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Society & Culture
Virtual Legality Episode 405

Valve Sued over Steam: Is "Most Favored Nation" (MFN) Clause Illegal?

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197 197 views
5m Feb 1, 2021
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The technology antitrust lawsuit parade continues as Steam users sue Valve (and developers like Ubisoft!) for requiring developers to charge no less for a game on Steam than they do on any other platform (like the Epic Games Store).

But is such a "most favored nation" clause actually illegal? What does a case against it look like? What role does Steam key distribution have in the analysis? And...does the clause actually exist?

The case is stronger than many, but some parts may just be letting off Steam...in Virtual Legality.

#Steam #MFN #Lawsuit


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Discussed in this episode:
"Popular Gaming Platform Accused of Abusing Market Power Through Contracts"
The Hollywood Reporter - January 28, 2021
https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/popular-gaming-platform-accused-of-abusing-market-power-through-contracts

Colvin vs Valve (et. al.)
Filed January 28, 2021
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/20466284/steam.pdf

"Ubisoft goes Steam-less, embraces Epic Games Store for The Division 2"
Ars Technica - January 9, 2019
https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/01/ubisoft-snubs-steam-brings-the-division-2-to-epics-games-store/

"Legal Framework for Evaluating MFNs Under the Antitrust Laws"
FTC Presentation - September 2012
https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/atr/legacy/2012/09/11/286852.pdf

"Lawsuit accuses Valve of abusing Steam market power to prevent price competition"
Eurogamer - January 30, 2021
https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2021-01-30-new-lawsuit-accuses-valve-of-abusing-steam-market-power-to-prevent-price-competition

"Steam Keys"
Steamworks Documentation
https://partner.steamgames.com/doc/features/keys

"In order to reduce game sales outside of Steam, Valve will no longer automatically fulfil key requests from devs"
VG 247 - August 18, 2017
https://www.vg247.com/2017/08/18/in-order-to-reduce-game-sales-outside-of-steam-valve-will-no-longer-automatically-fulfil-key-requests-from-devs/


"Virtual Legality" is a continuing series discussing the law, video games, software, and everything digital, hosted by Richard Hoeg, of the Hoeg Law Business Law Firm (Hoeg Law).

CHECK OUT THE REST OF VIRTUAL LEGALITY HERE:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL1zDCgJzZUy9YAU61GoW-00K0TJOGnPCo

DISCUSSION IS PROVIDED FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS NOT TO BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. INDIVIDUALS INTERESTED IN THE LEGAL TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THIS VIDEO SHOULD CONSULT WITH THEIR OWN COUNSEL.


DESIGN WORK
Joe Ellis (Logo Design)
Chris Leroux (Motion Graphics)
For more information: contact Chris at @Chrisleroux on Twitter.

PODCAST VERSIONS ALSO AVAILABLE

Table of Contents

Timecode Title
00:00 Introduction
01:40 Overview of the Case
16:48 Antitrust and Economics
26:29 Monopoly and Market
34:57 The Effects of the MFN
42:38 Claims for Violation of Sherman
48:15 A Look at Steam and Steam Keys
54:29 Conclusion

About Hoeg Law

The Hoeg Law Firm is a business law firm with big law experience and a small firm approach focusing on start-ups, technology, financing, and everything else a business might need.


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