EU Finds Valve in Breach of Antitrust Laws

EU fines Valve, ZeniMax and other publishers over PC game geo-blocking

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.

EU Competition Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager was quoted saying, "Today's sanctions against the geo-blocking practices of Valve and five PC video game publishers serve as a reminder that under EU competition law, companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales..." The organization reports that the fines imposed on other publishers have amounted to more than 6 million euros and have been reduced thanks to their cooperation with the Commission.

So what do you think about the fine given to these game companies? Capcom was given a 15% reduction for co-operation and fined €396,000, while Bandai Namco, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax Media all received a 10% reduction, paying €340,000, €2,888,000, €977,000 and €1,664,000 respectively.

Specifically, Valve and the five game publishers formed bilateral agreements that prevented the activation of certain games outside of specific countries.

This happened after they resorted to geo-blocking i.e., they blocked gamers from buying cheaper versions of the video games in other countries in the European Union bloc.

EU fines Valve, ZeniMax and other publishers over PC game geo-blocking
Gaming Companies Face Severe Fine For Resorting To Geo-Blocking Practices In EU

They further mention that such geo-blocking tactics are disadvantageous to the consumers of the gaming community as it prevents them from making good use of the EU Digital Single Market.

During the seven year investigation, Valve cooperated extensively with the European Commission ("EC"), providing evidence and information as requested.

The European Commission has fined six publishing giants over the geo-blocking of Steam keys.

The Commission found that Valve and the game publishers had restricted cross-border sales of specific video games based on user's locations inside the European Economic Area (EEA), the Commission said in a statement on Wednesday. The Commission sent Statements of Objections to Valve and the five publishers on April 5, 2019.



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