Valve, the creators behind the popular game distribution platform Steam, will be forced to turn over aggregated historical sales, pricing and other information on 436 games hosted on the store to Apple, as part of the Apple vs. Epic Games antitrust case. .
As reported in a paywall report from Law360During a virtual discovery hearing on Wednesday, federal judge Thomas S. Hixson ordered that Apple’s data subpoena to Valve be valid, however, he noted that Apple has “salted the earth with subpoenas,” telling Valve ” don’t worry, it’s not just you. ” Apple’s original subpoena requested data from Valve about Steam dating back to 2015, however the judge’s decision will only require Valve to produce limited data to 2017.
Epic Games is in a heated legal battle with Apple over the App Store and claims that the Cupertino tech giant locks developers into its ecosystem and forces them to pay a “30% tax” on in-app purchases. Apple’s citation for Valve data is one of many that Apple has made in its attempt to prove its point that the App Store as a software distribution platform is no different from others.
Gavin W. Stok, an attorney representing Valve at the discovery hearing, urged Judge Hixson to reject the subpoena and not force his company to produce the data. Stok says Valve is run by a small team and that collecting all the data Apple requests would require it to “put multiple employees working full time” and that it could not guarantee that the request would be fulfilled on time.
Apple attorney Jay P. Srinivasan says the request is feasible, noting that Apple may have requested data on all 30,000 games on the Steam store, but is instead only requesting data on 436 games. Apple continued to defend its citation, calling Valve a “prominent player” in the big picture of relevant markets like the App Store.
Ahead of what is expected to be a heated court hearing scheduled for July 2021 between Apple and Epic Games, Valve has until mid-March to produce the data. We reached out to Valve for comment on the judge’s ruling and will update the page once we hear from it.