Valve blocking class-action suits

Half-Life house blocks users from class-action claims in new subscriber agreement, saying they are often of no benefit.

by

Half-Life and Portal studio Valve has updated its Steam Subscriber Agreement with changes that block users from partaking in class-action lawsuits against the company, the firm has announced. According to Valve, the company considered the change "very carefully" and ultimately decided it was in users' best interest.

No class-action lawsuits, Valve says.

"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," reads a line from Valve's statement. "Class actions like these do not benefit us or our communities."

Valve joins other major game companies like Microsoft and Sony in banning users from collectively suing them.

In addition to altering its Steam Subscriber Agreement to block class-action suits, Valve said it is introducing a new dispute resolution process that it claims carries benefits for gamers and itself alike. The company said its first goal with an unhappy customer is to resolve the matter as quickly as possible through normal customer support processes. Valve acknowledges, however, this is not always possible, and has outlined a new process involving arbitration or small claims court as means of resolving issues.

Valve said it will reimburse users' costs for claims under a certain amount regardless of whether the arbitration process ends in victory for Valve or users. The only stipulation here is the claim cannot be without merit or the costs "unreasonable."

Valve also announced today it has opened a new office in Luxembourg as an effort to better serve customers and partners in European regions.

Discussion

0 comments
DrKill09
DrKill09

They have NO right to do that.  NONE.  They can't just make themselves above the law like this.

megakick
megakick

Don't agree to it, Many Publishers put this in the End-user license agreement.

Valve is hopping on the bus. Play our game give up your RIGHTs agreement.

Leejjohno
Leejjohno

You can still sue; just not collectively.

I think this way each individual is considered by their circumstances rather than the majority.

 

Not exactly sure tbh but you still have most of your standard rights in these situations.

NoelXYeul
NoelXYeul

I'll say it once and I'll say it again. Nothing, not even a piece of paper you agree to, can keep you from doing a right you are given as an American citizen. What if Sony and Valve made you sign a piece of paper saying you have to vote Republican or Democrat (their choice) for as long as you're using their service?

milosc
milosc

How is this fucking possible???!!! How and why are they allowed to block people from suing them? That's is freakin' crazy!!! Halloo people, wtf is this crap??

magusat999
magusat999

What about a class action suit about blocking class action suits?

s4dn3s5
s4dn3s5

No big deal, they sell videogames, not weapons, how bad can a dispute with an unhappy customer turn out?

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

It's their call, they can do what they like with their software, and we all knew this from the start.

 

Just put yourselves in their shoes.  You're trying to get things done as a company and the biggest, angriest community on the internet keeps suing you for stupid reasons, and even though they keep losing, they still waste everybody's time and money while the lawyers who thrive on conflict just get richer and richer.

 

I was kinda shocked when I learned they hadn't already done this, and I don't mind it at all.

There's only so much you can take from millions of stupid angry gamers, even if you are the most fan-friendly, community-aware gaming space on the planet.  For those of us who don't go around like a**holes suing everything we see, the rate of productivity at Valve will increase, and we benefit.

Lach0121
Lach0121

Suing is something that happens all to often in this county, much like jail-time, 70% of the people in our prisons committed non-violent crimes, and most of them don't even need to be there.  Way too over-used.

 

I do not agree with their method, as corporations love reducing the rights of individuals in this corporatocracy. But I do agree that a large portion of these law suits do nothing that help these companies, or the users, instead they get a nice steady cash-flow in for the lawyers, and courts involved.   It makes sense, but in the end, it just removes more rights from the everyday citizen, and protects the ruling powers more.

 

Guess we still haven't come real far as a society.  Went from kings and queens ruling us. To Wal-mart, Oil industry, banks ruling us, as our new kings and queens. 

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

Don't lie to us Valve.  Sony, Microsoft, Netflix, and other companies got away with adding these clauses stripping consumers of their rights and you thought it was time to join the party once the heat had died down.

kohle36
kohle36

Anyone clear about the legality of these sorts of user agreements? I'm not here to argue it one way or another, but there are certain legal rights you can't sign or click away. Had an employer a few years back that tried to get everyone to sign away their paid breaks under threat of dismissal, and oh man did he get smacked around by the courts. I'm not saying it's the exact same thing, but anyone know of any legal precedents pertaining to this?

King-gamer
King-gamer

Can't say I disagree, a lot of people file lawsuits for no other reason other than money. Not because they genuinely think their copyright/trademark is being used illegally. Still, this full proofing thing is a practice I do not like.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

I'm not worried as long Gabe Newell in there, he's always put community first, and fans trust him too, 

 

BUT,,, who will be Gabe's next successor if he's gone, perhaps it's not necessarily important today, but if by any chances, Valve / Steam go public or do something irrelevant then this kind of things is something that need to be considered.

