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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sub 19 Sep, 2019
Quoting: mphuZValve and developers will be more profitable to abandon the entire French market than to allow users to sell their digital games.

Well, if it's really based on an EU law this could gain some momentum that eventually will affect large parts of Europe. That'll be a bit harder to abandon, I guess.
0ttman 19 Sep, 2019
This will hurt everyone.
Kimyrielle 19 Sep, 2019
I can understand some of the points made in the OP, but this doesn't change the fact that preventing people from re-selling goods they legally BOUGHT is fundamentally wrong. It's just businesses abusing technology (DRM in this case) to enforce despicable business practices that wouldn't stand for 5 mins in court if we were talking about physical goods. Why it took the courts so long to toss out that ridiculous claim that buying games on Steam would be a "subscription" when it's clearly not, is beyond me.

Btw., economic theory demands prices going DOWN when a used-goods market is enabled, not up. Because used goods increase supply. If they'd try to enforce higher prices when there is a functioning used games market, people would buy less on Steam and more used games. That mechanic is the entire reason why Steam and other stores prevented a used games market from happening in the first place.
randomgamerguy1997 19 Sep, 2019
How will this effect keys received for free?
minidou 19 Sep, 2019
Quoting: KimyrielleI can understand some of the points made in the OP, but this doesn't change the fact that preventing people from re-selling goods they legally BOUGHT is fundamentally wrong. It's just businesses abusing technology (DRM in this case) to enforce despicable business practices that wouldn't stand for 5 mins in court if we were talking about physical goods. Why it took the courts so long to toss out that ridiculous claim that buying games on Steam would be a "subscription" when it's clearly not, is beyond me.

Yes. Steam and other stores, and major publishers use the free market to their advantage (tax avoidance), but when it's our turn to profit from it, they set fences up to restrict our rights (zoning inside EU, fighting east european key resellers, ...). They've been using DRM to prevent us from reselling for more than a decade now, there's no reason to accept it.
rustybroomhandle 19 Sep, 2019
Developers can say goodbye to their long-tails if this catches on. It's already difficult as hell to make a living doing games if you're a small studio. This just kills it.

Perhaps Valve should just dump France.
fagnerln 19 Sep, 2019
Valve should cut France support from their store.

Put something in mind, Linux is about freedom, people are free for buying games on steam or another store, from any platform and obviously not buy at all.

If steam doesn't allow the user resell games from their library, is up to the user agree with it.

It will be awesome if a store allow users to resell games, it's a really nice feature, but this need to be a desire from the store.

Is hypocrisy that a defensor of freedom want a intervention from state.
eldaking 19 Sep, 2019
Well, what I really think is "finally". It has taken too long before someone (well, someone powerful) called bullshit on the utterly stupid system of "you didn't really buy the stuff you wanted to buy, just a license to use it, so we can control everything you do with it including selling it". I don't expect this to radically change things, but if it stands it might move us a little towards a future where EULAs and TOS are more reasonable (or even towards less abusive copyright!).

Is it going to be hard to adapt to this? Certainly. But all business before have survived this strange power of letting people sell their old stuff, it will work. People sold books they already read, things they only used once, things they didn't use, etc. "But digital stuff is different, you can create copies easily and it doesn't degrade and etc". Which means you don't need limited print runs, inventory space, logistics, etc. You can offer unlimited supply of the same product forever for close to zero cost. People already compete with piracy that costs nothing, it won't be used games that will destroy the industry. Yes, some people stand to lose at least a little (in particular the big names, that will likely have bigger secondary markets), but that's the way of it. The status quo isn't good either.
Koopacabras 19 Sep, 2019
well you can sell your games ... you could sell all your account.

If they allow french copies to resell they will have it to lock them regionally and even then if you buy a regional locked copy it unlocks after some months, I don't know if it is three or four. I once bought a russian copy of a game and once I redeemed it (with a VPN) after some time it unlocked and I could play it wherever I was.

I'm just saying that maybe we are going to start seeing a flood of cheaper french copies everywhere. Not just france.

(yeah I know that buying other regions locked games is prohibited, I only did it once)


Last edited by Koopacabras on 19 September 2019 at 9:59 pm UTC
wvstolzing 19 Sep, 2019
Quoting: slaapliedjeSo basically any online store would be subject to this, and that would be Microsoft, Apple, Google, Playsration, etc.

-- and not just games either; there's books, films, music, etc.
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