Several Publishers Fined by EU Commission for Anti-Consumer Practices

Valve Among Several Publishers Fined by EU Commission

The European Commission has officially fined six publishers due to anti-consumer practices. The publishers include Valve, Bandai Namco, and ZeniMax, and they were found guilty of geo-blocking, preventing certain markets from accessing specific games. Focus Home was fined €2,888,000.00, while Bandai Namco received the lowest fine with €340,000.00, both companies following a 10% reduction. Valve’s recently released Half-Life Alyx is available right now on several VR devices through PC.

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The European Commission has issued fines to Bandai Namco, Valve, Capcom, Koch Media, Focus Home, and ZeniMax. Focus Home was issued a fine of €2,888,000.00, ZeniMax was fined €1,664,000.00, Valve was fined €1,624,000.00, Koch Media was fined €977,000.00, Capcom was fined €396,000.00, and Bandai Namco was fined €340,000.00. The only publisher that saw an increased reduction percentage was Capcom at 15%, while Valve received no reduction percentage. The European Commission didn’t state what factors dictated the reduction percentage of these fines.

The publishers fined by The European Commission geo-blocked Steam activation keys which prevented the activation of certain games to be played outside of Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. This bilateral agreement lasted nearly 11 years, particularly between March 2007 and November 2018. This geo-blocking practice affected almost 100 PC video games of different genres, such as sports, simulation, and action games. The illegal practices of these six publishers have apparently partitioned the EEA market in violation of EU antitrust rules.

What other companies should The European Commission look into? What other aspects of life can be locked away through geo-blocking? Let us know in the comments below!