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Valve fined $3 million over Steam's refund policy in Australia

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Picture of a $20 bill with Valve's Gabe Newell smiling
Steam's sweet spot

Valve's court case dating back to 2014 has come back to haunt them, when Australian judiciary found Steam's refund policy to be misleading. The High Court of Australia has dismissed Valve's appeal, which means they owe Aussies $3 million.

Valve were charged by the Australian Competition Consumer Commission for violating the country's consumer laws. Even though the company's refund policy had been amended by then, Valve and Steam were found guilty for their earlier transgressions. 

Valve tried to weasel their way out of the lawsuit, claiming they weren't actually doing business there. They argued that digital products sold through their platform are not considered goods, which would have to be the case to constitute doing business.

ValvePicture of a $20 bill with Valve's Gabe Newell smiling Valve's Steam Platform

Unfortunately for Gabe Newell and Co, Aussie judge would have none of it and Valve were quickly dispatched to the pay-up line. The penalty stands at $3 million, although to be fair, this is probably pocket money for them.

Aussies rejoiced and the Commission representative Sarah Court pointed out how this is a show of strength of their judiciary. She hopes it will send a message to all foreign companies that they must abide by domestic rules.

The company aren't strangers to lawsuits, having been sued by everyone from concerned mothers to friends of concerned mothers. This time around however, the case was a higher profile one, with Valve's reputation at stake.

ValvePicture of a $20 bill with Valve's Gabe Newell smiling Valve

The lawsuit is further special for setting a legal precedent for games, which had legally not been considered goods. They need not worry about Valve of course, since they barely make games anymore.

Ultimately though, we're glad the ordeal was over, no matter who won. The issue has been dragged along for too long, much like Valve's excuses on why the company isn't as prolific as it should be, what with all the funding their cash cows make.

We can't fault Newell and Co for being completely lazy though - making Half Life and setting legal precedents - what more can a man ask of the company? Well, other than a refund perhaps.