Five gamers filed an antitrust class action, accusing Valve of forcing developers to list the same prices for their games as on other stores. The suit alleges that it destroys the competition.
Valve, whose game distribution service Steam controls 75% of all PC sales, is on the verge of a new trial. According to The Hollywood Reporter, five gamers accuse the company of requiring devs and publishers to enter into a “Most Favored Nations” clause.
It’s the part of the Steam Distribution Agreement that doesn’t allow developers to set lower prices for their games on other platforms. It means that the price of a PC game on Steam should be the same as on any other online store.
“The Steam MFN also hinders innovation by creating an artificial barrier to entry for platforms,” the lawsuit reads. “If this market functioned properly — that is, if the Steam MFN did not exist and platforms were able to compete on price — platforms competing with Steam would be able to provide the same (or higher) margins to game developers while simultaneously providing lower prices to consumers.”
The plaintiffs think that Valve’s policy doesn’t allow platforms like Microsoft Store or Epic Games Store to price games lower. The lawsuit also alleges that it prevents new stores from entering the market.
However, Valve isn’t the only defendant here. This antitrust class action is also filed against CD Projekt, Ubisoft, Devolver Digital, Rust, and kChamp Games. Users accuse these companies of agreeing with Steam’s rules.
Court is about to analyze whether the above agreements are reasonable. The plaintiffs seek an injunction, damages, and legal costs, demanding to acknowledge Steam’s MFN clause as “anticompetitive and constitutes illegal monopolization and monopoly maintenance.”