Support us on Patreon to keep GamingOnLinux alive. This ensures we have no timed articles and no paywalls. Just good, fresh content! Alternatively, you can donate through Paypal, Flattr and Liberapay!

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.
30 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more information here.
About the author -
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
184 comments
Page: «18/19»
  Go to:

Purple Library Guy 21 September 2019 at 6:44 pm UTC
g000h
Purple Library Guy
g000hFor those thinking this will be a good thing for DRM-Free Gaming: I think the opposite - This will push all new commercial games to become purely rental titles, i.e. You can download the game for free, but you won't be able to play it without a subscription. DRM-Free games will just be for free gaming (i.e. where no money is paid for the game title). Commercial game developers won't be releasing DRM-Free any more.
Until the next lawsuit. I'm not sure getting around law is quite so simple as all that.

I'm not sure you're quite getting my point on this.

My point isn't that a subscription model would be leveraged onto current games (although it isn't impossible). My point is that it will push game publishers/developers to adopt a subscription model (e.g. rent per hour) for all their new and future titles. This is something which is perfectly fine from a legal perspective, and it would allow them to get around the resale problem entirely (and not lose any profits to resale).

A subscription model like that would change the gaming industry in a big way, i.e. no DRM-Free titles from commercial developers, people who play more hours could end up paying more for the privilege. A loss of consumer ownership of the software - The software would not work if the rental wasn't paid. A subscription model is similar to a streaming model, but rather than streaming the game's video and remotely-controlling it, you still download the files and run it locally.
Yeah. Either someone will sue for the right to buy the goddamn game on the grounds that this is just the game sellers' way to avoid letting people have their normal consumer rights, or piracy will make a really big comeback, or both.
I don't think it will happen. At least, not as a response to this particular event, which I am pretty sure will have less impact than many here think.


Last edited by Purple Library Guy at 21 September 2019 at 6:45 pm UTC
0ttman 21 September 2019 at 7:00 pm UTC
If this goes big, we will see more subscription models happen. Ubisoft would love that, they think the future of gaming is to stream content.
ZeroPointEnergy 21 September 2019 at 8:00 pm UTC
g000hMy point isn't that a subscription model would be leveraged onto current games (although it isn't impossible). My point is that it will push game publishers/developers to adopt a subscription model (e.g. rent per hour) for all their new and future titles. This is something which is perfectly fine from a legal perspective, and it would allow them to get around the resale problem entirely (and not lose any profits to resale).
Valve already says that what they currently sell is only a subscription. They explicitly did this to try to circumvent the customer rights an actual license would give us. The court in france now checked this and basically ruled that what they are doing is equivalent to a license and therefor the normal customer rights apply, which means you can sell the license.


Last edited by ZeroPointEnergy at 21 September 2019 at 8:48 pm UTC
F.Ultra 21 September 2019 at 8:08 pm UTC
chancho_zombie
Salvatosbut where does that article say that? I don't see it there nor in the French articles that I've read about this ruling. Is it just the headline?


in the headlines, but it also can be a spelling mistake.

Journalists does not write their own headlines, that is always done by some editor that have no real insight into what the article is about and is always just there to gather interest (aka click bait). I know many journalists (especially one who cover science) that is really mad about this but there is nothing that they can do since this is the nature of how media works.
Dedale 21 September 2019 at 8:39 pm UTC
I read that people who buy GoG games do not distribute them a lot ( How do we know that ?). I wonder if that would change if people could sell their GoG game but still keep the binary on their hard disk. Of course they would not have access to updates but still.

Will that modify the behaviour of non-DRM buyers ?

Also, i read here that platforms like valve are not forced to provide a means to implement the actual resale. But id they do not maybe that could be interpreted by the court as obstruction or contempt of court. (IANAL so take what i just wrote with a grain of salt).

As for Valve themselves, i do not doubt they plan well in advance and they are working on contingency plans to make the best of the new situation.
Shmerl 22 September 2019 at 12:12 am UTC
ObsidianBlkI do not see how you think optical media is worse than hard drives.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot
ObsidianBlk 22 September 2019 at 4:10 am UTC
View PC info
  • Supporter
  • Top Supporter
sub
ObsidianBlk
Shmerl
ObsidianBlkI get this... and I'm not saying I don't have digital games myself, but still... I have CDs I bought in the early 90s that I can still read data off of. How many hard drives can you say the same for?

Consider yourself lucky, but don't think it's a reliable method of storage. Optical discs deteriorate with time, and are a lot more error prone than hard drives which in contrast are built to last for many years.

I'm not sure how you treat your optical media, but all I do is keep them in their cases, on a shelf, and they all still work for me. In fact, I don't think there's a single CD/DVD I've attempted to use in recent years that failed to read. No media is 100% fool proof... especially if treated roughly... but, yeah, I do not see how you think optical media is worse than hard drives. I've rarely heard of a drive lasting much longer than a decade (and, that's actually a pretty solid amount of time).

