(qlmbusinessnews.com Thurs. 13th June, 2024) London, UK —

“Steam Accused of Market Manipulation: £656m Lawsuit Launched”

Valve Corporation, the owner of Steam, the world's largest digital distribution platform for PC games, is facing a £656 million lawsuit. The company is accused of exploiting its market dominance to overcharge 14 million UK gamers.

Digital rights campaigner Vicki Shotbolt, who is spearheading the lawsuit, claims, “Valve is rigging the market and taking advantage of UK gamers.” The claim has been filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London and alleges that Valve has been “shutting out” competition in the PC gaming market.

The lawsuit argues that Valve “forces” game publishers to adhere to price parity obligations, preventing them from offering lower prices on competing platforms. This, according to Shotbolt, has allowed Steam to charge an “excessive commission of up to 30%,” resulting in UK consumers paying inflated prices for PC games and add-on content.

The case is a collective action claim, meaning one person represents a larger group in court. Shotbolt, who asserts that Valve has been violating UK competition law for at least six years, aims to halt this “unlawful conduct” and secure compensation for affected gamers.

PC gaming platform STEAM

Steam is a prominent PC gaming platform where users can purchase games and in-game extras. VG Insights reported that in 2023, Steam achieved record-breaking sales, generating over £7.1 billion in global revenue, driven by the sale of 580 million games and the release of 14,000 new titles. However, the market is highly concentrated, with the top 10 bestselling games accounting for 61% of all sales, and the top 100 games making up 91% of total sales.

The legal firm Milberg London LLP, known for group action cases against large companies, is supporting the claim. Partner Natasha Pearman stated, “Competition law is there to protect consumers and ensure that markets work properly. When they don’t, collective actions of this kind provide consumers with a voice and a way of holding big companies, like Valve, to account.”

This lawsuit is the latest in a series of collective action legal cases against major tech firms, with similar claims seeking compensation from Facebook, Google, and Sony.

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