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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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AciD 20 September 2019 at 8:19 am UTC
For a website promoting Linux, and hence the freedom it brings, I'm ASTONISHED by the very, very narrow views some of the commenters are trying to explain here.

A law will give the consumer more liberty, and you see that as bad?!

Please.

Also, for those who keep repeating 'stores should drop the French market', you first need to understand how the EU market works.
Scratch that, those of you talking about how X could affect Y should first take a deep breath, then learn how a free market work compared to one with monopolies (which you are promoting).

I still can't believe we are seeing those type of comments on a Linux website!
Nevertheless 20 September 2019 at 8:31 am UTC
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AciDFor a website promoting Linux, and hence the freedom it brings, I'm ASTONISHED by the very, very narrow views some of the commenters are trying to explain here.

A law will give the consumer more liberty, and you see that as bad?!

Please.

Also, for those who keep repeating 'stores should drop the French market', you first need to understand how the EU market works.
Scratch that, those of you talking about how X could affect Y should first take a deep breath, then learn how a free market work compared to one with monopolies (which you are promoting).

I still can't believe we are seeing those type of comments on a Linux website!

The problem is that this could be a right do harm. Also. there will be no benefit. Big players won't simply give up parts of their income. They will simply change the rules to something we most probably have less rights in than ever before. At the very least it will lift prices.


Last edited by Nevertheless at 20 September 2019 at 8:31 am UTC
kuhpunkt 20 September 2019 at 8:31 am UTC
AciDFor a website promoting Linux, and hence the freedom it brings, I'm ASTONISHED by the very, very narrow views some of the commenters are trying to explain here.

A law will give the consumer more liberty, and you see that as bad?!

Please.

Also, for those who keep repeating 'stores should drop the French market', you first need to understand how the EU market works.
Scratch that, those of you talking about how X could affect Y should first take a deep breath, then learn how a free market work compared to one with monopolies (which you are promoting).

I still can't believe we are seeing those type of comments on a Linux website!

Not every "freedom" is a good idea. The current system works very well. This will disrupt it with no benefit.
scaine 20 September 2019 at 8:33 am UTC
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AciDFor a website promoting Linux, and hence the freedom it brings, I'm ASTONISHED by the very, very narrow views some of the commenters are trying to explain here.

A law will give the consumer more liberty, and you see that as bad?!

Please.

Also, for those who keep repeating 'stores should drop the French market', you first need to understand how the EU market works.
Scratch that, those of you talking about how X could affect Y should first take a deep breath, then learn how a free market work compared to one with monopolies (which you are promoting).

I still can't believe we are seeing those type of comments on a Linux website!

No-one is disputing that more liberty is "good". But it's a naive view that there's no price to that liberty. Many of those "narrow" views you're referring to are simply savvy of the likely catastrophic effect that this liberty will have on the industry. Indie devs will see revenue drop off to the point that they simply can't make a profit (most are already struggling to do so). AAA devs will move to a model of subscription or even more aggressive microtransactions to compensate for the resale model causing a drop off of new sales.

More liberty is great. It's just the consequences of all that freedom that we're discussing.
Klaus 20 September 2019 at 8:39 am UTC
subThere is no price on the consumption of the game anymore, which is what the
developer actually wants to get paid for - and that's fair, isn't it?

I have to agree with that one. Viewing purchases of content as a product purchase was always a bit of a crutch, that only worked due to the limitations imposed by physical media.

If you have played all of a game or read all of a book, you have basically worn it out, at least for your own purpose -- except for nostalgia. Selling it would require and effort in time and money, creating a minimum asking price where it is still worthwhile, while the product will not be seen as equal to a new copy.

With digital sales there is a additionally the aspects of continuous service. Updates, support, downloads... I could see Valve splitting game prices into a service fee and a game price.

My worst fear is that this will push Devs away from the single player games I like to more F2P, P2W multiplayer and gaming as a service. The last part might not be entirely bad, but as I have less and less time for games, it might just force me to drop gaming all together.
sub 20 September 2019 at 8:54 am UTC
Klaus
subThere is no price on the consumption of the game anymore, which is what the
developer actually wants to get paid for - and that's fair, isn't it?

I have to agree with that one. Viewing purchases of content as a product purchase was always a bit of a crutch, that only worked due to the limitations imposed by physical media.

If you have played all of a game or read all of a book, you have basically worn it out, at least for your own purpose -- except for nostalgia. Selling it would require and effort in time and money, creating a minimum asking price where it is still worthwhile, while the product will not be seen as equal to a new copy.

With digital sales there is a additionally the aspects of continuous service. Updates, support, downloads... I could see Valve splitting game prices into a service fee and a game price.

My worst fear is that this will push Devs away from the single player games I like to more F2P, P2W multiplayer and gaming as a service. The last part might not be entirely bad, but as I have less and less time for games, it might just force me to drop gaming all together.

Fully agree.

Also, the argument that you can trivially copy a digital "good" and therefore must be cheaper sounds like complete non-sense to me.
As if a dev/publisher puts a price tag on the binary...
Ofc, they want to get paid for the experience (per person).

It's like arguing with the ticket man to let me into the cinema for free as there are still spare seats left and the show runs anyway.
I have never faced someone complaining to pay for the "experience".
Ofc, I came across plenty that complained about cinema prices here. Fair enough.


Last edited by sub at 20 September 2019 at 8:55 am UTC
const 20 September 2019 at 9:05 am UTC
This may well go up to European court level and then it might effect the whole European Union. And there is no reason this will only affect games. I'd assume this would hit digital movie distribution even harder then games. And I assume it would hit AAA much harder then indie games.
Still, I hope this will happen. There will surely be chaos at first, but it will be a much fairer market in the end.


Last edited by const at 20 September 2019 at 9:06 am UTC
SirLootALot 20 September 2019 at 9:29 am UTC
Just give me a DRM-free game and I have less of an incentive to pirate a game. Should be a win for everybody.
gojul 20 September 2019 at 9:37 am UTC
I am French and frankly I can only agree with the court decision, frankly speaking. Even though I love what Valve did for us and won't use the re-sell feature, I do thing Valve is not above laws.


Last edited by gojul at 20 September 2019 at 9:41 am UTC
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