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Amended Steam user agreement blocks class action claims

Valve has updated the subscriber agreement for its Steam digital distribution service, introducing a new dispute process that blocks class action claims from users, but still allows for individual claims to be made.
Valve has updated the subscriber agreement for its Steam digital distribution service, introducing a new dispute process that blocks class action claims from users. The company noted that individual claims can still be made and that its number one goal is to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible, whether that be through the normal support process or through small claims court. In the latter case, Valve says it will reimburse costs of the arbitration for claims under a certain amount, and that this reimbursement will be provided regardless of the arbitrator's decision. However, class action claims can no longer be filed, with the company noting that, while these claims can be useful for customers, "in far too many cases, 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." It continues, "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." A similar move was made by Sony last year, after numerous class action lawsuits were brought against the company following the infamous PlayStation Network breach. Sony revised the terms of service and user agreement for its online services, inserting a new section that stated users cannot enter into a class action lawsuit against Sony unless Sony agrees to the initiation. Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris later reasoned that the outrage that followed was simply making a mountain out of a molehill, since PSN users will still able to sue Sony on an individual basis -- as is the case in this new Steam agreement. As part of the news, Valve also noted that it has opened a new office in Luxembourg "to better serve our EU customers and partners."

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