In April, Wolfire Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve, alleging that it uses Steam's dominance in the PC gaming market to suppress competition and extract "an extraordinarily high cut" from sales through from your shop window. In a answer filed earlier this week, Valve has called for the lawsuit to be permanently dismissed, because it "does not allege the most basic elements of an antitrust case."
One of the central claims Wolfire made in its lawsuit is that Valve prevents developers and publishers from selling Steam keys at lower prices on other storefronts than on Steam. This is bad for game creators, but also for gamers, according to Wolfire, because it means sellers have to keep prices high to allow Valve’s 30% reduction. Wolfire is the creator of the Overgrowth receiver and martial arts game.
Valve's response rejects this allegation on several points, first stating that "it has no obligation under antitrust law to allow developers to use free Steam keys to subsidize the prices of games sold on Steam, or to provide the keys to Steam, "and then claiming that the only evidence provided of a requirement for similar pricing for non-Steam-enabled games is" a single Valve anecdote that allegedly tells a developer without name that shouldn't give a non-Steam-enabled game [for free] to Discord's competing platform if it charges Steam users $ 5 for the Steam-enabled version. "
Valve also defends its 30% reception in response, saying there is no real evidence that it is out of the ordinary. "Plaintiffs can only gather a generalization that the economy predicts that Valve's 30% commission should have decreased over time … In fact, 30% has become in the "industry standard", while Valve has faced competition from some of the largest companies in the industry, including Microsoft, Epic Games and Amazon ".
This is an interesting point, as 30% has certainly been a standard, dissatisfaction with it has been growing in recent years and other showcases are falling behind. The Epic Games store started rolling the ball with a relatively insignificant 12% through its store, and in April, Microsoft he followed suit, reducing his intake from 30% to 12% as well. A recent GDC survey also found dissatisfaction with the valve rate in a large majority of developers: only 6% of the more than 3,000 respondents said a 30% or more cut is warranted; nearly two-thirds said 15% or less is an adequate percentage.
The answer also contrasts with Wolfire's claim that Valve owns 75% of the market via Steam, noting that the allegation "has no factual support". It’s not exactly a denial of the market share allegation, but Wolfire’s inability to prove it, according to Valve, justifies acceptance of the lawsuit.
"Plaintiffs do not allege illegal conduct, antitrust injury, market power or antitrust markets for two different products," the Valve filing concludes. "Rather, they attack the popular integrated services that value consumers in a competitive market."
Valve seeks here one of two outcomes: either to dismiss the lawsuit definitively for failing to file a sustainable claim, or for Wolfire's lawsuit to be paused until the individual defendants' claims in the case are processed through arbitration under the terms of the Steam Agreement. subscription.
Thanks, Law Street.