Valve has updated
their Steam Subscriber Agreement with the removal of the right to file for a class action suit against them in the event of a dispute. In place of this (and to soften the blow) customers can still bring individual claims to Valve, and in the event of arbitration, regardless of the outcome, Valve will foot the bill.
"In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount," they wrote in the update. "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. 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 joins the ranks of companies like Sony and Electronic Arts who also attempt to limit the right of users to file a class action suit through the end user license agreement, representing what appears to be a growing trend among the more shrewd games businesses out there as consumers become more and more savvy.
Drop us a line with your thoughts on Valve's joining of this business practice in the Comments below.