Valve to Steam users: No class-action suits

Singh400

Distinguished Member
Valve to Steam users: No class-action suits | Ars Technica

News - Updated Steam Subscriber Agreement

Valve has issued an update to its Steam Subscriber Agreement that effectively prevents all Steam users from joining in class action lawsuits against the company. Valve's new SSA requires that "you [the user] and Valve agree to resolve all disputes and claims... in individual binding arbitration," mimicking similar language added by EA to its Origin service agreement and Microsoft with Windows 8.

Valve offers a curious explanation for the change in a press release, speaking on users' behalf: "In far too many cases, class actions don’t provide any real benefit to users and instead impose unnecessary expense and delay, and are often designed to benefit the class action lawyers who craft and litigate these claims. Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities."

Unlike other companies who've issued language to prevent class-actions, Valve has granted users a weird bit of compensation in the new SSA. Anyone who elects to use individual arbitration to resolve any Steam-related disputes can expect to have their cost of arbitration paid for entirely by Valve, no matter the final decision. However, for this offer to stand, the claim must be under $10,000, and the arbitrator must not "determine the claim to be frivolous or the costs unreasonable."

All such arbitration cases would be administered by the American Arbitration Association, a non-profit organization with offices throughout the United States. Users can also elect to submit claims to a small-claims court instead, but they can't expect compensation from Valve when going that route.

The move comes only one week after EA offered to settle a class-action claim regarding exclusivity deals in franchises such as Madden NFL and NCAA Football. That settlement would not only force EA to pay back its customers, but also delivers antitrust consequences, particularly stopping the company from seeking exclusivity deals with the NCAA and AFL football leagues. By imposing this "individual claim" limitation, Valve effectively neuters any similar, large-scale cases from Steam users, particularly ones that might arise if the service were to ever shut down or block a mass of users from playing the games they'd paid for.

Valve representatives didn't immediately respond to a request for further comment.
So basically we have to agree to keep access to our games :thumbsdow
 

aslird

Member
As long as you don't hack or cheat, you have nothing to worry about (apart from steam turning their servers off :) )
 

DJSigma

Banned
You don't own the games you buy from Steam anyway.

This means you couldn't sue them if, for example, due to their own negligence your personal details were compromised. I don't think this affects us here in the UK anyway as our laws are different.
 

SparkShot

Well-known Member
Don't we own the licence or cd key for the games we purchase on steam?
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
You can't do a class action against them any way, as we don't have the equivalent in this country.

There is no direct equivalent in English law to the US class action, in which one party or a group of parties may sue as a representative of a larger class, including absent or unidentified parties. However, English law has developed procedural means of dealing with group actions or multi-party claims which permit multiple claims against a defendant to be grouped into a single action. Two alternative forms of action can be used in a situation where US law would allow for a class action: representative proceedings and group litigation orders.
Class Actions: A New Import into UK Litigation? - International Law Office

Those alternatives aren't in the Valve Ts&Cs.

So not really going to make much difference.
 

Jamezinho

Distinguished Member
I still prefer to buy games on disk to be honest. Usually they are cheaper and downloads take ages for me. No doubt about ownership either. :)
 

Deadringers

Member
At the end of the day contracts don't really mean too much if they are deemed to be unfair.

e.g. i could get you to all sign a contract saying that all future earnings you make i get a 10% cut for being me..but it wouldn't be fair and therefore wouldn't stand up in court.

Just like with this steam thing, if they put unfair clauses into their contract/agreement and you take it to court it doesn't matter if it is found to be unfair.
 

WildeKarde

Well-known Member

Singh400

Distinguished Member
What about the retail ones we add the key to steam? Wouldn't we have "onwership" then?
Not sure to be honest. I do find it all a bit iffy and underhand.



Edit* It's also worth pointing out how when Sony & EA did this everyone went bat **** crazy and threatened to boycott. But now Valve are doing it, no one notices or cares.
 
Last edited:

Cha1ky

Member
Singh400 said:
Edit* It's also worth pointing out how when Sony & EA did this everyone went bat **** crazy and threatened to boycott. But now Valve are doing it, no one notices or cares.
That's because Valve are awesome and the rest suck!!!!


Realistically though as long as I can load and play my games fine I don't really care. Most companies kind of have things in the small print. We agree to them mostly without even reading them.
 

Foster

Distinguished Member
That's because Valve are awesome and the rest suck!!!!


Realistically though as long as I can load and play my games fine I don't really care. Most companies kind of have things in the small print. We agree to them mostly without even reading them.
That was a bit fanboyish chalky :rotfl:
 

majnu

Member
steam is the biggest pile of **** I've ever come across in my gaming history.
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
Edit* It's also worth pointing out how when Sony & EA did this everyone went bat **** crazy and threatened to boycott. But now Valve are doing it, no one notices or cares.
Must have missed that one. Not sure why most people would be bothered? Since the only real benefit to class action is shared cost, and Valve are saying they're going to cover the cost if you feel the need to sue them.

I think Origin scanning your files and transmitting what's in your My Documents back to EA is far worse than this would be.
 

Singh400

Distinguished Member
haha well for a bit of balance, I think steam is one of the best things to happen to pc gaming
Agreed, but there are many who would disagree - Notch for one.

But this latest policy change by Valve only benefits them, not the consumers.
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
Majnoob is still annoyed they suspended him for raising a PayPal dispute against them when he bought the wrong game haha.
 

eiren

Distinguished Member
But this latest policy change by Valve only benefits them, not the consumers.
It benefits me.

Now if I want to sue them because I bought the wrong game because I didn't read the game page nor check my basket when I was checking out... they'll pay my expenses to do so!

That's a better situation than we had before where we'd have to foot the costs ourselves since there's no class actions in UK law.
 

Pinky Floyd

Well-known Member
Singh400 said:
Not sure to be honest. I do find it all a bit iffy and underhand.

Edit* It's also worth pointing out how when Sony & EA did this everyone went bat **** crazy and threatened to boycott. But now Valve are doing it, no one notices or cares.
Are you sure? This news is plastered all over every tech website on the net, I would say that its been noticed ;)
 

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