Back in November, Apple subpoenaed Valve Software in an effort to gain ground against Epic Games. Apple was seeking data related to Steam sales, plus more, and it turns out it will be getting some of that data after all.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Apple had subpoenaed Valve Software in an effort to get a treasure trove of data from the business. Specifically as it relates to the company’s massive digital storefront, Steam. Along with annual sales, Apple was looking for information that could be related to over 30,000 games, purchases and income made from in-app purchases, sales of external products, and much more.
At the time, there wasn’t a decision made on the matter. Valve was arguing that it shouldn’t have to hand any information over to Apple because, simply put, the fight between Apple and Epic Games started on mobile and Steam doesn’t have a leg to stand on in that market. However, Apple believes the information is necessary in building a case against Epic.
Here we are, less than a week later, and that decision has been handed down. And it turns out Valve will need to hand over some information after all.
Not for 30,000 games, but for over 400. The decision includes 436 games to be exact, and Valve will need to reveal sales data on those games to Apple. It’s also possible that Valve will need to hand over its yearly sales, revenue, and profit information to Apple as well.
That’s according to The Verge, which discovered the discovery order handed down by U.S. Judge Thomas Hixson, which was handed down on Wednesday of this week. Those 436 games are currently available on PC via the Steam store and Epic Games Store.
In addition to that, the judge has compelled Valve Software to offer up “aggregated data”, as long as it relates to Steam. As it stands right now, it remain unclear just what that data will be.
Per the report:
FP 2 asks for documents sufficient to show since 2008 Valve’s (a) total yearly sales from apps and in-app purchases from Steam, (b) annual advertising revenue attributable to Steam, (c) annual sales of external products attributable to Steam, (d) annual revenues from Steam, and (e) annual earnings, income or profits from Steam. Apple asks for this information by app if that is available. During meet and confer Apple limited the relevant time period to 2015 to the present.
Judge Hixson is siding with Apple on this one, at least now:
In the letter brief, Valve said this would be an overwhelming amount of work, but other than using adjectives, it did not substantiate or quantify the burden in any way.
Apple has shown that it has a substantial need for this information to obtain evidence in support of its arguments concerning market definition and the effects of competition, and it cannot obtain this information elsewhere without undue burden. Valve offers several reasons why Apple has not satisfied this standard, but none is persuasive.
There is a catch, though. Originally, Apple was seeking data dating back to 2015. However, Judge Hixson said Valve only needs to go as far back as 2017.
So, Apple’s getting some of the information it requested. Will it be enough to continue to make an argument against Epic Games? We will have to wait and see.