Valve just did something really evil- mandatory binding arbitration

By on July 31, 2012 10:15:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Alstein

Join Date 07/2004
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http://store.steampowered.com/subscriber_agreement/  Clause 12


Why this is evil:

Arbitration is often a kangaroo court, where companies win 99% of the time because the arbitrator's employment is determined by the company they are arbitrating.  This is something I would actually think hard about boycotting Stardock over.  Valve, I trust them less, and I'm uninstalling Steam over this.

 

I'll probably re-install at some point, but there are enough alternatives to Steam out there still that I can get by for some time.

 

This is why Stardock needs to stay away from mandatory Steamworks.   

 

 

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July 31, 2012 10:32:19 PM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

Pretty much every EULA ever has this clause.  At some point you are just raging against the entire software game industry.

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July 31, 2012 11:16:11 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Perhaps.  Given Valve's market position they need to be held to a much higher standard.

 

 

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August 1, 2012 5:14:07 AM from Demigod Forums Demigod Forums

christ people like to whinge about big bags of fucking nothing, lol.

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August 1, 2012 6:22:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

While I agree that the supreme court saying that companies can use a license agreement to prevent class action lawsuits is kind of silly, there is nothing wrong with businesses following the law, especially when most of their peers are doing so.

 

It turns out that class action lawsuits aren't very good for consumers anyways, they really only benefit the lawyers who get millions of dollars. You will be lucky if you get as much as $100 out of a class action lawsuit, usually its 1/10th of that.

 

You still have the right to take Valve to a small claims court, as per the EULA, and that is the best way to get any kind of compensation. Neither side uses lawyers in small claims court and its a fast and easy process, the judges are more forgiving towards consumers for things like false advertising. Since your steam account isn't worth more than a few hundred dollars anyways, I think that the best method of justice is still available to consumers in this case.

 

Obviously this is a U.S. perspective, and will vary across different territories, and that clause may not be enforcible in other countries. 

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August 1, 2012 7:08:20 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

That last section was pretty hidden: That's enough for me to tolerate and not boycott (I wasn't going to boycott forever anyways)- but valve is now a last resort purchase for anything over say $5.

 

Hopefully Stardock doesn't make Steamworks mandatory in future, though I have a bad feeling about this given how Rebellion did.  I'd pay more for a non-Steamworks version.

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August 1, 2012 7:48:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There was bold text which was viewable right in the middle of the pop-up when we got this agreement after updating Steam. To claim it is "pretty well hidden" is a lie.

SECTION 12 CONTAINS A BINDING ARBITRATION AGREEMENT AND CLASS ACTION WAIVER. IT AFFECTS YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS. PLEASE READ IT. IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, SOME OR ALL OF SECTION 12 MIGHT NOT APPLY TO YOU.

But then I am not upset because these terms clearly do not apply to me. This sort of arbitration cannot be forced on consumers in Sweden where we have many non-negotiable laws to protect the consumers when the business fails to deliver.

 

 

This is why Stardock needs to stay away from mandatory Steamworks.  

Agree, those are pretty terrible terms for anyone who has to follow them.

 

Maybe this is the real danger with Steam - they are so large that even when they introduce anti-consumer terms like these, people still choose to continue using it. Who is to say what will be included in the future? I for one certainly won't be buying anything through Steam after this. Gotta support my gamer bros?

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August 1, 2012 8:41:00 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Only people negatively affected by lack of class action lawsuit are lawyers, so I dont care.

If needed we (individual users) can still take Valve to small claims court.

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August 1, 2012 8:49:57 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

You are going to find clauses like that become very common everywhere.  I see nothing here that is going to prevent me from using or enjoying the convenience and pricing of Steam.

 

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August 1, 2012 6:53:11 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

island dog, the ONLY steam game I have (and it is restricted to watercooled computers only(I only have one)) is sins rebellion, and it is the ONLY steam game I will be getting, so if you move all your development to steam then you WILL lose me as a customer.

harpo

 

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August 1, 2012 6:56:17 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Rebell44,
Only people negatively affected by lack of class action lawsuit are lawyers, so I dont care...
This is the fallacious argument Non Sequitur ('it does not follow').

Because lawyers generally get the lion's share of any payout does not mean there is no value to consumers from class action lawsuits.

Consumers benefit because it's possible (tho not guaranteed) the company will positively modify its behavior.  Also, small claims court actions are unlikely to generate publicity of a company's behavior, where class actions may.

Non-monetary benefits exist, which your argument ignores.

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August 1, 2012 7:44:40 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting harpo99999,
island dog, the ONLY steam game I have (and it is restricted to watercooled computers only(I only have one)) is sins rebellion, and it is the ONLY steam game I will be getting, so if you move all your development to steam then you WILL lose me as a customer.

