Out of curiosity, you may want to check up on your local laws. As far as I know the UK doesn't have class actions at all in the law, so it doesn't change much, and the US has been thoroughly checked by Valve's lawyers, but here we have this little gem in my province's Consumer Protection Act:
The funny thing is that if you read through that Act, there's a bunch of things multinational corps are doing which, at least from my (limited) understanding, are prohibited, such as altering an agreement after it has been entered into by both parties without providing for a way to leave the agreement at no cost or penalty.11.1. Any stipulation that obliges the consumer to refer a dispute to arbitration, that restricts the consumer's right to go before a court, in particular by prohibiting the consumer from bringing a class action, or that deprives the consumer of the right to be a member of a group bringing a class action is prohibited.
If it isn't though it's horrible, but a court that's against you from the get-go is just as bad.
Largely the clause is more one of encouragement than anything else. In theory at least, if you're offering people a cheaper and more expedient method of resolving a dispute than engaging the legal system it encourages them towards using that rather than seeking legal redress.
AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion. It's just another step in the US's steady march towards the complete degradation of consumer rights.
Also going back to UK (well English judges as Scotland has a separate system.) they're appointed by an independent commission of other judges, so they are fairly independent from politics here. Though of course there are issues with nepotism and judges being a conservative lot. However it's fairly safe to say they are independent of politics considering the amount of time the executive seem to spend at war with them for making wrong decisions. By wrong I mean decisions that are entirely correct by the law but look bad in newspapers.
What about retail purchases that use Steamworks?Valve already have a mechanism in place that allows them to prevent new purchases, trading and online activities while still allowing you to download and play stuff you've already bought (that they tend to use instead of banning accounts now) so they'd probably do that.
Also, a comment about the Valve bias in this thread, I didn't care when Sony changed their policy, or EA changed their policy. Or anybody for that matter. Just like I don't care about Valve. However, the entire steam client shuts down if you click "I Disagree" and you have no way to get back on it. I get the feeling that isn't legal.
You US folks totally need a class action lawsuit for that.The funny thing is that if you read through that Act, there's a bunch of things multinational corps are doing which, at least from my (limited) understanding, are prohibited, such as altering an agreement after it has been entered into by both parties without providing for a way to leave the agreement at no cost or penalty.
Also liking the joke about Valve being for togetherness gaming but not togetherness court cases :P
Regardless, what this clause is trying to do away with isn't judges, but lawyers.
This really does not bode well. Yes it won't effect the majority of people, but denying anyone the ability to file a lawsuit is never a good thing because it's much easier to abuse them afterwards.
I would be reulctant to refer to it as their own strata of politics though. They're pretty politically neutral. They just interpret the acts of parliament based on precedence and totally ignore what politicians or the people say on the matter. Which I personally feel is a good thing.
For instance when Tony Martin (a farmer with an illegal shotgun) killed a kid robbing his house in self defence (shot him in the back as he ran away), the Judges made sure the jury paid attention to the law where self defence is only valid if reasonable force is used. Despite the newspapers and conservative party all arguing it was fine in public. Hence he got sent to jail.
Also things like the death penalty, where if you let the public directly you'd get bad decision making. Elitist but I don't care.
Anyway that's waaaay off topic.
Re independent arbitration - hopefully the courts are independent but again that's got nothing to do with what I'm talking about - truly independent arbitration services (or alternative dispute resolution services if you want another term of it) aren't bad.
@Hirmetrium: I'm afraid the act I quoted isn't from the US. I'm not sure they have something comparable really.
@archonsod: I said that because I'd reasonably expect that Valve's lawyers would advise against such a clause if it actually contradicted US laws. I know this may sound overly trusting of lawyers, but I honestly can't be bothered checking. The US dug their grave a while ago.
@deano2099: I wonder if that's what happens if you click "Disagree" when Steam updates with the new ToS?