Valve appeals to EU sanctions for geo-blocking

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Aug 30, 2019.

  1. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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    Valve, Steam game store, is appealing against a ruling by the European Commission. The Commission blamed Valve and five game publishers back in April for actively geo-blocking. Blocking games to regio...

    Valve appeals to EU sanctions for geo-blocking
     
  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Damn, so what is the solution here?

    geo-blocking is there for a reason, so consumers in low-income countries can be able to purchase the games.

    Without geo-block,
    1) people just gonna use VPN and buy games cheaper from cheaper store.
    2) Or force constant price of Steam Games across the globe, which gonna impact consumers of lower income countries and make it expensive (which gonna lead to higher piracy rates).
     
  3. WhiteLightning

    WhiteLightning Don Illuminati Staff Member

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    Valve thinking of publishers , yeah right. its only abou ttheir own greed. before the geo blocking prices were not raised either!
     
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  4. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    Before, not so many people shopped on sites like mmoboost/g2play/...
    But as you can get some games on release day even 50% cheaper, message did spread.

    Then there are current prices of games. Large quantity of games are cheaper outside of steam even after steam discounting them over time.
    You just get key and activate. I have quite a few games like that. But I did never go for RU version just to ensure that I'll be always able to play with whoever I want.
    (Because those are time to time considered as separate game.)
     
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  5. WhiteLightning

    WhiteLightning Don Illuminati Staff Member

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    Really ? hmm. i cant really think of any game that would be different. they all used the same version number and it was just connecting to an ip adress. What games did not work ?
     
  6. Kaarme

    Kaarme Ancient Guru

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    Don't the EU rules only apply to the EU countries? So, there shouldn't be geo-blocking within the EU for games which have official presence in Europe. I don't see how Russia matters here, unless there's some deal between the EU and Russia, but that doesn't sound likely. I guess if the blocks go so that some EU countries can use Russian codes whereas some can't, then it might again cause problems.
     
  7. anthos

    anthos Member Guru

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    If you buy something in Russia yet you are "forbidden" to use it when being in EU territory then it is an EU issue.
     
  8. Cave Waverider

    Cave Waverider Master Guru

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    Steam could change their geoblocker so it isn't active for people in the EU. That way EU citizens can play games from any region/country in any EU country. Valve could still geoblock users in non-EU countries where doing so doesn't break local laws.
     
  9. Kaarme

    Kaarme Ancient Guru

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    If Russian laws don't forbid geo-blocking, it seems to me the distributors can sell geo-blocked copies in Russia. If somebody imports one into the EU, isn't it their personal problem? If the game doesn't work, they ought to complain to the Russian representative of the distributor or the Russian officials (I wouldn't hold my breath with either option). If geo-blocking is banned in the EU, it means that if a Russian buys a game in the EU and takes it back to Russia, then it should work no problem.

    There are other roughly similar circumstances. Like the EU assumes certain things from electric appliances sold in the EU. If it's noticed some device sold in the EU fails to meet the requirements, it can't be sold anymore, effective immediately, and buyers can return them for full refund (been there, done that myself). However, people are still free to privately buy stuff from China. If they fry themselves using such a device, they can only blame themselves. Can the EU tell the Chinese not to make such devices and sell them to EU citizen? No, it's not the EU's business.
     
  10. WhiteLightning

    WhiteLightning Don Illuminati Staff Member

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    Yes Russia doesnt matter, EU law applies to EU countries only.
     
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  11. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    While correct, this DOES apply to some special situations as well: Nazi censorship for instance, when games can't be activated with say UK keys in German speaking countries like Germany and Austria. Because the swastika, among other things, is forbidden to be used in games in GER and AUT, while in the UK you can buy that stuff with ease (right, Prince Harry's costume, remember?).

    The issue I have is that geo blocking has an odd effect, as in, games being more costly in low income countries than without it, right? Isn't this the real issue here, when you have to pay "EU" prices when a Romanian steam user probably earns 25% of what a German or French account holder could probably spend on games. At least that's the issue I see that's more important than to see if any game is sold for 15€ to somebody living in the UK, France or Germany, where income is higher.
     
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  12. Kaarme

    Kaarme Ancient Guru

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    Geo-blocking makes games cheaper in countries with low income. Because with geo-blocking the distributors can make sure people in wealthier countries can't buy their games from the cheap country. Isn't that the idea? However, the EU has the basic principle that the EU territory should be a single market, so people should be able to buy from wherever within the EU they want, with minimal problems. If something is cheaper in lower income Member Country U, then people in higher income Member Country K can buy from there. Geo-blocking clashes with this, even if in fact geo-blocking was supposed to make the people of Member Country U happier because with it they could buy as many games as those in higher income countries. Without geo-blocking, game distributors are forced to set the same high price everywhere, and thus gamers in lower income countries can buy fewer games.
     
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  13. rl66

    rl66 Ancient Guru

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    Yes and No at the same time:

    - VPN bought can be blocked (as apple does right now as an exemple) and steam can block buy from most favorable country whenever they want (hope it does like apple keeping previous bought in the library if they does).

    - Most editor and independent have the same price everywhere (not even EU but worldwide) of course some few play with price.
    The solution isn't to get the higher price everywhere, but the lowest as some other portal have done... but Steam is way too greedy to do it in this way (and so lost lot of partner recentely).

