Steam Accused of Overcharging 14 Million UK Gamers

The owner of Steam, Valve Corporation, is facing a £656 million lawsuit, accused of overcharging 14 million UK gamers by exploiting its market dominance. Digital rights advocate Vicki Shotbolt, who is leading the case, alleges that Valve has manipulated the market to its advantage.

The lawsuit, filed at the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London, claims Valve has stifled competition in the PC gaming market. It accuses Valve of imposing price parity obligations on game publishers, preventing them from offering lower prices on competing platforms. This, according to Shotbolt, has allowed Steam to charge a steep commission of up to 30%, resulting in inflated prices for UK consumers.

This case is a collective action claim, meaning Shotbolt represents a larger group of affected individuals. She asserts that Valve has breached UK competition law for at least six years and aims to halt this “unlawful conduct” and secure compensation for affected consumers.

Steam, known for its extensive catalog of PC games and in-game purchases, saw record sales in 2023, generating over $9 billion globally. Despite the platform’s vast offerings, the market remains highly concentrated, with the top 10 bestselling games accounting for 61% of all sales, and the top 100 making up 91%.

The lawsuit is supported by Milberg London LLP, a legal firm specializing in group action cases against major corporations. Partner Natasha Pearman emphasized the importance of competition law in protecting consumers and ensuring fair market practices. This legal action against Valve is part of a broader trend of collective lawsuits targeting large tech companies, with similar cases filed against Facebook, Google, and Sony.

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