U.S. District Judge rules Valve must face antitrust litigation

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Valve will be facing an antitrust lawsuit soon, according to US District Judge John C. Coughenour. The road to this decision started in April of last year when Overgrowth developer Wolfire Games sued Valve, claiming anti-competitive practices. The lawsuit came down to two things: Valve's controversial 30% fee on all game sales, and their Steam Key Price Parity Provision, which prohibits publishers from selling games for a lower price on any other platform, under threat of removal from Steam. Wolfire claims that Valve has not earned the 30% fee, and can freely implement it because publishers need to sell through them due to their market dominance. They believe this has resulted in prices rising across the industry as publishers need to raise game prices to account for the fee. They also allege that the Steam Key Price Parity Provision prevents fair competition as competing stores cannot entice publishers with a lower fee, and cannot build a customer base because they cannot offer lower prices.

The most notable competitor to Steam, the Epic Games Store, has notoriously lost quite a bit of money for Epic while they're securing their place in the market. It was reported in August 2021, based on court documents made public during their lawsuit with Apple, that Epic has sunk nearly $500 million into the EGS and does not expect to turn a profit until 2027.

Valve filed for the suit to be dismissed in July, claiming that the policy is only in place to protect Steam users and that "seeking the best price for your customers is not harm to competition; it is competition."

The suit was dismissed without prejudice in November 2021, but Wolfire was given 30 days to issue another complaint addressing the dismissal and providing additional context. They have, and now parts of the lawsuit have been dismissed with prejudice, while other motions will go ahead. Wolfire has claimed that they were told by a Steam account manager that Valve would delist any games from Steam that were being sold for a lower price elsewhere, whether or not it was a Steam key. Noting that Valve's policies affect the way even “non-Steam-enabled games are sold and priced,” Judge Coughenour concluded "these allegations are sufficient to plausibly allege unlawful conduct."

Judge Coughenour was initially dismissive of the criticism towards the 30% fee as that has always been Valve's policy, even when they were not a dominant force in the market. With their latest appeal, however, Wolfire pointed out that Valve acquired the World Opponents Network in 2001 and shut it down in 2004 as Steam gained popularity, forcing users to migrate to Steam, making it "a must-have platform." Judge Coughenour also claims that Steam's lack of market share versus brick-and-mortar stores at this time is irrelevant, as it "did not need market power to charge a fee well above its cost structure because those brick-and-mortar competitors had a far higher cost structure."

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chrisrlink

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oof hopefully this doesn't affect steamOS v3' pc release,honestly on another not idt going after MS for actiblizz would be bennifical in anyway maybe harmful to them both if the US gov drags them through litagation hell
 

Viri

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oof hopefully this doesn't affect steamOS v3' pc release,honestly on another not idt going after MS for actiblizz would be bennifical in anyway maybe harmful to them both if the US gov drags them through litagation hell
I hope Microsoft fails at buying Activision, and Sony fails at buying Bungie. I don't want the video game industry to consolidate. The Bethesda sale should have never gone through, imo.
 

Foxi4

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If Valve wants to provide a price match guarantee then they’re the ones who should eat the cost of the price difference, not the publisher. Forcing publishers to lower prices to the lowest possible point on the market *under threat of removal* from the storefront is anti-competitive by definition - you can’t compete with Steam if you can’t undercut it.
 

sley

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The 30% argument is shaky at best, sounds like he's ignoring the costs of servers providing the game downloads, patches and community hubs.
But that key price parity guideline is very anti developer and I can't think of any legit reason why Valve would do that.
 

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Overgrowth, the shit that keeps on taking. You took 7 years of my patience Wolfire only to push out a god awful piece of steaming turd. 30% for you is not enough.
 
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64bitmodels

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and for the whole "a used digital copy has no difference from a new one" argument, you could just restrict it by making it so you can only sell copies to friends
 
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chrisrlink

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I hope Microsoft fails at buying Activision, and Sony fails at buying Bungie. I don't want the video game industry to consolidate. The Bethesda sale should have never gone through, imo.
MS should buy activision for 2 reason's 1) if anyone would "clean house" of actiblizz's sexual misconduct problems it's them and 2 Phil spencer tweeted early on he plans to revive Sierra IP's (to date only one sierra IP was released (that 5 game King's Quest) a waste of a studio reactivation imo it's been stagnate for years (early 2000's iirc) i hope if they reactivate sierra they'll bring back some of the greatest minds to grace the Adventure Genre in the late 80's to the mid 90's Police quest quest for glory and yes space quest NEEDS to be revived
 

Noctosphere

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Steam should allow their users to sell their games key to other steam users to a set price (like 60% of the current price of the game, in sale or not)
That way, the previous owner wouldn't have it in his library and make room in it
And the new owner will have a discounted game and be happy with in
It's win win... But... Steam wants it to be win win win, meaning a win for him too
Steam could take a share out of the transaction
15% of the sale should do the job for them
Plus, even if it's digital and not physical, it's still used, right? So you know what that means right?
We shouldn't pay taxes during that transaction either
 

lokomelo

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to be fair, IDK how you'd sell a no DRM copy to begin with
people can just duplicate the files
Taking GOG as an example (and pretending you don't use Galaxy), you paid for a file copy, and it is yours. You can store the file where you want, and 200 years from now if someone finds a working windows 10 PC and a working backup from your file, it will install and work.
In EU, resale of used software licenses is legal.

That parity rule need to go. It is the very definition of anti competitive behaviour.
I don't think it is forbidden anywhere but you still don't own the steam games you buy. You just have the access as long as the launcher is working (or the credentials are saved locally and are not expired). But I believe I understood your point, few years back, the costumer laws enforced regret rights in a some place (don't remember where was it, but it was on Europe) and as result we earned the best return policy on a digital storefront, so maybe something comes from above and make re-sell a thing. I doubt it will happen, but it is not impossible.
 
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