Is Steam a monopoly

Humble Bundle founder is suing Valve over alleged PC gaming monopoly

In addition to various games, the gaming giant Valve is particularly known for Steam, its sales platform for PC games. If publishers want to offer their products on the popular service, they currently have to put up with paying 30 percent of the revenue to Valve. Now the Humble Bundle founder and indie developer Wolfire Games is suing the group for allegedly anti-competitive practices.

"Valve is abusing its market power to ensure that game publishers have no choice but to sell most of their games on the Steam store, where they are subject to Valve's 30 percent fee," argued Wolfire Games in a previous one Lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Monopoly or not

The allegations are similar to those in the legal dispute between Epic Games and Apple, reports "The Verge". The plaintiff argues that platform operators have an effective monopoly over the place where people run their software. As a result, they would dominate and tax them, even though alternative app and games stores could be an industry of their own, offering consumers lower prices, according to the complaint.

Wolfire claims, however, that Valve now controls "about 75 percent" of the entire PC games market and that the 30 percent share alone brings in an estimated annual turnover of six billion dollars.

Ended partnership

In particular, Humble Bundle was a victim of these business practices, the lawsuit alleges. More and more publishers would be reluctant to "attend Humble bundle events, which would reduce the quantity and quality of products available to Humble bundle customers." The reason for this is that they fear retaliation. Valve once even worked on a keyless integration of the service, but then ended the partnership without explanation.

Regardless of the success of the lawsuit, the increasing number of complaints is increasing the pressure on platform operators to reduce their own fees. Although Valve adjusted this as early as 2018, it only helped particularly large companies. After a developer has achieved ten million dollars in sales, the share is reduced to 25 percent. In comparison: Epic Games only takes twelve percent, Microsoft has only just lowered its own fees from 30 percent to twelve percent. (red, 3.5.2021)