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Breaking News: Valve Faces £656 Million Lawsuit Over Market Practices

Valve Corporation, the owner of Steam, the world’s largest digital distribution platform for PC games, is being sued for £656 million. The company is accused of using its market dominance to overcharge 14 million UK customers.

“Valve is rigging the market and taking advantage of UK gamers,” said Vicki Shotbolt, a digital rights campaigner leading the case. Valve has been contacted for comment.

The lawsuit, filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London, alleges that Valve is stifling competition in the PC gaming market. The claim asserts that Valve forces game publishers into price parity obligations, preventing them from selling titles at lower prices on rival platforms. This practice, according to Ms. Shotbolt, has allowed Steam to charge an excessive commission of up to 30%, causing UK consumers to overpay for PC games and add-on content.

This case is a collective action claim, where one individual represents a larger group of affected people. Ms. Shotbolt, who accuses Valve of breaching UK competition law for at least six years, said she is pursuing the claim “to stop this unlawful conduct and help people get back what they are owed.”

Steam, known for its extensive catalog of games and in-game extras, saw record-breaking sales in 2023. According to VG Insights, Steam generated over $9 billion (£7.1 billion) in global revenue, driven by 580 million games sold and 14,000 new releases. Despite this, the market remains highly concentrated, with the top 10 bestselling games accounting for 61% of all sales, and the top 100 games making up 91% of total sales.

The lawsuit is backed by Milberg London LLP, a legal firm specializing in group action cases against large companies. “Competition law is there to protect consumers and ensure that markets work properly,” said Natasha Pearman, a partner at the firm. “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.”

Stay tuned for further updates on this developing story.