I'm not speaking on behalf of Stardock here.

I think it's quite silly not to purchase a game because it's on Steam, or it's on GameStop, etc..  I hate to tell you, but retail for PC games is over, it's done.  Steam, GS, etc. are the future and they aren't going away. 

 

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August 1, 2012 7:57:16 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Indeed.  I have a Fry's Electronics near my house and their PC games section is one half-stocked aisle that's also got boxed fragrances on the shelves in it.  I'm not going to patronize those guys with PC sales if I can help it.

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August 1, 2012 8:13:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'll make the same point I've made in every one of these "Steam-is-evil" threads (seriously, it's like 1 a week now).  Without Steam, most of PC gaming doesn't exist in 2012 (and certainly not in the next decade).  People can pretend to take proud stances about the evils of Steam, but if you are a PC gamer in any form, you benefit from Steam, indirectly at least.  Especially if you're someone who likes to play less mainstream games like Warlock: Master of the Arcane or Legend of Grimrock.  Without Steam, the majority of those games don't exist.  So be proud and mighty all you like, but at least acknowledge that you're also benefiting from the "evil Steam".  

As for the lack of class action, I don't personally care one whit.  In the last month I've gotten 6 or 7 excellent games (AAA titles or things like Legend of Grimlock) that cost me $4 to $6 each.  On other sites (Amazon digital for example) they were all $19.99 or $29.99.  The savings on those 6 or 7 games alone crushes any settlement I'd ever get in a class action suit against Steam.  And if I have a class-action style problem with Steam, which I won't because most class-action problems are bullshit, I still have the right to small claims court, which suits me just fine.  

 

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August 1, 2012 9:02:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting SpardaSon21,
Indeed.  I have a Fry's Electronics near my house and their PC games section is one half-stocked aisle that's also got boxed fragrances on the shelves in it.  I'm not going to patronize those guys with PC sales if I can help it.

 

Exactly. Boycott Steam and go buy all your games at WalMart, Target and Best Buy. Thats really making a statement. Say what you want about DRM and whatnot but purchasing games on Steam is worlds better for the gaming industry than giving Wal-Mart your money.

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August 2, 2012 11:05:20 AM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Any individual that ever feels compelled to litigate over a computer game is probably in the wrong hobby.

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August 2, 2012 11:25:08 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting -RAISTLIN-,
christ people like to whinge about big bags of fucking nothing, lol.

This.

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August 2, 2012 3:46:22 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting mentalinstra,
Exactly. Boycott Steam and go buy all your games at WalMart, Target and Best Buy. Thats really making a statement. Say what you want about DRM and whatnot but purchasing games on Steam is worlds better for the gaming industry than giving Wal-Mart your money.

 

I don't think that's the point though, at least it isn't from my pov.

 

Boycotting Steam is really just step one, the real boycott is against the company which chooses Steam only.  Don't buy their game at all.

 

Personally I don't need every single game out there, no matter how cheap they may be, and I don't need to deal with Steam or whatever I don't want to deal with.  It's pretty simple really.  If that means I can't play certain games, oh fucking well.

 

Are we seriously at the point where people are so addicted to Steam that they couldn't live without it?  This isn't some 'get off your ass and go outside for a walk' point either.  This is asking the question that if Steam went away people (Kantok...) seriously think they wouldn't be able to get their gaming fix?  Do you honestly believe that without Steam PC gaming would be dead or would die?  That's a pretty strong statement, and a patently ridiculous one as well.

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August 2, 2012 4:05:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

My argument is, there is no point in getting rid of steam. It causes me no problems, it instead provides a service.  When my computer went down, and I had to rely on my laptop, I decided that I should put some games on it.  I could of dragged out all my disk, but decided to put steam and the games on it was much easier, and because my laptop is often not connected to the internet, the offline mode allows me to play all my steam games without an internet connection.  Steam has only provided me with convenience and good deals on games, including indie games I doubt I would have had access to or knowledge of without steam.  Why would I stop buying games that use steam?  In fact, using steam is a selling point to me now. Actually don't answer the why, I know it's crap.

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August 2, 2012 4:17:01 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Island Dog,



Quoting harpo99999,
reply 10
island dog, the ONLY steam game I have (and it is restricted to watercooled computers only(I only have one)) is sins rebellion, and it is the ONLY steam game I will be getting, so if you move all your development to steam then you WILL lose me as a customer.


I'm not speaking on behalf of Stardock here.

I think it's quite silly not to purchase a game because it's on Steam, or it's on GameStop, etc..  I hate to tell you, but retail for PC games is over, it's done.  Steam, GS, etc. are the future and they aren't going away. 

 

Why is it silly? There are already other threads on this site describing in detail why a great number of people will not purchase games through an online client like Steam.

