Class-action lawsuits and drawn out and expense, which is why Valve has decided to edit the Steam subscriber agreement to make it impossible for users of the digital distribution service to file them.
More precisely, Valve has invoked the Federal Arbitration Act to prevent you from getting in on the class-action lawsuit game.
If you’d like, you can still take the company to court as an individual – you just can’t team up with any fellow disgruntled customers to challenge Valve as a group. According to Valve, a new process has been set up to allow for quick resolution to such complaints through a small claims court.
A statement from Valve on the matter reads:
“It’s clear to us that, in some situations, class actions have real benefits to customers. 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.
“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.”
While taking away the option of a class-action lawsuit is unlikely to affect many customers, it does mean Valve has protected themselves against specific instances in which they could occur. For example, if a downloaded game (especially those with always-on DRM) suddenly stops working or is removed from the servers, it means the entire user base of the game couldn’t group together and take the company to court as a whole.