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Recently we wrote about how Wolfire Games (Lugaru, Overgrowth, Receiver) engaged in a legal battle with Steam owner Valve in regards to alleged anti-competitive behaviour.

Wolfire's David Rosen has now written up a blog post to explain their feelings on why. It's worth noting that Rosen was one of the original founders of the Humble Indie Bundle, later spun off into its own Humble Bundle company and then sold to IGN. Rosen then, you would think, has a reasonably good grasp on how all this works on the business side. It's somewhat amusing that the blog post starts with "Dear gamers", which probably isn't going to do them any favours in such a legal battle.

Rosen mentions how they felt they had "no choice" as they believe "gamers and game developers are being harmed by Valve's conduct" and they're not doing it for personal gain. Rosen said after wanting to have Overgrowth listed at a lower price on a newer store, they "personally experienced the conduct described in the complaint". Speaking to Valve, Rosen said "they replied that they would remove Overgrowth from Steam if I allowed it to be sold at a lower price anywhere, even from my own website without Steam keys and without Steam’s DRM" and so that "would make it impossible for me, or any game developer, to determine whether or not Steam is earning their commission".

So the problem here isn't specifically the 30% cut Valve take but rather Valve forcing price parity, or developers face being removed from Steam.

Rosen believes that Valve are "taking away gamers' freedom to choose how much extra they are willing to pay to use their platform" and that it's believed "this is part of why all competing stores have failed".

We did reach out to Valve yesterday for a statement to no reply.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Meta, Steam, Valve
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86 comments
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omer666 7 May
The blog post makes a clear and honest statement, which is a good thing.
I think the price equivalency point looks like a monopoly in the way it is enforced more than in itself, and Rosen has been advised to make a lawsuit in this respect.
Valve is protecting themselves from hostile partnerships.

This has nothing to do with consumers. Just whether or not Publishers can get the Sweet Sweet Valve Nectar and Fuck Valve at the same time by under-selling their partner with another partner eg: CCP+Tencent+Epic.

Valve Says -- No you must be fair to us -- if you want to charge less elsewhere you have to charge the same lower amount for our customers too.

And of course the Hostile Partners are all Surprised Pikachu on why they are not allowed to be on a platform while simultaneously fucking that platform over.

link

Bravo Valve for respecting yourself and requiring equal treatment, I'm 100% behind you, especially after the 7,000 Native Linux Games that Valve gave me and the 0 Native Linux Games that Epic gave me -- oh but I got some hostile remarks from Tim Sweeney, get wrecked Epic -- I don't mind having a #2 gaming store -- but if I have anything to say about it it'll never be a Anti-Linux piece of shit store like CCP+Tencent+Epic -- but hey why should we be surprised, Epic basically is complacent against their CCP Partners in literal genocide and slavery of their Uighers picking 20% of the world cotton and using prison labor where their fingernails literally are falling off from to produce the worlds slave garlic.

Where is the world outrage and human decency focused on the right problem and not a diversion when you need it.

As for Wolfire's David Rosen selling off Humble Bundle to IGN -- thanks bro, you really fucking sold the company & us down the fucking river -- but hey sellouts gotta sellout, and good shit gotta become bad shit -- Humble Bundle, Woot, Newegg, yadda yadda yadda.


Last edited by ElectricPrism on 7 May 2021 at 11:15 am UTC
const 7 May
Can't you actually undercut that rule by selling "GameX-Steam Edition" on Steam and "GameX-Vanilla Edition" on your other store? Add a hat here and a different one there, done. There are so many games with slightly different versions and different pricing everywhere. Even Open Source games often just go for the "Steam Edition" 'trick'
At first, I was kind of against Steams same-pricing rules but the more I think about it, different pricing would not be customer friendly, either. Imagine buying a game on Steam and finding out it would have been 90% cheaper on another store all the time. So maybe instead of going for same price, a little margin would be more friendly? Don't know what to think about it anymore.


