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Valve and other publishers under EU investigation for region-locking games

With over 125 million active users, Valve's Steam digital distribution platform is the largest digital storefront for PC games. (Source: Unknown)
With over 125 million active users, Valve's Steam digital distribution platform is the largest digital storefront for PC games. (Source: Unknown)
Valve, Bandai Namco, Zenimax, Capcom, Focus Home, and Koch Media are under investigation by the European Commission for anti-competitive practices due to region-locking games within the EU.

Do you like your games to be unplayable outside of the country you bought them in? Well, neither does the EU, which is now investigating Valve and publishers Bandai Namco, Zenimax, Capcom, Focus Home, and Koch Media for anti-competitive practices due to region-locking some games.

When buying a game on Steam, it should be available on the owner's account on any computer they log into. However, if the owner purchases software in one country and then moves to another region, that software may no longer function. Valve has made region-locking agreements with other publishers that result in locks within the EU. For example, a game key bought in the Czech Republic may not function in the UK. This allows publishers to price their software differently in different areas, but the practice may be breaking anti-competitive laws of the EU, as a major point of the EU is to increase trade by providing a single market. Thus, the regional restrictions are effectively splitting the EU market up. Valve is being targeted for investigation for its part in facilitating the disruption of the single EU market.

It's a very frustrating experience if you travel or move often and find that your games are disabled by Steam. Hopefully the Commission's investigation can result in fewer region-locked games and a more open market.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2017 02 > Valve and other publishers under EU investigation for region-locking games
Douglas Black, 2017-02- 3 (Update: 2017-02- 3)
Douglas Black
Douglas Black - Editor
Douglas Black is a technology analyst, teacher, writer, and DJ. He is also Managing Editor of UltrabookReview.