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  1. #41
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    THEY ALREADY FUCKING DO THAT.
    not in australia unless it changed in past 5 months since i last visited a gaming store. and if you knew anything about internet connection in australia you would realize why retail is still popular (altough in past 3 years the situation improved drastically. I mean, in 2005 they advertised a broadband with 5GB limit on TV. and it said it was huge)

    Look, Borders died. Blockbuster died. Tower died. Virgin died. And, yet, somehow their respective industries not only survive, but thrive, with more sales than ever. Gaming is no different.
    I completely agree. that's not the issue. Publishers don't want them to die yet it seems.


    I think there is some confusion here about the price of games and who is responsible for what.

    Game shops cannot sell games cheaper than they are selling now. maybe with weak USD they could cut the price a bit (and it happened when USD was cheaper than AUD. i got brand new game for 75 bucks while before they were around 90) so there is no real price fixing with them.
    Publishers decide that they do not want to be competitive. Their right to do so. There is no legal obligation on their part to provide better service, better price. They have right to demand same prices as it will earn them greater income per each digitally copy sold and it will make retailers happy that their sales are not drastically undercut.
    They CAN do that. they are not fixing the price together with retailers. no. They just match the market price.

    The only one to complain is steam because it does not benefit from retailers. We, customers are not hurt by that, we do not deserve lower prices. We deserve fair competition. Steam is not destroying competition by having higher prices.
    Last edited by Lukasz; 23-11-2011 at 12:44 PM.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Are you waiting for Valve to commit perjury or are you going to put two and two together?
    ...
    Aye. Here in the States they stock four copies of the top two releases and a couple dozen WoW timecards.
    There's not one reliable source for it. And it makes no sense, if you put two and two together, you get five. Because of the other thing you said - the average high street GAME store has about 5 PC games for sale. Why would Steam need to do a deal with them?

    Were the claim about say, Amazon, I might give it some credence. But the whole GAME thing just seemed to be made up.
    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai View Post
    Are you asserting prices are not being fixed in the UK or Australia? If the later, there are a number of problems with your prior paragraph;
    Mainly: "it's not Steam that's setting the price, it's the publisher" - That IS price fixing (according to our law.)
    Can the publisher not sell directly to the consumer in Australia? So for instance, Team Meat wouldn't be able to sell to Australian customers via it's own website if they're selling boxed copies at Australian retail?

    But also: "because you're not buying from Steam, they're just an enabler, you're buying from the publisher." - Does your credit card statement list Valve Corp. or Electronic Arts?
    Steam. Much like my rent cheques are payable to my estate agent but my Landlord sets my rent. It's an agency model. You're talking about resale, but the very word 'resale' involves a product being bought by one company, and then sold by that sale company to someone else. Resale. It's literally re-sold. Sold again.

    That's not how Steam works. It could work that way. Resale doesn't require physical products. Steam could work by buying the rights to deliver say 10000 copies of a game from EA for X amount of money, and then sell them at whatever price it wants, and when it runs out go back to EA and buy another batch. That's a digital resale model. Not how Steam works. Steam sells you the game, takes a cut and passes the rest directly to the publisher.

    Question is if an agency model is legal in Australia. I'm going to guess yes, if it's not the eBook sellers are still getting away with it anyway.

  3. #43
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    Deano,
    I will re-itterate for both yourself and Lukasz. This has NOTHING to do with the 'cut' Valve is given by the publisher. It's about the tactics used by publishers to force Valve, and other distributors (online & offline) into pricing agreements. Perhaps you are all fixated on how Steam sets it's prices because I used them as an example in my original post.
    I am not under the illusions that Valve is the one morally responsible here but if they are complicit in the price fixing, they are legally responsible.
    Last edited by nikolai; 23-11-2011 at 02:30 PM. Reason: removed double negative

  4. #44
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai View Post
    Deano,
    I will re-itterate for both yourself and Lukasz. This has NOTHING to do with the 'cut' Valve is given by the publisher. It's about the tactics used by publishers to force Valve, and other distributors (online & offline) into pricing agreements. Perhaps you are all fixated on how Steam sets it's prices because I used them as an example in my original post.
    I am not under the illusions that Valve is the one morally responsible here but if they are complicit in the price fixing, they are legally responsible.
    but mate. what you don't get nobody is forcing valve. They created steam to work like that. They WANT to do this.

