Valve Software has joined the ranks of Microsoft, Sony and Electronics Arts by requiring Steam users to waive their right to file a lawsuit against the company in order to use the digital distribution platform. The company made the announcement on Tuesday, saying that Steam's new dispute resolution terms allow customers to 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," the company said. "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," Valve added.
According to the new dispute resolution process, the first goal is to resolve things as quickly as possible through the normal customer support process whenever a customer is unhappy with any transaction. When a dispute can't be resolved in this fashion, then Valve agrees to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute. In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse the 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," the company said.
"For those living in the EU, the SSA will be with Valve's Luxembourg subsidiary Valve S.a.r.l. and the SSA has been amended to reflect additional terms specific to our EU customers. We've added other terms related to the Steam Wallet and Steam trading to accommodate new features and capabilities of Steam," Valve said.