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EU fines Video Game Firms for blocking Sales

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LONDON – The European Union fined a US video game platform and five game companies, which prevented gamers from buying cheaper copies of the games in other countries in the bloc.

The European Commission, the executive branch of the EU, said on Wednesday that it had fined a total of 7.8 million euros (9.5 million dollars) to Valve Corp., owner of the Steam platform of computer games through of the internet, and to developers and distributors because they restricted cross-border sales, violating the block’s antitrust rules.

The companies prevented players from activating and playing titles sold on physical media or by download, according to the company. Steam activation keys prevented games from working outside of the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

 

“These practices deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU Digital Single Market of the opportunity to find the most attractive offer in the EU,” Margrethe Vestager, Vice-President of the Commission and Commissioner for Competition, said in a statement.

 

The geo-blocking restrictions affected 100 games and were in effect until November 2018. Valve, which refused to cooperate with the EU investigation, was fined 1.6 million euros. Companies Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, KochMedia and ZeniMax cooperated and received discounts on their penalties, the commission said.

Ben Oakley
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