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EU Going after Valve and 5 others for Geo-blocking download codes from other member states.

Aug 24, 2016
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https://www.theinquirer.net/inquire...ame-publishers-for-geoblocking-download-codes
THE EU HAS VALVE and five other game publishers in its crosshairs. The commission has sent a "Statement of Objections" taking issue with measures taken to block users from activating download codes bought in different regions, where games are often cheaper.

Alongside Steam, Bandai Namco, Focus Home, Koch Media, Capcom and ZeniMax have received the note asking them to justify discriminating between EU citizens and making the single market look closer to the ‘it's complicated' market.

"In a true Digital Single Market, European consumers should have the right to buy and play video games of their choice regardless of where they live in the EU," said the EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager.


"Consumers should not be prevented from shopping around between Member States to find the best available deal. Valve and the five PC video game publishers now have the chance to respond to our concerns."

If unimpressed by the six companies' response, they'll be in violation of Article 101 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union, which blocks anti-competitive agreements.


Of course, there are very good reasons why the companies would want to control prices across borders. The average salary in the UK is £28,677, while in Poland it's around £8,500, so it's understandable games would be cheaper there.

Like the EU copyright directive and the well-meaning but ultimately bloody stupid Articles 11 and 13, it doesn't really feel like the laws of unintended consequences have been carefully thought through. Still, cheaper games are likely to go down a lot better online than ‘no more memes.'

If the commission finds that the publishers are breaking the rules and forces change, it's not clear whether the UK will benefit or not. A lot depends on whether than April 12 Brexit Day is allowed to slip once again.

I know the EU is kind of going crazy right now but this is a debatable one to me.

Already the same (most of the time) items are the same prices across all of the EU regardless of the average income in every member state. So these publishers charging different prices across member states based on that countries income is out of sync a little with how the system works.

However, at the same time we are talking about digital game downloads not a consumer electronic device. The regulations and retail requirements are non-existent. If I can place an item on Ebay in Germany, and then the price scales for those in Greece or Bulgaria, then there shouldn't be an issue making digital copies more affordable based on country.

Not to mention that digital has a unique type of DRM and registration to a service when brought so the company should have freedom to control the price. Especially for those storefronts that have country specific software that changes based on which country you select.