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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.

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14 Jun 1
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Umm, try to stop me, I guess...? Name changes are legal, so... family members will get my credentials and then change the name on the account. The billing address may even be the same depending on who gets it. *shrug*

Same goes for registered domains, email accounts, etc. It's ridiculous to think you can't pass on ownership. Laughable.

If there was some kind of legal battle, executor of the estate might be a utility to bring to the argument.
ugly Jun 2
Quoting: Geppeto35I will just leave my ID and code to my son, as he uses it yet when I'm not using it... et voilà!

How Valve will be inform when I will die?
They'll probably find it suspicious 200 years from now when my great, great grandchildren are logging in to my account trying to finish my Steam backlog.
Lachu Jun 3
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: LachuFor example in License of Windows 10 exist text told, the software is not sold, but licensed.

And so is Linux.

If you use Linux, it is your operating system. License told you can do nearly everything (except put the software in weapon, etc. - US laws). You can even sold this software and MS was trying put people to jail, cause they trying to sold their own Windows licenses. At least, European commission told you can sold Windows licenses, if you bought it.
Eike Jun 3
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Quoting: Lachu
Quoting: Eike
Quoting: LachuFor example in License of Windows 10 exist text told, the software is not sold, but licensed.

And so is Linux.

If you use Linux, it is your operating system.

No. It's licensed. Of course you get way more rights than for Windows, but you're intentionally restricted, not due to law, but due to the makers intentions. (Which are totally ok for me.) I'm just pointing out that the mechanism is the same as with Windows: software licencing.

Last edited by Eike on 3 June 2024 at 7:16 pm UTC
finaldest Jun 19
Don't have this problem with physical media.
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