Join us on the Linux Gaming community on Lemmy, the federated open source alternative to Reddit.

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 , Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG and Humble Store. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
86 comments
Page: «6/9»
  Go to:

kuhpunkt 7 May
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: mirvWelcome to the world of manipulative language.
Most of the lawsuit is, in my opinion, full of it. But the price parity for places where there are no steam keys involved, is possibly quite serious, so it pays to be extra explicit about it.

What manipulative language?

The blog post is about price parity and that he claims that Valve would kick him off Steam if he would sell the game at another place for less money.

Chet said that this isn't true and that a clause, that would forbid it, doesn't exist in the agreement.

Both of you. Stop - read the post I made on the previous page that actually contains the relevant text from the Steam agreement.

Yes, but that applies only to the keys - not for example selling the game for $30 on Steam and $20 on the Epic Store. That's what he complains about.

I have yet to find anything in the documentation about that. Still reading though, there's a LOT of it.

I'd be very interested in the contents, but it's probably best to say if you have/haven't found something relevant, and not post any contents. I'd assume it's NDA'd somehow, or it'd be readily available online already. In other words, don't get yourself in trouble.

But anyway, I'm just saying that people shouldn't discount everything because Valve paid money to some FOSS projects, but rather remember that Valve isn't doing anything for altruistic purposes. Doesn't mean price parity as stated in the lawsuit is true, doesn't mean it's not.

But you talked about manipulative language. What was manipulative language? What was the main point of the blog post?
dibz 7 May
Quoting: Mohandevir
Quoting: dibzI mean, does virtually anyone come across a game where they don't go to Steam and read the reviews + view the rating for regardless of where they actually make the purchase?

I even heard about people asking for support on Steam forums for games they bought on the Epic Store.

Exactly. And by that logic, I wouldn't even put past companies like Epic to be downright predatory towards Steam -- they don't need to add reviews or pay for the infrastructure to support a better store. Steam does it for them, for *free.

*: Honestly, I feel like younger generations are entirely clueless about the costs of things. Older people too, for that matter.
F.Ultra 7 May
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: kuhpunkt
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?

Welcome to the world of manipulative language.
Most of the lawsuit is, in my opinion, full of it. But the price parity for places where there are no steam keys involved, is possibly quite serious, so it pays to be extra explicit about it.

Agreed that it would be quite serious, but I have one major problem here and that is that this whole affair sounds and looks like a Rudy Giuliani lawsuit where they say one thing out of court and one thing in court. What I mean by that is that on this blog Wolfire claim that they have personal experience with Valve threatening to withdraw their games if they sold it cheaper elsewhere even if no Steam keys where involved but in the actual paper that they filed with the court they only mention that a 3d party got that exact threat from Valve when Steam keys where involved.

So why not include their own experience of which they would have good evidence of unless this is just smoke and mirrors.
tonyrh 7 May
wow everyone here is a game developing expert and a marketing expert and a legal expert!
I wonder where do you all find the time to play games?
Cyril 7 May
Quoting: tonyrhwow everyone here is a game developing expert and a marketing expert and a legal expert!
I wonder where do you all find the time to play games?

You again?


Last edited by Cyril on 7 May 2021 at 11:06 pm UTC
I notice that the allegation in the blog post says nothing about the actual contract wording. He claims that a threat was made, presumably by someone with the power to enforce it, to kick his game off Steam if he didn't stick to price parity, even if no Steam keys were involved.
There are a couple of problems with that when it comes to mounting a lawsuit. First, it could be very hard to prove. If they have emails or something then sure, but if it was a threat uttered in a non-recorded Zoom meeting, then they deny it and what have you got? Second, even if the specific threat was proved, it could be very hard to prove that such threats represented company policy. It might not even be the case that it represented company policy. Valve disavow the loose cannon, say that their conduct in no way represent Valve's practices and they will redouble their training efforts to make sure such misinterpretations of the company's position by staff don't happen again, and that's that. I suppose if you were lucky you might be able to go on a Discovery fishing expedition and shake loose some internal memos directing people to pull that kind of stuff, but I would figure that to be a long shot.
If as F.Ultra says this stuff isn't in the lawsuit, on a positive interpretation it could be that it's true but they realized they couldn't get anywhere suing on that basis.

On the other hand . . . the other thing about an allegation like this is that, well, it may be true, but if it's not true it's a great way to lie precisely because it's almost impossible to either prove or disprove. Nobody expects you to come up with the evidence because there may well not be any. And the victim can't refute your claim, so you've tarred them forever.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 7 May 2021 at 11:18 pm UTC
Quoting: tonyrhwow everyone here is a game developing expert and a marketing expert and a legal expert!
I wonder where do you all find the time to play games?
You on the other hand clearly do have the time . . . did you copy/paste your previous comment to save time?
x_wing 8 May
Quoting: tonyrhwow everyone here is a game developing expert and a marketing expert and a legal expert!
I wonder where do you all find the time to play games?

You created a template, don't you?

I find weird that in the first article the lawsuit seemed to be more focused on the market position and the cut that Steam takes from devs. But now, in this PR like response, it seems that the problem is an about extortion related to their market position. At this point I think it will be better that Valve releases to the public their price policy and anyone that was threatened by Steam regarding prices in other stores publish that threat (if possible).


Last edited by x_wing on 8 May 2021 at 12:06 am UTC
Kristian 8 May
Quoting: PangaeaI'm sorry to hear he has a split personality disorder. I wish him well.

Wait... is there something I am missing here? I did not see this in the blog post. Maybe I am just blind...
lelorrain 8 May
It works only one way with Steam. A good example is the large discount Steam offered recently on "Horizon Zero Dawn", but it was NOT discounted on GOG, still at the initial Cdn$60 which was the same as on Steam ...

BTW, I have both versions, since I prefer the no-DRM, no-background APP of GOG!


Last edited by lelorrain on 8 May 2021 at 12:33 am UTC
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone with no article paywalls. We also don't have tons of adverts, there's also no tracking and we respect your privacy. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
Login / Register

Or login with...
Sign in with Steam Sign in with Twitter Sign in with Google
Social logins require cookies to stay logged in.

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
Latest Comments
Latest Forum Posts