3. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
  4. Grand Theft Auto V
  5. Warframe
  6. Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
  7. Team Fortress 2
  9. Monster Hunter: World
  10. Football Manager 2019

How many Steam Users are there in 2019?

The number of active Steam users around the world has continued to climb during 2019. The continued popularity for gamers worldwide is seen in the following user Steam figures:

  • Online Players: 9,524,444
  • In-game Players: 2,146,325

Final Word …

Hopefully in the future there won’t be any need for a VPN to specifically unlock a game early. We are really now living in an age where staggering release dates simply does not make sense. Games have their own thriving communities that love to discover things together and hampering this interactivity serves no one. There are over 125 million users on Steam from all around the world, drawing arbitrary lines in the sand seems like an archaic idea. Until then, grab yourself a vpn from a reputable vpn service provider such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN or CyberGhost and enjoy your latest Steam game the moment it is released.

PRIVACY ALERT: Websites you visit can find out who you are

  • Your IP Address:
  • Your Location: Ashburn, US
  • Your Internet Provider: Amazon Technologies Inc.

* Scammers, Governments, and Advertisers can use this information to track and target you.

Our recommended vpn service provider for all-round internet security and online privacy is ExpressVPN. It offers an excellent selection of online security and internet privacy features, as well as the ability to unblock your favorite streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, BBC iPlayer). They currently have a Special Offer with 3 Months extra for free.

Visit ExpressVPN

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