  5. #45
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    They WANT to do this.
    And? Microsoft want to ship Windows with just IE, but they were forced to stop doing that because it's anti-competitive.

    Just because you want to do something, it doesn't mean you can.


  6. #46
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    And? Microsoft want to ship Windows with just IE, but they were forced to stop doing that because it's anti-competitive.
    But what steam is doing is not anti competitive.
    Just because you want to do something, it doesn't mean you can.
    Of course. but please look at the whole argument.

  7. #47
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    But what steam is doing is not anti competitive.
    Says who? You? Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but you're not a lawyer are you? You don't have much - if any - experience with the legal aspects of running a business like Steam, correct? Well, in that case, it is for the courts to decide whether Steam is anti-competitive in any of its practices. That will also vary from country to country - EU laws will function differently to US ones, Australian laws to those in the UK. This needs to be looked at and possibly put through the courts, because we're talking massive numbers of consumers (millions at any one time) and massive amounts of money.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    Of course. but please look at the whole argument.
    I am.


  8. #48
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    not in australia unless it changed in past 5 months
    Then let me tell you why what I said was important:

    BECAUSE THE GAMING INDUSTRY HAS NOT DIED IN AMERICA. Brick & mortar retail has waned and will continue to disappear as well it should, and this has not in any way reduced the profits of games developers. In fact, they're doing better than they ever have before!

    And I'm sure that once Aussies see that they could have their games quicker and cheaper than the shit they have to wait and pay for, they'll flock to online distributors... provided they get better service.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
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    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai View Post
    Deano,
    I will re-itterate for both yourself and Lukasz. This has NOTHING to do with the 'cut' Valve is given by the publisher. It's about the tactics used by publishers to force Valve, and other distributors (online & offline) into pricing agreements.
    Yes it does. Okay, the actual 'cut' doesn't matter but the way the goods are sold does. I'm not sure you actually understand the difference here? To break it down:

    In traditional retail, retailers will buy stocks from the publisher for a given price. They can then sell those at whatever price they want. Obviously they'll normally want to make a profit, but they might also sell off cheaply to clear stock.

    With Steam, and other online distributors, it doesn't work that way. It's an 'agency' model. Google it. And Google the stuff around the e-books agency model in Australia and you'll probably find some stuff really useful to your project on both sides of the argument. There's no agreement on if it's legal or not. The fact that Valve take a cut of the sale is key because it's the publisher's sale, and Valve just take a cut. Valve are agents for the publisher, they are not re-sellers. Valve do not set the price on Steam, publishers do (although Valve advise). There's no need for publishers to force Valve to sell at a given price because the publishers choose the price that their games sell for on Steam. Valve don't decide that. Don't imagine Steam as a shop, imagine it as an art exhibition. Artists price and display their own work, if someone buys as a result of a exhibition, the gallery get a cut. But you're buying from the artist, and the artist sets the price.

    Now you argue that it's illegal in Australia for publishers to force resellers to sell at a given price. And you're right. But Valve are not acting as re-sellers, they're acting as agents. It can't be illegal for publishers to sell direct to the consumer either or every small home production business is now illegal, and so are estate agents.

    You should try and get your head around this because it's key to what you're trying to do. At the moment you're equating apples and oranges. The question you should be asking is 'is this sort of agency model legal in Australia'?
    Last edited by deano2099; 23-11-2011 at 06:52 PM.

  10. #50
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    Says who? You? Now, forgive me if I'm wrong, but you're not a lawyer are you? You don't have much - if any - experience with the legal aspects of running a business like Steam, correct? Well, in that case, it is for the courts to decide whether Steam is anti-competitive in any of its practices. That will also vary from country to country - EU laws will function differently to US ones, Australian laws to those in the UK. This needs to be looked at and possibly put through the courts, because we're talking massive numbers of consumers (millions at any one time) and massive amounts of money.
    Have you read what was posted before? the link to legislation. and no, i am not a lawyer. But i did law courses which cover some of the stuff during my undergraduate studies and I had my company. So I do have a bit of knowledge and experience.
    Anyhow
    Steam is not anticompetitive because THEY are not lowering their prices. They are not preventing anyone else from doing that. They are not hurting competition by not being very competitive themselves. That's what anti-price fixing legislation do. They target any activity which might lower fair competition. You are accusing steam for being anti competitive by not being competitive enough.
    Like I said many times. Customers do not deserve lower prices. They only deserve fair uncontrollable by anyone market. That is what is currently happening although checking it won't harm anyone. So I do support what OP is trying to do but at the same time I am trying to post what I know about the topic.

