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Valve's CEO Gabe Newell Forced to Testify in Person at a Steam Antitrust Lawsuit

Due to concerns regarding the risk of contracting COVID-19, Newell requested a remote deposition in the Wolfire Games vs. Valve case.

Image credit: Wolfire Games, Overgrowth

In April 2021, Wolfire Games, an American indie studio, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Valve, claiming that the company was using Steam's dominant position in the games market to suppress competition and secure a disproportionately large share of sales. However, the case seemed to stall for several months, with no updates or developments.

In November 2021, the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, which allowed Wolfire Games to amend its complaint within 30 days to address the court's concerns. Wolfire Games took this opportunity and revived the case in May 2022.

During the ongoing discovery process, Wolfire Games' lawyers seek to personally question Gabe Newell, who they believe has unique insights into all aspects of the defendant's business strategy. They argue that an in-person deposition is crucial for accurately evaluating Newell's credibility. However, Newell has previously requested a remote deposition, citing concerns about the risk of contracting COVID-19.

"Mr. Newell contends that he is at risk of developing a serious illness were he to contract COVID-19 and, for this reason, has structured his life to minimize exposure to possible COVID-19 transmission. According to Mr. Newell, an in-person deposition, even with the health measures which Plaintiffs propose, is not consistent with those safeguards. As a result, he seeks a remote deposition," states the court document.

Speaking of Newell's concerns about COVID-19 risks, it's worth noting that he spent a significant amount of time in New Zealand as a precautionary measure during the pandemic. However, the court dismissed his argument, stating that he had not provided substantial evidence to support claims of being at a higher risk of severe illness than the general public.

In order to accommodate Newell's concerns while maintaining the integrity of the deposition, the court mandated that everyone in the courtroom wear an N95 or compatible mask during his appearance. However, Newell himself will be required to remove his mask when answering questions, allowing for effective communication during the deposition.

You can read the court order here and join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on InstagramTwitter, and LinkedIn, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.

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