Steam: Humble suing Valve for stifling competition

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Carlos Laforet Coll
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Source: Steam

A Wolfire games, the independent studio that once managed the digital store Humble Bundle, is processing the Valve for antitrust violations.

Wolfire Games, the independent studio behind games like Overgrowth, has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve . The lawsuit alleges that Valve uses its monopoly on the gaming market to PC to force developers to pay expensive commissions to release games on the Steam, while illegally suppressing competition.

The process is based on the premise that Steam's dominance in the PC gaming landscape requires developers to release their games on Steam to reach the widest audience possible. This puts developers in a position to be exploited by Valve, which is what the lawsuit says is happening. 

Valve's terms of service require developers to give the company a 30% cut on all games that earn less than US $ 10 million

Source: Steam

The suit also disagrees with the policy of the Valve in relation to the keys Steam, which requires most Steam keys to be sold on the Steam Store. Wolfire Games ran the original Humble Bundle digital store in 2010, but no longer owns the website.

In essence, Wolfire Games claims that the exorbitant 30% commission rate stifles development and forces studios to charge more for their games, which in turn costs players more. 

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Valve is supposedly able to get away with this because of its monopoly on the market, which it is able to keep blocking or threatening publishers trying to sell Steam Keys on platforms. As for the small amount of keys that can be sold on other platforms, Valve "imposes punitive contractual restrictions" to suppress competition, the lawsuit alleges.

The lawsuit was filed the same day Microsoft announced it would give developers a bigger share of Microsoft's revenue. Microsoft Store, increasing shares from 70% to 88%. This would correspond to Epic Games Store, Steam's only viable competitor. 

It's also a little more than the 85% share offered to developers by Apple and Google Play Store. However, both companies require developers earning more than $1 million to hand over 30% of their revenue.

Source: Humble

This is the second lawsuit this year alleging that Valve abuses its dominance over the gaming market to PC . A lawsuit filed by a group of gamers in January accuses Valve of suppressing competition by forcing developers to sell their games on other digital stores for the same price they are sold on the internet. Steam

This means that if a studio's game is priced high in the Steam, it must be sold for the same price in other stores, such as Epic Games Store and Origin. The suit alleges that the practice harms small developers and prevents other online marketplaces from competing on price.

In addition to the damages and costs that are typically sought in similar cases, Wolfire is also seeking an "injunctive relief removing Valve's anti-competitive provisions," which would require Steam to completely reorganize its business structure. O Steam did not publicly respond to the lawsuit.

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