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European Commission fines Valve, Bethesda, Capcom and others €7.8 million over geo-blocking

Companies found to be in violation of anti-trust law.

The European Commission has fined six publishing giants over the geo-blocking of Steam keys.

In a post on its website, the EC said that it was fining Valve, as well as Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax €7.8 million following an investigation into whether they had breached European anti-trust rules.

In short, the European Commission took issue with the fact that publishers could set keys for Steam to only be activated in certain countries. This goes against the concept of the European Digital Single Market.

Of the publishers fined, Valve was the only one who did not co-operate, with the company being fined €1,624,000. Capcom was given a 15% reduction for co-operation and fined €396,000, while Bandai Namco, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax Media all received a 10% reduction, paying €340,000, €2,888,000, €977,000 and €1,664,000 respectively.

“More than 50% of all Europeans play video games," EVP Margrethe Vestager said.

"The video game industry in Europe is thriving and it is now worth over €17 billion. Today's sanctions against the “geo-blocking” practices of Valve and 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 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."

This follows the EC looking into the matter as of 2017, before a preliminary investigation. In April 2019, it reported that the aforementioned companies were in violation on anti-trust law.

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