Games Prices In Europe Set To Be Unified

Europe is looking towards a more technological environment, where companies and countries can operate knowing that there is a standard across the board for everything that may impact that their work. This could soon be the same for games as well thanks to the European Commission.

The Digital Single Market outlines a proposal for a fairer system when it comes to game pricing in the EU. Game prices fluctuate depending on where you buy them from, with companies like GoG trying to level this through their credit system.

Please note that this only applies to digital copies of games, but would be across the board. This means that be it from Xbox Live, PSN, Steam or another digital distributor, you would be asked to pay the same price throughout all EU territories.

The digital single market was first introduced in May 2015 and looks to bring about uniform pricing in 2016. This is alongside a broadband standard that would see 30MBPS internet standard for all citizens, with 50% of European households having 100MBPS internet by 2020.

With all these measures to help not only gamers but everyone in the European union, we could shortly see better internet connections and fairer prices for digital content. How can that be a bad thing?

Thank you European Commission for the information.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Amazon is Now Paying Full UK Taxes

The company that wants to bring us drone deliveries and deliveries to our cars has now changed its ways in terms of paying taxes. Up until recently, Amazon sifted sales through Luxembourg as to avoid profit Tax. In 2013, Amazon booked a huge £4.7 billion of UK sales through Luxembourg which resulted in a relatively miniscule £4.7 million to pay in UK taxes.

According to The New York Times, Amazon will be rolling this out across Germany, Italy and Spain. “Although potentially Amazon will pay more tax in each of those countries, there are still ways for it to minimise its tax bill, for example by setting the cost of “licences” to the main US company for the use of trademarks against profits—a common accounting technique among international companies with branches overseas. This means the tax paid by Amazon in the UK may still not be that significant.”

The most likely reason for this is to cut short an investigation into the company from the tax arrangements with Luxembourg. Although the investigation is still in early stages, formal action by the European Commission could lead to forced changes in its EU practices; voluntary changes would make a lot of sense.

How do you feel that global companies are essentially dodging tax? Should they all be made to pay or should some companies pay less or more? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Thank you to ArsTechnica for providing us with this information.

Geo-Blocking Could Become A Thing Of The Past

Geo-Blocking has been a hot topic in recent years, and even more so in recent years. The term is applied to the process by which certain digital media, most notably online videos are limited to certain countries based on where their IP says they are, but this may be set to change within Europe at least.

The EU commission is moving one step closer towards the idea of a unified digital market with recently purposed policies. Among the new policies are several sections that will not only put the end to geo-blocking within Europe but also will update copyright so that people can enjoy their music, films and digital games while abroad as if they were in their home country.

Typically in modern days companies, due to the laws of other countries, block watching or downloading certain things due to the local laws, most normally because the company the program belongs to doesn’t have permission to show the media in other countries, although this can also come down to the actual content being in breach of laws within the country in more extreme cases.

With the use of VPN’s (Virtual Private Network) on the rise, allowing people to pretend that they are in another country rather than the one they say they are from, more and more companies are either having to block VPN’s or find ways to share their products with the wider public. Netflix, one of the largest  media streaming services, has spoken out about this and instead of relying on VPN’s it has stated that it is seeking global deals allowing users from all around the world to watch their TV and Film’s in any country without any delays between releases.

Among the new plans are also steps for the EU to take piracy and illegal content online, while also looking at topics such as search engines behaviour and those of online companies to ensure fair use of the internet and remove any anticompetative natures that may have developed in recent years.

The final step in the EU policies purposed is new steps on topics such as e-health and the proposal of a “European Free Flow of Data Initiative”. With these steps in the next few years it could be possible to watch and download any of your digital media in any part of the EU without a delay between it being released in the UK or in Germany.

Thank you to the Inquirer and ZDNet for the information.

EU Committee Delays Roaming Fees Removal

There have been a lot of talks these past two years regarding the abolishment of roaming fees in the European Union’s member states. Last year, we heard that the EU Commission was voting to scrap the fees altogether and have them removed by 2016.

However, this might not be the case. The European Parliament does have its mind set on removing the roaming fees, but it seems that it also backs carriers who claim that they need to charge customers due to the space taken up on foreign carrier networks. To be noted is that carriers such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, Telefonica, and Telenor already have networks in almost every EU country, but there are still some carriers who cannot cope with a big changes just yet.

While there has been a steady drop in roaming prices in the past two years, along with a variety of tariffs added to reduce prices even further, we won’t be seeing a total removal of roaming fees next year. A more realistic target now points to 2018, making some room for everyone to cope with a big change on a large scale.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information