Judge reduces £134m Nintendo fine

Nintendo’s infamous 134 million penalty for price-rigging throughout the 1990s has been reduced by some 27 million following an EU court ruling.

In 2002 the European Commission fined Nintendo 134 million for breaching continental fair competition rules.

The platform holder was found to be illicitly working with several distributors – such as John Menzies – to keep the prices of its goods artificially high.

Nintendo had appealed the amount of the penalty, which today still stands as one of the biggest fines handed out by the EU’s fair competition authority.

That appeal has been somewhat successful, with a court in Luxembourg declaring on Thursday that the charge will be cut to 107 million.

A central convention of European Commission policy is to discount penalties to any group that cooperates in its investigations. This process is part of a broad strategy to allure whistleblowers and stir mistrust between parties involved in any related scandals.

In 2002, when the Nintendo price-rigging scandal was uncovered, distributor John Menzies provided the Commission with documents and data to help its investigation. In return, John Menzies’ fine was cut.

On Thursday in Luxembourg, the court heard that Nintendo had not been fairly awarded for its own level of co-operation during the investigation, before the judge awarded Nintendo a 27 million discount.

Nintendo produced the relevant documents at the same stage of the procedure,” the court heard, and its co-operation must be regarded as comparable to that of John Menzies, it must benefit from the same level of reduction of fine.”

During its investigation, the Commission claimed that Nintendo acted as the driving force” behind the illicit dealings.

Last may, a lawyer for Nintendo claimed that the Comission’s fine was "unfair, illegal, even shocking."

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