Valve and game publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax are in hot water with The European Commission.
Based on a release by The European Commission, Valve and these publishers blocked sales of certain video games based on geographical location. The commission found that Valve and the aforementioned video game publishers bilaterally agreed when creating restrictions for gamers in certain locations. Gamers outside “Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania” could not activate certain PC games from these publishers, even if they had bought the game in one of these countries.
According to Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, this process of “geo-blocking” is prohibited under EU law, stating, “companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales.” These geo-blockings occurred between September 2010 and October 2015.
The publishers were fined a large sum, ranging from € 340 thousand to € 1.664 million. These were reduced from their original amounts as these companies cooperated with the Commission during their investigation. Valve, on the other hand, did not and was fined € 1.624 million.
According to The Verge, Valve claims they did cooperate with the commission during the investigation period. In a statement to the publication, a Valve spokesperson claims “Value declined to admit it broke the law, as the EC demanded. Valve disagrees with the EC findings and the fine levied against Valve.