Earlier this week, several new developments in the Epic vs Apple legal disputes were reported. To recap, Apple recently asked Valve to provide it with 436 Steam games sales details to help it understand the markets in which Epic is competing. Initially, Valve declined to hand over the data because of just how burdensome it would be to satisfy the demand, but now, the company has been ordered by a judge to comply.
This is troubling news for Valve. As the company explained in its original position statement, since it is a private corporation, it is not obligated to store and report information to the same degree as a public company would. This means that, as part of its “ordinary course of business,” Valve does not maintain the sales details Apple asks for.
Valve said that it will need to access several databases that it usually doesn’t, and gather “exhaustive” information on past sales as well as any price adjustment for the games since 2015 on every single game Apple requested information on.
However, Judge Thomas Hixson doesn’t feel the process would be particularly burdensome for Valve. The company apparently explained the procedure verbally during a hearing, and it was not as difficult as it made it sound in its position statement.
One of Valve’s other main privacy-related objections. Valve argued that by giving its data to Apple, it would lose the competitive advantage that confidentiality provides. However, Hixson also disagrees with this, noting that the protective order that is allegedly in effect should be more than sufficient to prohibit data from being accessed by third parties.
On the bright side, Hixson has thrown a bone at Valve—the company just needs to provide data from the year 2017 and onwards on the requested games, not 2015 as originally requested by Apple. The judge claims that data from any dates earlier than that will not be relevant to Apple’s case because the Epic Games Store did not come about until 2018.
You can read the Judge’s full opinion here.