The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

 

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve to find out if the company was/is taking part in geo-blocking practices within Europe, with Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax also being part of the investigation. 

One of the core principles of the European Union is free trade between the borders of member states, where there are no walls or blocks that prevent any participating nations from buying or selling goods to one another.    

The European commission is concerned that Valve and other companies have been restricting the trade of certain digital goods in some sections of the single market, creating so-called “parallel trade” where some EU member states are charged more for some goods than others. This goes against the EU’s free trading principles, which would otherwise allow gamers to buy from storefronts in any member state and hunt for the best gaming deals.     

Right now it is unknown if Valve or any of the other companies involved in this investigation are breaking any EU laws, though many are becoming increasingly concerned about how these companies could be artificially affecting what should otherwise be a free market. 

 

   

The Commission is investigating bilateral agreements concluded between Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and five PC video game publishers, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax. The investigation concerns geo-blocking practices, where companies prevent consumers from purchasing digital content, in this case, PC video games, because of the consumer’s location or country of residence.

After the purchase of certain PC video games users need to confirm that their copy of the game is not pirated to be able to play it. This is done with an “activation key” on Valve’s game distribution platform, Steam. This system is applied to a wide range of games, including sports, simulation and action games.

The investigation focuses on whether the agreements in question require or have required the use of activation keys for the purpose of geo-blocking. In particular, an “activation key” can grant access to a purchased game only to consumers in a particular EU Member State (for example the Czech Republic or Poland). This may amount to a breach of EU competition rules by reducing cross-border competition as a result of restricting so-called “parallel trade” within the Single Market and preventing consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in the other Member States.

The Commission is carrying out this in-depth investigation on its own initiative.

 

 

This investigation will be focused on how game keys can be used to region lock certain games and how of if Valve and game publishers have used this system to artificially limit competition within the EU and give certain regions higher or lower prices than others. 

 

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

 

If the EU Commission are successful in their investigation gamers within the EU will be able to purchase games from other European storefronts with ease, allowing them to find the best pricing within the EU. Examples, where some key restrictions have applied before, are in Poland and the Czech Republic, which have restricted game keys to these regions alone, where they should be usable freely anywhere in the EU without restrictions.   

 

You can join the discussion on the EU’s investigation into Valve’s trading practices on the OC3D Forums. 

 

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

 

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve to find out if the company was/is taking part in geo-blocking practices within Europe, with Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax also being part of the investigation. 

One of the core principles of the European Union is free trade between the borders of member states, where there are no walls or blocks that prevent any participating nations from buying or selling goods to one another.    

The European commission is concerned that Valve and other companies have been restricting the trade of certain digital goods in some sections of the single market, creating so-called “parallel trade” where some EU member states are charged more for some goods than others. This goes against the EU’s free trading principles, which would otherwise allow gamers to buy from storefronts in any member state and hunt for the best gaming deals.     

Right now it is unknown if Valve or any of the other companies involved in this investigation are breaking any EU laws, though many are becoming increasingly concerned about how these companies could be artificially affecting what should otherwise be a free market. 

 

   

The Commission is investigating bilateral agreements concluded between Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and five PC video game publishers, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax. The investigation concerns geo-blocking practices, where companies prevent consumers from purchasing digital content, in this case, PC video games, because of the consumer’s location or country of residence.

After the purchase of certain PC video games users need to confirm that their copy of the game is not pirated to be able to play it. This is done with an “activation key” on Valve’s game distribution platform, Steam. This system is applied to a wide range of games, including sports, simulation and action games.

The investigation focuses on whether the agreements in question require or have required the use of activation keys for the purpose of geo-blocking. In particular, an “activation key” can grant access to a purchased game only to consumers in a particular EU Member State (for example the Czech Republic or Poland). This may amount to a breach of EU competition rules by reducing cross-border competition as a result of restricting so-called “parallel trade” within the Single Market and preventing consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in the other Member States.

The Commission is carrying out this in-depth investigation on its own initiative.

 

 

This investigation will be focused on how game keys can be used to region lock certain games and how of if Valve and game publishers have used this system to artificially limit competition within the EU and give certain regions higher or lower prices than others. 

 

The EU as opened an Antitrust investigation into Valve

 

If the EU Commission are successful in their investigation gamers within the EU will be able to purchase games from other European storefronts with ease, allowing them to find the best pricing within the EU. Examples, where some key restrictions have applied before, are in Poland and the Czech Republic, which have restricted game keys to these regions alone, where they should be usable freely anywhere in the EU without restrictions.   

 

You can join the discussion on the EU’s investigation into Valve’s trading practices on the OC3D Forums.