Valve has been known to provide Codes for players to use when buying new games. This has been a measure to counter piracy of games. However this has also resulted in valve sometimes using codes to distinguish between players from countries and regions.
Certain games cost much less in one region than the other. European Trade practices prohibit such differences between the countries. European Commission has opened an investigation into the practice of Valve. They will investigate if Valve is actually employing such practices.
In particular, an ‘activation key’ can grant access to a purchased game only to consumers in a particular EU Member State (for example the Czech Republic or Poland),” according to the release. “This may amount to a breach of EU competition rules by reducing cross-border competition as a result of restricting so-called ‘parallel trade’ within the single market and preventing consumers from buying cheaper games that may be available in other member states.”
Such practices are against the very nature of European Union.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy said: “E-commerce should give consumers a wider choice of goods and services, as well as the opportunity to make purchases across borders. The three investigations we have opened today focus on practices where we suspect companies are trying to deny these benefits for consumers. The cases concern the consumer electronics, video games and hotel accommodation sectors. More specifically, we are looking into whether these companies are breaking EU competition rules by unfairly restricting retail prices or by excluding customers from certain offers because of their nationality or location.“