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Valve are in the legal spotlight again following the EU Commission Fine with a few more Steam troubles, as a new lawsuit has emerged with a claim about an "abuse" of their market power.

First picked up by the Hollywood Reporter, which has the full document showing the lawsuit was filed on January 28, was filed by 5 people together and doesn't appear to have any major companies backing it. The suit mentions how Valve require developers to sign an agreement that contains a "Most Favored Nations" provision to have developers keep the price of their games the same on Steam as other platforms. To be clear, they're talking about the Steam Distribution Agreement which isn't public and not what we can all see in the Steamworks documentation which talks about keys.

This means (if the claim is actually true) that developers cannot have their game on itch, GOG, Humble or anywhere else at a lower price, and so the lawsuit claims that other platforms are unable to compete on pricing "thereby insulating the Steam platform from competition" and that it "acts as an artificial barrier to entry by potential rival platforms and as higher prices lead to less sales of PC Games".

As part of the lawsuit it also names CD Projekt, Ubisoft, Devolver Digital and others.

It argues that if developers could legitimately set their own prices across different stores, they could lower their prices on stores that take a lower cut and "generate the same or even greater revenue per game as a result of the lower commissions, while lowering prices to consumers". They even directly bring up posts on Twitter from the Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney, like this one from 2019:

Steam has veto power over prices, so if a multi-store developer wishes to sell their game for a lower price on the Epic Games store than Steam, then: 1) Valve can simply say “no” 2) Pricing disparity would likely anger Steam users, leading to review bombing, etc

What are your thoughts on this? Should Valve be forced to allow developers to set their own prices, and not require their price to be the same as other stores?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, Steam, Valve
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128 comments
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Suppen 1 Feb
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Sounds like a well deserved lawsuit
TheSHEEEP 1 Feb
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Quoting: SuppenSounds like a well deserved lawsuit
Absolutely.
That's an abuse of market power if I ever saw one.

And nobody profits - except Valve.
Customers get screwed, devs get screwed.

The equivalent would be Amazon not allowing sellers lower prices outside of Amazon's marketplace.
kuhpunkt 1 Feb
Quoting: SuppenSounds like a well deserved lawsuit

It's doesn't.

QuoteWhat are your thoughts on this? Should Valve be forced to allow developers to set their own prices, and not require their price to be the same as other stores?

As far as I'm aware Valve already allows that. CD Project Red could sell Cyberpunk 2077 on gog and Epic right now for $20 and $60 o Steam and there's nothing Valve could/would do about it.

They only have one such clause and that applies to STEAM KEYS... which are sold below the Steam price all the time anyway.

This lawsuit is dumb and ridiculous.
kuhpunkt 1 Feb
Quoting: TheSHEEEP
Quoting: SuppenSounds like a well deserved lawsuit
Absolutely.
That's an abuse of market power if I ever saw one.

And nobody profits - except Valve.
Customers get screwed, devs get screwed.

The equivalent would be Amazon not allowing sellers lower prices outside of Amazon's marketplace.

Then please show the clause in the contract that dictates this.
TheSHEEEP 1 Feb
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Quoting: kuhpunktThen please show the clause in the contract that dictates this.
From the article:
QuoteThe suit mentions how Valve require developers to sign an agreement that contains a "Most Favored Nations" provision to have developers keep the price of their games the same on Steam as other platforms.

This means that developers cannot have their game on itch, GOG, Humble or anywhere else at a lower price
Seems self-explanatory to me, I don't need to show you anything.

If this wasn't in the contract with Valve, the lawsuit would indeed be absurd.
But if this wasn't in the contract with Valve, the lawsuit would never have happened as it wasn't necessary to begin with.

You come off like a very aggressive fanboy here.
Quote... they could lower their prices...

Looking forward to witness that. Quite sure that in the vast majority of cases it will lead to higher prices on Steam. End of story.

Really not sure about this one... Nothing forces them to sell on Steam, anyway.

Lets wait and see, but playing the white knight that will save the customers... Sorry, I'm not buying it. To me, it's just words.


Last edited by Mohandevir on 1 February 2021 at 1:45 pm UTC
Quoting: TheSHEEEP
Quoting: SuppenSounds like a well deserved lawsuit

The equivalent would be Amazon not allowing sellers lower prices outside of Amazon's marketplace.

Fun fact: Amazon DID get slapped by a lawsuit for doing exactly that.

Source: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/forums/t/amazon-policy-prohibits-lower-pricing-on-other-marketplaces/131807


Last edited by blindcoder on 1 February 2021 at 1:47 pm UTC
kuhpunkt 1 Feb
Quoting: TheSHEEEP
Quoting: kuhpunktThen please show the clause in the contract that dictates this.
From the article:
QuoteThe suit mentions how Valve require developers to sign an agreement that contains a "Most Favored Nations" provision to have developers keep the price of their games the same on Steam as other platforms.

This means that developers cannot have their game on itch, GOG, Humble or anywhere else at a lower price
Seems self-explanatory to me, I don't need to show you anything.

If this wasn't in the contract with Valve, the lawsuit would indeed be absurd.
But if this wasn't in the contract with Valve, the lawsuit would never have happened as it wasn't necessary to begin with.

You come off like a very aggressive fanboy here.

How am I an aggressive fanboy? It's not in the contract. And you really think the lawsuit would never have happened? Do you know how many dumb lawsuits are filed all the time?

Liam linked the Tweet from Sweeney (which is what the lawsuit refers to, not the contract!) and people called him out already back in 2019.
kuhpunkt 1 Feb
Quoting: Mohandevir
Quote... they could lower their prices...

Looking forward to witness that. Quite sure that in the vast majority of cases it will lead to higher prices on Steam. End of story.

Really not sure about this one... Nothing forces them to sell on Steam, anyway.

Lets wait and see, but playing the white knight that will save the customers... Sorry, I'm not buying it. To me, it's just words.

Hitman 3 is on Epic, not on Steam. Epic said: lowers shares will lead to lower prices! Still costs $60.
slapin 1 Feb
I can't see that requirement as a problem...
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