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Valve Loses Bid to End Antitrust Case Over Steam Gaming Platform

Ezekiel_

Member
Source : https://news.bloomberglaw.com/tech-...end-antitrust-case-over-steam-gaming-platform

Valve Corp. must face antitrust litigation over claims that “most favored nation” policies for its Steam distribution platform have driven up video game prices across the industry, a federal judge in Seattle ruled.

Judge John C. Coughenour let part of the case move forward in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, saying it’s plausible Valve exploits its market dominance to threaten and retaliate against developers that sell games for less through other retailers or platforms.

The company “allegedly enforces this regime through a combination of written and unwritten rules” imposing its own conditions on how even “non-Steam-enabled games are sold and priced,” Coughenour wrote. “These allegations are sufficient to plausibly allege unlawful conduct.”

The May 6 decision hands a win to the consumers and game publishers leading the proposed class action after the judge twice issued preliminary rulings in Valve’s favor.

Coughenour first ordered Steam subscribers to arbitrate their consumer claims in October, then tentatively dismissed the developer lawsuit the following month. Consumers who don’t subscribe to Steam—and never signed its arbitration agreement—are still involved in the case.

The consolidated dispute is one of several legal challenges to the standard 30% commission taken by leading sales and app distribution platforms across Silicon Valley.

The allegations echo claims that Amazon.com Inc. uses most-favored-nation-style policies to hike the price of “virtually all products offered for sale” online in the U.S. The Amazon cases include one focused on eBooks and another brought by the attorney general of Washington, D.C.

The Steam suit also resembles a wave of cases over Apple Inc.'s App Store and Alphabet Inc.'s Google Play Store, although their legal theories differ. Apple has settled a developer lawsuit for $100 million, and it’s appealing a court order requiring costly changes to the App Store.

Coughenour trimmed the Valve case May 6, rejecting claims that the Steam store and gaming platform operate in separate markets the company ties together. There are no plausible allegations of any consumer demand for “fully functional gaming platforms distinct from game stores,” he said.

But the judge let the most-favored-nation claims move forward, walking back his earlier skepticism about the idea that Steam commissions are “supracompetitive.” He had previously found that their stability over time shows Valve didn’t raise prices as it gained market share.

In fact, when the company competed only against brick-and-mortar retailers, 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,” Coughenour wrote. That makes the analysis apples-to-oranges, he said.
 

DeepEnigma

Gold Member
Big Brother Popcorn GIF by Pop TV
 

DaGwaphics

Gold Member
They'll probably lose the ability to force price parity with other stores. At least the nonsense about their backend system being some kind of entitlement that should be available to games sold outside the store seems to have been tossed aside.
 
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Guilty_AI

Member
Jesus, from the reporting I assumed they had a price parity rule.

The price parity rule is only valid for the sale of steam keys, aka you cannot sell steam keys for less than steam's storefront price (as you cannot sell steam keys if the game isn't sold directly on steam), though you can make sales during different times.

If you sell your game on GOG or Epic, valve has zero control over the price you set it over there.
 
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DaGwaphics

Gold Member
The price parity rule is only valid for the sale of steam keys, aka you cannot sell steam keys for less than steam's storefront price (as you cannot sell steam keys if the game isn't sold directly on steam), though you can make sales during different times.

If you sell your game on GOG or Epic, valve has zero control over the price you sell it over there.

I see. Now I think the entire thing is pointless. :messenger_tears_of_joy:
 

ClosBSAS

Member
meh doesnt affect me...its EA that put their games from 500 pesos to 5 thousand pesos saying the latter is the correct price...yet, nobody buys their games at that price in my country. but whatever, either way, steam is the place to stay at, never going to epic shit games.
 

Irobot82

Member
meh doesnt affect me...its EA that put their games from 500 pesos to 5 thousand pesos saying the latter is the correct price...yet, nobody buys their games at that price in my country. but whatever, either way, steam is the place to stay at, never going to epic shit games.
Epic is for free games and fotnite. lol
 

daveonezero

Member
I do not like government telling a company what they can and can’t do

The government doesn’t understand what Steam does or why Steam features are a value add.

