‘Steam’ fined for geo-blocking video games in Europe

‘Steam’ fined for geo-blocking video games in Europe

A post from the European Commission explains the violations and breaks down the fines for each company. While most of the publishers received at least a 10% reduction of their fine as a reward for their cooperation, Valve received a "prohibitive decision" under "ordinary antitrust procedure" and was fined €1.6 million - roughly $1.9 million United States dollars.

Companies found to be in violation of anti-trust law.

Valve has been fined €1.6 million, while game publishers Focus Home €2.8 million, ZeniMax €1.6 million, Koch Media €9,77,000, Capcom €3,96,000, while Bandai Namco was fined €3,40,000.

The statement made by European Commission Vice President Margrethe Vestage is as follows: "The sanctions imposed today against the "geoblocking" practices of Valve and five game companies remind that cross-border sales restrictions by contract are prohibited under the EU competition law".

The European Commission reduced the fines on the violating publishers because the companies cooperated.

The five publishers were Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax.

Imagine buying a PC game, and then finding out you couldn't activate your copy because you lived in the wrong country.

Valve's video game digital distribution service Steam is the largest platform for selling and purchasing games in the PC marketplace.

The Commission, the EU executive, said the companies' practices prevented European consumers from shopping around in a European market worth more than 17 billion euros.

Bilateral agreements and/or concerted practices between Valve and each of the five PC video game publisher implemented by means of geo-blocked Steam activation keys which prevented the activation of certain of these publishers' PC video games outside Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, in response to unsolicited consumer requests (so-called "passive sales").

Geo-blocking apps deal with almost 100 computer games of different genres, including sports, simulation, and action games.

This concluded the investigation the Commission launched back in 2017.

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