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Polish Regulators Probe PS Store and Steam for Antitrust Violations

 |  May 15, 2024

Poland’s Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) has initiated a preliminary investigation into digital gaming platforms, including Steam and the PlayStation Store, over concerns of anti-competitive behavior. The move follows an inspection conducted at Sony’s headquarters in Poland, as well as at two undisclosed video game developers and publishers.

The regulator aims to scrutinize evidence gathered during the inspections for any indications of anti-competitive practices, such as “prohibited agreements or abuse of a dominant position by providers of digital distribution platforms for video games.” This comes amidst growing concerns that such practices could harm consumers by limiting competition, exploiting developers and publishers, and potentially leading to higher prices for players.

Should the investigation uncover evidence of anti-competitive behavior, the implicated companies could face hefty fines, with penalties of up to 10% of their annual earnings on the table. Additionally, individuals involved could be subject to fines of up to PLN 2 million ($507,000).

UOKiK president Tomasz Chróstny emphasized the evolving landscape of the digital gaming distribution market, noting the shift away from traditional sales methods towards online platforms. “Gamers are increasingly less likely to buy games in boxes but are sourcing digital copies on online sales platforms,” he said.

Source: Games Industry