EU Probing Steam and Others for Region Blocking Games

A press release from the European Commission says three investigations are now underway in the EU probing suspected anticompetitive practices in e-commerce. One of these investigations is geo-blocking agreements between Valve and five publishers (thanks Engadget). Here's word:
Video games
The Commission is investigating bilateral agreements concluded between Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and five PC video game publishers, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax. The investigation concerns geo-blocking practices, where companies prevent consumers from purchasing digital content, in this case PC video games, because of the consumer's location or country of residence.

After the purchase of certain PC video games users need to confirm that their copy of the game is not pirated to be able to play it. This is done with an "activation key" on Valve's game distribution platform, Steam. This system is applied for a wide range of games, including sports, simulation and action games.

The investigation focuses on whether the agreements in question require or have required the use of activation keys for the purpose of geo-blocking. In particular, an "activation key" can grant access to a purchased game only to consumers in a particular EU Member State (for example the Czech Republic or Poland). This may amount to a breach of EU competition rules by reducing cross-border competition as a result of restricting so-called "parallel trade" within the Single Market and preventing consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in other Member States.

The Commission is carrying out this in-depth investigation on its own initiative.
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16.
 
Re: EU Probing Steam and Others for Region Blocking Games
Feb 2, 2017, 18:03
16.
Re: EU Probing Steam and Others for Region Blocking Games Feb 2, 2017, 18:03
Feb 2, 2017, 18:03
 
Not a Euro here, but was it common for games to be much cheaper in Poland and the Czech Republic? And if so, by how much?
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 16.
Feb 2, 2017Feb 2 2017
Re: EU Probing Steam and Others for Region Blocking Games