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How to Unlock Steam Games Early with a VPN in 2024

Last updated: September 1, 2023

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If you are at the edge of your seat, unable to wait for your games on Steam to launch, we feel your pain.

Thankfully, it’s not that hard to unlock steam games early if you know the right tricks, and that is where we enter the picture.

For PC gaming, Steam is the best choice, with more than 95 million users at the latest count. This is nearly double the number of users of Xbox Live, which has about 55 million active gamers to date.

With games like PubG and Counter-Strike, who can blame users for wanting to unlock games on this popular platform?

Since users on this platform come from differing time zones, each region will have a different release time or even a different launch date, and it has been common to release games in a staggered manner, one region at a time.

Check out our tips on how using a VPN for your game unlocks access before the release date in your location.

Our go-to Virtual Private Network (VPN) for accessing the Steam service in a different region is ExpressVPN.

In a Hurry? Here’s How to Unlock Games Early on Steam

When Are Steam Games Released?

This past year, we discovered that most Steam games were released to the public at exactly 10 AM Pacific Standard Time. Others, however, were released on the Steam service at midnight.

Also, over the past decade, we have found that most games have had staggered release times and dates, with roll-outs on different days in Europe, the United Kingdom, or the United States.

These staggered releases are what lead those poor gamers with later release dates to want to unlock games sooner, unfairly having to wait sometimes a few days for games that were released earlier in different regions.

Why You Need a VPN to Get Past Steam Geo-Blocking

When you are accessing Steam, you are directed to the store that corresponds to your IP address. If you use a VPN connection to access games on Steam, the IP address that is detected will be the one that corresponds to your VPN servers instead of the area in which you are really located.

Using a VPN, you have the chance to establish a connection to an Australian or New Zealand server so that you will be directed to the Australian or New Zealand store instead of your own local Steam store in a place like Europe, or the US, where the release date might be later, or where midnight may come hours later, allowing you to start playing games on the Steam service sooner.

Once the game is unlocked in your region, you can disconnect from your VPN server and use the Steam service as usual.

What Are the Best VPN Servers to Connect to Steam 

Since there are lots of different Steam Store options, it is important to know how to choose the one that will help you get early dibs on your game on Steam.

Most of the time, it is the best move to connect to an Australian or New Zealand VPN server, since these countries are ahead of other areas around the world in time. Midnight in these countries comes, in some cases, 10, 12, or even 16 hours before midnight in other regions around the world. For this reason, make sure to choose a VPN provider that has servers in these two countries.

Once you have decided on a VPN that offers servers in Australia and New Zealand, like ExpressVPN, go ahead and sign in, and you will be able to unlock your game and download it on Steam early!

How to Choose the Right VPN for Steam

If you want to choose the right virtual private network for Steam, here are the features to keep in mind:

☑️ Servers: Make sure the VPN you choose for Steam has servers in the countries that release your game first, for example, New Zealand.

☑️ Speed: If you want to download and enjoy your game with good speeds, choose a VPN that has a reputation for being fast.

☑️ Multiple Users: Since it might take a while to download your game on Steam, it is a good idea to use a VPN that allows multiple devices connected to one account, so you and/or your family can use your VPN on other devices while your game is downloading.

☑️ Good Internet Protection: Any time you are using a VPN, it is smart to choose one that encrypts your Internet data and offers a Kill Switch and a no-logs policy.

☑️ Customer Service: Choose a VPN that offers 24/7 live-chat customer service so you can ask any questions you need, no matter what time of day.

3 Best Steam VPNs to Change Location and Unlock Preloaded Games Early 

Here are the 3 best VPN services for Steam that will help users get their games on Steam early:

Devices compatible with ExpressVPN

ExpressVPN is a great choice for when you want to access Steam, with over 3,000 servers in 94 countries around the globe, so users will have no problem accessing the country that offers games the soonest.

Because of its superfast speeds, this VPN’s broad server network is optimal for gaming. On top of this, with ExpressVPN, you have your pick of servers in countries like New Zealand and Australia, which are great options for accessing your game early on Steam because of their location and time zone.

If you want to unblock other geo-restricted services and gaming sites, ExpressVPN is able to unblock services like Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, and many more.

You can use ExpressVPN for up to 30 days with a moneyback guarantee, which is pretty much like having a 30-day free trial. Users on a really tight budget can subscribe to this VPN to change their Steam region and cancel for a full refund once their games are downloaded.


