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Gamers Take Steam To Court For Locking PC Game Prices Too High

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Gamers Take Steam To Court For Locking PC Game Prices Too High

Five gamers have filed a putative class action lawsuit against Valve and Steam for the company's hold on the PC gaming industry. The complaint stems from Valve's contracts with developers which makes them agree to sell games at the same price on all available PC platforms, meaning games can't appear cheaper than they are on Steam on any other outlet.

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According to The Hollywood Reporter, five individuals have taken Valve to court in California because of the company's strong hold on the PC gaming industry. Steam as a platform accounts for the majority of PC game sales above competitors like the Epic Games Store or GOG. This legal case, in particular, takes issue with the 'Most Favored Nations' approach to the company's game sales practise.

A Most Favored Nations section, or an MFN, is contained within the Steam Distribution Agreement, whereby "the game developer agree that the price of a PC game on the Steam platform will be the same price the game developers sell their PC games on other platforms." Thereby making it impossible for developers with items on Steam to have better prices elsewhere, so other platforms cannot gain an edge as someone might be able to in other retail industries.

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So if a game is £39.99 on Steam, it has to be £39.99 everywhere else when the developer signs up for distribution on Steam. As Steam has such a massive hold on PC games distribution, that others have tried to catch up to, it's semi-impossible to do so if the games you're selling are on Steam already. Rather than a traditional system of platforms trying to undercut each others' prices so everyone stays at a competitive level, it is being argued that Steam has such a hold on the market that it isn't being encouraged to compete with other platforms at all. The MFN is at the heart of this issue.

If you want to see the full case file, it's embedded into The Hollywood Reporter's piece which you can find here.

Featured Image Credit: Valve

Topics: News, Valve, Steam

Imogen Mellor
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