"It’s clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers,” says Valve in an statement. “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."
In some ways, I do agree; Class action lawsuits are generally frivolous cases that are a waste of everybody’s time. once problem though is that it strips away users rights – and the only legal recourse left in place is arbitration; a costly, private affair that tends to favour corporates over Joe Public. There’s no way of appealing arbitrations, so once a decision is made it’s final. It’s doubly worrying when you factor Steam as a DRM system – effectively meaning that Valve could, potentially, hold your games hostage.
Valve seem to be nice guys though – because they say they’ll settle the arbitrations costs.
"Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount," adding that "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."
As with Microsoft’s Xbox Live EULA, there’s no way of opting out of the new agreement while still utilising the service. It’s probably worth noting that the legal validity of such clauses, or EULAs in general, hasn’t been put to trial – and with many US states contesting such clauses, it’s likely that they wouldn’t hold up in court for very long. As it is, they’re illegal in Europe.
Last Updated: August 1, 2012