 

and honestly I don't like these kind of terms.

-_-

elheber
elheber

I hate to admit, but class-action lawsuits indeed only benefit the lawyers involved. That's right, Erin Brockovich's law firm kept almost all the money to themselves. Show that in the movie next time.

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

If I ever need to take Valve to court or participate in a class action suit, I'll just say I was coerced into accepting the agreement because they held my games hostage.

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

anytime you can't sue anyone as a group is never a benefit to anyone other the company that sets up the  tos

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

Is that what the terms of service said that came with the update yesterday? 'cuz I blindly clicked agree.... well bye bye Steam hello Desura.

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

Hmmm...are they going to try something ethically questionable soon? Last thing I want...but WTF?

edinsftw
edinsftw

Too many people are sue happy and it is a problem.

Wula_
Wula_

All I know is Steam stopped me from pirating games for the PC. But if they went under or did some BS to me to prevent me from playing the hundreds of games I bought from them. Then I am pretty sure I will go back to my old habits of pirating and just supporting Indies that make DRM free games.

DCeric
DCeric

LOL an easy way to break this system is go to court and sue Gabe Newell cause he's not Steam.

PetJel
PetJel

Would be funny if Steam went offline tomorrow. byebye gaems.

adrian_cortez94
adrian_cortez94

i love steam and valve, but this is just so wrong. i may not be an intelligent kind of guy but i do know things. sooner or later this whole situation might blow up, and valve will be bombarded with angry customers. i got no problems with my account (as of yet) but i thought it's all about good service? well, where is it now? they should get back to this and take time to reconsider asap.

megakick
megakick

 @Leejjohno

Valve will out lawyer the individual, good luck trying to win a lawsuit against a wealthy company on your own. 

Houghbot
Houghbot

 @Leejjohno yep it does say that, but nothing like one person vs well paid & well educated team of lawyers.. this is bullshit.

 

so what's next? big tobacco says, by opening said pack you can no longer collectively sue them... why doesn't every single product on earth do this if it's legal?

ShipwreckX
ShipwreckX

@milosc only thoes that hit agree to the eula.

Stan920
Stan920

 @naryanrobinson 

Its there software thats for sure but not the games we buy. they dont own them and those of us who are refusing to agree are being blocked from our games now just how fair is that? Stream isnt needed to play the games at all but they are controling it as if they belonged to them

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @Thanatos2k Nothing has change and i have never seen a proper reason to why anyone would sue a game-company... well only you americans got a reason which is to be greedy and get money

Senor_Kami
Senor_Kami

 @kohle36 Well, one issue with that is that the people were already employed under an agreement and the boss is forcing them to either sign over rights or lose their livelihood.  Gaming is different in that nobody is going to lose their ability to provide for themselves or their family and by not playing games on Steam.

 

I don't think there are any non-union related reasons why a company couldn't launch with unpaid breaks.  I believe any position where you more either more than 4 or 6 hours requires employees to be given a break of at least 30 minutes, but there is no employment law that says breaks must be paid.  I'd actually be interested in knowing what the other details surrounding your situation were.

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @Ladiesman17 Hopefully the CO-creator of Counter Strike Minh Le since he is like Gabe and wants to put the community first

Kryptonbornson
Kryptonbornson

 @elheber I know, anything lawyers do is based off their own profit. It's mainly punitive for those that choose to participate. Any chance I can get to actually fix something I think is wrong for the customers that a corporation has done, I'll participate in. Whether or not I deserve the millions and not the lawyers does matter, but the lawyers wouldn't do it for free, so you might as well accept whatever benefit you can get.

DrKill09
DrKill09

@Wula_ Yep.  Pretty much my backup plan.  I LIKE paying for games, but once I do, I will NEVER pay for that game again.  I bought it once; it's MINE.

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @adrian_cortez94 I just think you are looking at it from a wrong perspective and has nothing to do with once intelligence...

problem is people (Americans) with their greediness and wanting to sue everything... what Valve is doing is to prevent stupid people that live or want extra cash from suing companies....

 

People are suing because they dont download games faster enough or if a server is down or even if they get VAC banned...

 

I think what Valve is doing is the right thing, and i trust i them and have not been disappointed in them so far... 

 

but hey i might be wrong

Leejjohno
Leejjohno

 @megakick 

Two sides to this though. They only changed this agreement because people like to take the piss. In the end I genuinely believe that Valve has good reasons.

 

If this were Activision or EA I would be with you on that.

Leejjohno
Leejjohno

 @Stan920 You have never owned a game since they started printing them on discs. Even on the PS1 you got a boilerplate copyright and disclaimer message every time you booted up.

