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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
14 Likes
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86 comments
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Pangaea 7 May
I'm sorry to hear he has a split personality disorder. I wish him well.
mirv 7 May
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Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvAgree or not with Valve's price parity clause (disclaimer: I don't agree with that) but at least look at it on its own merits.

If there even is one...

Have you read the lawsuit?

And this topic is about a blog post of someone who is in a position to know if there is this clause or not. He's seen the clauses.

Unless you're calling him a liar. In which case I'd say that David Rosen has far more credibility than you do.
kuhpunkt 7 May
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvAgree or not with Valve's price parity clause (disclaimer: I don't agree with that) but at least look at it on its own merits.

If there even is one...

Have you read the lawsuit?

And this topic is about a blog post of someone who is in a position to know if there is this clause or not. He's seen the clauses.

Unless you're calling him a liar. In which case I'd say that David Rosen has far more credibility than you do.

And I have quoted Chet Faliszek (ex-Valve employee), who said that such a clause doesn't exist.
mirv 7 May
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Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvAgree or not with Valve's price parity clause (disclaimer: I don't agree with that) but at least look at it on its own merits.

If there even is one...

Have you read the lawsuit?

And this topic is about a blog post of someone who is in a position to know if there is this clause or not. He's seen the clauses.

Unless you're calling him a liar. In which case I'd say that David Rosen has far more credibility than you do.

And I have quoted Chet Faliszek (ex-Valve employee), who said that such a clause doesn't exist.

Great. Show me the quote.
kuhpunkt 7 May
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvAgree or not with Valve's price parity clause (disclaimer: I don't agree with that) but at least look at it on its own merits.

If there even is one...

Have you read the lawsuit?

And this topic is about a blog post of someone who is in a position to know if there is this clause or not. He's seen the clauses.

Unless you're calling him a liar. In which case I'd say that David Rosen has far more credibility than you do.

And I have quoted Chet Faliszek (ex-Valve employee), who said that such a clause doesn't exist.

Great. Show me the quote.

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2021/05/david-rosen-of-wolfire-games-explains-why-theyre-taking-on-valve-in-a-lawsuit/comment_id=202951
mirv 7 May
View PC info
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Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvAgree or not with Valve's price parity clause (disclaimer: I don't agree with that) but at least look at it on its own merits.

If there even is one...

Have you read the lawsuit?

And this topic is about a blog post of someone who is in a position to know if there is this clause or not. He's seen the clauses.

Unless you're calling him a liar. In which case I'd say that David Rosen has far more credibility than you do.

And I have quoted Chet Faliszek (ex-Valve employee), who said that such a clause doesn't exist.

Great. Show me the quote.

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2021/05/david-rosen-of-wolfire-games-explains-why-theyre-taking-on-valve-in-a-lawsuit/comment_id=202951

Yeah....that doesn't say what you think it says. Someone is asking explicitly about price parity and there is, at the time of writing, no response to that.
I am reading through the Steam Distribution Agreement and the Steam Subscriber agreement, but I can't find the price parity clause. I'm pretty sure I have seen it in there somewhere before, and that is specifically applies to Steam keys.

Anyhoo, going to keep looking.
kuhpunkt 7 May
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvAgree or not with Valve's price parity clause (disclaimer: I don't agree with that) but at least look at it on its own merits.

If there even is one...

Have you read the lawsuit?

And this topic is about a blog post of someone who is in a position to know if there is this clause or not. He's seen the clauses.

Unless you're calling him a liar. In which case I'd say that David Rosen has far more credibility than you do.

And I have quoted Chet Faliszek (ex-Valve employee), who said that such a clause doesn't exist.

Great. Show me the quote.

https://www.gamingonlinux.com/2021/05/david-rosen-of-wolfire-games-explains-why-theyre-taking-on-valve-in-a-lawsuit/comment_id=202951

Yeah....that doesn't say what you think it says. Someone is asking explicitly about price parity and there is, at the time of writing, no response to that.

If that's not the main point, what is?
Probably going to get in trouble for this, but here's the relevant part. The documents will be public once it hits the court anyway, so here, judge for yourselves:

QuoteSteam Key Rules and Guidelines

You should use keys to sell your game on other stores in a similar way to how you sell your game on Steam. It is important that you don't give Steam customers a worse deal.

It's OK to run a discount on different stores at different times as long as you plan to give a comparable offer to Steam customers within a reasonable amount of time.

Occasionally it may make sense to offer your game in a bundle or subscription, timed at the right point in a game's life cycle. Keep in mind that the perceived price in the bundle/subscription should be a price you are willing to run the game at a standalone price or discount on Steam. Philosophically, you can think about it like any other discount: if you’re making an aggressive offer in one place, make it elsewhere too. We want to avoid a situation where customers get a worse offer on the Steam store, so feel free to reach out to us via the Developer Support tool if you want to talk through a specific scenario.

Steam keys shouldn't be given away for free if you aren't also offering the same deal (i.e., give the game away for free) to Steam customers. If you want to run a giveaway on Steam, please reach out to us and submit a ticket .

Steam keys shouldn't be sold in bulk. For example, you should not sell your game on sites that offer customers the option to purchase large numbers of copies of your game for a lower price. You should also not include your game in bundles on sites that allow customers to purchase multiple copies of the bundle for a lower price.

We reserve the right to deny requests for keys or revoke key requesting privileges for partners that are abusing them or disadvantaging Steam customers.

If we detect that you have requested an extreme number of keys and you aren't offering Steam customers a good value, we may deny your request.

We reserve the right to remove key requesting privileges from any partner whose sole business is selling Steam keys and not providing value or a fair deal to Steam customers.

Keys cannot be generated for the following:
"Free" products
If you want to give away keys for a free package or something that will never go on sale (event giveaways, special promotions, etc), please contact Valve.
Steam Bundles
Steam keys cannot be generated for Steam bundles. You will need to generate keys for the individual apps in the bundle.
The above is specific to Steam keys, and thus conflicts with Rosen's story a bit.
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