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.
"Itís clear to us that in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. In far too many cases however, class actions donít 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."
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.