Steam is a platform that has two very distinct sides. On one hand, there’s the one most people know: the undisputed queen of digital gaming platforms and the favorite among PC gamers. However, on the other hand, Steam is also part of Valve, a company that, like basically all others, aims to make money.
This is particularly noticeable for game developers and publishers, who must give Valve a 30% cut of the revenue generated from their game sales on Steam. Something that, as we know from the Epic Games lawsuit against Google for a similar situation, doesn’t sit well with companies.
That’s precisely the case with Wolfire Games, an independent game developer that ended up suing Valve for monopoly practices in 2021. The studio claimed in its lawsuit that Valve is using its “dominance” in the market to take “an extraordinarily high slice of nearly all sales that pass through its store (Steam),” which “exploits both publishers and consumers alike.”
With the trial underway, the next person scheduled to testify before the court will be Valve’s CEO, Gabe Newell, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz. Previously, Newell requested a remote deposition due to health concerns, acknowledging that he has “structured his life to minimize exposure to possible transmission of COVID-19.”
However, Wolfire Games insisted that there’s “no substantial evidence suggesting he faces a particular risk of severe illness” and wants him to appear in person. Furthermore, the developer claims that Newell needs to attend in person because they believe he’s “uniquely positioned to testify on all aspects of the company’s business strategy” and they also want to “properly assess Newell’s credibility.”
Wolfire Games’ lawsuit was dismissed in 2021, though the developer later filed another lawsuit in 2022, which was eventually admitted. If the studio ends up winning the lawsuit, it would set a significant precedent in the industry that could completely alter the landscape of PC gaming, potentially allowing other platforms to take the lead.