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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.
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184 comments
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linuxcity 19 September 2019 at 8:26 pm UTC
i would not mind selling games i no longer play or transfer them to another user
g000h 19 September 2019 at 8:30 pm UTC
I can see it driving up prices. Probably find game prices in Europe will double.
sub 19 September 2019 at 8:31 pm UTC
Why doesn't this automatically affect other digital game stores in France immediately?
Someone hast to go to court against Epic, GOG, ... separately, one by one?

Hard to believe, as the concepts of the stores are basically the same, when it comes to DRM and not being able to resell the purchases made.
scaine 19 September 2019 at 8:34 pm UTC
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subWhy doesn't this automatically affect other digital game stores in France immediately?
Someone hast to go to court against Epic, GOG, ... separately, one by one?
I think that if this passes into law, it will affect all stores.

What's most interesting here is how it will affect Google Play and Apple Appstore. And the upcoming Stadia, of course. I think there will be significant opposition to France's ruling here. It will set a precedent across multiple markets worth, literally, billions.
minidou 19 September 2019 at 8:34 pm UTC
QuoteReported 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 euros plus €10K euros 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 in the EU could follow it.

It's important to note that the ruling is based on EU laws (EU Copyright Directive , EU Computer Programs Directive and past ruling from EU court : UsedSoft ECJ ruling).

Also important is it's probably not final, as Valve is likely to appeal.

Implications are potentially huge, but more than welcome. We have been stripped off our right to resell for a long time now.
RussianNeuroMancer 19 September 2019 at 8:35 pm UTC
https://finance.yahoo.com/news/report-steam-sales-revenue-drop-202000860.html

I would like to resell games I've played, but situation is pretty dark as is.
minidou 19 September 2019 at 8:39 pm UTC
subWhy doesn't this automatically affect other digital game stores in France immediately?
Someone hast to go to court against Epic, GOG, ... separately, one by one?

Hard to believe, as the concepts of the stores are basically the same, when it comes to DRM and not being able to resell the purchases made.

Only Valve was being sued for its EULA, but the ruling makes it clear for other stores that they have to change theirs, as anyone can use this judgment against them.
sub 19 September 2019 at 8:43 pm UTC
Maybe we then see publishers an stores switching to renting models and new stores popping up.
You won't (be able to) buy games, you rent them.

Guess the GOL community isn't going to like that.
Yet, in the end this might even help the quality of games,
as you only pay if you really play.
At least that's the renting model I would prefer.

Just my 2 cents.


Last edited by sub on 19 September 2019 at 8:45 pm UTC
slaapliedje 19 September 2019 at 8:45 pm UTC
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So basically any online store would be subject to this, and that would be Microsoft, Apple, Google, Playsration, etc. Also, what about selling off the DLC with the game. That is one thing that even if you have a physical copy of a game, the DLC doesn't transfer if you sell it right now.


Last edited by slaapliedje on 19 September 2019 at 8:46 pm UTC
mphuZ 19 September 2019 at 8:49 pm UTC
Valve and developers will be more profitable to abandon the entire French market than to allow users to sell their digital games.
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