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Wolfire versus Valve antitrust lawsuit to continue

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After it seeming like Valve might have won in the lawsuit from Wolfire Game, the story appears to be far from over.

Last we heard it was in part being dismissed, seemingly like Valve had the upper hand as Wolfire didn't have sufficient evidence of their claims. Now though, as reported by Bloomberg Law, part of the case has been allowed to continue as the judge now seems to believe that it's "plausible" Valve uses their position to mess with the market in their favour.

The issue here, as before, is that Wolfire claim that Valve and Steam use a "most favoured nation" clause with a mixture of "written and unwritten rules" to "prevent price competition from rival storefronts". Wolfire are again sticking to their claim that Valve would remove games from Steam that are found cheaper elsewhere, noting that a "Steam account manager" told Wolfire that Valve would "delist any games available for sale at a lower price elsewhere, whether or not using Steam keys" and it's this that has the judge saying "These allegations are sufficient to plausibly allege unlawful conduct" and so it's going to continue on that point.

Other claims like the 30% cut Valve take being "supracompetitive", and another antitrust issue of Valve tying together the Steam Store and Steam Platform seem to be dismissed.

Whenever we hear what happens next, we'll let you know.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Meta, Steam, Valve
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22 comments
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CatKiller 11 May
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Quoting: TermyI'm just confused that the judge didn't ask for any sort of evidence (which wolfire wouldn't be able to provide of course) - guess he wants to keep enough work for the court going? ^^
Quite the opposite. This is a motion to dismiss, which is to get cases sorted out quickly (and cheaply for the parties). In a ruling on dismissal, the judge assumes that everything the plaintiff says is true, and then sees if there's a reasonable likelihood that they could win: if not, the case gets thrown out. Which is how it got thrown out before. That time, the judge let Wolfire amend their complaint and try again, which is how we're at this point where the case has mostly been thrown out.

Seeing if what the plaintiff has said is actually true comes later.
CatKiller 11 May
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QuoteOther claims like the 30% cut Valve take being "supracompetitive", and another antitrust issue of Valve tying together the Steam Store and Steam Platform seem to be dismissed.
The royalty rate is still in, although the tying has been thrown out. Last time, the judge concluded that Steam didn't become a dominant platform until 2013, so the rate not changing was sufficient to determine that there wasn't anything else to address. In their amended complaint the plaintiffs claim that because Valve bought WON in 2001, Steam has been dominant since 2 years before it existed. And everything the plaintiff says is true is assumed to be true in a motion to dismiss.
eldaking 11 May
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: TermyI'm just confused that the judge didn't ask for any sort of evidence (which wolfire wouldn't be able to provide of course) - guess he wants to keep enough work for the court going? ^^
Quite the opposite. This is a motion to dismiss, which is to get cases sorted out quickly (and cheaply for the parties). In a ruling on dismissal, the judge assumes that everything the plaintiff says is true, and then sees if there's a reasonable likelihood that they could win: if not, the case gets thrown out. Which is how it got thrown out before. That time, the judge let Wolfire amend their complaint and try again, which is how we're at this point where the case has mostly been thrown out.

Seeing if what the plaintiff has said is actually true comes later.

So it was pretty much a case so stupid that even if Wolfire could prove absolutely everything they would lose, so the court wasn't even bothering, and now it is a case of "if they can get proof then maybe, so I guess we have to do it".
F.Ultra 11 May
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Quoting: eldaking
Quoting: CatKiller
Quoting: TermyI'm just confused that the judge didn't ask for any sort of evidence (which wolfire wouldn't be able to provide of course) - guess he wants to keep enough work for the court going? ^^
Quite the opposite. This is a motion to dismiss, which is to get cases sorted out quickly (and cheaply for the parties). In a ruling on dismissal, the judge assumes that everything the plaintiff says is true, and then sees if there's a reasonable likelihood that they could win: if not, the case gets thrown out. Which is how it got thrown out before. That time, the judge let Wolfire amend their complaint and try again, which is how we're at this point where the case has mostly been thrown out.

Seeing if what the plaintiff has said is actually true comes later.

