Valve CEO Gabe Newell has been directed by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington to attend an in-person deposition in connection with the antitrust lawsuit filed by game developer Wolfire Games against Valve. The court rejected Newell’s request for a remote deposition citing “insubstantial evidence” regarding his particularized risk of serious illness due to COVID-19.
The order, filed on November 16, revealed that Wolfire Games, the developer of Overgrowth, considers Gabe Newell “uniquely positioned to testify on all aspects of [Valve’s] business strategy.” The statement emphasized that an in-person deposition is crucial to “adequately assess Newell’s credibility.”
In response to Newell’s concerns about COVID-19, the court outlined precautionary measures to address health and safety issues. All participants in the courtroom, including Newell, are required to wear masks during the deposition. However, Newell is instructed to remove his mask when responding to questions.
Wolfire Games CEO David Rosen is leading a class-action lawsuit against Valve on behalf of game developers. The lawsuit contends that the near monopoly of Valve’s Steam platform in the PC games market leads to increased game prices. This is attributed to Valve’s policy of taking a 30% commission from the sale of each game on its platform.
Rosen, speaking about the motivation behind the lawsuit, stated that “gamers and game developers are being harmed by Valve’s conduct.” The class-action suit represents a collective effort by developers who argue that Valve’s market dominance adversely affects both the pricing and overall ecosystem of PC gaming.
The legal battle between Wolfire Games and Valve highlights the ongoing debate over the practices of major digital distribution platforms and their impact on the gaming industry. The outcome of this case could have significant implications for the future landscape of digital storefronts and the relationships between developers and platform holders.