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European Commission Fine steam Valve

European Commission fines Valve and other game publishers for geo-blocking

Game publishers Valve Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax have been fined by the European Commission following an investigation into geo-blocking. The investigation dates all the way to 2008 and more specifically delved into geo-blocking of Steam keys.

According to the European Commission, the game publishers were in violation of the European Digital Single Market by making Steam keys restricted and not available in all countries in Europe. More specifically, it prevented activation of games in Romania, Slovakia, Poland, Czechia, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. It led to the European Commission taking action and fining the companies, with Valve receiving the highest fine (€1,6 million) after not cooperating with the investigation and being the only one not to receive a reduction of the fine.The other companies involved received a 10% to 15% reduction on their fines after co-operating.

A Valve spokesman spoke out about the fine. “During the seven year investigation, Valve cooperated extensively with the European Commission (“EC”), providing evidence and information as requested.  However, Valve declined to admit that it broke the law, as the EC demanded.  Valve disagrees with the EC findings and the fine levied against Valve.” Valve goes on to say geographic limits were put in place to prevent publishers raising prices in ‘less affluent regions’.

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Image credit: Valve