A number of gaming companies, including Microsoft’s ZeniMax and gaming giant Valve, and run afoul of EU rules on the single market and have been fined a total of 7.8 million Euros.
The issue was restrictions in the games which prevented cross-border sales within the EU, a violation of the Single Market.
The companies have been convicted of “restricted the cross-border sale of certain PC video games to users in certain countries of the European Economic Area” via geo-blocking practices.
Companies involved include Steam operator Valve and publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax. Most of the companies cooperated with the commission and had their fines reduced, but Valve did not, and was fined the full 1.6 million Euros.
In a statement Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said:
“More than half of all people in Europe play video games. The video game industry in Europe is flourishing and now has a market volume of more than 17 billion euros. The fines imposed today serve as a reminder that the Under EU competition law, companies are prohibited from contractually restricting cross-border sales, because such practices prevent consumers in Europe from taking advantage of the digital single market and being able to choose the best offer anywhere in the EU.”