If a game developer considers that population base acceptable losses for the sale of their game....well, that I think is silly.

As to your comment about retail sales; it's conjecture. If people decide not to buy games online, I'll bet you game developers will switch back to retail in a heartbeat.

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August 2, 2012 4:24:03 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

There are plenty of people who don't believe in the moon landing, or who believe in ghost, and Sasquatch.  And there are a lot of people who don't like steam.  There are a lot more people who disagree, who like steam, and I'm sure developers like steam a hell of a lot more than retailers.

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August 2, 2012 4:39:00 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

“On Steam, whenever a customer is unhappy with any transaction, our first goal is to resolve things as quickly as possible through the normal customer support process. However in those instances in which we can’t resolve a dispute, we’ve outlined a new required process whereby we agree to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute. In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under [$10,000]. 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.”

“Most significant to the new dispute resolution terms is that customers may now 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. 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. 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.”

 

OMG, so evil!  If you sue them they are willing to pay your court cost, even if they win!  Bastards!

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August 2, 2012 4:42:48 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,


Why is it silly? There are already other threads on this site describing in detail why a great number of people will not purchase games through an online client like Steam.

If a game developer considers that population base acceptable losses for the sale of their game....well, that I think is silly.

As to your comment about retail sales; it's conjecture. If people decide not to buy games online, I'll bet you game developers will switch back to retail in a heartbeat.

You are missing his point.  There is barely any retail PC gaming presence at all today as it is.  Most PC gaming sections in stores are half WoW, nearly half Sims and a couple other big titles. That's it.  In 2 years or less there will be NO PC gaming presence at retail.  It's dead Jim, believe it.  It's basically already dead.

Digital distribution is pretty much it for PC gaming already and soon it will be all there is.  So get used to it.  Be it Steam, Gog, GS or direct from the publisher it's going to be your only choice if it isn't already.

And as pointed out there are so many good games out there right now that just wouldn't exist if not for Steam or digital distribution.  You think an excellent game like Defense Grid would sell at retail.  Or Legends of Grimrock?  Heck no.  Even 10 years ago see the struggles of Stardock, one of the bigger Indies at the time (and still is) trying to get their games at retail let alone selling them.

It's just the reality we live in.

And I don't doubt the next gen consoles will go more toward digital distribution as well.  It will be a transition generation and the generation after that will probably be digital only.  10 years from now I don't think there will be any physical games sold at retail anymore, even console.

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August 2, 2012 6:09:46 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You know I used to have a problem with steam but have since changed my mind. Looking at this really reinforces my view that valve is one of the good guys. I can't see any reason why you would ever be wanting to get more than $10,000 out of valve. And they're offering to pay your legal costs. Besides for the most part courts are crap and as a form of justice laughable. I'd rather have arbitration and small claims court as my options especially if they're willing to pay for the arbitration.

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August 2, 2012 6:18:23 PM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Island Dog,

Quoting harpo99999, reply 10island dog, the ONLY steam game I have (and it is restricted to watercooled computers only(I only have one)) is sins rebellion, and it is the ONLY steam game I will be getting, so if you move all your development to steam then you WILL lose me as a customer.

I'm not speaking on behalf of Stardock here.

I think it's quite silly not to purchase a game because it's on Steam, or it's on GameStop, etc..  I hate to tell you, but retail for PC games is over, it's done.  Steam, GS, etc. are the future and they aren't going away. 

 
ID, I am NOT anti-digital, just anti-MONOPOLY, and had bought several games while stardock ran impulse, just do not have any trust for gamestop or steam, and no experience with any of the other digital suppliers, so treat as suspicious (and have very limited funds and prefer that the little I do spend does get to the actual software developers rather than middlemen that seem to have the integrity of a snapping turtle that is hungry(ie snap at everything).

harpo

 

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August 2, 2012 6:25:38 PM from Stardock Forums Stardock Forums

Quoting GFireflyE,

Quoting Island Dog, reply 12

Why is it silly? There are already other threads on this site describing in detail why a great number of people will not purchase games through an online client like Steam.

If a game developer considers that population base acceptable losses for the sale of their game....well, that I think is silly.

As to your comment about retail sales; it's conjecture. If people decide not to buy games online, I'll bet you game developers will switch back to retail in a heartbeat.

Again, this is me speaking for myself.

The few people who refuse to buy a game because it's on Steam, GS, etc. are FAR outnumbered by the amount of people that a platform like Steam brings in.  

As the other person said, there is hardly any retail space left for PC games.  Been to a GameStop store lately?  How about Best Buy?  Every time I go to BB their PC section gets a bit smaller.  Lets not even get into the fact they will probably be out of business in a few years.  I stand by what I said, retail for PC games is over.  

This internet thing seems to be sticking around, so I would place serious money on developers sticking to online distribution.

 

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