For a few years, the Steam platform (Valve) knowingly prevented, with the approval of certain publishers, the downloading of several video games depending on the geographic location of the players. For the European Commission, it is a fact: “Users outside of a designated Member State could not activate certain PC video games using Steam activation keys. ”

Steam (and some publishers) pinned by the European Commission

A practice of “geographic blocking” which would have been effective from 2010 to 2015, and which is contrary to the laws dictated by the European Commission. A blockage which concerned in particular the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and even Lithuania. Today, this same European Commission imposed a fine of 7.8 million euros, against Valve, but also various publishers.

prison hacker Sony EA Steam

© Unsplash / Bill Oxford

If the founder of Steam was fined 1.6 million euros, Focus Home Interactive for its part received a fine of 2.9 million euros. We are doing “better”At Bandai Namco with only 340,000 euros fine. Capcom, Zenimax and Koch Media are also concerned. In total, about a hundred titles would be affected by this blocking affair.

According to Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for Competition Policy: “Sanctions adopted today against the “geo-blocking” practices of Valve and five PC video game publishers are a reminder that under EU competition law, companies are prohibited from contractually restricting sales. cross-border. Such practices deprive European consumers of the benefits of the EU’s digital single market and the ability to compare prices in order to find the offer that suits them best in the EU. ”

The European Commission clarified that the various publishers involved have chosen to collaborate with the courts, unlike Valve. A case which, however, should not really waver the American giant, which was just recently able to celebrate a new record in terms of audience on its Steam platform, with no less than 25 million players connected simultaneously.