Seattle-based game developer Valve has lost its legal case against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
On Friday April 20, the Australian Final Court ruled against Valve’s appeal to challenge a hefty fine imposed by the Australian government.
Following the ruling, Valve is set to pay a fine of $3 million Australian dollars ($2.5 million USD).
The legal battle started in 2014. The ACCC opened an investigation into Valve for a violation of Australian Consumer Law.
After looking into the process of the company, the ACCC found Valve guilty of misleading its customers through its terms and conditions.
This is not Valve’s first violation of Australian laws. The company was previously reported to the ACCC for failing to offer adequate support to dissatisfied customers.
The quality of Valve’s products is another concerning factor for the ACCC. Apparently, some customers have complained that the products they received failed to meet the minimum standards expected. This is another beach of Australian Consumer Law and one of the arguments used against Valve.
The amount of evidence against Valve was overwhelming and the company was found guilty of misleading its customers, failing to provide support and poor product quality.
After three years, the final verdict was definitive.
Valve launched an appeal immediately after the decision, which saw the case taken to the High Court.
After one year of deliberations, the Australian Final Court denied the appeal.
$3 million AUD will not put Valve out of business. Valve is the company behind successful titles like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. These games have competitive esports leagues followed by thousands of gamers every year.
The revenue generated by Valve’s vast wealth of video games is far higher than the fine levied against the company. Valve’s reputation, on the other hand, has taken a beating.
Authorities from Europe are currently looking into the company’s loot box system. Online, fans can sell their CS:GO loot boxes for a profit. Depending on the rarity, a single loot could be sold for over €600.
This is an illegal activity and the authorities have urged Valve to change the system. However, Valve has failed to make any significant modifications. As a result, Dutch authorities have since opened an investigation.
The United Kingdom and Germany could also pursue legal action against Valve in the future.
Faced with this pressure, the game developer must make several adjustments.
Valve is profiting from skin gambling and loot boxes, which are both considered illegal by some governments. This is especially the case when you consider that many of the individuals gambling through the Steam platform are minors.
These scandals are affecting Valve’s reputation and it’s only a matter of time before revenue suffers the consequences.