Valve/Steam Game Overcharge Arbitration

21 Nov, 2022



What is the case about?

Mason LLP represents tens of thousands of gamers with claims against Valve, the owner of Steam. These claims must be pursued in arbitration pursuant to the Steam Terms of Service.

The arbitration claims are related to a federal class action filed by Wolfire Games, a game publisher, claiming that Valve uses its monopoly power to force game publishers to sell their games through the Steam Store and to pay Valve supra-competitive commissions. This same conduct causes gamers to pay more for games as well. Game consumers tried to bring a class action, but the court ruled that these claims can only be pursued through individual arbitrations. 

Earlier this year, the court ruled on Valve’s second motion to dismiss the publisher’s class action. The motion was granted in part and denied in part. More specifically, the Court allowed Wolfire’s Sherman Act antitrust claims against Valve to proceed and found that Wolfire had properly pled that Valve’s conduct resulted in higher commissions for games sold on Steam.  

Valve allegedly uses its dominance over PC game distribution to impose and maintain a 30% commission on nearly every sale made through its store. This commission far exceeds what would prevail in a competitive market and yields Valve billions of dollars in supra-competitive annual profits. Valve’s bloated commission makes games more expensive for consumers to buy while suppressing sales volumes and revenues for game publishers. And because Valve extracts so much revenue in its middleman role, quality and innovation in the industry suffer. As do consumers.

To help maintain its monopoly power, Valve uses what is known as a Platform Most Favored Nations (“PMFN”) clause in its agreements with game publishers which prevents game publishers from selling their games on other on-line gaming sites with lower costs, fees, and/or sales commissions for less than the game publishers sell their games on the Steam platform. We believe that Valve’s PMFN clause harms the entire industry by removing the ability of competitive forces to drive lower commissions and lower prices. Absent Valve’s PMFN, competitive forces would put downward pressure on Valve’s bloated 30% commission due to game publishers selling games for less on stores that charge lower commissions. Those competitive pressures would force Valve to lower its commission in an effort to compete on price with its rivals. That would promote competition and lead to overall lower prices, benefiting game publishers and consumers alike. But Valve’s PMFN blocks these benefits from occurring. Other platforms, such as Epic, have attempted to compete with Valve by charging lower commissions (12% in Epic’s case); however, because of the Valve PMFN, those attempts have not seen success.

We believe that all consumers transacting on the Steam platform have been harmed by Valve’s conduct in the form of higher prices for PC games than would otherwise occur in a competitive market.

Based on Valve’s alleged conduct, consumers purchasing PC games off of the Steam platform have claims against Valve under not only Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act, but also under state consumer protection and antitrust laws.

How can I claim a refund?

Mason LLP represents hundreds of Steam gamers and is in the process of preparing our clients’ cases for arbitration. Among other things, we have retained an economist who will testify that Steam’s “platform most favored nation provision,” found in all its contracts with game developers, is anti-competitive and caused the price of Steam games to be as much as 20% higher than they would have been if Valve had conducted itself lawfully.  Since the antitrust laws provide for treble damage, you could recover as much as 60% of the purchase price of all the games you purchased from the Steam Store in the last four years! 

If you would like to be represented by us and file a claim against Valve for recovery of the overcharges, here are the steps we would need you to take.

1. Follow the link above to review and sign the retainer agreement.

2. Please be patient! We should be able to resolve your claim without further need for assistance from you; however, you may be contacted by one of our attorneys or a Client Support Specialist if we require more information.

Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, which means that the payment of fees and costs is “contingent” upon whether we obtain any recovery on your behalf. If there is no monetary award, you will not be obligated to pay any attorneys’ fees or costs. All details regarding this may be found in the retainer agreement.

There are absolutely no upfront or out-of-pocket fees or costs for retaining our firm.



1. Will I lose access to my Steam account and games? – No. Valve’s allows arbitration to be filed against it pursuant to its Terms of Service.  It would be a violation of the TOS and a new claim again it, if it banned or blocked accounts.  We have no reason to believe they will block anyone’s account. 

2. Is this a class action? Why do I need to sign up? – This is a mass arbitration. Only persons who sign up with us will be eligible for a settlement. There are no absent class members nor will there be a “class-wide” settlement.

3. How much will I get? – We estimate damages could be 30-60% of what you have spent  on Steam game purchases since January 28, 2017. We guarantee you will never owe us any money, except from your recovery. Our fee is 40% of your recovery and we estimate that expenses, spread across our clients, will be less than 10% of your recovery. If we do not recover any money for you, you owe us nothing.

4. Where can I find my account value? -You can check your account value from within your own Steam account or you can also use a number of calculators online that do it for you, such as the Steam Calculator.


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