Confused on Steam Play and Proton? Be sure to check out our guide.

Valve fires back in the lawsuit from Wolfire Games

By - | Views: 21,361

We've been waiting to hear how the lawsuit from Wolfire Games (and others) would progress against Valve, and now we at least have word from Valve on what they think. Naturally, Valve are trying to get the whole thing dismissed. What a shocker, as if we didn't all expect Valve to fire back and try to shut it all down. What company wouldn't?

As a quick reminder: the original lawsuit alleges that Valve's 30% cut is abuse of their market position, and it complains about how Valve handles Steam keys too. David Rosen of Wolfire also tried to clarify some details in a later blog post which claimed that Valve would remove their game Overgrowth if they sold it cheaper elsewhere.

In the new motion filed on July 26, Valve were quite blunt with their reasoning for wanting it all thrown out. The point about Steam keys is an interesting one, as the motion states "Plaintiffs’ allegations that Valve's Steam Key rules amount to an unlawful PMFN* fail for the straightforward reason that Valve, which created and owns Steam, has no duty under the  antitrust laws to create a method (here, Steam Keys) for game developers to sell Steam-enabled games in stores that compete with Steam.".

*PMFN meaning Permanent Most Favoured Nation

The Most Favoured Nation part is an interesting one, something we've seen developers mention before. However, in this lawsuit Valve are saying no real evidence on it existing has been shown. The only example during this that has been shown was for Discord, when a game was going to be given out free and Valve say "what’s missing from Plaintiffs’ narrative about the sixteen games priced the same is any factual allegation that Valve enforced the alleged PMFN or did anything at all to affect, let alone coerce, the developers to sell at the same prices in two store" and goes on to repeat that there's no actual evidence to show that Valve is forcing pricing to be the same between stores.

When it touches on the 30% cut Valve take, it mentions how "it alleges no facts from which the Court could plausibly infer that Valve’s 30% commission (reduced at larger sales volumes) is above the competitive level" and that "30% was a competitive price from the beginning, was still so nearly a decade later in 2013, when Steam allegedly became 'dominant', and nothing is alleged to have happened since then to make it supracompetitive". Valve are basically saying that it remains competitive, and they say that Wolfire are trying to suggest (with no given evidence as to why) that Valve should reduce the cut over time.

It ends by stating again the lawsuit fails to show any "unlawful conduct, antitrust injury, market power" and so on and so they're asking the court to "grant the motion and dismiss Plaintiff Wolfire’s claims, if it does not stay them pending arbitration"

Overall, pretty standard stuff for a case that was probably doomed to failure from the beginning.

From what we can assume from this lawsuit, and the wording involved, is that Valve does appear to have nothing to state developers need to ensure their pricing is the same for regular store sales.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Meta, Steam, Valve
20 Likes
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
30 comments
Page: «2/3»
  Go to:

Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI'm not even saying Rosen is lying - he may well have had contact with a particularly crappy Valve rep who had their own fascist interpretation of the rules. I just can't see Valve doing this as official policy in any way.

Chet Faliszek (no longer at Valve, but still...) already said that such a clause simply does not exist. Rosen also didn't do himself any favors when he just made the claim without any evidence.

If such a clause in the contract, he could have brought it up in the lawsuit. He didn't.

If he was told by a Valve employee that he couldn't sell his games elsewhere for less - why didn't he release those interactions?

Weeeeeell, that's only sort of correct. There's no such clause in the contract, but it is mentioned in the developer guidelines document. The latter is not a binding legal agreement though, but can be the subject of coercion and therefore can be part of the law suit.


Last edited by rustybroomhandle on 2 August 2021 at 7:15 pm UTC
kuhpunkt 2 Aug
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI'm not even saying Rosen is lying - he may well have had contact with a particularly crappy Valve rep who had their own fascist interpretation of the rules. I just can't see Valve doing this as official policy in any way.

Chet Faliszek (no longer at Valve, but still...) already said that such a clause simply does not exist. Rosen also didn't do himself any favors when he just made the claim without any evidence.

