Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine

Law360 reports that Valve is appealing the fine imposed by the EU earlier this year. The site is pay-walled, but the news that the company is protesting the €1.6 million penalty is clear. This all stems (steams?) from a 2019 antitrust complaint over the geo-blocking of game activations on Steam. Valve has explained that any geo-blocking of game keys was at the request of publishers. It's not clear if this is the basis of the appeal.
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17.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 16, 2021, 19:33
Kxmode
 
17.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 16, 2021, 19:33
Jun 16, 2021, 19:33
 Kxmode
 
Beamer wrote on Jun 16, 2021, 09:48:
The biggest solve here for Valve would likely be shutting down keys reselling.

Part of why this happens is a difference in regional entities. Most publishers have regional offices that have full control of that region, along with an individual P&L. The Germany office cannot sell in Italy because the Italy office owns that region.
In some cases, products have different publishers, though I doubt that's really ever true within EMEA, it's more between larger regions, such as NA, EMEA, APAC.

Telling publishers they need to solve this problem internally won't work well. When a key is sold in Latvia but redeemed in the UK, who gets that revenue? Is it lost revenue for the UK? These things weren't much issues with physical copies, because, well, logistics were difficult. With virtual? Non-existent.

My guess is Valve would end up shutting down keys, or give publishers the ability to do so, which they'd take advantage of.

Valve won't end keys because they provide those to publishers. The publishers then control who and where sold vis-à-vis regions. If a European publisher doesn't want a game key for a product they generated sold in Asia or the United States, they have that right. The borderless nature of the Internet doesn't invalidate their decision. As a partner in providing the platform to sell the publisher's titles directly or through keys, Valve has the business right to abide by what the publisher wants. The EU is overstepping its authority by forcing Valve to do something the publisher does not desire, and in turn, causing the publisher to sell a product in a region they do not want to sell in. Regional restrictions have existed for a very long time for many reasons—the primary being publishers have control over their products. The EU ruling is draconian from a business stand-point and opens a Pandora's box for other markets, not just video games.
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
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16.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 16, 2021, 09:48
16.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 16, 2021, 09:48
Jun 16, 2021, 09:48
 
The biggest solve here for Valve would likely be shutting down keys reselling.

Part of why this happens is a difference in regional entities. Most publishers have regional offices that have full control of that region, along with an individual P&L. The Germany office cannot sell in Italy because the Italy office owns that region.
In some cases, products have different publishers, though I doubt that's really ever true within EMEA, it's more between larger regions, such as NA, EMEA, APAC.

Telling publishers they need to solve this problem internally won't work well. When a key is sold in Latvia but redeemed in the UK, who gets that revenue? Is it lost revenue for the UK? These things weren't much issues with physical copies, because, well, logistics were difficult. With virtual? Non-existent.

My guess is Valve would end up shutting down keys, or give publishers the ability to do so, which they'd take advantage of.
15.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 16, 2021, 09:41
15.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 16, 2021, 09:41
Jun 16, 2021, 09:41
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jun 16, 2021, 06:10:
Orogogus wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 23:54:
You know, the last time this came up I thought your solution was so absurdly onerous and Germnay-centric that I went to see how international porn sites handle this. Well, they don't. When the UK and France made similar demands, the big porn sites' response also seems to have been to ignore them. And the German regulators' solution wasn't to fine Pornhub and Youporn and whatnot into submission, their answer was to have ISPs apply DNS blocks against porn sites that don't have satisfactory age verification. This seems to be exactly why Valve implemented their policy. But you think they're going to be sued for doing exactly what the government did? Is this just what you want to happen, or is there a legal precedent in your country?

As long as Steam stops wrongfully blocking Adults from Germany.... I am supporting all efforts to that end. The EU anti-trust investigation is always going to target Steam over something like this. The moment you block 1 nationality in the EU but not all you violated 1 market rule. Even if you technically HAVE to block them because you violate national law otherwise. I never said the laws make any sense ;p

But it needs a solution. And if not then EU fines will follow. And funny you bring up pornhub because pornhub EU is very different from pornhub US .. as in, VERY different.
I don't think the EU stepped in when Germany asked its ISPs to start blocking Pornhub and other big porn sites. As far as I can tell, requiring age verification isn't an accepted thing across the EU due to privacy laws. If the EU determines this is an issue, you'd expect them to go after its member nations to remove illegal laws, rather than the companies caught in the middle.
14.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 16, 2021, 06:10
14.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 16, 2021, 06:10
Jun 16, 2021, 06:10
 
Orogogus wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 23:54:
eRe4s3r wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:34:
RedEye9 wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:11:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
Valve is seriously hurting if they can't pay a $2 million fine (I guess it's to be expected when nobody buys games from them anymore and just uses them to download games that were purchased elsewhere.)
They would really really really be hurting if they had to pay billions in fines.

