EU investigates video game companies over antitrust concerns

FeaturesAssociated Press

The European Union's competition watchdog is stepping up its investigation of a U.S. video game platform and five game makers over concerns they blocked players from buying cheaper versions of games in other countries.

The EU's competition commissioner said Friday it issued a statement of objections to Valve Corp., which owns the Steam online PC game distribution platform, and the computer game publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, KochMedia and ZeniMax.

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The commission, which started looking into the issue two years ago, said the companies breached the bloc's antitrust rules by agreeing to use "geo-blocked activation keys" to prevent cross-border game sales.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said the companies prevented game players from shopping around for the best price and they now have a chance to respond to her concerns.