Valve will fight back against the antitrust charges levied by the European Commission that charged it and five other video game publishers with blocking cross-border trade (via Reuters).
In 2017, the European Commission began an investigation into Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, Valve, and ZeniMax for their commercial activities within the European Union. The Commission wishes to remove cross-border checks on online trade within the bloc, and so charged the publishers with preventing distributors from selling their games outside their country of operation. It stated that the six companies used geo-blocking activation keys that stopped consumers in one country purchasing cheaper listings of a game in a different EU country.
In essence, if someone in the UK found that the game they wanted was cheaper in France, the purchased game wouldn’t have worked in the UK due to the location-specific activation key. Five of the publishers will settle the antitrust charges, which will reduce the financial consequences. For infringing EU antitrust regulations, the fine is 10 per cent of the company’s turnover.
But, Valve will not follow suit and is fighting the charge. In April, Valve released a statement on the situation and expressed that geo-blocking activation keys are only used on three per cent of all the games distributed on the platform. In addition, it said that the regional locks were removed for Europe in 2015. Reuters’ sources state that the company will request a closed-door hearing to defend itself before Commission officials and national watchdogs.
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