PC gaming giant Valve has been the subject of a class action lawsuit alleging that its Steam platform is a monopoly.
The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday, April 27 in Washington DC Western District Court from developer Wolfire Games, which claims nearly 75% of PC game sales are made through Steam, generating “over $ 6 billion” in Valve’s revenue over the course of the year.
The lawsuit alleges Valve is abusing its market position to stifle competition, in part because of the price parity clause set in its Steam Key system. As a result, developers and publishers are forced to sell games on other sites no cheaper than on Steam, which makes it difficult to compete for other platforms that use Steam keys. The lawsuit claims that it is for this reason that Valve has managed to maintain a 30% share of sales all this time.
“Valve’s current scheme imposes a huge tax on the PC gaming industry,” the lawsuit says.
“Game publishers are forced to use Steam and give Valve 30% of each sale if they want access to the Steam gaming platform – the access they need to sell their games. To afford Valve’s 30% commission, game publishers are forced to increase prices for consumers and cannot afford to invest more resources in innovation and creativity, and Valve’s high commissions hurt consumers who pay higher retail prices.
In this way, competition, production and innovation are suppressed, which cannot be fully compensated for by damages alone. Therefore, in order to restore competition in the market and benefit society as a whole, not only penalties are needed, but an injunction against the use of anti-competitive measures by Valve. “
Valve’s campaign representatives have yet to comment on the new lawsuit.