Valve abusing the market power of Steam on game pricing according to a lawsuit

Valve are in the legal spotlight again following the EU Commission Fine with a few more Steam troubles, as a new lawsuit has emerged about an abuse of their market power.

First reported on Hollywood Reporter, which has the full document that shows the lawsuit was filed on January 28, was filed by 5 people together and doesn’t appear to have any major companies backing it. The suit mentions how Valve require developers to sign an agreement that contains a “Most Favored Nations” provision to have developers keep the price of their games the same on Steam as other platforms.

This means that developers cannot have their game on itch, GOG, Humble or anywhere else at a lower price, and so the lawsuit claims that other platforms are unable to compete on pricing “thereby insulating the Steam platform from competition” and that it “acts as an artificial barrier to entry by potential rival platforms and as higher prices lead to less sales of PC Games”.

As part of the lawsuit it also names CD Projekt, Ubisoft, Devolver Digital and others.

It argues that if developers could legitimately set their own prices across different stores, they could lower their prices on stores that take a lower cut and “generate the same or even greater revenue per game as a result of the lower commissions, while lowering prices to consumers”. They even directly bring up posts on Twitter from the Epic Games CEO, Tim Sweeney, like this one from 2019:

Steam has veto power over prices, so if a multi-store developer wishes to sell their game for a lower price on the Epic Games store than Steam, then: 1) Valve can simply say “no” 2) Pricing disparity would likely anger Steam users, leading to review bombing, etc

What are your thoughts on this? Should Valve be forced to allow developers to set their own prices, and not require their price to be the same as other stores?

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