Games

Valve denies Apple’s “narrow” data request in the Epic VS Battle

In an ongoing legal battle against Epic, Apple asked non-terminal Valve to provide a series of data points. Apple’s suggestion is that Epic’s biggest competitor is the Valve Steam Games Store. Apple’s lawyers note that their “request is very narrow,” while Valve’s attorneys point out that “Apple is falsely claiming these requests are narrow. They are not.”

According to the document released this week, Valve’s board suggests that they have produced documents about the revenue share, competition with Epic, Steam distribution contracts, and “other documents.” Valve suggested that Apple asked them to “(1) re-create computer games and six-year item sales for hundreds of third-party video games, and then (2) produce a massive amount of confidential information about those games and Valve’s revenue.”

Valve suggested Apple sent a list of 436 games appearing in both the Epic Games Store and Steam. Then they went on, Valve writes, to “ask Valve to” define, from 2015 to the present, every release and all digital content or items for each of those games on Steam, and then (b) provide comprehensive information on all of them, including [the following]”.

The list of requests for the games included:
• Sale dates, prices and price changes from 2015 to the present.
• Total earnings per Game, Edition, and Individually Divided item.
• “All Valve’s revenue related to these issues, content, and items.”

Valve argued that Apple could obtain the same information from Samsung about the Samsung App Store with much less effort than Samsung because Samsung had this information on hand. Valve wrote that Samsung is a public company, it maintains “detailed financial and operating information”. Valve doesn’t have this information easily and / or readily available, so they suggested.

“In the normal course of business, Valve doesn’t keep the information Apple requires for a simple reason: Valve doesn’t need it.” Valve also made a previous point in Apple’s battle with Epic in which Apple’s attorneys suggested that the market relevant to this case included “the competing platforms on which Fortnite is distributed and monetized.” (Case No. 20-cv-05640-YGR) (Dkt. 118 at 16).

It will be interesting to see if Apple is able to force the court to ask Valve to provide the full range of information described in the documents from the court this week. For more information on this latest document filed this week, see Case 4: 20-cv-05640-YGR Document 346 filed on 02/18/21 with the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, Oakland Division .

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