European Commission launches investigation into Steam’s geo-blocking practices

Posted 02 February 2017 15:09 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

The European Commission has launched an investigation into the gray market of activation codes on the game platform Steam. By making it difficult to activate foreign activation codes, Steam is possibly violating European antitrust laws, the European Commision announced today.

Steam made it recently impossible to activate foreign codes from certain merchants on the game platform. These merchants sell gray codes, they purchase them on a market with a low exchange rate and resell in countries with a higher exchange rate. This way a game normally sold for €50 was sold by some stores on Steam for half the price.

The European Commission argues that Steam might be interrupting the international market by blocking the activation of foreign codes  and this way prevents consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in other member states.

If Valve, the company behind Steam, is found guilty, it is  violating European antitrust laws.

Besides the owner of the Steam platform, Valve, also game publishers  Namco Bandai, Capcom, Focus Home, Kock Media and ZeniMax are part of the investigation.

Valve introduced ‘Region Restrictions ‘on Steam after it received reports of codes that were fraudulently obtained on the gray market. On online marketplaces also codes were traded that e.g. were stolen from game publishers.

The idea of blocking the activation of foreign codes was to make it more difficult to trade illegally obtained codes.


MyCE Member
Posted on: 02 Feb 17 16:58
i dont think the steam store suffers from radiation (gray, radiation unit). Grey is the color you're lookin for
0 Agree

MyCE Resident
Posted on: 11 Feb 17 01:27
Why publishers of entertainment works insist on charging different amounts for different countries is beyond me. Of course people are buy cheap games and re-sell them in countries that charge more. The only way to prevent this is with a flat rate, in which everyone pays the same price, regardless of where they live.

It's good that the EU is looking to punish Valve for their actions. Way to go, EU! Of course, we American also have anti-trust laws of our own. It's too bad the US Department of Justice never sees fit to actually USE them!
0 Agree

Reactions closed

Sorry, you can't comment on this item anymore. It's either too old or comments are disabled for this post. settings

Several settings at can be changed, they are stored in cookies, which means they will be reset if you clear cookies


Change the background to a plain color or trianglified image (similar to the default image)

No tracking features

At Myce most social media feature are done server side and impose no privacy risk to the visitor when not used. Several features use Javascript with you can turn off here


Switch to the List layout for an index with chronologycally listed news items or Grid layout for a block based layout. To see the change you need to reload the page