German Consumer Advocacy Group Files Complaint Against Valve for Steam’s Used Games Resale Policy

The German consumer advocacy group The Federation of German Consumer Association has filed an official complaint against Valve Software for its Steam's end-user license agreement because it does not allow consumers to resell digital content. The European High Court ruled last year that digital content games can be sold. The complaint against Valve filed with the German courts is directly related to that ruling.

Speaking to Cinema Blend, VZBV representative Eva Hoffschulte said: "We have submitted complaint against the company to the district court Berlin."

The group argues in its complaint that consumers should be able to resell any product purchased from the Steam Store, and that Valve's current rules and systems are not in the interest of consumers. The VZBV says that this will harm sustained growth of digital distribution in the long-term because users will be forced to keep their digital content tied to a single digital platform.

It should be noted that Valve's Steam is like every other digital distribution platform that does business in Europe, in that it has not addressed the ramifications of the European High Court's ruling…

Source: Cinema Blend by way of Gamasutra


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  1. 0
    Left4Dead says:

    How about this though:  A lot of games are in my Steam list that I no longer play nor care about owning any more?  Let's say I haven't played some game in over a year.  That game is now eligible for resale.  If I play the game again, it ceases being eligible until a year passes.

    However, this certainly starts us down the path of higher prices overall.  We get the 75% to 90% off sales on Steam because it the publisher knows it is exclusive and they can drive significant volume.  The downside is that most of us have all the games we need because of those sales, so prices will go up regardless.

    -- Left4Dead --

  2. 0
    jedidethfreak says:

    Considering Steam DRM can be gotten around on a vast majority of their games, watch piracy spike if you can just buy the game, then sell it after you've cracked and copied it.

  3. 0
    Michael Chandra says:

    "The ruling goes on to say that even when the license says that a consumer cannot transfer a game, the rightsholder "can no longer oppose the resale of that copy."

    The ruling also suggests that the person who buys that used game is within his or her right to download it from the publisher's website.

    "Therefore the new acquirer of the user licence, such as a customer of UsedSoft, may, as a lawful acquirer of the corrected and updated copy of the computer program concerned, download that copy from the copyright holder's website," the Court said."

  4. 0
    SeanB says:

    This is a rather interesting debate, because used or pre-owned digital goods are quite literally, JUST AS GOOD, as a brand new copy of the game.

    When you go into EB Games or whatever and buy a used copy, you check the disk for scratches, and weigh the possible shorter life against the amount of money you save.

    But with a digital copy, you are absolutely guaranteed that the copy you are getting is the exact same thing. If steam allowed people to re-sell copies of the games, it would instantly devalue all of the new copies.

    At a certain point, developers would stop making money. There would be enough used copies available that nobody would need to pay full price anymore.

    Unless steam was taking a cut off the profits of the used-game-sellers, they would then be forced to host servers for something they were no longer making money off of as well

    TLDR: Used games on steam would slowly destroy it.

    There is another thing to consider as well. From the article "The European High Court ruled last year that digital content games can be sold." Okay, assuming James got this wording exactly right (I'm on lunch and dont have time to translate the german laws), we have to acknowledge that the german courts only said "Digital Content Games CAN be sold", not that they MUST be allowed for resale.

    Big difference.

  5. 0
    Coffeya says:

    I would agree with you if only if they are allowed to have the option of selling it outside of steam.  If they can only sell it through steam then no fee.  If I have some physical stuff I won't to sell and do it on my own yard I'm not charged a fee, but if I go through ebay then I am.  Yet I still had the options to do so.  I don't understand why people feel like consumers don't have the rights to their digital goods.  When they have the right to their physical goods. 

  6. 0
    Sajomir says:

    I think there's plenty of room for compromise. Add a small fee per transaction that Valve and the publisher can split. Say $5 for a game that is still retailing for full $49.99 value. The buyer and seller are satisfied at whatever price they set, and the companies still make a little. The players likely BOTH get a better deal than some place like Gamestop, too.

    Once the retail price starts going down, the fee goes down. The fee also stops two people from selling the same game back and forth and completely denying income to the companies.

  7. 0
    Longjocks says:

    Sure, simple idea that you can transfer your activation key to another Steam user. Technologically sound. But just wait until people start selling their used Steam games and the publishers don't see a dime. There'll be hell to pay. They'll demand that if your activation code is second-hand that you pay an extra $10 for an online pass.

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