An update to Steam’s subscriber agreement introduces a new dispute resolution process that prevents users from filing class-action lawsuits against the company.
“Most significant to the new dispute resolution terms is that customers may now only bring individual claims, not class action claims,” the update states.
Valve admitted that class action suits did have their place, but said that in general they were a waste of time.
“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.”
Changes to the way individual claims are handled were also mentioned.
“In those instances in which we can't resolve a dispute, we've outlined a new required process whereby we agree to use arbitration or small claims court to resolve the dispute,” said Valve.
“In the arbitration process, Valve will reimburse your costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount. 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.”
It’s worth noting that other tech companies such as Microsoft and EA have similar stipulations in their user agreements.