The subpoena of Valve, provided by Apple, considered by many to be completely unrealistic, was accepted and reinforced by a court this week.
Valve has been officially compelled by a California court to provide sales data on more than 400 games from Steam to Apple, even potentially having to reveal its total yearly sales, revenue, and profits. Apple subpoenaed the company earlier this month, as part of its large campaign against game developer Epic Games.
Judge Thomas Hixson had said on Wednesday that Valve would have to provide yearly sales and pricing data from the past four years on a total of 436 games on both Steam and the Epic Games Store. Through the order, here, the judge gave Apple’s request for Valve’s data approval, data which was requested to define Epic Games’ video game market.
In a February 18th filing, Valve had argued that Apple was asking for completely irrelevant and broad data, with the data having been the sales of 30-40,000 games. Apple had asked for these 30 thousand games at first, asking for annual revenue on Steam, the name of every app, and the data range and changes to the apps, from 2010 to the present. Valve had concluded and begged that the demands would have “an extraordinary burden” on the company, which has been private for all of its life.
Valve was also compelled to provide “aggregated data” on how much the company makes from Steam, although it wasn’t clarified on what that data would include. As explained by the court order, the Judge compelled Valve to respond to two different points, including a response to Valve’s reduction in given data:
“RFP 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.”
The interesting part from this point, was the inclusion of Apple’s quite kind decision to reduce the asking data period, from 2010-now, to 2015-now, which is still an incredible amount of data they’re asking for.
The second point, RFP 32, goes as such:
“RFP 32 asks for documents sufficient to show, for each month since 2010 for each app published on Steam, (a) the name of the app, (b) the date range when the app was available on Steam, and (c) the price of the app and any in-app product associated with the app on Steam. During meet and confer, Apple limited this request to 436 specific apps that are available on both Steam and the Epic Games Store and limited the date range to 2015 to the present.”
This point includes the information that Apple reduced its requests to 436 apps, including the previous information of reducing the asking time period from 2010 to 2015-now.
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The judge continues by stating that while Valve argues that this information is unnecessary for Apple’s look into iOS gaming (which it isn’t), in the court’s point of view, it is in fact relevant and important, making it an incredibly important factor in the case and lawsuit.
Hixson says that Valve’s belief that their private company status doesn’t make them immune from releasing information about sales figures, revenue, and net profits, something that really shouldn’t have happened. Apple will now not only get their revenue from Steam, but might also get court-compelled data on Valve’s revenue over the past few years, their total sales figures, and their net profit, all things that should be confidential with a private corporation.
We’ll continue covering this, so make sure to check back at Statural.com as the news continues to develop.
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