Valve hit with $800 million lawsuit over Steam monopoly

Tristan Stringer
Pheonix wright on the stand with the steam logo for a face

Valve has been hit with a £656 million lawsuit in the United Kingdom, which claims they’re “rigging the market” against players in the UK.

Valve, the game developer behind Half-Life, Portal, and Counter-Strike, launched Steam in 2003, providing a platform to digitally purchase PC games, as well as hosting the Steam marketplace and workshop.

The BBC reports digital rights campaigner Vicki Shotbolt of Milberg London LLP, filed the lawsuit on June 5 to the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

The lawsuit alleges “Valve is rigging the market and taking advantage of UK gamers,” potentially “overcharging 14 million people in the UK,” and claims they are “shutting out” other platforms for purchasing PC games.

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Shotbolt also made a website called “SteamYouOweUs” that provides more detail behind her claims and why she’s taking the issue to court.

Natasha Pearman, a partner at the law firm, states, “Competition law is there to protect consumers and ensure that markets work properly, when they don’t work properly and consumers are harmed, collective actions of this kind provide consumers with a voice and a way of holding big companies, like Valve, to account.”

Steam is the largest distributor of PC games, reporting $9 billion in global revenue across 580 million game sales in 2023 according to a report by VG Insights.

Game developer behind the ‘Postal’ series, Running With Scissors, defended Valve’s practices with Steam, arguing these “lawsuits don’t really care about the gamers/consumers, they only care about making money for themselves.”

Other competitors, such as Epic Games Score, take 12%, and Good Old Games take 30% as commission compared to Steam’s 30%. RWS called the cut “industry standard,” and claimed it’s “worth the 30% when the platform offers so much more to us and the consumers we’re catering to, not to mention sale numbers.”

If the allegations are proven, Valve would be required to pay the full amount to the class, rewarding them all up to £44, approximately $55, each, based on the 14 million figure.

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