European Commission Fines Valve, Capcom, and Others for € 7.8 million Over Geo-Blocking Practices

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Image: Valve

The European Commission has announced that it has fined Valve, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax for € 7.8 million after they were found to have been in violation of EU antitrust rules. More specifically, these companies engaged in the practice of geo-blocking, whereby Steam keys were configured so they could only be used/redeemed in certain countries. This business practice went against the European Union’s Digital Single Market principle, which allows customers to shop around between member states to find the best deal.

“Valve and the publishers restricted cross-border sales of certain PC video games on the basis of the geographical location of users within the European Economic Area (‘EEA’), entering into, the so called ‘geo-blocking’ practices,” a press release reads. “The fines for the publishers, totalling over €6 million, were reduced due to the companies’ cooperation with the Commission. Valve chose not to cooperate with the Commission and was fined over €1.6 million.”

“More than 50% of all Europeans play video games,” Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager noted. “The videogame industry in Europe is thriving and it is now worth over € 17 billion. 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. Such practices deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU Digital Single Market and of the opportunity to shop around for the most suitable offer in the EU.”

Fines Imposed

Videogame publisherReduction for cooperationFine (€)
Bandai Namco10 %340 000 EUR
Capcom15 %396 000 EUR
Focus Home10 %2 888 000 EUR
Koch Media10 %977 000 EUR
ZeniMax10 %1 664 000 EUR
Image: European Commission
Tsing Mui
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