If such a clause in the contract, he could have brought it up in the lawsuit. He didn't.

If he was told by a Valve employee that he couldn't sell his games elsewhere for less - why didn't he release those interactions?

Weeeeeell, that's only sort of correct. There's no such clause in the contract, but it is mentioned in the developer guidelines document. The latter is not a binding legal agreement though, but can be the subject of coercion and therefore can be part of the law suit.

Where is this?
seamoose 2 Aug
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: seamooseThat is incorrect. What Wolfire is alleging is that Valve tried to prohibit Wolfire from selling its games on other stores at a lower price than what they are priced on Steam even if Wolfire did not provide Steam keys for purchases on those other stores (e.g. DRM-free, Epic keys, etc.)

If true, I do feel that Valve is abusing its dominant status in the PC games market. I can understand the requirement that if you distribute Steam keys in other stores then you should not price your games lower than on Steam, but that's not what Wolfire is saying.

That's confusing. I mean I could easily be mistaken, but why on earth would Valve even file the motion regarding:
Quote"Plaintiffs’ allegations that Valve's Steam Key rules amount to an unlawful PMFN* fail for the straightforward reason that Valve, which created and owns Steam, has no duty under the antitrust laws to create a method (here, Steam Keys) for game developers to sell Steam-enabled games in stores that compete with Steam."
if it wasn't involving 3rd party distribution of Steam keys? It seems extraneous and non sequitur if that's the case.

Not sure who's telling the truth, thus my use of the word "alleging", but here's some previously posted background: David Rosen of Wolfire Games explains why they're taking on Valve in a lawsuit

In particular, from Rosen's blog post: "But when I asked Valve about this plan, 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."


Last edited by seamoose on 2 August 2021 at 8:30 pm UTC
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: rustybroomhandle
Quoting: kuhpunkt
Quoting: rustybroomhandleI'm not even saying Rosen is lying - he may well have had contact with a particularly crappy Valve rep who had their own fascist interpretation of the rules. I just can't see Valve doing this as official policy in any way.

Chet Faliszek (no longer at Valve, but still...) already said that such a clause simply does not exist. Rosen also didn't do himself any favors when he just made the claim without any evidence.

If such a clause in the contract, he could have brought it up in the lawsuit. He didn't.

If he was told by a Valve employee that he couldn't sell his games elsewhere for less - why didn't he release those interactions?

Weeeeeell, that's only sort of correct. There's no such clause in the contract, but it is mentioned in the developer guidelines document. The latter is not a binding legal agreement though, but can be the subject of coercion and therefore can be part of the law suit.

Where is this?

When you get Steam Partnered (as I am) you have to agree to a contract, but on the partner web site there are pages with some guidelines.
denyasis 2 Aug
Quoting: rustybroomhandleWhen you get Steam Partnered (as I am) you have to agree to a contract, but on the partner web site there are pages with some guidelines.

Thank you for the clarification. If assume it's all under NDA, including the guidelines, hence why neither party in the suit is actually posting the verbage or any communications. Probably be filed under seal to the court, right?
F.Ultra 2 Aug
View PC info
  • Supporter
Quoting: seamoose
Quoting: Guest
Quoting: seamooseThat is incorrect. What Wolfire is alleging is that Valve tried to prohibit Wolfire from selling its games on other stores at a lower price than what they are priced on Steam even if Wolfire did not provide Steam keys for purchases on those other stores (e.g. DRM-free, Epic keys, etc.)

If true, I do feel that Valve is abusing its dominant status in the PC games market. I can understand the requirement that if you distribute Steam keys in other stores then you should not price your games lower than on Steam, but that's not what Wolfire is saying.

That's confusing. I mean I could easily be mistaken, but why on earth would Valve even file the motion regarding:
Quote"Plaintiffs’ allegations that Valve's Steam Key rules amount to an unlawful PMFN* fail for the straightforward reason that Valve, which created and owns Steam, has no duty under the antitrust laws to create a method (here, Steam Keys) for game developers to sell Steam-enabled games in stores that compete with Steam."
if it wasn't involving 3rd party distribution of Steam keys? It seems extraneous and non sequitur if that's the case.