Well in this case the fine is the full profit for the duration (sales in the affected region) which are apparently only 2$ million in Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

But if you want to steam bleed just wait till the EU agencies act on the 2nd issue raised, that is geo-blocking Germans because of missing age verification it also violates EU rules that prohibit geographically based restrictions that undermine online shopping and cross-border sales.
You know, the last time this came up I thought your solution was so absurdly onerous and Germnay-centric that I went to see how international porn sites handle this. Well, they don't. When the UK and France made similar demands, the big porn sites' response also seems to have been to ignore them. And the German regulators' solution wasn't to fine Pornhub and Youporn and whatnot into submission, their answer was to have ISPs apply DNS blocks against porn sites that don't have satisfactory age verification. This seems to be exactly why Valve implemented their policy. But you think they're going to be sued for doing exactly what the government did? Is this just what you want to happen, or is there a legal precedent in your country?

As long as Steam stops wrongfully blocking Adults from Germany.... I am supporting all efforts to that end. The EU anti-trust investigation is always going to target Steam over something like this. The moment you block 1 nationality in the EU but not all you violated 1 market rule. Even if you technically HAVE to block them because you violate national law otherwise. I never said the laws make any sense ;p

But it needs a solution. And if not then EU fines will follow. And funny you bring up pornhub because pornhub EU is very different from pornhub US .. as in, VERY different.

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13.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 23:54
13.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 23:54
Jun 15, 2021, 23:54
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:34:
RedEye9 wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:11:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
Valve is seriously hurting if they can't pay a $2 million fine (I guess it's to be expected when nobody buys games from them anymore and just uses them to download games that were purchased elsewhere.)
They would really really really be hurting if they had to pay billions in fines.

Well in this case the fine is the full profit for the duration (sales in the affected region) which are apparently only 2$ million in Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

But if you want to steam bleed just wait till the EU agencies act on the 2nd issue raised, that is geo-blocking Germans because of missing age verification it also violates EU rules that prohibit geographically based restrictions that undermine online shopping and cross-border sales.
You know, the last time this came up I thought your solution was so absurdly onerous and Germnay-centric that I went to see how international porn sites handle this. Well, they don't. When the UK and France made similar demands, the big porn sites' response also seems to have been to ignore them. And the German regulators' solution wasn't to fine Pornhub and Youporn and whatnot into submission, their answer was to have ISPs apply DNS blocks against porn sites that don't have satisfactory age verification. This seems to be exactly why Valve implemented their policy. But you think they're going to be sued for doing exactly what the government did? Is this just what you want to happen, or is there a legal precedent in your country?
12.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 19:59
Kxmode
 
12.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 19:59
Jun 15, 2021, 19:59
 Kxmode
 
RedEye9 wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:11:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
Valve is seriously hurting if they can't pay a $2 million fine (I guess it's to be expected when nobody buys games from them anymore and just uses them to download games that were purchased elsewhere.)
They would really really really be hurting if they had to pay billions in fines.
Two million doesn't mean anything to Valve. However, to pay is to admit guilt or wrongdoing, neither of which Valve believes is true in this case. Valve's argument of geo-blocking game keys at the request of publishers is a valid business reason. "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."
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
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11.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 18:26
11.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 18:26
Jun 15, 2021, 18:26
 
Tenshinochi wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 16:52:
Cutter wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 13:09:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.

That's a pretty apt assessment. It's so completely arbitrary. So in some countries where the dollar is less than the US they get deep discounts, but in others - like us and Aus - we have to pay more. Fuck that noise.

Imo, it's not really that arbitrary, it's generally based on market, income & general wealth studies & experimentation. If they would sell a 60$ game in a country where people on average make 300$/month,it just won't sell because people can't afford it as it'd be a choice between paying for rent & food or a game. Piracy of said game would be through the roof in those countries, that's why they're generally lowering prices with lower average incomes & often higher piracy rates like Russia or eastern europe or many asian countries.
Better to earn something instead of nothing.

That said, among the better faring countries Aus & UK have been getting screwed on game prices for a long time, i remember then being the case more than a decade ago.

Let's not forget that the game publishers/developers set the prices, not Steam/GOG/EGS or brick & mortar stores. Those publishers are the ones screwing you if you're looking for someone to get angry at. Valve is getting fined here because they're facilitating to those publishers that want the geo blocking and rightly so when they're breaking the law doing that.
I think the main reason that they're appealing the fine is because they don't want to have that precedent that opens the floodgates for more fines/scrutiny.

None of what you said matters even the tiniest bit. A buck is worth a buck in every country. What, China and Russia don't have billionaires and millionaires? Yet, we pay 30% more and they pay 30% less. And they do to that to combat piracy? Well, then piracy obviously works.
"When you're a Jet you're the swinginest thing. Little boy, you're a man, little man, you're a king!"
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10.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 16:52
10.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 16:52
Jun 15, 2021, 16:52
 
Cutter wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 13:09:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.

That's a pretty apt assessment. It's so completely arbitrary. So in some countries where the dollar is less than the US they get deep discounts, but in others - like us and Aus - we have to pay more. Fuck that noise.

