Gabe Newell ordered to testify in-person in Valve's antitrust lawsuit after court ignores...

midian182

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In brief: Valve CEO Gabe Newell, aka Our Lord Gaben, has been ordered to testify in person in an antitrust lawsuit that accuses Valve of using Steam's dominance in the PC game distribution market to "take an extraordinarily high cut from nearly every sale that passes through its store."

Wolfire Games filed a lawsuit against Valve in April 2021 over claims that it uses Steam's position as undisputed market leader to take its large cut of sales: Valve takes 30% of all item sales up to $10 million, after which point the cut falls to 25% for sales up to $50 million, then 20% for all sales above that figure.

The original suit was dismissed without prejudice in November 2021 as the complaint did "not articulate sufficient facts to plausibly allege an antitrust injury based on that market." Wolfire was given 30 days to file another complaint to address the issues, which it did in May 2022.

Gamesindustry.biz reports that Wolfire's lawyers want to question Newell as part of the discovery process. In an order filed on November 16 in the US District Court for the Western District of Washington, the company said Newell "is uniquely positioned to testify on all aspects of [Valve's] business strategy," and that an in-person deposition "would allow [it] to adequately assess Newell's credibility."

Newell had initially asked for his deposition to be carried out remotely due to his concerns over Covid, claiming he is at risk of developing a serious illness were he to contract the virus. But the court has ruled that there is insubstantial evidence to suggest that he is at particular risk of serious illness and therefore must attend in person.

The court says that to accommodate Newell's concerns, all participants will have to wear N95 or compatible masks during his deposition. However, Newell has been informed that he will need to remove his mask while answering questions.

Newell was in New Zealand when the Covid pandemic broke out at the start of 2020, staying in the country for many months as a "Covid refugee." To thank the nation, Newell and his friends put together a free event called 'We Love Aotearoa' in Auckland. It consisted of live music, workshops and activities, virtual reality stands with Valve games, art installations, and food trucks. The Valve boss applied for permanent residency in New Zealand in October 2020 but had returned to Seattle by 2021.

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"take an extraordinarily high cut from nearly every sale that passes through its store."
Lol, no to whoever originally implied that. That is not extraordinary in any sense. 30% is what normal people call "ordinary" in the current markets. And just because 1 store is known for going lower (Epic), doesn't make it any more extra (at least, not yet).

I don't otherwise see why he needs to show up in person in this digital age. It just seems like they want to be annoying, and can do so.
 
Lol, no to whoever originally implied that. That is not extraordinary in any sense. 30% is what normal people call "ordinary" in the current markets. And just because 1 store is known for going lower (Epic), doesn't make it any more extra (at least, not yet).

I don't otherwise see why he needs to show up in person in this digital age. It just seems like they want to be annoying, and can do so.
And that "store" is bleeding money like crazy :)
 
Lol, no to whoever originally implied that. That is not extraordinary in any sense. 30% is what normal people call "ordinary" in the current markets. And just because 1 store is known for going lower (Epic), doesn't make it any more extra (at least, not yet).

I don't otherwise see why he needs to show up in person in this digital age. It just seems like they want to be annoying, and can do so.

You're mistaken. Just because other tech companies also ask 30%, doesn't mean it's remotely fair. In retail distribution, distributors ask usually between 20%-50%. But physical distribution is much more expensive in costs, as you can hopefully imagine. So the fact that some retail distributors ask LESS than these _digital_ distributors makes clear that the cut of 30% is very unreasonable.
 
You're mistaken. Just because other tech companies also ask 30%, doesn't mean it's remotely fair. In retail distribution, distributors ask usually between 20%-50%. But physical distribution is much more expensive in costs, as you can hopefully imagine. So the fact that some retail distributors ask LESS than these _digital_ distributors makes clear that the cut of 30% is very unreasonable.
So the cut you can offer is based on physical cost of location now? Somebody better tell Mercedes they need to start selling their cars for $20k.