You do not own their software, you just own the disc it's printed on.

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

 @Majkic666 Imagine a game by Valve caused everyone to have seizures.  Oh look, a cause for a class action suit that was now denied.

 

Imagine Steam shuts down causing everyone to permanently lose access to the games they paid for.  Oh look, a cause for a class action suit that was now denied.

 

Imagine Valve through gross negligence leaks everyone's credit card numbers.  Oh look, a cause for a class action suit that was now denied.

 

Don't pretend there aren't legitimate reasons for lawsuits against companies.

kohle36
kohle36

 @Senor_Kami As per employment law, it depends on where you live, where I am, paid breaks are part of the legislation surrounding employment, so asking someone to sign it off is like asking someone to sign for less than minimum wage. At least that's what the (pissed off) judge said

kohle36
kohle36

Sure, it's not the same thing at all, I was just curious because the legal technicalities involved in contracts sometimes conflict with standing laws in various regions. Labour law usually has a lot of legislation governing what can and can't be signed away, that's why I was wondering if the same sorts of legal precedents applied to class action suits in end-user agreements.

ZeroX91
ZeroX91

 @Majkic666 I think most of us here are looking at it as a sign of things to come. It gives them an excuse to be sloppy, I've been a valve fan since 1998 and this doesn't bode well.

Stan920
Stan920

 @Leejjohno

They are stopping me from playing the games i bought i know all that BS about software it doesnt give them the right to take my ability to play the games i paid for.

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @Thanatos2k ps. i am not blindly defending, i am just defending against people that a blindly going crazy after a small change which makes the company protect itself against Sue-happy americans

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @Thanatos2k 1.1 if it happens with a specific monitor, it not their fault but the producer of the monitor...

 

1.2 It's getting tested for the most stuff so it should be covered.. people with seizure problems that cant handle much flashiness, are at own risk... it like when that person goes to a disco and then ends in the hospital because of his/her sickens and sues the disco (i have seen that happen) and it is extreme pointless when you know you have a sickness then its your own responsibility to know what you can handle and what you can't... its like if a person is allergic to nuts and then goes buy a pack of nuts and eat them... is it really the company's fault that they didn't write "dont it if you are allergic to nuts" on a pack nuts?

 

1.3 learn to read... i said "almost" impossible and there is a very minimal chance for that to happen....

 

2. you clearly don't know anything about Computer and Servers... you always have back up other places...

Only stupid companies keep their backup in the same building as they have the original... and even if all their servers around the world where to break down, then they got enough money to recover everything... for this to go completely wrong EVERY company that is associated with Valve must have all their servers erased.... 

 

3. I have read it, and i know that my bank is returning fully everything back, no bank want's you to go around and yell that you bank account has been hacked, because that will create a very big view on the bank and that's why every time someones account gets hacked the bank gives you a piece of paper and asks you to sign if you want the money back, where the paper says that you will never tell or talk to anyone about that your account has been hacked...

 

4. doesn't matter if someone is a fanboy or not, but about what the person is placing as an argument, i could accuse you off being a EA-fanboy that wants to see Valve burn and therefore spreads false rumors... but i ain't doing that...

 

I am just telling you how things work and why the reason Valve is so big today from a group of boys to a major company... Valve isn't EA nor Activission.. and they will not change as long as Gabe and other of the major players are in Valve

Thanatos2k
Thanatos2k

 @Majkic666 1, Wrong.  Maybe it happens with a specific monitor.  Maybe it didn't happen with the beta version.  Maybe none of the testers had the right medical conditions.  That you suggest it couldn't happen is laughable.  That's like suggesting a cartoon could never cause it either because they'd never allow something like that to air on TV.  But it has happened, now hasn't it?

 

2. It could happen.  Their data center could get hit by a meteor.  Or one of their employees could go in and delete everyone's library information, either accidentally or maliciously.  And to say it's never going to happen is naive.

 

3. Not always.  You REALLY need to read the fine print in your credit card agreement.....

 

4.  So you basically confirmed you're a fanboy.  Good, now stop blindly defending things and leave the legal matters to the lawyers.

Majkic666
Majkic666

 @Thanatos2k 1. a game goes through tests before it can be released which makes it almost impossible for you first example....

 

2. Steam shutting down? not gonna happen they got a lot of money and are earning massively with steam, shutting steam down will only have bad costs and make people angry... since steam is still growing rapidly.

There are no signs nor sense in shutting down steam

 

3. if you suddenly start losing money from you bank account, the bank will cover it all... 

 

4. Know the company... Valve is build up by a great community, and people behind Valve knows that and that they will go fast downhill if they loss that community...