The European Commission has fined Valve and five game publishers for practicing “geo-blocking” PC games in Europe.
In addition to Focus Home, Koch Media and Bethesda, Capcom and Bandai Namco (the companies behind the Street Fighter and Tekken franchises) must reject their $ 9.5 million penalty.
In some ways, the gaming world is getting smaller and smaller thanks to massive platforms like Valve̵
Geoblocking is a process that essentially denies players the freedom to buy games in other countries (often at a reduced price) and play them in another, and is prohibited by EU competition law.
Valve offered Capcom, Bandai and the others an area control feature that allows geographic restrictions when activating Steam keys for different titles. The European Commission’s Executive Vice President Margrethe Vestager gave a statement on the matter.
“More than 50% of all Europeans play video games,” she begins. The video game industry in Europe is booming and 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 banned. Such cross-border sales deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU’s digital single market and the opportunity to shop around for the most appropriate offer in the EU.
Capcom and the other publishers have had their initial fines reduced for agreeing to cooperate with the EC by assisting with the investigation and explicitly acknowledging breaches of EU antitrust rules.
Following a 15% and 10% reduction, respectively, Capcom’s final fee landed a total of $ 480,000 while Bandai landed at around $ 410,000. Valve chose not to cooperate and was eventually fined $ 1.9 million.