Epic takes far less, and is bleeding money. Maintaining these vast digital storefronts isnt cheap. Servers are not cheap. Bandwidth isnt cheap. IT security isnt cheap. Just because there is no brick store doesnt mean they can make do with nothing.

there's a reason things like digital streaming lost TONS of money. somehow hundreds of other devs are making money without issue. This is Wolfire games throwing a temper tantrum because nobody is buying their arthouse trash, and they blame valve for taking too much of the pie. Nothing stopped them from selling the game on EPIC, or on GOG, or even hosting the sales themselves and taking 100% the profit.
 
You're mistaken. Just because other tech companies also ask 30%, doesn't mean it's remotely fair. In retail distribution, distributors ask usually between 20%-50%. But physical distribution is much more expensive in costs, as you can hopefully imagine. So the fact that some retail distributors ask LESS than these _digital_ distributors makes clear that the cut of 30% is very unreasonable.
I said it was ordinary. Don't put words in my mouth.
 
Maintaining Steam is no way more expensive than having thousands of brick and mortar stores across the US alone.
 
You're mistaken. Just because other tech companies also ask 30%, doesn't mean it's remotely fair. In retail distribution, distributors ask usually between 20%-50%. But physical distribution is much more expensive in costs, as you can hopefully imagine. So the fact that some retail distributors ask LESS than these _digital_ distributors makes clear that the cut of 30% is very unreasonable.
That doesn't change anything. In fact it makes it very easy for the publisher to distribute the game themselves--after all you said it costs much less to do this very thing. In digital storefronts, having a distributer is also less important, isn't it? There is no burden on the consumer to buy a video game directly from the publisher, especially in this case. So if the video game maker wishes, it can charge a different price for its product when sold through a distributor and offer a "game studio outlet store" price for less.
 
You're mistaken. Just because other tech companies also ask 30%, doesn't mean it's remotely fair. In retail distribution, distributors ask usually between 20%-50%. But physical distribution is much more expensive in costs, as you can hopefully imagine. So the fact that some retail distributors ask LESS than these _digital_ distributors makes clear that the cut of 30% is very unreasonable.

They said it was normal... They didn't say anything about fair. It always surprises me just how people think they're entitled to make others do what they want. This dev could got to other platforms that take a smaller cut. Instead they decide to sue Valve and try to make them do what they want. By that logic I should be able to use that dev because I feel like they're charging too much compared to what one other dev may be charging for their game.
 
They said it was normal... They didn't say anything about fair. It always surprises me just how people think they're entitled to make others do what they want. This dev could got to other platforms that take a smaller cut. Instead they decide to sue Valve and try to make them do what they want. By that logic I should be able to use that dev because I feel like they're charging too much compared to what one other dev may be charging for their game.
The dev is arguing that Valve is a monopoly and it is using the size of its market position to strong arm developers into paying 30%.

The problem I see with that argument is that while there are plenty of other launchers out there, none of them offer the quality of service that steam does and people don't want to use them. Frankly, they should be suing the other platforms for providing a crappy user experience and alienating users.
 
The dev is arguing that Valve is a monopoly and it is using the size of its market position to strong arm developers into paying 30%.

The problem I see with that argument is that while there are plenty of other launchers out there, none of them offer the quality of service that steam does and people don't want to use them. Frankly, they should be suing the other platforms for providing a crappy user experience and alienating users.
I've been able to fix and play countless games because of steams discussion forums, chat, guides, you name it,

uplay, epic store, eaplay, none of them have those features yet still sell some of the same busted games, hell, most of the other launchers aren't even smart enough to remember your login credentials!
 
I've been able to fix and play countless games because of steams discussion forums, chat, guides, you name it,

uplay, epic store, eaplay, none of them have those features yet still sell some of the same busted games, hell, most of the other launchers aren't even smart enough to remember your login credentials!
A big reason I love steam is Linux support which isn't offered, to my knowledge, by any other PC game distribution platform. I am sympathetic to the developer and their 30% cut, but they likely have made more in sales by simply being on Steam than they would have trying to be on other platforms. That's certainly an argument that will be used in court. However, Valve offers services through Steam that it offers to gamers for free and those services need to be paid for. 30% might be steep, but Linux gaming accounts for almost 2% of steam sales. They sell billions of game licenses a year, 2% is very large when you take that into account.
 
