The EU Commission recently issued fines to six different publishers for geo-locking games, and making it so that that those living within the EEA could not shop around for deals
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The European Commission has fined a total of six companies for breaching EU antitrust rules, according to an article from Gamasutra. The fines, which total €7.8 million, have been handed to Valve, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media, and ZeniMax. The six publishers were found to have engaged in “geo-blocking practices”, by restricting cross-border sales of certain PC titles based on where players were living within the European Economic Area (EEA).

The European Commission claimed that by doing so the publishers deprived players of the chance to shop around and find the best deal. This was achieved by licencising and distribution agreements containing clauses that restricted those sales. The areas affected by these region-locked Steam keys were those outside of Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

“More than 50 percent of all Europeans play video games. 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”. The table below shows the fines that each publisher received.

European Commission EVP Margrethe Vestager

We have reached out to Koch Media for comment on this situation, and will update you with any news!

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