In addition to some aggregated sales data for the entire Steam version, Valve only needs to provide specific price and sales data per title for “436 specific apps available on both Steam and the Epic Games Store” as per the order. This is a significant decrease from Apple’s 30,000+ titles for which Apple originally requested data.
When Valve defied the subpoena, it argued that its Steam sales data were irrelevant to questions about the purely mobile app marketplaces at issue in the present case. Refocusing the request only on games available on both Steam and the Epic Games Store makes it more directly relevant to the mobile competition issues in this case, Judge Thomas Hixson writes in his order.
“Do you remember that in these related cases, [Epic] Apple’s 30% commission for sales through the App Store is anti-competitive and the ability to sell iOS apps through other stores would force Apple to lower the commission to a more competitive level, “Hixson writes in the order. .. with 436 specific games sold in both the Steam and Epic stores, Apple is trying to find out whether the availability of other stores actually affects the commissions [Epic] claim.”
Just pass it on
Valve’s attorney Gavin Skok also argued that responding to the subpoena would put undue strain on the company as multiple full-time employees working for hours would have to compile data from multiple sources for each game (as reported by Law360). In his order, Judge Hixson said the data collection “didn’t sound as burdensome”. Even so, Hixson agreed to limit responding to data from 2017 (rather than 2015, as requested by Apple), as the Epic Games Store does did not exist until 2018.
Hixson also dismissed arguments that Apple should summon individual developers for their pricing and sales data, saying that potential efforts would be “an undue burden” on Apple. The judge added that this sales information is not confidential to the developers involved and that “Valve is running a business and how much it sells of its own information”.
Valve decided to do this back in 2018 Effectively block services like Steam Spy or Ars’ own steam meter Generating public estimates of Steam game sales based on examples of individual public user account information. Valve said in July 2018 that it was working on a “more accurate” replacement for this Steam Spy data, but has only just been released sporadic and incomplete summaries of the Steam marketplace in the years since.
“Valve’s decision to remain private means it will avoid the public company’s disclosure and reporting requirements, but will not immunize the company against them [legal] Discovery, “continued Hixson.” The protection instructions in these promotions allow Valve to mark its documents confidential or highly confidential to address competition concerns, and that protection is sufficient. “
Valve has 30 days to provide Apple with the requested data.