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Valve among publishers under fire from European Commission for geo-blocking games

April 05, 2019 1 min read

Earlier today, the European Commission posted a statement of objections directed at a handful of video game publishers for their practices of geo-blocking games on digital distribution platforms. Among those named, Valve is the most high profile, though Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax were also included. The statement comes after a lengthy investigation that began in 2013, with the Commission believing that each company has engaged in some version of antitrust violations by restricting the sale of certain games in the European Union.

The process of geo-blocking is exactly how it sounds: geographical blocking of products from another region than the buyer lives in. The end goal is to prevent people from wealthier countries from buying titles at reduced rates by shopping in different regions. This very practice can be found on a number of digital marketplaces where the cost of CDs/Blu-rays/video games can be lower based on local income.

The reason this is now coming up is because of new rules implemented by the EU in December 2018. The European Commission has a goal of ending unjust geo-blocking and wishes to establish a market similar to that of the United States where one price is maintained across the nation. Since these companies are doing business that runs counter to that, the European Commission is demanding the practice be stopped or a formal fine may be issued.

Valve among publishers under fire from European Commission for geo-blocking games screenshot

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