Valve is being investigated by EU’s European Commission

2 min read

Valve found themselves in hot water last year after being taken to court by the Washing State Gaming Committe over the slew of gambling sites promoting underage betting with their cosmetic items. Valve challenged the WSGC over the lawsuit and nothing has come of that, yet. Fighting on two fronts, Valve are back in sheet-street once again, but this time with European Commission for Anti-Competitive Practices in Europe. If the WSGC was an angry teacher, the European Commission is a visit from the Principal.


In a statement released last week, the European Commission said they would be 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 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.”

What this means, in layman, is Valve is blocking users from buying games in regions where they may be cheaper (regions meaning other EU Member States). This is just an investigation, but Valve is finding themselves in trouble far too often these days, and the idea of geo-blocking does make sense in some cases as it’s necessary to pertain certain laws within countries/states and this will most likely be Valve’s argument when faced with inquiry.

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Last Updated: February 6, 2017

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit’s esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere – but my work here is independent of that.

  • Good, all loot crates/boxes should die in gaming!

    • Admiral Chief

      Every, single, time I get a loot box in Overwatch I hear a certain someone say LOOOT BOX in my head (flippen weird skype sessions ) and want to quit the queue to open it.

      That, and the fffffffffff sound of vaping over the mic


  • PurplePariah

    Finally. People need to see what Valve have become. Literally, the bad guys of gaming. The inventors of DRM (not really, but it makes for a good narrative, doesn’t it?)

    • They are not bad guys. They are just indifferent and I could think of a hundred other things worse than this. I acually quite like cheaper gaming prices that are geo-locked. As for the lock itself if you ever move the games still work overseas.

      • PurplePariah


  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I’d be more inclined to suspect the geo-locking originated from the publishers, and Steam did its usual “eh, okay” because they don’t give a fuck about anything so long as they get their cut.

    • Captain JJ

      Yea. That’s possible.

  • I am quite fine with geo-locking when they bring gaming prices down to an affordable level like what happened in ZA. Then again I do get annoyed that I can’t gift my UK friend a game I think they would enjoy like Naked Yum Yum Slaughterfest (Conan Exiles).

    • Admiral Chief


      • Hey I treat my slaves well …. all they do is all day long is stand outside and shot at snakes and priests of Set.

    • BakedBagel

      “I am quite fine with geo-locking when they bring gaming prices down to an affordable level like what happened in ZA.”
      Games are affordable?

      Since when bruh?

      • Rephrase … more affordable than the dollar version.

  • konfab

    Valve should troll them by making the games the cheapest in the UK- post article 50.

  • HairyEwok

    I’m more pissed over certain games being region locked than this.

  • BakedBagel

    Investigation includes:
    Asus, Denon & Marantz, Philips and Pioneer

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