But Only in Part, as the Suit May Be Refiled
This may have been the year of suits. Not of the clothing variety, though some might have worn them in court. Activision Blizzard was hit by a lawsuit by California, and Microsoft faced a class-action lawsuit over Xbox drift issues at the start of 2021. But the antitrust case that Wolfire Games, the indie developer that has made such games as Overgrowth, looks that it will be dismissed. The lawsuit, filed in April by Wolfire Games, brought the case forward with the idea that due to Valve’s dominance of the PC gaming market, that Valve takes “an extraordinarily high cut” of profits made within the storefront.
But Valve, when it spoke about the matter in July, wanted the case dismissed. Valve said that this was due to Wolfire not bringing forward all the requirements for what would cover an antitrust case. And during the end of the week, on November 19th, the Judge made their official ruling on the matter. And some of it does work in Valve’s favor, according to the court ruling. According to the Judge, the suit fails on two points. First was the claim that there was a near-monopoly of Steam using its platform to force people to buy things through their storefront. The claim doesn’t work though, as the claim makes it sound that storefront and Steam platform are “a single product within the integrated game platform and transaction market.” The second point was more serious, as Wolfire claimed that Valve was using its status to charge a 30 percent commission fee for each product sold in store. But the judge dismissed this too, saying that Valve’s take has remained the same, no matter if other commission fees for other sites, lower or higher, have fluxed on the market.
There are some other points that were made on the case, but they can be summed up by basically saying that Wolfire needs to “articulate sufficient facts” for the antitrust injury to be followed through in court. However, all is not lost for Wolfire: they have thirty days to fix their complaint as said by the judge, and refile it- so like rewriting an essay, and submitting it to the teacher for a passing grade. At this time, neither Wolfire nor Valve has commented on the matter, but that may change in the coming weeks or even by the end of December 2021. We will just have to keep an eye out to see if this fizzles or if Wolfire will be able to amend their compliant suitably for the courts.