    and why I told you to please look at the whole argument is simply because IE and Microsoft is different scenario to what Steam and publisher might be doing. First scenario involves a company which controls 90% of the OS market preventing browser market from being competitive by using its OS market power to influence browser market.
    Second scenario involves a company which controls 20% of the market not wanting to control more of it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    Then let me tell you why what I said was important:

    BECAUSE THE GAMING INDUSTRY HAS NOT DIED IN AMERICA. Brick & mortar retail has waned and will continue to disappear as well it should, and this has not in any way reduced the profits of games developers. In fact, they're doing better than they ever have before!

    And I'm sure that once Aussies see that they could have their games quicker and cheaper than the shit they have to wait and pay for, they'll flock to online distributors... provided they get better service.
    right. Your opinion which does not match reality. Explain why steamworks games are not being released in UK then (like brink and I think skyrim too)

  11. #51
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    Explain why steamworks games are not being released in UK then (like brink and I think skyrim too)
    The games-not-appearing-on-Steam thing makes no sense, because Rage and Skyrim have appeared, but Saints Row the Third and some others haven't. You can't explain it because there's no logic to it.


  12. #52
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lukasz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnravThreads View Post
    The games-not-appearing-on-Steam thing makes no sense, because Rage and Skyrim have appeared, but Saints Row the Third and some others haven't. You can't explain it because there's no logic to it.
    lol. nice explanation. there is a reason, there is a logic which we just do not know it. and yeah. skyrim is but Batman disappear didn't it?

  13. #53
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Althea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lukasz View Post
    lol. nice explanation. there is a reason, there is a logic which we just do not know it. and yeah. skyrim is but Batman disappear didn't it?
    Batman disappeared from some people's accounts when they restarted Steam (only to appear again), but it's been on the store for a few weeks, maybe even a month or two now, and that's only Steamworks if you're an idiot and buy the overpriced version from Steam.


  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    With Steam, and other online distributors, it doesn't work that way. It's an 'agency' model.
    Would you like me to provide you with a list of cases involving agents conducting or suspected of involvement in price fixing with their directors, other agents and distributors?

    Still failing to see your point.

  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by nikolai View Post
    Would you like me to provide you with a list of cases involving agents conducting or suspected of involvement in price fixing with their directors, other agents and distributors?

    Still failing to see your point.
    Yes please. Because agents don't set prices. They can't, because it's not their's to sell. My point is you're quoting and referencing Australian law in relation to resellers. Steam is not a re-seller, it's an agent.

    If you have agents in Australia then your entire argument falls down, because if an agent is selling something, the publisher/manufacturer is setting the price. Which you say is illegal. Steam don't set prices. The publishers set prices. You don't need an investigation to prove that, it's right out there in the open. Steam have said this many, many times. If that's illegal this is open and shut as it's something Steam freely admit to doing. They sell the game at the price decided by the publisher, they always have, they've always been open about it.

    That's not to say that it means said publishers can't be involved in price fixing. If they're putting pressure on retailers to sell at certain prices, then yes, they are price-fixing. But of course Steam are selling at their desired price because they tell Steam what price to sell at.

    But a publisher controlling the price of one outlet, where they provide the games directly through an agent, is not price-fixing. Because they only control one outlet. The others can still compete. The market for ebooks is more complicated, as you can class ebooks and books as different items more easily than digital downloads and boxed copies of games, which are seen as the same. And in the ebook case, the publishers set the price from every outlet. Nevertheless, even in this case it's debated as to the legality, and it's still happening right now.

