Decide dismisses antitrust lawsuit filed towards Valve
In April, Overgrowth developer Wolfire Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve, claiming that Steam’s dominance in the PC gaming market enables it to take “an exceptionally large cut” in sales from its storefront. Valve responded in July saying that Wolfire’s complaint did not meet “the basic requirements of an antitrust proceeding” and asked the judge to dismiss it. In a judgment filed today, the judge agreed on the Valve case.
The verdict, which is available in full on CourtListener, says Wolfire’s lawsuit falls short on two different counts. First, it dismisses the claim that Valve is illegally tying the Steam store to the platform – essentially using Steam’s near-monopoly as a library, launcher, and social media platform to force people to play games through the Steam storefront to buy – because the allegations in the lawsuit suggest that the Steam platform and storefront are in fact “a single product within the integrated gaming platform and transactional market”.
Wolfire’s lawsuit also alleges that Valve is using its near monopoly to charge sellers an excessive 30% fee that would not be sustainable in a competitive marketplace. That claim sparked some interesting conversation earlier this year, but the judge dismissed the argument, noting that Valve’s attitude has remained unchanged in Steam’s history, even as other online stores charging lower percentages have come and gone .
“Therefore it seems that the market reality, at least as claimed, is so [Valve’s] The fee corresponds to the value of the Steam platform for game publishers, “said the judgment.
Other legal issues and precedents are cited in the judgment, but the bottom line is that Wolfire’s lawsuit “does not articulate enough facts to plausibly claim an antitrust violation based on this market”.
As a result, Valve’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit is granted – but only in part. The dismissal was granted without prejudice, which means Wolfire has 30 days to amend his complaint to correct the stated deficiencies and then resubmit it. I asked Valve and Wolfre for a comment on the case and will let me know if I get an answer.