Cuts from digital attire fronts have to be much smaller. People got enraged when games started to charge not 60 but 70 bucks first time in 20 years forgetting all about inflation and gated distribution. Steam is a monopoly and that is never a good thing.
 
Not like they used there position and raised rates, they just keep having the most robust platform, and it’s still a private company that makes an effort to have good interactions with customers and clients.
This lawsuit is dumb.
 
Lol, no to whoever originally implied that. That is not extraordinary in any sense. 30% is what normal people call "ordinary" in the current markets. And just because 1 store is known for going lower (Epic), doesn't make it any more extra (at least, not yet).

I don't otherwise see why he needs to show up in person in this digital age. It just seems like they want to be annoying, and can do so.
Sounds like you'd be ok with a 30% tax on EVERYTHING you buy, because hey that's just "ordinary" business. That's what the 30% cut is that Valve takes; a tax, because they can. Just because Valve (and Apple) are doing it does not make it ok or ordinary as you put it. Some of those games take years and millions or tens of millions to develop. Then as soon as they start selling their game Valve takes a 30% cut for no reason other than having the privilege of selling your game on their platform. In what alternate universe is this an "ordinary" thing?
 
Sounds like you'd be ok with a 30% tax on EVERYTHING you buy, because hey that's just "ordinary" business. That's what the 30% cut is that Valve takes; a tax, because they can. Just because Valve (and Apple) are doing it does not make it ok or ordinary as you put it. Some of those games take years and millions or tens of millions to develop. Then as soon as they start selling their game Valve takes a 30% cut for no reason other than having the privilege of selling your game on their platform. In what alternate universe is this an "ordinary" thing?

A tax is an involuntary payment taken with the implied threat of force by a government, no one is forced to use Steam.
 
Sounds like you'd be ok with a 30% tax on EVERYTHING you buy, because hey that's just "ordinary" business. That's what the 30% cut is that Valve takes; a tax, because they can. Just because Valve (and Apple) are doing it does not make it ok or ordinary as you put it. Some of those games take years and millions or tens of millions to develop. Then as soon as they start selling their game Valve takes a 30% cut for no reason other than having the privilege of selling your game on their platform. In what alternate universe is this an "ordinary" thing?
Don't strawman me. And I said it was ordinary (which does not = 'ok' here). Don't put words in my mouth. I shouldn't have to repeat myself 🤦‍♂️

But man, whatever "argument" you tried making flew out the door the second you implied that Valve has no other reason to take a cut other than because they can. You obviously don't know anything about online data management, service upkeep, or even running a storefront 😂
 
A tax is an involuntary payment taken with the implied threat of force by a government, no one is forced to use Steam.
No one is forced to use Amazon, the Apple Store, or the Google Play store, either. That doesn't mean it's not a stupid idea to skip those stores.

Agreed that it isn't a tax in the proper sense, but the word can be used to gatekeepers. Would be interesting if the DMA were applied to Steam, though. Maybe Steam isn't a gatekeeper for various reasons, I don't know.
 
This is becoming waste of time and money, I mean all the different cases between different developers/publishers and different online distributers.

I don't know law, but the governments should intervene and make one big case or ruling for limits on digital cut for selling digital software.
 
Cuts from digital attire fronts have to be much smaller. People got enraged when games started to charge not 60 but 70 bucks first time in 20 years forgetting all about inflation and gated distribution. Steam is a monopoly and that is never a good thing.
"much smaller" - how much smaller? 5%? 20%? most of my games on Steam are bought from outside of Steam :)
 
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No one is forced to use Amazon, the Apple Store, or the Google Play store, either. That doesn't mean it's not a stupid idea to skip those stores.

Agreed that it isn't a tax in the proper sense, but the word can be used to gatekeepers. Would be interesting if the DMA were applied to Steam, though. Maybe Steam isn't a gatekeeper for various reasons, I don't know.
Well if you own and iPhone or iPad then you are forced to use the apple store.
 
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