Not sure who's telling the truth, thus my use of the word "alleging", but here's some previously posted background: David Rosen of Wolfire Games explains why they're taking on Valve in a lawsuit

In particular, from Rosen's blog post: "But when I asked Valve about this plan, 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."

Yes, but then in the actual lawsuit they don't mention this case at all which is highly suspicious. I mean that since he claims that this happened to Wolfire directly then he should have access to first hand evidence but yet the single mention of anything like this in the lawsuit is point 155:

Quote155.Valve has also threatened publishers that offered lower prices on other platforms, insisting that customers using the Steam Store should get a similar deal or else Valve may remove the publisher’s games from the Steam Gaming Platform altogether.

Valve has also interrogated publishers about their deals on smaller platforms like Humble Bundle or Discord that offer lower commission rates than Steam.

For example, Valve contacted publishers who released their games at a lower price on those competing platforms to demandsimilar deals on Steam.

Because of Valve’s pressure tactics, publishers were forced to revise their deals with Humble Bundle and Discord or withdraw their games from those platforms all together.

This could also be interpreted as some publishers simply replying "its, its, it's because Valve forced us" when Wolfire and Discord asked why the publishers withdrew their games. But then in his blog he claims to have first hand experience and yet zero mentioning of this in the lawsuit, it's not even in there as a claim so Rosen cannot even be used as a witness of his first hand experience (but IANAL) by Wolfires lawyers and that is beyond suspicious.
CatKiller 2 Aug
Quoting: seamooseIn particular, from Rosen's blog post: "But when I asked Valve about this plan, 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."

"This plan" wasn't just selling their game elsewhere at a lower price, which everyone is free to do, and they do, it was
QuoteI decided that I would provide my game "Overgrowth" at a lower price to take advantage of the lower commission rates. I intended to write a blog post about the results.
He wanted to publicise how he was giving Steam customers the worst deal and try to ride the notoriety to more sales. Given Valve's longstanding policy of "don't habitually give Steam customers the worst deal," they said no. He tried to wave his willy around and then stepped on it himself.
Really Valves biggest defense here is; What about Apple!?¿ I mean the Apple store cases with Epic are still ongoing, but they were not about the cost to use the platform anyway.

I think eventually however Valve will need to make it so Indie developers can pay less on their platform, maybe they can tie it to the release of Source3.0 engine? I don't know...
CatKiller 2 Aug
Quoting: TheRiddickI think eventually however Valve will need to make it so Indie developers can pay less on their platform, maybe they can tie it to the release of Source3.0 engine? I don't know...
Most games on Steam are indies. If Valve make things more expensive for the big guys then they'll pull out (rather than, say, EA starting to put their things on Steam again) and the platform suffers. That's why, when they did do a price cut, it was the games that sold lots of copies that benefitted and not the squillions of tiny games.
The lack of malice around here is astounding. This guy just literally dares to present a lawsuit with ZERO evidence and people are just guessing what could be the motivation of this person nobody knew about before this lawsuit.

Valve doesnt need to delay this, doesnt need to put anything on hold, if this lawsuit goes to court it will only show that the whole thing is some trolling just to give to consumers the idea Valve is evil, literally political stuff, "my contender is bad, evil and mean and make other people accept ruthless conditions, but I don't have any proof of it, vote for me".

Personally, I want Valve to be the evil Corp some people around here think it is, and counter-sue this guy and take every single dime from him and take his crappy game out of Steam. He knows what he is dealing with, a company that wants always to look politically correct, that is the reason he didn't sue EA, Epic or Ubisoft, he could be in jail now, because those companies doesnt give a dime about what customers think, just put some game for free and people will completely forget how 5h1tty they are.


Last edited by orochi_kyo on 3 August 2021 at 4:01 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.