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Doing the rounds right now is a post from Valve's Steam support (thanks Ars), when a user asked about what would happen to their Steam account when they died and it's not great news for anyone hoping to pass on your Steam account.

This comes from a post on Resetera, where the user asked if a Steam account could be transferred via a will. The Steam support staff member replied to note very clearly Steam accounts are plain and simply "non-transferable".

It's not exactly something new, or surprising, given that Steam's Subscriber Agreement clearly notes "You may not reveal, share or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account except as otherwise specifically authorized by Valve.". 

Still, nothing actually technically stops you just writing down your details for someone and leaving it in a safe space, it's not like Valve actually go and confirm your identity. You also have the newer Family Sharing system, so someone could quickly go in and share it to your personal account and get most of the games.

It's also another reminder that on Steam, you don't own any games on it at all. Once again, as per the Subscriber Agreement, "Content and Services are licensed, not sold" and your "license confers no title or ownership in the Content and Services". 

This will be the same across nearly all web stores that offer digital products you "buy", they're not yours. Epic Games Store is exactly the same as per their EULA which notes "All rights granted to you under this Agreement are granted by express license only and not by sale". Ubisoft are exactly the same in their terms as well noting "we grant you a non-exclusive, non-transferable, non-sublicensed, non-commercial and personal license". Think GOG are any better? They're not, as per GOG's agreement "Your GOG account and GOG content are personal to you and cannot be shared with, sold, gifted or transferred to anyone else." and they make it clear multiple times you get a license again, not ownership of anything sold.

If you go through most other places, they all use similar language and we're not talking just game stores here but anywhere you digitally purchase movies, TV series and so on. You get the idea. You might be buying the item, but you have no ownernship at all.

Really, the only time this will change is when physical media properly dies off and people cause enough of a fuss that governments and legal bodies around the world put in new laws around digital ownership, which is not likely for a long time.

So, you probably should go and clear that backlog of games you've built up.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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55 comments
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doragasu May 28
Quoting: shnullAdd to all this the mad prices of €100 or close for a single game, its plenty to be very picky . Newel might have been taken over by the triffids from all i see lately. How many original bipeds are still around since 2019 ...

If you add season pass and similar DLCs, many games are in fact way more expensive than €100 (e.g. Tekken 8). But well, that's other different discussion.
Liam Dawe May 28
Quoting: NyxWouldn't you just use steam family sharing and pass it down that way.
They can't login to the account but most of your library is still kind of passed on ?
This is mentioned in the article. But, that would require someone to share before they die. And whoever wants the account passed on may not have it shared, that doesn't really solve the issue at hand, and not all games are available via family sharing.
tamodolo May 28
Ownership of digital content is strange as people are used to value a game if it's associated with a company account. That said, I don't think anyone will want to buy your DRM free game because it's easely duplicable. DRM, if used for that purpose, would be a solution to pass ownership, to make it reliable. Selling used games aways worked because you couldn't copy a game easely. Even pirated copies could be selled because you couldn't copy a pirated game easely. This isn't a easy task to solve as companies don't trust clients much more than clients don't trust companies.

My take on this: I only want accessibility granted. The way I use to do this is making functional stand alone backups of what I buy. I do this by buying DRM free games and store the latest installer somewhere. If a game has DRM then I put a cracked exe inside it. And if a game has DENUVO I DO NOT BUY it ever. DENUVO is the only DRM not easely circunvented meaning the game is trully not mine.

Well, this is on PC. What about consoles? I jailbreak all of them at their end of life (I consider that the year a new console is released). In some cases I buy and jailbreak it instantly like Nintendo consoles because of agressive anti consumer practices.

By now there are some companies that there is a moral obligation of not paying them to play their games because agressive anti consumer practices:

- Nintendo
- EA
- Ubisoft (this one is getting worser at a day basis)

It's like they say: If buying is not owning, piracy is not a crime. Because y'know, taking your money to give you nothing is just theft.
ShadMessa May 28
I can easily imagine a scenario where someone murders an individual just to inherit their steam account, some in csgo inventories are worth millions of dollars. In France a man stabbed someone just because he was knifed in csgo this happened in 2016.
Chrisznix May 28
This is an overlooked topic, and most of us get there after a close friend or relative died.
I am currently using the family beta, which is a huge thing for me, as i have four kids. I wonder if it might be possible to inherit games to the family library someday.
On the other hand, i remember when i was on the Amiga, i had to put up at around 100 DM (for conoarison, 1 Liter of Gasoline was about 0,70 DM that time) for each single gane back then. I did whenever i could, but of course i could not afford to buy all the games. Those were physical copies which had DRM also (remember those cool codewheels from neuromancer or Monkey Island?), but i could have sold them.
Now, most games i buy are way cheaper, and i can even share them legally without swapping disks. I really dislike drm and licence models, but steam is one of the platforms where my benefits greatly outshine the drawbacks for me. Lets drink to Gabens good health and faith for that...
I'd leave complete login information and let the recipient do with that what they will
Curupira May 28
If you live in the USA, should be inheritable because of the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA), no matter what the TOS says.
Lofty May 28
Quoting: Pyrateyes, digital is never going to be as good as physical, but with GoG I think we're almost there,

yes we just put our games on a USB thumbstick
pb May 28
Joke's on them, when I die, my kids will be the first to get my steam password, and Valve will be the last to know.

I just wonder what they would do if they did find out. Would they disable the account? Would they dismantle the Family where I am the only adult and sharing the games with my kids?
eldaking May 28
QuoteIt's not exactly something new, or surprising, given that Steam's Subscriber Agreement clearly notes "You may not reveal, share or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account except as otherwise specifically authorized by Valve.".

[...]

It's also another reminder that on Steam, you don't own any games on it at all. Once again, as per the Subscriber Agreement, "Content and Services are licensed, not sold" and your "license confers no title or ownership in the Content and Services".

That is not necessarily true, as it depends on your jurisdiction and applicable laws, and possible court decisions against it. The Subscriber Agreement clearly says "in the event that any provision of this Agreement shall be held by an arbitrator, court, or other tribunal of competent jurisdiction to be illegal or unenforceable, such provision will be enforced to the maximum extent permissible and the remaining portions of this Agreement shall remain in full force and effect."

We need to stop treating those unilateral bullshit terms as if they automatically had the strength of law. Companies will try to get away with everything they can, no matter how ludicrous, and are hoping no one will challenge them.

QuoteReally, the only time this will change is when physical media properly dies off and people cause enough of a fuss that governments and legal bodies around the world put in new laws around digital ownership, which is not likely for a long time.

The physical media will have the same terms for anything they contain. You don't own the copyrights to movies you have on DVD, so you are granted a license to watch it. Installing software from disks you'll have to accept the same terms. Doesn't mean the courts will let them forbid you from re-selling or ban you from watching, and neither should they do it for digitally distributed media.
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