Indie studio Wolfire Games, known for the action game about anthropomorphic animals Overgrowth, initiated an antitrust class action lawsuit against Valve. The reason was the dominant position of the company in the PC market. The creators of Steam are accused of the fact that the high commission of the store allegedly forces publishers to raise prices and invest less money in development.Overgrowth

The lawsuit was filed on April 27 in the U.S. Federal District Court in Washington State.

In addition to Wolfire Games, two other people filed an application, William Herbert and Daniel Escobar. It is only known that they are ordinary Steam users who are dissatisfied with “uncompetitive prices”.

The full text of the claim can be found here. Its main goal is quite ambitious — the plaintiffs want to get an injunction that would cancel Valve’s anti-competitive position in the market.

The main claim of Wolfire Games and other plaintiffs is that 75% of sales of PC games in the United States account for one store — Steam. Developers are forced to pay a 30% commission, which brings Valve over $6 billion annually. Based on this, the plaintiffs claim that the company uses its position to “exploit publishers and buyers.”

“In order to allow paying a 30% commission, publishers must raise prices, thereby investing less resources in innovation and the creation of new products,” the statement said.

This leads to the following claim related to the so-called “Provision on the parity of prices for Steam keys” (Steam Key Price Parity Provision). This policy prohibits publishers from selling their games on other platforms at cheaper prices. According to Wolfire Games, because of this, other PC stores cannot compete with Steam at least in terms of the cost of products.

The lawsuit also claims that such rules also harm buyers who cannot find a better offer on other sites. The plaintiffs believe that in this way Valve is abusing its position in the market.

As an example, the lawsuit also cites other stores — for example, Epic Games Store, which charges developers and publishers only 12%. According to the plaintiffs, even huge investments in exclusives do not allow the site to compete with Steam. Now Epic Games is losing hundreds of millions on its store, although the head of the company, Tim Sweeney, calls it a “fantastic investment” and a long game.

However, Microsoft followed the example of Epic Games yesterday, reducing the commission in the Windows Store to 12% for games. How this will affect the market is still unknown, but Steam is in no hurry to reduce the commission. Currently, there are only small concessions in the store: for games with earnings from $ 10 million, the commission is reduced to 25%, and for projects with income over $ 50 million — up to 20%.

Recall that at the end of January, Valve was already sued, accusing the company of hindering competition and banning price cuts on other sites. Earlier, the European Commission also fined the creators of Steam and five other publishers by almost €8 due to regional prices.