European Commission fines Valve Software 1.8 million euros for regional price blocking

Well here’s something I didn’t really expect to see. Few years ago European Commission launched an investigation into violation of European Union’s laws by companies like Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home Interactive, Koch Media, Zenimax and of course Valve Software – the owner of Steam. The case is now over (or is it?).

(more…)
3 Comments

Will GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) affect Steam?

The GDPR regulation is almost here. After May 25th all companies that opearate in European Union are bound to respect the new laws and our privacy. Steam is going to need to get consent from EU individuals to obtain and store personally identifying information (like name, address, phone number, email etc). This should be performed by having a user "opt in" as under the GDPR regulations "consent cannot be assumed".…

0 Comments

#DigitalSingleMarket now in effect!

The new European Union's law guarantees access to the same content for all EU member states. On April 1st 2018 the new law is in effect! From now on all content on digital platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Steam and any other digital service has to be accessible to all countries of the European Union. That's it This is amazing news, something we've all wanted has finally happened after around 10…

3 Comments

New European Union law to forbid geoblocking in early 2018!

The European Commission is putting it's hands on the Internet once again. This time it could be really good for us. The earlier mentioned Steam region blocks case can do more harm than good. Just image how bad it would be for the Eastern European countries if they just generalize the prices to fit all regions. Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and others are going to get higher prices, no doubts here.…

2 Comments

The European Commission will examine the legality of regional blocks on Steam

The European Commission is going to take a look at region blocks on Steam. Can we count on non-region blocked games in the future? We all do realize that regionally blocked games are cheaper in certain regions and that's OK I guess but, according to The European Commission, Valve is breaking the laws of fair trade between the European Union's countries. I think I have sent a letter to them around…

1 Comment

"Free-to-play" misleading advertising in Europe

European Commission meets with devs to improve consumer protections, wants them to stop calling games free if they have in-app purchases. Complaints from consumers who unwittingly purchased in-game upgrades in free-to-play titles have become common enough that the European Commission is taking action on the matter. EC members are meeting with tech companies and national enforcement authorities to go over concerns about consumer protections in the burgeoning market. "Consumers and…

0 Comments

EU Commission explains pricing, availability and more

I’ve just received another e-mail with further details about Valve, Steam and pricing in European Union in general. Go ahead and read it. As I mentioned in my previous e-mail, EU competition law generally does not restrict the freedom of companies to unilaterally decide whether and what to sell in which country. There is no EU competition law rule that obliges private companies such as Valve Software to market the…

10 Comments

European Commission responds: If Valve decides to offer a product solely within the UK this does generally not amount to an infringement of EU competition rules

I’ve just received a response from the European Commission (it’s weird because I did not send them an e-mail but a physical letter) and you guys are not gonna like it:

Thank you for your e-mail regarding Valve corporation.

We note that, in substance, the concerns you have raised are to do with the availability of software products in the UK only.

Whereas we appreciate that it may be in the interest of consumers in the rest of the European Union to also have access to products of the Steam Store sold in the United Kingdom, how a product is marketed is at the discretion of the vendor. If a vendor decides to offer a product solely within the UK this does generally not amount to an infringement of EU competition rules, in particular of Articles 101 and 102 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).

Please be assured that market insight is a valuable input to our daily work that we appreciate.

Here is a link to the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union.

And here is the content of Articles 101 and 102 Mr Banasevic mentioned:

Article 101

1. The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the internal market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the internal market, and in particular those which:

(more…)

9 Comments

And now we wait…

The letter to the European Commission has been sent! We have almost reached 1,000 signatures on the petition (it’s around 900 right now). I’ve changed it up a little, added few sentences about the petition and stuff like that. But if you want you can send the same letter just copy paste it from the petition page or change it slightly (we don’t want to make it spam right?) and…

3 Comments

To all EU citizens: Please help us!

We are about to send a letter to the European Commission. Sending a letter. Why? At the moment I - as a citizen of Poland or for example France, Greece, Germany or any other member country - cannot buy products in the Steam Store in the shop reserved for residents of the United Kingdom (http://www.steampowered.com/?cc=uk) which is against the European Union’s directive. Here it is: Directive 97/7/EC: "Whereas the free…

21 Comments

European Union: Online Dispute Resolution

The European Union is constantly trying to brake all boundaries between states and law but even now, most of the time, consumers don’t want to order things and goods from other EU countries just because they’re afraid of some kind of failure of what they’ve ordered and they simply don’t trust stores abroad when it comes to returns, warranty and other things. However, the new web platform called Online Dispute…

5 Comments

1 Year Anniversary

I can not believe it was a year ago! It all started with an innocent Steam Store Beta, which introduced the dreadful "conversion" 1€ = 1$. Few days later (despite the many comments on the official forums) they decided to introduce a new currency on Steam. The next day, I’ve created the “Looks like $1 = €1 after all” thread and later decided to create a website with rants about that conversion.

With the new currency introduced some strange coincidence happened, EA Games suddenly put their games in the Steam store.

For me, and many others on the Steam Forums, discussion with any of the "moderators" or Valve employess ended with ban. Then we decided to let publishers and game designers know that their games are overpriced on Steam. We e-mailed every single publisher/developer on Steam and received like 2 responses (from The Witcher makers, Savage 2 makers and some other indie devs). I think the rest of them didn’t even read our message.

(more…)

16 Comments

European Commission responds

It seems several people who have sent out complaints as according to the 1€ ≠ 1$ announcement ( click ) have received a reply from the European Commission. Here is a picture of the response: (mirror) The person responding appears to be not understanding the issue. Or is it that we did not understand the issue at the time? We must be reminded that the original issue was 1 euro…

3 Comments