Steam: Valve responds to EC fine on regional block

Steam: Valve responds to EC fine on regional block
Valve and five other companies are in the sights of the European Commission (click here to read more) regarding regional blocks for some PC titles. The EC has in fact fined the company that owns Steam, with compensation to be paid equal to € 1,624,000, a very considerable sum. However, the fine is linked to the activation keys that the company, however, provided free of charge to developers. Therefore, Valve has published a lengthy response to the EC communiqué, announcing the reasons for the appeal it will initiate.

Here is Valve's long statement: “During the seven years of investigation, Valve has collaborated extensively with the European Commission (EC), providing evidence and information as required. However, Valve does not admit breaking the law, as required by the EC. Valve disagrees with the results of the EC and the fine imposed on Valve. The EC allegations do not refer to the sale of PC games on Steam ";

" Instead, the EC claims that Valve has enabled geo-blocking by providing activation keys and, at the request of publishers, blocked those keys in certain territories (regional blocks) within the European Economic Area (EEA). These keys allow a customer to activate and play a game on the platform when the user has purchased it from a third-party retailer. Valve provides activation keys for free and does not receive any share of the purchase price when a game is sold by third party resellers (such as a reseller or other online store) ”;

“Regional blocks only applied to a limited number of games. At the time, only about 3% of all games using Steam (and none of Valve's games) were subject to contested region locks in the EEA. Valve believes that the extension of CE liability to a platform provider, in these circumstances, is not supported by applicable law ";

" However, due to CE concerns, Valve has effectively disabled the locks regional within the EEA as of 2015, unless such regional blocks were necessary for local legal requirements (such as German content laws) or geographic limits under which the Steam partner is authorized to distribute a game. The elimination of regional blocks can also induce publishers to raise prices in less affluent regions to avoid price arbitrage. There are no costs for sending activation keys from one country to another ".

In summary, Valve believes that the European Commission's extension of responsibility is unfair and that at the time only 3% of the games were subject to the regional block (then deactivated in 2015). Therefore, the company appealed to the EC. How will it end?

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