    Anyway exept for free redeem code i don't use Steam... it's crap ;)
     
  14. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    I agree with you, only that I want it to be mentioned, game distributors can set higher prices everywhere, nobody forces them to do it. They just would rather lose low income customers to piracy (and complain about it), than sell twice as many games for half the price or less.
     
  15. slyphnier

    slyphnier Master Guru

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    basically EU saying that "game available in EU should be available without any limitation" no matter where user get it (within or outside EU)

    so EU people can use VPN get game cheaper elsewhere (other region) and they will still can play the game

    while steam make region-limit mainly for region-pricing (based currency-rate/value) rather than country-regulation
    afaik, steam not forcing any region-pricing, all depends on the publisher/developer on how they set price for regions
    honestly i dont see anything wrong with this steam rules, its reasonable enough
    even often its sucks to paid game 3times higher than some region

    if i see news like this seems eu people have good life
    i mean there no other country other than eu, that defending their people-rights this far
    i ever notice that product-warranty for eu also much longer than rest of country, ie. 10years in EU, rest of country get only 3years
     

  16. fantaskarsef

    fantaskarsef Ancient Guru

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    Well, product warranty... you get PC parts with sometimes 5 or 10 years of company wise voluntary warranty via registration... in the EU 2 years of limited warranty by law and maybe a 3rd one on top. At least with PC parts I've seen it happen that US warranties are longer than EU.

    Also, EU warranty is 1 year of "guarantee" as they call it in German speaking Austria, which means: the manufacturer is voluntarily giving you "better" support... to the conditions and modus operandi of their choice. They take your stuff to repair it via their own choice and you have to take it.
    Whereas warranty in the 2nd year does work via fixed standards where the customer can choose if to replace a product, or reduce the price or have it repaired etc.
    The only good thing happening is that in the first 6 months, there's no discussion about something breaking down was actually caused by a faulty product, except the company can obviously prove you mishandled / misused the product.

    So it's not all good...
     
  17. Kaarme

    Kaarme Ancient Guru

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    As far as I know, the EU still hasn't made the "warranty void if sticker removed/damaged" thing illegal. It's illegal in the USA, and it should be illegal in the whole EU (and the whole world). It might be illegal in some individual member countries, I've no idea. The EU used to do a lot to guard the rights of individual citizens (despite all the flak the EU gets from nationalists, populists, and many others), but the golden era of that might be in the past as well.
     
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  18. Brit90

    Brit90 Member Guru

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    I'd love' to see some of this as FACT and see some comparisons? Since I am both European and live/work in Asia. Asia only gives a few days on a lot of products. After 14 days it has to go back to the manufacturer.
    For instance, I bought a Steel Series mouse (it's NOT cheaper in Asia) it broke after 18 months. Asia 1 year, Europe 2 years. I emailed Steel Series asked why would the mouse only have 1 year in asia and 2 in Europe, is it because its made inferior in Asia? They said no it is the same quality and gave me my money back. Steel Series is a company who is worth sticking with. Corsair and Razer on the otherhand are shite in comparison.

    Anyway, I want to see your 10 year vs 2 year comparison in Europe on certain products. Don't claim things and then don't back it up. As I think you're talking crap.
     
  19. Fox2232

    Fox2232 Ancient Guru

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    Sometimes Hilbert shows duplicate games in top 10 sellers, that's because they have different steam_ID even while they are named same.
    From my library we had only problems with Dead Island, but that's likely because most of my friends evade RU versions of game.
    I think that EU's logic is that you can buy any product in the world and bring it home for use as long as given product is not illegal in EU/home country.
    = = = =
    Edit: And as for the topic at hand. My position may look evil, but it is fair.
    What I believe is right, is to have same price in all regions.

    Because dual system is unfair.

    Take a simple EU price of 60 Euro.
    There are 10 million people in EU interested in buying given game. But due to economical circumstances of each person, only 4 million will buy it. Nobody is giving those lower income people extra discount here.

    And regional price differences are made to maximize profit. Let's say that in RU only 10% of interested people would by game for $60. But 30% would buy it for $40. Suddenly it gives 3 times as high revenue.

    There is always that line between "I want" but "I can't". And if you buy game for $60 that someone in other place got for $40 as standard price, it means that game on average was worth $50 and you donated $10 so that other person can play.

    Is Porsche going to be cheaper because I can't otherwise afford it?
    No, but I can buy older Toyota instead. And same applies to games. Can't afford to buy $60 game, go buy some game that you can afford.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2019
  20. mannix

    mannix Member

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    My guess is Valve is more concerned about keeping alive their "scam" on the small/indie game developers and publishers.

    Read somewhere a very good blog post from an Indie dev who found out he couldn't make agreements to distribute his games over retail in the asian market because Steam was pushing his games with massive discounts in that area.
    You know, like the 0.99 offers outside a tourists shop. Scarified like pigs to push the sales of more lucrative titles.

    Unless you have a department working on it, it's impossible to use the manual regional pricing.
    Is purportedly made unusable to force them to give away the pricing to Valve's staff.

    This post summarize how the Valve's scheme to profit on these poor guys works:
    https://steamcommunity.com/discussions/forum/7/2828702373010404222/
     

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