EU fines video game firms for blocking cross-border sales

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London: The European Union has imposed fines on a US video game platform and five game manufacturers because they prevent players from buying cheap copies of games in other countries within the group.

The European Commission said on Wednesday that it imposed a fine on Valve, which owns the Steam online PC game publishing platform. Game manufacturers were fined 7.8 million euros ($9.5 million) for violating EU antitrust laws to restrict cross-border sales. rule.

The companies used so-called geo-blocking practices to prevent players from activating and playing games sold either on DVD or by download, the commission said. Steam activation keys prevented games from working outside the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, it said.

“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,” Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s competition watchdog, said in a statement.

The geo-blocking restrictions affected about 100 games and lasted until November 2018. Valve, which was fined 1.6 million euros, refused to cooperate with the investigation, the commission said.

However, Valve said it “cooperated fully” with the commission’s investigation by providing all requested evidence and information. “We disagree with these findings, and plan to appeal the decision,” Vice-President of Marketing Doug Lombardi said by email.

The committee stated that game makers-Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, KochMedia and ZeniMax-have cooperated and received discounts.

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