Imo, it's not really that arbitrary, it's generally based on market, income & general wealth studies & experimentation. If they would sell a 60$ game in a country where people on average make 300$/month,it just won't sell because people can't afford it as it'd be a choice between paying for rent & food or a game. Piracy of said game would be through the roof in those countries, that's why they're generally lowering prices with lower average incomes & often higher piracy rates like Russia or eastern europe or many asian countries.
Better to earn something instead of nothing.

That said, among the better faring countries Aus & UK have been getting screwed on game prices for a long time, i remember then being the case more than a decade ago.

Let's not forget that the game publishers/developers set the prices, not Steam/GOG/EGS or brick & mortar stores. Those publishers are the ones screwing you if you're looking for someone to get angry at. Valve is getting fined here because they're facilitating to those publishers that want the geo blocking and rightly so when they're breaking the law doing that.
I think the main reason that they're appealing the fine is because they don't want to have that precedent that opens the floodgates for more fines/scrutiny.
9.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 15:30
9.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 15:30
Jun 15, 2021, 15:30
 
RRP is different. I accompanied a relative to buy a stroller and we were shocked to see the same stroller a 15min drive away and the RRP was at least 50% lower. Yes, i'm aware of the local sales variable. I figured that one out seeing an elderly couple arguing with staff at Mcdonalds cause the bill was 75 cents more than in their borough.

That said, not my field of expertise and the laws prob allow this behavior. It's just sad to see all the people getting fleeced since prices are higher around say downtown gov offices and the downtown core isn't exactly rich.
8.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 13:44
8.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 13:44
Jun 15, 2021, 13:44
 
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.

This is so true, all of it, it hurts.
7.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 13:26
7.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 13:26
Jun 15, 2021, 13:26
 
Cutter wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 13:09:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
That's a pretty apt assessment. It's so completely arbitrary. So in some countries where the dollar is less than the US they get deep discounts, but in others - like us and Aus - we have to pay more. Fuck that noise.
Even if the fine stands, Valve might just keep geoblocking for non-EU nations.
6.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 13:09
6.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 13:09
Jun 15, 2021, 13:09
 
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.

That's a pretty apt assessment. It's so completely arbitrary. So in some countries where the dollar is less than the US they get deep discounts, but in others - like us and Aus - we have to pay more. Fuck that noise.
"When you're a Jet you're the swinginest thing. Little boy, you're a man, little man, you're a king!"
Avatar 25394
5.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 12:52
El Pit
 
5.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 12:52
Jun 15, 2021, 12:52
 El Pit
 
4D-Boxing wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:50:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.

This is an interesting case and I wonder if it will have any impact on other industries.
Ex: An item purchased at Walmart or Mores and the price varies from borough to borough and sometimes within a borough. Not just small price variations from one Walmart to another or between Mores locations and those a 2 simple examples in my city.

Is the RRP different or maybe it is because of local sales? And is the difference often more than 60%?
"There is no right life in the wrong one." (Theodor W. Adorno, philosopher)
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi)
4.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 12:50
4.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 12:50
Jun 15, 2021, 12:50
 
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.

This is an interesting case and I wonder if it will have any impact on other industries.
Ex: An item purchased at Walmart or Mores and the price varies from borough to borough and sometimes within a borough. Not just small price variations from one Walmart to another or between Mores locations and those a 2 simple examples in my city.
3.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 12:34
3.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 12:34
Jun 15, 2021, 12:34
 
RedEye9 wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 12:11:
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
Valve is seriously hurting if they can't pay a $2 million fine (I guess it's to be expected when nobody buys games from them anymore and just uses them to download games that were purchased elsewhere.)
They would really really really be hurting if they had to pay billions in fines.

Well in this case the fine is the full profit for the duration (sales in the affected region) which are apparently only 2$ million in Czechia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

But if you want to steam bleed just wait till the EU agencies act on the 2nd issue raised, that is geo-blocking Germans because of missing age verification it also violates EU rules that prohibit geographically based restrictions that undermine online shopping and cross-border sales.
Avatar 54727
2.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 12:11
2.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 12:11
Jun 15, 2021, 12:11
 
El Pit wrote on Jun 15, 2021, 11:53:
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
Valve is seriously hurting if they can't pay a $2 million fine (I guess it's to be expected when nobody buys games from them anymore and just uses them to download games that were purchased elsewhere.)
They would really really really be hurting if they had to pay billions in fines.
- I refer to it as BC, Before Corona, and AD, After Disaster. -
Avatar 58135
1.
 
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine
Jun 15, 2021, 11:53
El Pit
 
1.
Re: Valve Appeals Geo-Blocking Fine Jun 15, 2021, 11:53
Jun 15, 2021, 11:53
 El Pit
 
I hope they lose and will have to pay a few billion $$$. They need to learn that either they believe in their ONE WORLD idea or they don't. Believing in it only if it does not harm your profit is ridiculous and actually a blow to the whole idea. I love it when rich people say "WE ARE ONE PEOPLE" only to instantly change this opinion when it comes to selling their products.
"There is no right life in the wrong one." (Theodor W. Adorno, philosopher)
"Only a Sith deals in absolutes." (Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi)
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