The European Commission has found Nintendo guilty of price-fixing charges dating back as far as 1991 and has imposed a fine of €149 million on the company as a result - the fourth largest fine ever handed down by the commission for a single offence.
The judgement brings to an end a two year long investigation by the commission into allegations that Nintendo illegally prevented the sale of goods across European borders in order to maintain artificially high prices in some parts of the continent.
Seven distributors, including UK-based John Menzies, the parent company of THE Games, have also been found guilty of the charges and are being fined a total of €21 million between them.
Nintendo plans to bring an appeal against the ruling, with a spokesperson today announcing that the company found the size of the fine "surprising". Although the company accepts that it broke EU rules throughout the nineties, it claims to have reformed its practices in recent years.
"Every year, millions of European families spend large amounts of money on video games," commented Euro competition commissioner Mario Monti. "They have the right to buy the games and consoles at the lowest price the market can possibly offer. We will not tolerate... behaviour intended to keep prices artificially high in the European single market."