BACK IN APRIL, the EU commission sent a "Statement of Objections" to six game publishers over the geo-blocking of game codes between European countries. This, the EU said, was against the spirit of the Digital Single Market, where players should be able to get dirt-cheap codes from Poland (average salary: £8,500) to play in the UK (average salary: £28,677) if they want.
Reuters reports that while Bandai Namco, Focus Home, Koch Media, Capcom and ZeniMax have all decided to settle - possibly tempted by that tasty 10 per cent discount on fines that comes from accepting wrongdoing - Steam creator Valve has opted to fight the charges.
It reportedly plans to request a closed-door hearing to make its case directly to officials from the European Commission and national watchdogs. While only Valve knows the contents of its case and exactly how much begging will be involved, back in April it did point out that region locking applied to just three per cent of all games on Steam, and it was turned off in Europe three years ago.
It will be interesting to see whether these and other arguments hold any water with the EU Commission, which seemed pretty resolute on the issue back in April. ""In a true Digital Single Market, European consumers should have the right to buy and play video games of their choice regardless of where they live in the EU," the EU commissioner in charge of competition policy, Margrethe Vestager, said at the time. "Consumers should not be prevented from shopping around between Member States to find the best available deal."
Don't worry: if the prime minister gets his way, we'll be out of the European Union by 31 October, so this business won't apply. We won't be troubled by those horrible cheap games any more: Rule Britannia! µ
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