Valve and five game publishers fined millions for geo-blocking Steam games in EU – The Verge

Valve and 5 PC video game publishers have been fined a total of EUR7.8 million (around $9.5 million) by the European Commission for limiting cross-border game sales in the European Economic Area. The Commission said that the companies geo-blocked around 100 PC computer game, preventing them from being triggered and played outdoors specific EU nations. This broke the EUs Digital Single Market rules which restrict those kinds of barriers.

The European Commission says the geo-blocking was to prevent video games being activated outside Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Geo-blocking avoids players residing in EU nations with greater typical incomes from having the ability to conserve cash purchasing them in EU states where theyre cheaper and then activating them on Steam. Activation keys were geo-blocked in between 2010 and 2015, the European Commission said.

” Under EU competitors law, business are restricted from contractually restricting cross-border sales”

The European Commission opened its formal investigation into the practice of geo-blocking back in 2017, and formally asked Valve to stop the practice back in 2019. Valve has formerly argued that only a small number of games utilized region-locked activation keys, and argued it should not be liable for area locks asked for by publishers. It said it ended the practice in 2015, with restricted exceptions.

” Todays sanctions versus the geo-blocking practices of Valve and 5 PC video game publishers act as a suggestion that under EU competition law, companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales,” the European Commissions head of competition policy stated. “Such practices deprive European consumers of the advantages of the EU Digital Single Market and of the opportunity to look around for the most appropriate offer in the EU.”

Valve and 5 PC video game publishers have been fined a total of EUR7.8 million (around $9.5 million) by the European Commission for limiting cross-border game sales in the European Economic Area. Focus Home was fined practically EUR2.9 million (around $ 3.5 million), ZeniMax over EUR1.6 million (around $2 million), Koch Media practically EUR1 million (around $1.2 million), Capcom EUR396,000 (around $480,000), and Bandai Namco EUR340,000 (around $410,000). Valve, however, selected not to cooperate, and was fined over EUR1.6 million (around $1.9 million).

Five publishers were fined in overall. Focus Home was fined practically EUR2.9 million (around $ 3.5 million), ZeniMax over EUR1.6 million (around $2 million), Koch Media nearly EUR1 million (around $1.2 million), Capcom EUR396,000 (around $480,000), and Bandai Namco EUR340,000 (around $410,000). Since each of these companies complied with the examination, their fines were reduced by between 10 and 15 percent. Valve, however, picked not to comply, and was fined over EUR1.6 million (around $1.9 million).

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