Valve EU Fine Follow-up

Valve (who many seem surprised are still making games) offers a response to the news that they are being fined in the EU for geo-blocking game sales on Steam. They state that third parties have requested region-locked keys, and that Valve does not profit from the practice:
During the seven year investigation, Valve cooperated extensively with the European Commission (“EC”), providing evidence and information as requested. However, Valve declined to admit that it broke the law, as the EC demanded. Valve disagrees with the EC findings and the fine levied against Valve.

The EC’s charges do not relate to the sale of PC games on Steam – Valve’s PC gaming service. Instead the EC alleges that Valve enabled geo-blocking by providing Steam activation keys and – upon the publishers’ request – locking those keys to particular territories (“region locks”) within the EEA.

Such keys allow a customer to activate and play a game on Steam when the user has purchased it from a third-party reseller. Valve provides Steam activation keys free of charge and does not receive any share of the purchase price when a game is sold by third-party resellers (such as a retailer or other online store).

The region locks only applied to a small number of game titles. Approximately just 3% of all games using Steam (and none of Valve’s own games) at the time were subject to the contested region locks in the EEA. Valve believes that the EC’s extension of liability to a platform provider in these circumstances is not supported by applicable law. Nonetheless, because of the EC’s concerns, Valve actually turned off region locks within the EEA starting in 2015, unless those region locks were necessary for local legal requirements (such as German content laws) or geographic limits on where the Steam partner is licensed to distribute a game. The elimination of region locks may also cause publishers to raise prices in less affluent regions to avoid price arbitrage. There are no costs involved in sending activation keys from one country to another, and the activation key is all a user needs to activate and play a PC game.
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Re: Valve EU Fine Follow-up
Jan 22, 2021, 08:53
El Pit
Re: Valve EU Fine Follow-up Jan 22, 2021, 08:53
Jan 22, 2021, 08:53
 El Pit
Orogogus wrote on Jan 22, 2021, 00:33:
El Pit wrote on Jan 21, 2021, 12:33:
If Steam wants to prove the EU (which is much more than just a trade union nowadays) wrong, they should start selling games at higher prices (excluding VAT) in richer US states and at lower prices in poorer US states - of course "state-locking" the prices. This might change the EU's mind, nothing else will do.
This sounds like the same whataboutism that the US uses to derail fossil fuel regulation -- what about all those countries in Africa that get to burn all the coal they want? The problem doesn't have to be addressed until everyone else is perfect.

Average wage by states in the US is between $44-116K, or $44-76K if limited to the states. So worst-case 2.6 times between the lowest and highest, or 73% in the states. The average wage in the EU has a much wider spread, 6.4 times between Bulgaria and Iceland.

But I'm just looking at numbers. Are there any Blues readers from Eastern Europe or other lower wage countries in the EU? How does it actually work? Can people generally afford games, or does everyone just pirate their games?

Apples/oranges. But since you want to compare the fossile fuels market to the entertainment industry (Steam) and the digital market and distribution: Do the US sell their own oil to poorer countries all over the world at a price that relates to the average wages in those countries? I highly doubt it. When it comes to games, though...

Whatever. Valve will give in, the EU (as ONE market) is just too huge to be ignored.
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  Re: Valve EU Fine Follow-up
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