So it was pretty much a case so stupid that even if Wolfire could prove absolutely everything they would lose, so the court wasn't even bothering, and now it is a case of "if they can get proof then maybe, so I guess we have to do it".

Basically yes, now they will soon enter discovery which is the phase where either party will ask the court to force the other party to hand over private information.
Grogan 11 May
I'll pay more for a game to get it on my desired store platform (for my own convenience). Sometimes that's Steam, or GoG depending on circumstances of the game. There was also a time where it was more practical for me to buy some games from EA/Origin but that time has long passed. I prefer to buy those on Steam too nowadays, at least then it will just use the thin client and keep Origin out of my face. I'd still have the option to install it in an Origin client anyway, EA knows what games I own on Steam because the accounts are linked. Hell, I've chosen to buy games on Steam that I could have gotten for free on Origin lol

I don't see why Valve would delist games for being sold cheaper elsewhere, that wouldn't help them at all. (obviously they'll get zero sales from those games if they don't sell them). That sounds like bollocks to me.
CatKiller 11 May
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Quoting: GroganI don't see why Valve would delist games for being sold cheaper elsewhere, that wouldn't help them at all. (obviously they'll get zero sales from those games if they don't sell them). That sounds like bollocks to me.
Wolfire's public assertion (which they've rather sanitised for their court filings) was that it was when they were announcing to some customer service person their intention to write a blog post about how they were going to give Steam's costumers a worse deal, that said person said not to do that and that doing that would mean they couldn't be friends any more.
TwstdSoul 11 May
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: Mountain ManThe claim that Valve will delist games that are sold cheaper elsewhere is false on its face. Humble Bundle has been selling Steam games at a steep discount for over a decade, and not a single one of them has been delisted.
Yeah, Fanatical too. I have no idea where this is coming from. Absolutely baffling from Wolfire, and even the legal system itself could do a 5 minute check on the veracity of this claim. I'm very confused by all this.

Like, right this minute, on Steam:
Monster Hunter Risk for £24.99 on Steam

But on Fanatical:
Monster Hunter Risk £20.99 on Fanatical

I must be missing some nuance of the case.

The base price is the same. The final price you're seeing is from 50% and 58% discount, but the base price is the same.
scaine 11 May
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Quoting: TwstdSoul
Quoting: scaine
Quoting: Mountain ManThe claim that Valve will delist games that are sold cheaper elsewhere is false on its face. Humble Bundle has been selling Steam games at a steep discount for over a decade, and not a single one of them has been delisted.
Yeah, Fanatical too. I have no idea where this is coming from. Absolutely baffling from Wolfire, and even the legal system itself could do a 5 minute check on the veracity of this claim. I'm very confused by all this.

Like, right this minute, on Steam:
Monster Hunter Risk for £24.99 on Steam

But on Fanatical:
Monster Hunter Risk £20.99 on Fanatical

I must be missing some nuance of the case.

The base price is the same. The final price you're seeing is from 50% and 58% discount, but the base price is the same.

Yep, that'll be it.
CatKiller 11 May
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Quoting: scaineYep, that'll be it.

Thankfully, there are sites where you can see the price history for, say, Overgrowth and see that there have been plenty of times that the standard price on Humble was lower than the standard price on Steam. And that's using Steam keys, so it's subject to Valve's don't take the piss provision, which games that don't use Steam keys aren't.
elmapul 11 May
Quoting: GroganI don't see why Valve would delist games for being sold cheaper elsewhere, that wouldn't help them at all. (obviously they'll get zero sales from those games if they don't sell them). That sounds like bollocks to me.

if 90% of your sales happen on steam, would you risk get your game delisted from steam?
of course not.
on the other hand, from valve point of view, your game may represent 0,001% of their revenue, so they couldnt care less.
having an monopoly eanrs then more money than any individual game.

in fact many companies tried to compete with steam opening their own store or publishing in the others that exist in the market, it didnt worked well for many of then.

i dont believe valve have 90% of the sales on pc, but they might have something like 60%.


Last edited by elmapul on 11 May 2022 at 11:02 pm UTC
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