Home / Technology / The creators of Humble Bundle brought an antitrust case against Valve via Steam.

The creators of Humble Bundle brought an antitrust case against Valve via Steam.

Valve logo as seen in the engraved design at the office.
Expand / Valve logo as seen in the engraved design at the office.

Sam Makkovech

Indie developer (And Humble Indie Bundle creator Wolfire Games filed a lawsuit against Steam creator Steam, saying the company is using Steam̵

7;s monopoly over the PC game market to split. “Extra high cut from almost every sale passed through the store – 30%”

The unbreakable monopoly

The lawsuit filed in Washington Federal Court focuses on what is considered illegal Steam gaming platform binding (which provides management of game libraries, social networks, Steam Workshop mods, etc.) and Steam game stores. (Which processes online payments and sends game copies) After years of growth, most of the PC gamers are locked into the Steam platform due to the “tremendous network effect” and cost of implementing the game. Change the height of the move to a new PC platform.

That gives the platform A “must have for game publishers” who want to reach players on Steam to be successful. But games using the Steam platform will have to be sold on the Steam Store, where Valve will cut 30 percent of all sales. By taking advantage of the power, the platform is monopolized. The “gatekeeper role” for merchants Valve uses.[s] Supreme power over publishers of desktop PC games “Which led to” a slight increase But there is a significant and temporary price. “For developers, versus a truly competitive market.

The set includes a laundry list of competitors trying to build their own platform vying for Steam’s monopoly, including CD Projekt Red, EA, Microsoft, Amazon, and Epic (not to mention But the lawsuit states that Steam’s log-in effect means that no store can create a “real vendor”. Much damage to Valve’s monopoly position, despite numerous funded efforts, even the Epic Games Store, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain exclusivity and giveaways, free games only have market share. “Slightly higher than 2 percent” (In an interview back in June, Epic’s Tim Sweeney estimated a 15 percent stronger market share for EGS.)

“The failure of these companies to significantly compete with the Steam gaming platform shows that it is almost impossible for the economy to compete with the Steam gaming platform,” the suit said. “The Steam gaming platform has great dominance in the desktop PC gaming platform market and with its unique and strong network effects that are unlikely to change.”

Steam key limitations

Valve offers a way for publishers to sell Steam platform games on the storefront in addition to the Steam store.Publishers can request to create free Steam Keys, which can be sold on competing platforms, which may cost a lower commission than Steam.

But Valve imposes a major limitation on this feature, which “[rigs] The Steam Keys program to serve as Valve’s sustaining tool, “according to the lawsuit, includes a” Price Parity Rule “telling publishers that” Steam keys cannot be sold on other sites unless the product is available for purchase. On Steam for a price not higher than what is available on other services or websites. “Valve also reserves the right to reject critical requests if the publisher requests” large numbers and [isn’t] Provide value for Steam customers “(as noted, the clear definitions of” extreme “and” value “are not specified and set by Valve)

When requesting a key, the publisher must still click on the field that says “I agree that I am not giving Steam customers a worse deal,” and Valve is also taking advantage of what the lawsuit calls a “Price Veto Provision”, which is specifically applicable to modify the Steam store prices of games that Offers a lower price elsewhere, even in the case of games that don’t take advantage of the Steam platform.

It can be argued that these restrictions are in place to prevent game publishers from riding for free on the Steam platform.For example, by selling most of the Steam keys on different storefronts, for example, publishers will be able to get all the benefits from the platform. Steam, while avoiding cutting out as many as 30 percent of its stores (which would generate much less revenue for Valve itself), if that argument sounds familiar, it might be because Apple has used a similar argument to Fight the law with Epic over Fortnite and the iOS App Store.

However, the Wolfire lawsuit argues that Steam’s price protection is a “restriction of competition”, which ensures that “Valve can stop rival game stores from offering lower prices to consumers on Steam-enabled games to switch.” Volumes from the Steam store to their storefront “Due to Valve’s price protection” competing distributors do not have a useful way to attract publisher customers and take their share from Valve due to their competitive efforts. price (Eg lower commission charges) are blocked by Valve’s pricing requirements. ”Therefore, Valve faces little or no competitive pressure on the 30 percent commission structure.

The only meaningful way to avoid these anti-competitive measures is. But Valve’s monopoly position means “there is no economically viable alternative to the Steam gaming platform” for most PC games. While the series accepts some examples of retaliation (Riot’s Teague of legends Quoted by the name), the name says, “typically there must be a long history of being recognized and successful before they can be successful without the Steam gaming platform,” the suit said.

“At the bottom, Valve’s project levies a large amount of taxes on the desktop PC gaming industry,” the suit said in a search for a mix of normal damage and ban relief to remedy the situation. By blocking price competition for Steam-enabled games, gamers and publishers will be able to have a smooth, non-fragmented platform while enjoying the benefits of price competition in the distribution market that will Improved quality for gamers and publishers. It’s all the same while on sale for everyone. ”

The new lawsuit comes as Microsoft announced plans to cut revenue cuts for Microsoft Store games from 30 percent to 12 percent in August. It also comes months after a group of five Steam users filed a similar lawsuit claiming that Valve’s monopoly position inflated the game’s prices.

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