  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • servers in New Zealand and Australia
  • 24/7 live-chat support
  • Military-grade Internet encryption
  • Fastest Internet connection


  • Pricier VPN

2. NordVPN

Devices compatible with NordVPN

NordVPN is another great VPN, with over 5,100 servers located in 60 countries around the world.

This service also provides users with militarygrade encryption, a Kill Switch, a nologs policy, and other top protections to keep them safe on the Internet.

If you want to unblock other geo-restricted services, NordVPN can also easily unblock streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix, BBC iPlayer, as well as other gaming sites, all with good gaming and streaming speeds.

NordVPN is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, and iOS; and you can use it on up to 6 devices simultaneously, which is more than ExpressVPN offers.

You can test this service for up to 30 days with a money-back guarantee, and use the live-chat support option if any questions about servers or connectivity arise.


  • 6 simultaneous connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 live-chat support
  • Military-grade encryption


  • Slower with advanced security

Devices compatible with Surfshark

Surfshark is a great service for users on a budget.

This affordable provider has over 3,200 servers in 65 countries and is easily able to navigate Steam in different countries to get games earlier.

Surfshark offers unlimited simultaneous device connections, so you can visit stream while your family members also sign in and surf the Internet using the same VPN subscription.

Surfshark can also help unblock other geo-restricted sites online, with minimal buffering and connectivity issues.

If you want to test it , you can do this for 30 days with a refund guarantee. But, with its cost at only about $2 per month, it is pretty close to free to pay for a Surfshark subscription in the first place.


  • Unlimited device connections
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Decent gaming speeds
  • 24/7 live-chat support
  • Affordable


  • Some buffering
  • Slower speeds

Using Steam Preload Unlocker 

Before choosing a VPN, first, check the latest news to verify which Steam regions are expected to get your game the earliest. Many times, the region in which the game was developed will get the game released first so that the team of developers can troubleshoot any issues that arise when it is launched on Steam.

Most commonly, Steam games are launched at midnight on the date they are due to be released. In these cases, the earlier time zones will be the first to have access to the game. New Zealand and Australia are the best countries to be in (or connect to) if you want to unlock your game on Steam at the earliest possible time, since they are hours ahead of countries like the United States, Europe, or Canada.

To get a stream preload unlocker, check out these easy steps:

  1. Pre-order the Steam game you want to access.
  2. Preload your game.
  3. Disconnect completely from Steam.
  4. Connect to your VPN server in New Zealand or Australia.
  5. Restart Steam again after you are connected to your VPN server.
  6. Now Steam will think you are located in one of these countries, letting you preload in advance.
  7. Download the files or updates for the game.
  8. Press Play and you’re set!

Make sure you do not get disconnected from the VPN while you are accessing Steam! After the game is officially launched in your real-time zone, you can disconnect your VPN if you want.


How can I get a Steam game early?
You can get your Steam game early by connecting to a VPN server in one of the different regions that had an earlier release time than your Steam region. When you’re connected to one of these servers, you will find that your game unlocks just as if you were actually in that server region.
Can you use a Virtual Private Network to play games early?
Yes. A VPN will allow you to get your hands on your game early by accessing Steam in the countries that offer first dibs on these games.
How do you change steam location?
To change your Steam location, connect to one of your VPN’s servers in a different country, which will conceal your IP address and replace it with an IP corresponding to your server’s country, prompting Steam to direct you to that country instead of your own.
Where does Steam store preload data?
Steam stores preload data in the depot cache. There are 24GB of available data in this folder if you do not currently have different apps or games preloaded to your Steam account.


It is perfectly understandable to want to get your games on Steam as early as humanly possible. Using a virtual private network for Steam, you can have free reign on Steam regions all over the world, and be among the first to view any newly released action!

We hope that in the near future there won’t be a need to fight over who is going to get hold of Steam content first, since the trend of staggering launches seems to be dissipating.

We hope you enjoyed this post!

And remember: A Virtual Private Network can not only help you unblock services and websites online, but it can also help improve your privacy and security, and improve your speeds in certain situations. You can test all three of the VPNs on our list above for up to 30 days with a money-back guarantee, so there is nothing to lose by taking advantage of the deals in this article today!

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