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Valve, Capcom and Bandai fined 7.8 million for blocking Steam games in Europe

The European Commission has just imposed a heavy fine of 7.8 million euros on Valve, the parent company of Steam, and on five other publishers, including Capcom and Bandaï Namco. These companies are guilty of establishing a geo-blocking to prevent cross-border sales of games. A practice deemed anti-competitive by the European institution.

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Credits: Pixabay

Valve, Capcom, Bandaï Namco, Focus Home Interactive, Koch Media, and Zenimax (Bethesda) will have to release the checkbook. This Wednesday, January 20, 2021, the European Commission imposed a fine of 7.8 million euros to these six well-known companies in the video game industry. The reason ? Have voluntarily established a geo-blocking system, to prevent the sale of game keys from country to country. This verdict comes after seven years of investigation.

Valve and the publishers have restricted cross-border sales of certain PC video games based on the geographic location of users within the European Economic Area, thus engaging in so-called geo-blocking practices ”, assures the European Commission.

She continues: “The fines imposed on publishers, totaling over € 6 million, have been reduced due to their cooperation with the Commission. Valve chose not to cooperate with the Commission and was fined over € 1.6 million ”, says the institution.

Read also: Steam – forced to allow resale of digital games, Valve strikes back

eu valve commission
Credits: European Commission

As a reminder, the EU offers a digital single market to all European citizens. In other words and by virtue of free trade, players are free to buy their game in a country other than the one in which they reside, in particular to take advantage of lower prices. However, the establishment of this geographic blocking, organized jointly by Valve and the five aforementioned publishers, has “prevented consumers from activating and playing PC video games sold by publishers’ distributors, either on physical media, such as DVDs, or by download ”, as the European Commission points out.

In detail, the Commission therefore accuses Valve and the five publishers accused of having prevented the activation in other countries of a hundred games from Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Latvia and Lithuania between September 2010 and October 2015.

Finally, note that Valve has chosen to challenge the verdict rendered by the European Commission : “During the last seven years of investigation, Valve has cooperated fully, providing all requested evidence and information to the Commission. We do not agree with these findings, and plan to appeal the decision ”.

Source: European Commission