Valve, the Washington-based developer behind the popular Steam platform, is facing a massive $838 million lawsuit in the UK. The lawsuit alleges that Valve has been overcharging its 14 million British customers by requiring publishers to agree to “price parity obligations.” This means that publishers cannot offer the same games on other platforms for a lower price, according to the claim.

The lawsuit, filed in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London, accuses Valve of using its dominant position in the market to shut out competition and prevent other platforms from offering games at lower prices. The claimants argue that this practice violates competition laws by charging excessive and anti-competitive prices and imposing unfair trading conditions.

The case is being led by Vicki Shotbolt, a campaigner for children’s digital rights, and is being handled by the law firm Milberg London. Natasha Pearman, a lawyer from the firm, stated that they believe Valve’s actions have led to consumers being overcharged for games and in-game content on the Steam platform. Valve has not yet commented on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit is being pursued as an “opt-out collective action claim,” which means that all UK residents who have purchased anything on Steam since June 2018 are automatically included in the case unless they choose to opt out. The case has a dedicated website where interested parties can find more information and opt out if they wish.

The website also highlights Valve’s practice of charging a 30 percent commission on game sales on Steam, which is considered excessive by the claimants. The lawsuit alleges that Valve offers lower commission rates to larger publishers, further solidifying its market dominance and unfair advantage.

Despite previous legal challenges, Valve has largely been able to deflect criticism and legal action over its business practices. However, this latest lawsuit in the UK could potentially have significant implications for the company if successful. It remains to be seen how Valve will respond to these allegations and whether the case will proceed in court. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as it unfolds.