The European Commission has Millions in fines against Valve and the five publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax pronounced. The total of the fines amounts to 7.8 million dollars, distributed among the parties.
The Comm ission cites the reason Violations of EU antitrust rules
The penalties for the publishers have been reduced as they have cooperated with the authorities. Valve, however, refused, which is why the Punishment here in full was pronounced. These penalties were imposed:
Reduction due to cooperation
Why were the sentences imposed?
Steam and the publishers have, according to one Press release agreed on the website of the European Commission to link activation codes for games to national borders. It was not possible for buyers in one EU country to activate the keys in another EU country. This violated EU regulations, since EU citizens would have to be able to shop in the entire economic area without such restrictions.
The affected products are around 100 PC games that were offered for sale in digital or physical form. Because Valve and the publishers used geo-blocking, customers are said to have suffered disadvantages, as the EU Commission explains:
“Concerning geoblocking practices […] Games of various genres including sports, simulation and action games. They prevented consumers from activating and playing PC video games that were sold by publishers’ distributors either on physical media, such as DVDs, or through downloads. These business practices therefore denied European consumers the benefits of the EU’s digital single market from looking around Member States to find the best deal. The Commission has concluded that the unlawful practices of Valve and the five publishers have split the EEA market in breach of EU antitrust rules. “
The European Commission uses an illustration to clarify the problem:
What follows from this?
As the press release further states, the penalties are now paving the way for customers to seek compensation for damage suffered in national courts. The Commission’s decision can serve as evidence that the actions actually took place and were illegal.
However, the penalties are left out. This means that any damages that the courts might impose on Valve and the five publishers would not be reduced by fines already paid to the EU.
In order to make it easier for you to go to court, the EU Commission also points out that one is valid in the EU member states Antitrust Compensation Policy to facilitate the legal process for citizens. The EC website also offers further assistance an.
We asked the European Commission what measures would follow if geo-blocking continues to be used on Steam in the European internal market. If you get an answer, we’ll update this article.