Humble Bundle Creator Sues Valve Over Steam

As reported by Ars Technica over this past weekend, Humble Bundle creator Wolfire Games filed a lawsuit against Valve.

Filed in a Washington state federal court, the lawsuit alleges Valve utilizes anticompetitive practices through its Steam storefront. One particular complaint centers around Steam not allowing PC publishers to sell their games or game keys at lower prices on other PC storefronts.

According to Wolfire Games, publishers became more reluctant to participate in Humble Bundle events over time. The indie studio believes this reluctance is because publishers were afraid Valve would retaliate against them.

Another complaint is Valve’s cut of the pie. When you purchase a game, 70 percent of the money goes to the publisher and the remaining 30 percent goes to Valve. By comparison, the Epic Games Store only takes 12 percent.

Then there’s Steam’s grip on the market. According to the lawsuit, Steam’s monopoly allows it to control pricing across storefronts due to the aforementioned restriction on publisher pricing. In turn, this prevents other storefronts from competing in price and eventually minimizes their presence in the market.

Where the lawsuit goes from here is anyone’s guess. It’s looking to gain class-action status, but that’s if a judge allows it to move forward. Wolfire Games is seeking unspecified damages from Valve.

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Williams Pelegrin is a Managing Editor for Back to the Gaming. When he’s not writing up news, he’s talking a walk around the neighborhood with his wife and his dog. Either that, or drinking a cup of hot chocolate. Or both.

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