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Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits

Valve announces an updated Steam Subscriber Agreement, becoming the latest company to attempt to avoid potential class action lawsuits by prohibiting them as a term of service. Here is their explanation of this:

We’re also introducing a new dispute resolution process that will benefit you and Valve. Recently, a number of companies have created similar provisions which have generated lots of discussion from customers and communities, and we’ve been following these discussions closely. On Steam, whenever a customer is unhappy with any transaction, our first goal is to resolve things as quickly as possible through the normal customer support process. However in those instances in which we can't resolve a dispute, we've outlined a new required process whereby we agree to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute. In the arbitration process, 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.

Most significant to the new dispute resolution terms is that customers may now only bring individual claims, not class action claims. 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.

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136. Re: Steam Precludes Class Action Lawsuits Aug 2, 2012, 08:46 Verno
StingingVelvet wrote on Aug 1, 2012, 15:31:
It's a media thing too though, and a reaction thing. Yes RockPaperShotgun has a critical post today on this news but it's a million times softer than the one about EA. Yes people were pissy about Left 4 Dead 2 but most of the gaming media told them to shut up. PC Gamer even had an article on L4D2 where they told people to stop whining.

Eh I don't see it. There is usually just less Valve centric news to report. They don't really make many waves and when they do it tends to be either minor or very divisive stuff. Also ironically many of us got worked up about L4D2 and the media was right, it was great value and we were worried about nothing. If RPS as a PC centric site is a bit soft on a PC centric company then that's life, not a grand media conspiracy or something. The industry is still very console focused in general which is why Nintendo 3DS XL launch news trumps Valve disallows class action lawsuits on IGN or whatever. EA is getting to be a pretty widely hated brand on several platforms which explains their press woes.

I dunno, I just see the differences. Maybe I am making them up, but my education and career is all about noticing messages in advertising and public statements.

Given that Valve does little of either I don't really see it. This is the first truly negative thing they've done in a long time where I can criticize them and when you compare that against their track record they come out ahead (for now).

This comment was edited on Aug 2, 2012, 08:53.
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