Last edited by const on 7 May 2021 at 11:26 am UTC
kuhpunkt 7 May
QuoteHis blog post reads like something you see posted on his forum based on something he heard his older brother talking about. His main point is false today.

https://twitter.com/chetfaliszek/status/1390402997197295617

QuoteI am not going to make a conjecture of what he was told 10 years ago etc but you can see the proof online today this isn't true and it's not captured in the agreement so...

https://twitter.com/chetfaliszek/status/1390403951078514688

QuoteDo you know how many games ship on steam? In 4 years it’s sold ~50,000 copies and you honestly think they changed policy because they were worried about that extra overgrowth money?

Policies are not one offs and this is not captured in the agreements so…

https://twitter.com/chetfaliszek/status/1390464694582792192

This is laughable and won't go anywhere.
kuhpunkt 7 May
Quoting: rustybroomhandleAnyhoo, much like the Apple/Epic thing I think the only good thing that will come out of this is that a bunch of previously secret info/documents will now become public. Always nice to know more.

Also, I have bought Steam keys cheaper than Steam on other stores before (Indiegala, Humble). Not sure how much Valve enforces the price parity rule. They could probably just concede and lose nothing.

Example: You can buy a boxed version of Prey from Amazon that comes with a Steam key for $20 (new, not used), which is definitely cheaper than on Steam. I can't see the dollar prices, but even with regional pricing, the Amazon one is cheaper.

Valve hardly enforces anything. You can buy keys on Humble PERMANENTLY when you subscribe. They thus PERMANENTLY undercut Steam by 20%.
Seegras 7 May
Quoting: FeistFor me, the fact that I have 95% of my games on steam and all the various steam services/steam benefits connected to all those games is pretty much a permanent "deal breaker" with any other option/alternative.

I stopped buying (even steam keys) from anywhere else, because I have some 4000(!) games on steam, and I want to know whether I already have a specific game before I buy. So everywhere but steam has become a nuisance; except maybe itch.io where most games are not available on steam anyway.
Blablabla... "For the customers freedom of choice".... Blablabla... Yeah right!

From my end, as a customer, everything is fine with Steam, but I understand, from what is being reported, that true quality indie developers are being drowned in shovelwares. That's the real issue. It all comes down to how much copies they are selling on Steam. Maybe Steam should think of a way to curate all that shovelware and remove all the noise that it causes in the discovery algorythms? Maybe there is just too much games on Steam?

All I know it's that, from my customer's point of view, there are two quality stores... Steam and GoG. I won't buy from anywhere else in the near futur... Maybe itch and in extreme cases, Stadia.
Quoting: MohandevirBlablabla... "For the customers freedom of choice".... Blablabla... Yeah right!

From my end, as a customer, everything is fine with Steam, but I understand, from what is being reported, that true quality indie developers are being drowned in shovelwares. That's the real issue. It all comes down to how much copies they are selling on Steam. Maybe Steam should think of a way to curate all that shovelware and remove all the noise that it causes in the discovery algorythms? Maybe there is just too much games on Steam?

All I know it's that, from my customer's point of view, there are two quality stores... Steam and GoG. I won't buy from anywhere else in the near futur... Maybe itch and in extreme cases, Stadia.

The regular game festivals is meant to help with that.
pb 7 May
I remember buying the first Humble Indie Bundle and playing all the games, and when I got to Lugaru (which I knew came from the initiators of HIB) I thought "wow, these guys just piggybacked on their fellow indie developers' actual games to push this hot piece of unfinished game / tech demo out of the door". And now I read that their $30 game that was supposed to be an actually-finished Lugaru is still unfinished after all these years (I have it from some bundle but after bad experience with Lugaru I haven't touched it). And they are suing Valve over wanting a fair treatment by their business partner... The entitlement just drips form that guy...
kuhpunkt 7 May
Quoting: pbI remember buying the first Humble Indie Bundle and playing all the games, and when I got to Lugaru (which I knew came from the initiators of HIB) I thought "wow, these guys just piggybacked on their fellow indie developers' actual games to push this hot piece of unfinished game / tech demo out of the door". And now I read that their $30 game that was supposed to be an actually-finished Lugaru is still unfinished after all these years (I have it from some bundle but after bad experience with Lugaru I haven't touched it). And they are suing Valve over wanting a fair treatment by their business partner... The entitlement just drips form that guy...

On their own homepage it still says "PRE-ORDER" for Overgrowth...
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