A judge has directed Valve to hand over Steam sales data to Apple.

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Despite Valve’s protests

We posted on several new developments in the Dramatic v. Apple legal dispute earlier this week. To recap, Apple recently asked Valve to provide it with 436 Steam games sales details to help it recognise the markets in which Epic is competing. Initially, Valve declined to hand over the data because of how burdensome it would be to satisfy the demand, but now, the company has been ordered by a judge to comply.

This is bad news for Valve. Since it is a private corporation, it is not required to retain and report information to the same degree as a public company, as the company stated in its original position statement. This means that, as part of its “usual course of business,” Valve does not hold the sales data Apple asks for.

Valve said that it will need to access several databases that it usually does not, 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.

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However, Judge Thomas Hixson doesn’t feel the Valve would be especially burdensome in this process. The organisation apparently explained the procedure orally 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 offers. Hixson, on the other hand, disagrees, arguing that the allegedly in place protective order should be adequate to prevent third parties from accessing the data.

On the plus side, Hixson has thrown Valve a bone, asking the company to provide data on the requested games from 2017 and forwards, rather than 2015, as Apple had requested. The judge claims that data from any dates earlier than that will not be applicable to Apple’s case because the Epic Games Store did not come around until 2018.

The Judge’s full judgement is available here, but we’ve outlined his two key points above. We’ll keep you updated if Valve files an appeal, but if it doesn’t, the company has until March 8 to supply the documentation Apple needs.

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