It isn’t Valves fault that they are popular, preferred and actually add value to a fractured PC gaming platform.

I’m even against DRM but Valve makes it work.
 
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IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
The price parity rule is only valid for the sale of steam keys, aka you cannot sell steam keys for less than steam's storefront price (as you cannot sell steam keys if the game isn't sold directly on steam), though you can make sales during different times.

If you sell your game on GOG or Epic, valve has zero control over the price you set it over there.
And Valve gives these keys to devs for free, getting 0 cut in the sale.

Which no other digital store on the planet does.

Really hope the dipshit indie devs behind this lawsuit don't end up just fucking over a lucrative program for devs.
 

daveonezero

Member
Nestlé: "Hello, this is Nestlé. We'd like to burn down all your forrests"
Government: "Be my guest!"
Valve isn’t burning down forests or destroying anything. What have they done that is anti competition? And where is they receive subsidies for their products. These are not the same.

In the case of Nestle and other large agricultural box You missed the part where Nestle received subsidies from the government, put out nutrition propaganda selling Nestle food and increased regulations to stomp out competition.

Subsidize the loses and privatize the gains. Government and corporate partners always win.
 
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IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
Valve isn’t burning down forests or destroying anything. What have they done that is anti competition? And where is they receive subsidies for their products. These are not the same.

In the case of Nestle and other large agricultural box You missed the part where Nestle received subsidies from the government, put out nutrition propaganda selling Nestle food and increased regulations to stomp out competition.

Subsidize the loses and privatize the gains. Government and corporate partners always win.
I think he's making fun of how durpy simple concepts like "government shouldn't tell companies what to do" are.

You clearly.. don't actually believe that... yet you said it.
 

Laptop1991

Member
They did put the prices of PC games up when the Xbox one and PS4 were released to put them inline with console games, i paid no more than 30 quid before then or less for new games, it's a shame the quality of the ports didn't increase as well, i'm not sure who decided that but i don't buy new now, i wait for price drops which don't take long due to the unfinished broken products that are released far too much now,

Valve are not blame free of this, i hardly buy new off Steam now, it's cheaper elsewhere and you could use Steamspy to find better deals at one time, they stopped that program from working on Steam and Steam sales are nowhere as good as they were in the past aswell, i rarely buy in Steam sales nowaday's, the games are mostly not worth it, or the price isn't reduced by much, Valve should go back to making a few games themselves in my opinion.
 

Fbh

Member
The article, or at least what's posted in the OP, doesn't really make it clear why they are facing this litigation and how they are supposed to be increasing the price of PC games.
Is there a summary of what these "combination of written and unwritten rules" they supposedly use to raise prices are?

They did put the prices of PC games up when the Xbox one and PS4 were released to put them inline with console games, i paid no more than 30 quid before then or less for new games, it's a shame the quality of the ports didn't increase as well, i'm not sure who decided that but i don't buy new now, i wait for price drops which don't take long due to the unfinished broken products that are released far too much now,

Valve are not blame free of this, i hardly buy new off Steam now, it's cheaper elsewhere and you could use Steamspy to find better deals at one time, they stopped that program from working on Steam and Steam sales are nowhere as good as they were in the past aswell, i rarely buy in Steam sales nowaday's, the games are mostly not worth it, or the price isn't reduced by much, Valve should go back to making a few games themselves in my opinion.

But as far as I know Valve doesn't dictate prices for anything other than games which they make/publish themselves (Portal, Half Life, etc).
If prices on PC increased during the Ps4 era it's because a majority of publishers decided to do so on their own, not because Valve forced them.

I agree the sales are no longer as good as they used to be on Steam but I don't see how that's something that should land them in legal trouble.
 

Laptop1991

Member
The article, or at least what's posted in the OP, doesn't really make it clear why they are facing this litigation and how they are supposed to be increasing the price of PC games.
Is there a summary of what these "combination of written and unwritten rules" they supposedly use to raise prices are?



