Poland to scrutinize digital game platforms like Steam and PS Store on suspicion of anti-competitive practices

Polish regulators have expressed concerns over possible anti-competitive practices by digital video game platforms. The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) may initiate proceedings based on the analysis of the collected data.

Poland to investigate digital platforms like Steam and PSN over suspected anti-competitive practices

According to UOKiK’s official website, the regulator recently launched a preliminary investigation to find out whether Steam, PlayStation Store, and other digital platform are violating the country’s antitrust laws (also spotted by MauroNL).

The UOKiK suspects that certain game companies may engage in practices such as:

  • Abusing their dominant position in the digital game distribution market;
  • Exploiting game developers and imposing higher prices for players;
  • Restricting the sale of games on rival platforms or other online stores;
  • Interfering with the pricing and discount policies of game developers and publishers;
  • Limiting market access to rival platforms and other digital service providers.

“The digital game distribution market is displacing traditional sales,” UOKiK president Tomasz Chróstny said in a statement. “Gamers are increasingly less likely to buy games in boxes but are sourcing digital copies on online sales platforms. At the same time, we see that there may be restrictive practices by major players in this market.”

The regulator has already inspected the headquarters of Sony Group in Poland and two offices of local game developers and publishers. It is currently analyzing the collected evidence, and if it confirms the suspicions, the UOKiK may launch antitrust proceedings and bring charges against specific companies.

Entities found to be engaging in anti-competitive practices may be fined up to 10% of their annual revenue. Managers responsible for such decisions may be fined up to PLN 2 million ($506k).

It is worth noting that during the preliminary investigation, the UOKiK doesn’t bring specific charges against the suspected companies. As the regulator explained in its post, the proceedings are “conducted in the case itself and not in relation to specific entrepreneurs.”

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