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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Re: EU Probing Steam and Others for Region Blocking Games
Feb 3, 2017, 11:40
Re: EU Probing Steam and Others for Region Blocking Games Feb 3, 2017, 11:40
Feb 3, 2017, 11:40
VaranDragon wrote on Feb 3, 2017, 05:06:
grudgebearer wrote on Feb 2, 2017, 14:31:
The problem is that neither Poland or Czech Republic use the Euro as their currency. All this will do is cause valve to offer games in EU member stats in Euros only, as opposed to local currencies.

And really, I don't blame them. The polish zloty to euro exchange rate is .23. It's not in Valve, or any publisher that uses Steam, best interest to sell a game in a local currency that equates to 1/4 of the EU price, and then lose a sale from another EU country that does use the Euro because they can get it cheaper from a Polish reseller.

in the end Polish and Czech gamers will suffer the ruling as Steam games quadruple in price as they will only be offered in Euro prices

You do realize that just because the Zloty is one quarter of a Euro, that it doesn't mean that things (games included) are four times as cheap in Poland as in the rest of Europe.

I didn't state that it was, I said that it wasn't in Valve's or any publishers best interest to offer prices in the Zloty at 1/4 the price of the game in a Euro country, when they also risk losing a sale at the same time.

The fact that Poland and Czech don't use the Euro, and their currencies are so much lower in comparison, make it a deterrent to offer games in the local currencies that would be in line with the local economy.

Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishfull thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.
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