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Steam / Valve Responds to Region-locked Game Keys Concern by EU Commission
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Steam / Valve Responds to Region-locked Game Keys Concern by EU Commission

by Aiman MaulanaApril 9, 2019
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Steam / Valve Responds to Region-locked Game Keys Concern by EU Commission

Steam Has Reached a New Milestone

As you may have heard, the European Commission has accused Steam / Valve of region locking games throughout the European Union. This isn’t good as it violates antitrust laws. This resulted in the European Commission giving Statements of Objections not just to Steam / Valve, but also five other game publishers. This includes Bandai Namco, Focus Home, Koch Media, Capcom, and ZeniMax.

Valve has responded to the matter, stating that the charges aren’t related to PC games on Steam but rather, the activation of game keys on their platform. Specifically, it mentioned keys “enabled geo-blocking by providing Steam activation keys and, upon the publishers’ request, locking those keys to particular territories.”

However, Valve asserts that they provide Steam keys for free and do not receive any share of the purchase price when a game is sold by third-party re-sellers. Furthermore, the region locks only applied to approximately three percent of all games using Steam, none of which are first-party titles and that their liability in these circumstances is not supported by current law. It’s interesting to note that Valve actually turned off region locks within the European Economic Area starting in 2015 with a few exceptions.

For those of you who aren’t aware, geo-blocking / region locking refers to the restriction of content based on geographical locations. The Commission believes that Valve and the five named PC video game publishers engaged in geo-blocking by entering “into bilateral agreements to prevent consumers from purchasing and using PC video games acquired elsewhere than in their country of residence.” The result is that these PC games weren’t allowed to be sold outside of their territories.

The main issue here is whether Valve’s claims that they should not be liable for the actions of third-party resellers will actually hold up against the EU as this case moves forward. We expect to hear more on the issue in the near future.

About The Author
Aiman Maulana
Jack of all trades, master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one. YouTuber, video editor, tech head, and a wizard of gaming. What's up? :)

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