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Valve Hit With New Antitrust Suit Over Steam Store

 |  April 29, 2021

Valve, the owner of popular video game distribution platform Steam, is facing a proposed class action lawsuit, alleging its product’s dominant market share allows the company to charge excessive fees and hurt game developers’ incomes.

The complaint, filed by Wolffire Games in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, said Valve knowingly generated a monopoly and engaged in “predatory, exclusionary, and anticompetitive conduct, including but not limited to market-wide price controls, coercion of disloyal publishers, and defacto tying.

Wolffire is also taking issue with the way Valve allows Steam keys to be sold elsewhere. The team says Valve mandates that most Steam keys are sold directly through the Steam Store itself, and “blocks or threatens” publishers who try to sell Steam keys on non-Steam platforms. Wolffire says that even for those keys sold via other platforms, Valve “imposes punitive contractual restrictions” that means these sales don’t constitute meaningful competition.

In summary, Wolffire thinks Valve’s perceived monopoly over the PC gaming market is unfair, and wants to punish the Bellevue gaming giant for its high commission rates

Wolffire isn’t the only studio taking up arms against these commission rates. Earlier today, Microsoft announced its intention to increase Microsoft Store revenue share for developers from 70% to 88%. 

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