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Valve and game developers have a bit of a fight on their hands here, with a French court ruling that Valve should allow users to re-sell their digital games.

Reported by the French website Next Inpact, the French consumers group UFC Que Choisir had a victory against Valve as French courts have ruled against them on the topic of reselling digital content. From what I've read and tried to understand, the courts have basically said that when you buy something on Steam it is indeed a proper purchase and not a subscription.

Valve has been ordered to pay damages at €20K plus €10K to cover some costs. On top of that, they will also have to publish the judgement on Steam's home page (presumably only for users in France) and for it to remain visible for three months. If they don't, they will get a fine for each day of €3K. To Valve though, that's likely pocket change. The bigger issue though, is how other countries inside and outside the EU could follow it.

Speaking to PC Gamer who got a statement from Valve, they are going to fight it. Of course they will though, they could stand to lose quite a lot here and it would set a pretty huge precedent for other stores like GOG, Epic, Humble, itch and all the rest.

There's a lot to think about with this situation. Valve could end up changing the way they deal with this, just like they did with the nicer refunds option which came about after legal issues too. Imagine being able to sell and transfer a game over to another Steam user. Valve could take a cut of that most likely too.

Something to think on there is how this could affect game developers too, I'm all for consumer rights but I do try to think about all angles. We could end up looking at higher prices overall, no release day discounts, more micro transactions, more games updated as a constant service, games that require an online account as a service so you're not paying for an actual product and so on as developers try to keep more income when many smaller developers are already struggling.

Interesting times.

Hat tip to Nibelheim.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Misc, Steam
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F.Ultra 21 Sep, 2019
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Quoting: chancho_zombie
Quoting: Salvatosbut where does that article say that? I don't see it there nor in the French articles that I've read about this ruling. Is it just the headline?


in the headlines, but it also can be a spelling mistake.:|

Journalists does not write their own headlines, that is always done by some editor that have no real insight into what the article is about and is always just there to gather interest (aka click bait). I know many journalists (especially one who cover science) that is really mad about this but there is nothing that they can do since this is the nature of how media works.
Shmerl 22 Sep, 2019
Quoting: ObsidianBlkI do not see how you think optical media is worse than hard drives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot
ObsidianBlk 22 Sep, 2019
Quoting: sub
Quoting: ObsidianBlk
Quoting: Shmerl
Quoting: ObsidianBlkI get this... and I'm not saying I don't have digital games myself, but still... I have CDs I bought in the early 90s that I can still read data off of. How many hard drives can you say the same for?

Consider yourself lucky, but don't think it's a reliable method of storage. Optical discs deteriorate with time, and are a lot more error prone than hard drives which in contrast are built to last for many years.

I'm not sure how you treat your optical media, but all I do is keep them in their cases, on a shelf, and they all still work for me. In fact, I don't think there's a single CD/DVD I've attempted to use in recent years that failed to read. No media is 100% fool proof... especially if treated roughly... but, yeah, I do not see how you think optical media is worse than hard drives. I've rarely heard of a drive lasting much longer than a decade (and, that's actually a pretty solid amount of time).

Doesn't matter if your discs all still work.
Shmerl is right.
CDs and DVDs printed detoriate and should never be used as backup media.

In case of printed CDs/DVDs it's the reflection layer that detoriates.
For writable discs it's even more problematic due to the dye layer.

This is called "Disc rot".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot

Why shouldn't my 20 year old disks count? I have several dozen optical disks, and, as said, I have yet to see a single one as unreadable and decades. I see the wiki article supplied by Shmerl, and I acknowledge it, but in it's own description... "The causes include oxidation of the reflective layer, physical scuffing and abrasion of disc, reactions with contaminants, ultra-violet light damage, and de-bonding of the adhesive used to adhere the layers of the disc together" ... so, basically normal wear and tear. That reflective layer isn't exposed to oxygen until it's outer layer is damaged, and that shouldn't happen if the disk is kept safe. Sure... shiz happens... and (to quote a quote from an article I'll supply shortly), "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everything drops to zero.", Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club... but, again, my collection has still readable disks over 20 years old. Not a single one of them has ever rotted on me (again, I just jewel case them, so no special protections). That's a LOT of evidence for me that while Disc Rot exists, it's not like suddenly, tomorrow, BAM! scores upon scores of my discs will suddenly all have Disc Rot, so long as I don't start leaving them out of there cases, or using them like coasters.

That said, look up the average life span of a hard drive...
https://www.prosofteng.com/blog/how-long-do-hard-drives-last/
https://www.recordnations.com/articles/hard-drive-lifespan/
These were quick google searches for "average life span of hard drives".

The TL;DR of it is, hard drive have an average life span of 3 to 5 years. If the alternative to optical disks is a NAS, which utilizes hard drives, I'm honestly not seeing what makes HDDs that much better. For a solid backup you would want a RAID setup (minimum of two drives). If one of those fails, you still have to buy a new HDD to reconstruct the RAID before the other HDD fails.

Now, let's take a quick look at optical media...
https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub121/sec4/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/246856696_Optical_Disc_Life_Expectancy_A_Field_Report
Again, these were quick google searches for "average life span optical discs"

The TL;DR here says +R, +RW, etc, etc discs have an average life expectancy of 20+ years, while regular, factory pressed CD/DVD disks have an estimated average life span between 25 to 100 years (some estimates suggest upwards of 200 years). This even with Disc Rot as a possibility.

