The EU fined Valve and five publishers a total of EUR 7.8 million (USD 9.5 million) for “geoblocking” PC games on Steam. This basically means that users in one country (e.g. Germany) will be forced to only pay the German price for a game instead of letting them buy a cheaper version of the same game from another European country.
Geoblocking violates EU antitrust regulations, and so the five publishers mentioned – Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax (Bethesda) – have been fined around 6.2 million dollars. As the owner and operator of Steam, Valve – who “chose not to work with the Commission” – was fined EUR 1.6 million.
“Today’s sanctions against the geoblocking practices of Valve and five PC video game manufacturers are a reminder that EU competition law prohibits companies from contractually restricting cross-border sales,” said Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice President of EU Competition says
If “Valve chose not to work together” sounds familiar, it’s because the company was likewise of little help when it came to lawsuits in Australiabefore the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission forced their hand.