  16. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Yes please.
    http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index...?itemId=809637

    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    My point is you're quoting and referencing Australian law in relation to resellers. Steam is not a re-seller, it's an agent.
    You're implying that agents don't have to play by the same laws as everyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    If you have agents in Australia then your entire argument falls down, because if an agent is selling something, the publisher/manufacturer is setting the price.
    You don't understand my argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    But a publisher controlling the price of one outlet, where they provide the games directly through an agent, is not price-fixing. Because they only control one outlet. The others can still compete. The market for ebooks is more complicated, as you can class ebooks and books as different items more easily than digital downloads and boxed copies of games, which are seen as the same. And in the ebook case, the publishers set the price from every outlet. Nevertheless, even in this case it's debated as to the legality, and it's still happening right now.
    I completely disagree with your assertion that ebooks are not a perfect metaphor for this.

  17. #57
    Obscure Node Tagert's Avatar
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    I'm curious why anyone is bothering to argue against the OP.

    He (Or She - For the post I'm going to assume he) has not stated that anyone has, for a fact, done anything wrong. What he is doing is attempting to discover if anyone has done anything wrong. He may be assuming guilt (I don't know if he is) but he's going about the correct legal method to discover whether there is anything wrong.

  18. #58
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    Thanks Tagert, I kind of suspected the thread would get off-topic pretty quickly, especially if people misunderstood the context of my first post. - Perhaps I could have made it clearer.

    Glad to see some people are on the same page as me.

    Edit: That's not to say those other posts topics don't warrant discussion - they certainly do. Just in another thread.
    Last edited by nikolai; 25-11-2011 at 05:48 AM.

  19. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tagert View Post
    I'm curious why anyone is bothering to argue against the OP.

    He (Or She - For the post I'm going to assume he) has not stated that anyone has, for a fact, done anything wrong. What he is doing is attempting to discover if anyone has done anything wrong. He may be assuming guilt (I don't know if he is) but he's going about the correct legal method to discover whether there is anything wrong.
    While that was his stated goal it's quite obvious from just reading his responses that he's convinced Steam has done something wrong and is looking for proof. There's nothing wrong with that, but he's certainly not acting as a neutral party.

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    Well, just a small update. The FOI request was accepted and turned up no agreements (as expected.) So, on to the next part. After numerous back-and-forth between myself and a helpful chap at the ACCC, explaining to him (among other things) exactly how online distributed content works, I outlined an example scenario which I believe fits this case. To which I received the attached.

    For the ACCC to act on it, they do need some evidence to start with, so I'm pursuing an example of what I believe was a case of supply restriction to a distributor (GoG), not only because it's well known, but also relatively well documented, compared to any cases on Steam where it's largely speculation and hearsay. They have, in the past been very helpful, but contacting them can be difficult, especially when you're a nobody like me. If anyone out there has some street-cred in the industry and could possibly get me a phone call or even an email interview it would be very helpful. Basically, I'd like to find out how much they can talk 'on the record' about it. Of-course any contact with Valve would also be of great help too.

    Dear Mr xxxx,

    Thank you for your email of 12 December 2011 to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) regarding price fixing. The reference number for this matter is xxxx.

    For price fixing agreements to be considered illegal:
    there must be a ‘contract, arrangement or understanding’ (the agreement)
    two or more of the parties to the agreement must be competitors
    the agreement must have the purpose or effect (or likely effect) of fixing, controlling or maintaining the price of goods or services
    what is fixed must be the price for—or a discount, allowance, rebate or credit in relation to—goods or services supplied or acquired by the parties to the agreement.

    The scenario you have identified is therefore likely to constitute price fixing if the agreement is between two or more competitors.

    However, the conduct you describe may also constitute Resale Price Maintenance (RPM). Any arrangement between a supplier and a reseller that means the reseller will not advertise, display or sell the goods the supplier supplies below a specified price is illegal.

    It is also illegal for a supplier to cut off, or threaten to cut off, supply to a reseller (wholesale or retail) because they have been discounting goods or advertising discounts below prices set by the supplier.

    Further details about these anti-competition provisions of the Act can be accessed at http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.../itemId/816373.

    Thank you for contacting the ACCC.

    Yours sincerely,


    xxxx
    ACCC Infocentre
    Ph: 1300 302 502
    Last edited by nikolai; 13-12-2011 at 04:03 AM. Reason: Grammar, Spelling

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