As the antitrust legal battle between Epic Games and Apple continues, many other major groups in the gaming industry have either been drawn into the fracas or stepped in of their own accord. Valve is the latest big name to come up in the matter. Apple filed a subpoena asking for access to extensive Steam sales and operations data. Valve denied the subpoena in joint filing with Apple, calling the request unreasonable and burdensome.
Apple and Valve recently filed the joint letter of their recent legal interaction in the Northern District of California Oakland Division US District Court, as reported by PC Gamer. According to the subpoena, Apple asked for access to Steam product listing, operations, and sales data for information the company deemed relevant to its ongoing legal battle with Epic Games, in which the latter purposefully defied Apple’s app platform rules with Fortnite before accusing Apple of antitrust business practices. Apple believes this data relevant to the case because Steam “is the dominant digital game distributor on the PC platform and is a direct competitor to the Epic Game Store.” Apple further claims that the data is not readily available and “does not raise risk of any competitive harm.”
To clarify, Apple wants Valve to compile data of all product listings, sales, operations, and further info across its entire marketplace. Putting that into perspective, it should come as no surprise that Valve found the request wholly unreasonable and refused
“Valve already produced documents regarding its revenue share, competition with Epic, Steam distribution contracts, and other documents.” Valve argued. “Somehow, in a dispute over mobile apps, a maker of PC games that does not compete in the mobile market or sell ‘apps’ is being portrayed as a key figure. It’s not. The extensive and highly confidential information Apple demands about a subset of the PC games available on Steam does not show the size or parameters of the relevant market and would be massively burdensome to pull together. Apple’s demands for further production should be rejected.”
It will remain to be seen if Apple takes further action to attempt to garner data from Valve for its cause. That said, in a legal battle that has included Epic Games calling its plan to get into a legal fight with Apple “Project Liberty”, Apple’s request for an absurd amount of Steam data might be one of the most comical plays yet.