Steam proprietor Valve accused of ripping off 14m UK avid gamers | EUROtoday

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By Imran Rahman-Jones, Technology reporter

Larian Studios Screenshot of the character Lae'zel from Baldur's Gate 3Running Studios

Baldur’s Gate 3 was the bestselling recreation on Steam in 2023

The proprietor of Steam – the most important digital distribution platform for PC video games on the earth – is being sued for £656m.

Valve Corporation is being accused of utilizing its market dominance to overcharge 14 million folks within the UK.

“Valve is rigging the market and taking advantage of UK gamers,” mentioned digital rights campaigner Vicki Shotbolt, who’s bringing the case.

Valve has been contacted for remark.

The declare – which has been filed on the Competition Appeal Tribunal, in London – accuses Valve of “shutting out” competitors within the PC gaming market.

It says Valve “forces” recreation publishers to enroll to so-called worth parity obligations, stopping titles being offered at cheaper costs on rival platforms.

Ms Shotbolt says this has enabled Steam to cost an “excessive commission of up to 30%”, making UK shoppers pay an excessive amount of for buying PC video games and add-on content material.

The case is what is named a collective motion declare, which signifies that one particular person goes to courtroom on behalf of a a lot bigger group of individuals.

Ms Shotbolt – who accuses Valve of breaching UK competitors legislation for at the least six years – says she is bringing the declare “to stop this unlawful conduct and help people get back what they are owed.”

Steam is a PC gaming platform the place gamers can purchase video games and buy in-game extras.

According to VG Insights, it had record-breaking gross sales in 2023, producing over $9bn (£7.1bn) in international income.

This was pushed by 580m video games offered and 14,000 new video games launched.

However, the market is extraordinarily concentrated, with the highest 10 bestselling video games making up 61% of all gross sales.

The prime 100 video games account for 91% of complete gross sales.

The declare is backed by authorized agency Milberg London LLP, which brings group motion circumstances towards massive firms.

“Competition law is there to protect consumers and ensure that markets work properly,” mentioned Natasha Pearman, a associate on the legislation agency.

“When they don’t work properly and consumers are harmed, collective actions of this kind provide consumers with a voice and a way of holding big companies, like Valve, to account.”

It is the newest in a sequence of collective motion authorized circumstances towards massive tech.

Other claims lodged on the Competition Appeal Tribunal have sought compensation from Facebook, Google and Sony.