A video game controller (illustration).



The European Commission on Wednesday imposed a total of 7.8 million euros in fines on the video game platform Steam and five publishers for an agreement that penalized consumers by limiting competition.

Valve, owner of the Steam platform which offers more than 35,000 games, is the only company implicated not to have cooperated in the investigation with the authorities.

She was fined just over 1.6 million euros.

An activation key to limit the use of games to certain countries

This group and five publishers (the French Focus Home, the German Koch Media, the American ZeniMax, the Japanese Bandai Namco and Capcom) had agreed to set up an activation key for games that prevented their use outside certain countries.

“Users outside a designated Member State could not activate certain PC video games using Steam activation keys,” the Commission said in a statement.

Therefore, "Valve and the publishers have restricted cross-border sales of certain PC video games based on the geographic location of users, thereby engaging in so-called 'geo-blocking' practices," she added.

A hundred games concerned

“Companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales.

Such practices deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU's digital single market and the ability to compare prices to find the offer that best suits them, ”commented EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager.

Steam, created in 2003 by Valve, is considered the most important distribution platform of its kind.

It is used by millions of players around the world.

The five publishers involved were fined ranging from 340,000 euros (for Bandai) to nearly 2.9 million euros (Focus Home).

These penalties are calculated according to the turnover of the companies.

Those publishers who cooperated in the investigation, unlike Valve, received reductions of 10% or 15%.


Ham cartel: Almost 93 million euros in fines for 12 companies

High Tech

Gaming: Could consoles and video games be greener?

  • Europe

  • Competition

  • High Tech

  • EU

  • Video games

  • Economy