For the unfamiliar, Geo-blocking is when a store like Steam force users in a particular country, for example, France, to only pay the French price for a game, not allowing them to purchase a cheaper copy of the same product from a differnt European country.
EU antitrust laws prohibit Geo-blocking, as a result, five publishers have been fined – Bethesda, Capcom, Focus Home, and Koch Media. The owners of Steam, Valve, who “chose not to cooperate with the commission” were also Fined €1.6 million. EU competition Executive vice president Margrethe Vestager had this to say.
“Today’s sanction against the geo Blocking practices of Valve and the 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 of benifits of the EU Digital Single Market and of the opportunity to shop around for the most suitable offer in the EU.”
It is not the first time Valve has chosen not to cooperate, the Steam marketplace owner took the same stance when faced with legal problems in Australia, before being forced to action by the Australian Competition Commission. The result was them paying $3 million in penalties for misrepresenting gamers’ consumer guarantee rights.
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