Posted By Austin Yorski about 10 months, 2 weeks ago
In a message posted on Steam this morning, Valve has announced (or specifically highlighted, rather) a change in the End-User License Agreement for Steam. Specifically, the “Steam Subscriber Agreement” has been updated so that users who agree to its terms will no longer be able to take part in class action lawsuits against the company and its digital distribution platform. The news post explains the decision fully:
“We considered this change very carefully. It’s clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. In far too many cases however, 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. We think this new dispute resolution process is faster and better for you and Valve while avoiding unnecessary costs, and that it will therefore benefit the community as a whole.”
While this is the biggest news coming out of the updated SSA, it’s not the only change. Steam also has a new way to deal with customer service issues that exceed normal parameters, as such cases will now be individually brought to small-claims court. However, “Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount. Reimbursement by Valve is provided regardless of the arbitrator’s decision, provided that the arbitrator does not determine the claim to be frivolous or the costs unreasonable.”
On one hand, this is far from an unprecedented move. Pretty much every corporation with an digital distribution platform has such a clause, including Microsoft and Sony. It’s also an unprecedented act of transparency, as every previous major controversy over EULAs has come after some intrepid sleuth had combed through the legal jargon with a fine-toothed comb. However, in the interest of fairness, it is a shame to see one of gaming’s most beloved companies seemingly trying to dodge large-scale responsibility in the case of some unforeseen future catastrophe. The claims court system clause is interesting, but likely irrelevant to the large majority of Steam users.
That is, unless you bought Train Simulator during the Summer Sale–I won’t blame you for suing over that.