But as far as I know Valve doesn't dictate prices for anything other than games which they make/publish themselves (Portal, Half Life, etc).
If prices on PC increased during the Ps4 era it's because a majority of publishers decided to do so on their own, not because Valve forced them.

I agree the sales are no longer as good as they used to be on Steam but I don't see how that's something that should land them in legal trouble.

I never blamed Valve for the price rises, nor should they end up in legal trouble either i agree, but that is what happened in the last 10 years and it was better back than it is now, yeah the greed of the publisher's is where the blame is or starts, but Valve aren't doing a lot to combat it either, they opened the gate to loads and loads of awful games and don't make any themselves any more, the legal action is probably just an excuse to make money for whoever anyway.
 

Fbh

Member
I never blamed Valve for the price rises, nor should they end up in legal trouble either i agree, but that is what happened in the last 10 years and it was better back than it is now, yeah the greed of the publisher's is where the blame is or starts, but Valve aren't doing a lot to combat it either, they opened the gate to loads and loads of awful games and don't make any themselves any more, the legal action is probably just an excuse to make money for whoever anyway.

I guess I'm just a bit biased towards Valve and other PC stores in general because they offer regional pricing. So PC games have consistently been really cheap around here.

On the other end of the spectrum you have Sony being like "you know what? let's just make our consoles and games more expensive in this low income country for literally no reason".
 

Laptop1991

Member
I guess I'm just a bit biased towards Valve and other PC stores in general because they offer regional pricing. So PC games have consistently been really cheap around here.

On the other end of the spectrum you have Sony being like "you know what? let's just make our consoles and games more expensive in this low income country for literally no reason".

I like Steam, it's still the best client, so i get what your saying and yeah Console's will drive the price up constantly, i preferred it when the PC was considered separate but Steam is by far the most expensive for new PC games now, it wasn't always like that, and not many new games are worth the price for me.
 
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What about anti consumer/dev price's on console. They need to be sued too... funny thing is all the games I buy on pc, even though steam are cheep...
 

CuNi

Member
And Valve gives these keys to devs for free, getting 0 cut in the sale.

Which no other digital store on the planet does.

Really hope the dipshit indie devs behind this lawsuit don't end up just fucking over a lucrative program for devs.

It's Wolfire Games, the developer behind very known games like Overgrowth or Receiver 1 and Receiver 2.
 

daveonezero

Member
I think he's making fun of how durpy simple concepts like "government shouldn't tell companies what to do" are.

You clearly.. don't actually believe that... yet you said it.
How do you know what I believe? I actually believe corporations shouldn't have protection from the government. They pick winners and losers. Individuals should be accountable. End of the day who did the people at Valve hurt doing what they did? Did they deceive anyone? Is there fraud?

I have my doubts there is any harm, deception or fraud.

Non creatives telling creatives what and how to do things is wrong just because they "feel" like they are mistreated. Government entertaining cases like this is bad precedent.
 

IntentionalPun

Ask me about my wife's perfect butthole
How do you know what I believe? I actually believe corporations shouldn't have protection from the government. They pick winners and losers. Individuals should be accountable. End of the day who did the people at Valve hurt doing what they did? Did they deceive anyone? Is there fraud?

I have my doubts there is any harm, deception or fraud.

Non creatives telling creatives what and how to do things is wrong just because they "feel" like they are mistreated. Government entertaining cases like this is bad precedent.
So if Valve was burning down forests you'd be OK w/ the government not doing anything?

I absolutely agree Valve did nothing wrong here though. But this is about how products are priced and competition limited (I still think it's fine) not "creatives."
 
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DeepEnigma

Gold Member
You mean companies are told what to do by the government, and we all agree that's OK?
No, they are told what not to do in your example.

'We the people' elect other people in positions of policy to formulate laws. Not all laws are just, however, and many in government today are snakes.

Not burning down forests are just laws.
 
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