When you read the title, you might think; what da heck? Valve Antitrust Lawsuit And Steam Uncodified Law. Lots of difficult words and it seems there is trouble in paradise. Has the gaming world gone crazy?
Valve Antitrust Lawsuit and Steam’s Uncodified Law
The mega-companies of the gaming world are facing lawsuits nowadays, take for example Apple, Google, and now Valve. The cases are related to monopolistic practices conducted by these companies which results in a walled garden. As of now, Apple vs. Epic Games trial is well underway and it will continue for three weeks. On the other hand, Valve also faces an antitrust lawsuit related to its digital market place Steam.
Just a couple of weeks ago Wolfire Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve. The allegations against Valve are related to its anticompetitive business practices on Steam and an exorbitant commission fee for every sale. In a recent blog post, Wolfire Games explains why it resorted to taking legal actions against Valve. The blog highlights Valve’s use of its dominant position in the digital marketplace to pull out, “an extraordinarily high cut from nearly every sale that passes through its store.”
Apart from Valve’s high cut, Wolfire founder David Rosen said that Valve indulges in anticompetitive practice by preventing developers to not to sell their games on other platforms for a price lower than Steam. Rosen added that he came up with this issue when he decided to sell Overgrowth on other storefronts. Other digital game stores have considerably lower commission rates like Microsoft and Epic Games Store (12%).
However, Valve’s former employee Chet Faliszek thinks otherwise. He is of the view that Valve is not involved in the pricing of games and doesn’t forbid developers to go to other market places. However, more and more developers came forward and voiced their concerns about Steam’s authoritative and dominant behavior in the market.
One such developer responded to Faliszek and said, “All you’ve said is you don’t think there’s anything about this in their agreement. I know several devs who say this has happened to them. Valve doesn’t have to reach out, they just have to say no when you check it’s okay. ‘There are many examples of non-price-parity’ and ‘Valve will sometimes disallow you from doing that’ can both be true.”
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