Valve, Capcom, Bandai Namco and 3 Other Game Developers Under Investigation By European Commission

The European Commission has just announced that six game developer companies are under investigation for possible breaching of the European Commission laws. Capcom, Bandai Namco, Valve, ZeniMax, Koch Media and Focus Home are the companies that are now under investigation by the European Commission.

“The Commission is investigating bilateral agreements concluded between Valve Corporation, owner of the Steam game distribution platform, and five PC video game publishers, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax. The investigation concerns geo-blocking practices, where companies prevent consumers from purchasing digital content, in this case PC video games, because of the consumer’s location or country of residence.

After the purchase of certain PC video games users need to confirm that their copy of the game is not pirated to be able to play it. This is done with an “activation key” on Valve’s game distribution platform, Steam. This system is applied for a wide range of games, including sports, simulation and action games.”
– Says European Commission in a Press Release.

Valve is in the big spotlight of the investigation because they’re behind the biggest gaming platform, Steam. Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax are under investigation because of some agreements made between them and Valve.

“The investigation focuses on whether the agreements in question require or have required the use of activation keys for the purpose of geo-blocking. In particular, an “activation key” can grant access to a purchased game only to consumers in a particular EU Member State (for example the Czech Republic or Poland). This may amount to a breach of EU competition rules by reducing cross-border competition as a result of restricting so-called “parallel trade” within the Single Market and preventing consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in other Member States.”
– Says European Commission.

The European Commission did not reveal the time period of the investigation. They also did not reveal what the penalty would be.

Capcom is the company behind many popular games like Resident Evil series and Street Fighter series. Valve is a big name in the gaming industry. They run the popular gaming platform called Steam. They are also the developers of many masterpiece titles including Counter-Strike and Half-Life. Koch Media owns Deep Silver, the developers of Saints Row series and Homefront: The Revolution. ZeniMax owns Bethesda, the developers of Fallout series and Skyrim series. And finally, Focus Home is the company behind Farming Simulator series.

So there you have it, guys. These six companies are now under investigation by the European Commission. Hardware manufacturers including ASUS, Phillips, Pioneer and Denon & Marantz are also under investigation by the European Commission.


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