Valve has recently announced changes that they have made to their Steam subscriber agreement terms. These changes include a clause which results in any user of Steam to automatically agree that they cannot file a class-action lawsuit against Valve for any reason.
Claiming to have “considered this change very carefully”, the company elaborates the matter in an official statement, saying that “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.”
The statement continued, saying, “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.”
Some US states are questioning the legality of clauses like this, and on top of Valve’s attempt to nullify class-action lawsuits, they are also targeting individual lawsuits, and instead trying to replace the option with “a new required process whereby we agree to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute.”
This means that anybody who presses charges for anything would have their issues resolved on Valve’s terms. If you press charges you will have no idea what is discussed during these private hearings, and if you need to resolve a dispute, “Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount”. Additionally, “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.”