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Gaming giant Steam facing £656m legal claim for ‘overcharging’ UK gamers

Steam is an online video game distribution platform and marketplace (PA)
Steam is an online video game distribution platform and marketplace (PA)

Valve, the owner of the Steam PC gaming platform, has been accused of overcharging millions of UK gamers as part of a new £656 million lawsuit.

A collective action claim has been filed with the Competition Appeal Tribunal which accuses the gaming firm of abusing its dominant position in the gaming market.

Steam is an online video game distribution platform and marketplace which is hugely popular with PC gamers, but the legal claim alleges owner Valve has shut out competition in the space by forcing game publishers to sign up to price parity obligations that dictate Steam always has the best price and prevents the same game being sold at a lower price on rival platforms.

It alleges Steam charges an “excessive commission” of up to 30% and this has led to UK consumers paying too much for games and add-on content.

It claims 14 million PC gamers in the UK could have been affected and could be entitled to up to £44 each if the claim is successful.

Digital rights campaigner Vicki Shotbolt, who filed the claim, claimed Valve was “rigging” the market.

“We’ve seen gaming explode in popularity over the recent years – and it plays such an important role in connecting people and building positive life skills, particularly for children and young people,” she said.

“So it’s not good enough that gaming consumers are being taken advantage of and charged over the odds.

“I am bringing this claim on behalf of gamers and their parents to stop this unlawful conduct and help people get back what they are owed.”

The claim says people could be eligible for compensation if they purchased a PC game or add-on content for a game from June 5 2018 from any platform, not just Steam.

Valve has been contacted for comment.