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Valve forced to comply with Apple’s request for sales data

Is Apple involved in a legal dispute with Valve or Epic Games? Because the latest news in this saga really makes it look like Apple doesn’t care who it has to steamroll in order to make its point.

We say this because thanks to a report from The Verge, we know a judge has ordered Valve to comply with Apple’s request for the sales data of 436 games.

One of Valve’s main arguments against giving Apple the data it wanted is that Apple’s matter is unrelated to Valve as Valve operates in the PC gaming space while Apple’s matter is regarding mobile gaming.

US Magistrate judge Thomas Hixson disagrees with Valve’s sentiment.

“As Judge Gonzalez Rogers explained in her preliminary injunction order in the Epic Games case, Plaintiffs are pushing for a narrowly defined market that consists only of apps distributed on the iOS platform, whereas Apple is pushing for a broadly defined video game market that includes distribution on other platforms, including the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, computer platforms (Microsoft Windows PCs, macOS computers), and tablets. (Google Android and Microsoft Surface),” wrote Hixson.

“Here, Steam is within Apple’s proposed relevant market, and RFP 2 seeks relevant information concerning this proposed relevant market,” the judge added.

Further into the order the judge reiterates that Steam’s data is relevant to Apple’s case and that Valve should comply with the request as none of its arguments against providing the information is valid.

Importantly, Hixon highlights that Valve cannot decide what is relevant to Apple’s case as Apple is currently in discovery. While the data could be thrown out at a later stage, that isn’t Hixon’s call to make.

However, the judge has granted Valve some leeway.

For one, Valve now only needs to provide sales data for the 436 games from 2017 to present rather than from 2015 to present.

Valve also still has to provide its total yearly sales from games and microtransactions in games, annual advertising revenue, and more by March 2021.

Oh, and that heavily redacted document Valve submitted? Valve has to remove those redactions “except for any redactions of attorney-client privileged or attorney work product information, if there are any”.

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