Finally... let's even agree with each other. DVD/CDs AND HDDs are less than ideal for long term storage... create a new physical distribution media. One of my original posts on this thread suggested an SD card-esk physical media (at least in form factor). Much smaller than an optical disk, and no moving parts like a hard drive... hell... that's pretty much the distribution model of DS games.

((NOTE: I say "google search", but I use Duck Duck Go as my search engine... if that matters to anyone))
ZeroPointEnergy 22 Sep, 2019
Quoting: ObsidianBlkWhy shouldn't my 20 year old disks count? I have several dozen optical disks, and, as said, I have yet to see a single one as unreadable and decades.
Also, let's assume for a moment we really have a physical storage medium that hardly has any wear. I don't know, maybe some holographic wireless storage that can't corrupt and has no contacts that can corrode.

Would anyone argue, that just because the physical product you bought doesn't get destroyed with time you should not have the right to sell it?

I think the issue we are discussing here is one of ownership. I can't understand why people are so willing to play along and just completely accept that things you buy and are by all means presented as if you buy them are not your property.

And sure, this will cause some headache for the game industry, but in the end they will adapt and hopefully not in the bad way in that they try again with such tricks to prevent us from owning the products they sell us.

Also, coming back to physical copies. They don't just deteriorate and are gone. Some of those products even gain in value over time. If you have even a semi old collection of games, it will not be hard to find at least one product people will pay vastly more for than you actually payed originally. You don't get that with digital copies, and that is a pretty good compensation for the fact that it doesn't deteriorates. Still, it should be something we own if we payed for this product.


Last edited by ZeroPointEnergy on 22 September 2019 at 9:17 am UTC
EagleDelta 22 Sep, 2019
My main question is whether this can be enforced for any games on Steam other than Valve's first party games. I mean, the license holder is usually the publisher or developer, so Steam could have serious issues if they are told to allow something that they may not legally have the right to do.
ObsidianBlk 22 Sep, 2019
Quoting: ZeroPointEnergy
Quoting: ObsidianBlkWhy shouldn't my 20 year old disks count? I have several dozen optical disks, and, as said, I have yet to see a single one as unreadable and decades.
Also, let's assume for a moment we really have a physical storage medium that hardly has any wear. I don't know, maybe some holographic wireless storage that can't corrupt and has no contacts that can corrode.

Would anyone argue, that just because the physical product you bought doesn't get destroyed with time you should not have the right to sell it?

I think the issue we are discussing here is one of ownership. I can't understand why people are so willing to play along and just completely accept that things you buy and are by all means presented as if you buy them are not your property.

And sure, this will cause some headache for the game industry, but in the end they will adapt and hopefully not in the bad way in that they try again with such tricks to prevent us from owning the products they sell us.

Also, coming back to physical copies. They don't just deteriorate and are gone. Some of those products even gain in value over time. If you have even a semi old collection of games, it will not be hard to find at least one product people will pay vastly more for than you actually payed originally. You don't get that with digital copies, and that is a pretty good compensation for the fact that it doesn't deteriorates. Still, it should be something we own if we payed for this product.

I very much agree with you!
In fact, my original post said very similar things as yours. I had say that (while I strongly doubt it would ever really happen) I hoped physical distribution would come back... and that just lead a few (including myself) into a debate over the merits of optical disc storage vs hard drive storage. :)
Purple Library Guy 22 Sep, 2019
Quoting: GuestI read that people who buy GoG games do not distribute them a lot ( How do we know that ?). I wonder if that would change if people could sell their GoG game but still keep the binary on their hard disk.
They can. What's to stop them? It's DRM free. They can copy the files and give them away or sell them. Not legally of course, and yes by all accounts people don't as a rule.
On the other hand, if you meant legally then this ruling would not allow any such thing. If you sold a game you would have to no longer have it yourself. This ruling does not grant the right to make and sell copies, that would be copyright. It grants normal consumer rights to transfer one's property to someone else.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy on 22 September 2019 at 6:49 pm UTC
Purple Library Guy 22 Sep, 2019
Quoting: GuestI was just wondering if this will modify the behaviour of the GOG buyers. I hope not. Of course the law would not allow copyright infringement.

But there is a difference between restraining from distributing your DRM free game through piracy channels and erasing your own copy of the game after you have sold it out of sheer honesty.

One seems (to me) more easy to do than the other.
Oh, I see what you mean. Good point.
F.Ultra 23 Sep, 2019
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Quoting: EagleDeltaMy main question is whether this can be enforced for any games on Steam other than Valve's first party games. I mean, the license holder is usually the publisher or developer, so Steam could have serious issues if they are told to allow something that they may not legally have the right to do.

The publisher/developer would be held to the very same ruling if they publish/sell their games as digital downloads in EU so this would only be a legal problem in Valve vs Publishers if the publishers would have no way to opt out of EU.

Valve is only included in the lawsuit as a test case for the law that already exists, now that a court have ruled that the law in question does apply to digital stores such as Steam it applies to every other single store that sells digital downloads in the EU region, which includes the publishers (aka a publisher who sells their games via digital downloads are not allowed to ban resale).
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