US Court Orders Valve CEO Gabe Newell to Testify in-person for Steam Antitrust Case

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Gabe Newell, the CEO of Valve, has been mandated to attend an in-person deposition as part of an antitrust lawsuit initiated by Wolfire Games. Despite Newell’s request for a remote deposition due to COVID-19 concerns, the court has ordered his physical presence, citing insufficient evidence that he is at a particularly high risk of serious illness.

The court’s order requires all participants to wear masks during the deposition, with Newell allowed to remove his mask while responding to questions​​.

Antitrust Allegations by Wolfire Games

Wolfire Games filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve in April 2021, primarily contesting the 30% revenue cut Valve takes on its Steam platform. Wolfire alleges that Valve’s dominance allows it to impose an exorbitantly high cut on nearly every sale made through Steam, exploiting both publishers and consumers.

This lawsuit highlights the growing scrutiny over the business practices of major digital game distribution platforms​​​​.

Dismissal and Resubmission of the Lawsuit

The initial claim made by Wolfire was dismissed in November 2021, with the court stating that the complaint lacked sufficient facts to plausibly allege an antitrust injury. However, Wolfire was allowed to file another complaint addressing the identified issues, which it did in May 2022​​​​.

The ongoing legal battle between Wolfire Games and Valve, with Gabe Newell’s ordered in-person deposition, underscores the complexities and challenges in the digital game distribution market.

The outcome of this lawsuit could have significant implications for the industry, particularly regarding the standard practices of revenue sharing and market control.

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