Doesn't matter if your discs all still work.
Shmerl is right.
CDs and DVDs printed detoriate and should never be used as backup media.

In case of printed CDs/DVDs it's the reflection layer that detoriates.
For writable discs it's even more problematic due to the dye layer.

This is called "Disc rot".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disc_rot

Why shouldn't my 20 year old disks count? I have several dozen optical disks, and, as said, I have yet to see a single one as unreadable and decades. I see the wiki article supplied by Shmerl, and I acknowledge it, but in it's own description... "The causes include oxidation of the reflective layer, physical scuffing and abrasion of disc, reactions with contaminants, ultra-violet light damage, and de-bonding of the adhesive used to adhere the layers of the disc together" ... so, basically normal wear and tear. That reflective layer isn't exposed to oxygen until it's outer layer is damaged, and that shouldn't happen if the disk is kept safe. Sure... shiz happens... and (to quote a quote from an article I'll supply shortly), "On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everything drops to zero.", Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club... but, again, my collection has still readable disks over 20 years old. Not a single one of them has ever rotted on me (again, I just jewel case them, so no special protections). That's a LOT of evidence for me that while Disc Rot exists, it's not like suddenly, tomorrow, BAM! scores upon scores of my discs will suddenly all have Disc Rot, so long as I don't start leaving them out of there cases, or using them like coasters.

That said, look up the average life span of a hard drive...
https://www.prosofteng.com/blog/how-long-do-hard-drives-last/
https://www.recordnations.com/articles/hard-drive-lifespan/
These were quick google searches for "average life span of hard drives".

The TL;DR of it is, hard drive have an average life span of 3 to 5 years. If the alternative to optical disks is a NAS, which utilizes hard drives, I'm honestly not seeing what makes HDDs that much better. For a solid backup you would want a RAID setup (minimum of two drives). If one of those fails, you still have to buy a new HDD to reconstruct the RAID before the other HDD fails.

Now, let's take a quick look at optical media...
https://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub121/sec4/
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/246856696_Optical_Disc_Life_Expectancy_A_Field_Report
Again, these were quick google searches for "average life span optical discs"

The TL;DR here says +R, +RW, etc, etc discs have an average life expectancy of 20+ years, while regular, factory pressed CD/DVD disks have an estimated average life span between 25 to 100 years (some estimates suggest upwards of 200 years). This even with Disc Rot as a possibility.

Finally... let's even agree with each other. DVD/CDs AND HDDs are less than ideal for long term storage... create a new physical distribution media. One of my original posts on this thread suggested an SD card-esk physical media (at least in form factor). Much smaller than an optical disk, and no moving parts like a hard drive... hell... that's pretty much the distribution model of DS games.

((NOTE: I say "google search", but I use Duck Duck Go as my search engine... if that matters to anyone))
ZeroPointEnergy 22 September 2019 at 9:16 am UTC
ObsidianBlkWhy shouldn't my 20 year old disks count? I have several dozen optical disks, and, as said, I have yet to see a single one as unreadable and decades.
Also, let's assume for a moment we really have a physical storage medium that hardly has any wear. I don't know, maybe some holographic wireless storage that can't corrupt and has no contacts that can corrode.

Would anyone argue, that just because the physical product you bought doesn't get destroyed with time you should not have the right to sell it?

I think the issue we are discussing here is one of ownership. I can't understand why people are so willing to play along and just completely accept that things you buy and are by all means presented as if you buy them are not your property.

And sure, this will cause some headache for the game industry, but in the end they will adapt and hopefully not in the bad way in that they try again with such tricks to prevent us from owning the products they sell us.

Also, coming back to physical copies. They don't just deteriorate and are gone. Some of those products even gain in value over time. If you have even a semi old collection of games, it will not be hard to find at least one product people will pay vastly more for than you actually payed originally. You don't get that with digital copies, and that is a pretty good compensation for the fact that it doesn't deteriorates. Still, it should be something we own if we payed for this product.


Last edited by ZeroPointEnergy at 22 September 2019 at 9:17 am UTC
EagleDelta 22 September 2019 at 1:36 pm UTC
My main question is whether this can be enforced for any games on Steam other than Valve's first party games. I mean, the license holder is usually the publisher or developer, so Steam could have serious issues if they are told to allow something that they may not legally have the right to do.
ObsidianBlk 22 September 2019 at 1:49 pm UTC
View PC info
  • Supporter
  • Top Supporter
ZeroPointEnergy
ObsidianBlkWhy shouldn't my 20 year old disks count? I have several dozen optical disks, and, as said, I have yet to see a single one as unreadable and decades.
Also, let's assume for a moment we really have a physical storage medium that hardly has any wear. I don't know, maybe some holographic wireless storage that can't corrupt and has no contacts that can corrode.

Would anyone argue, that just because the physical product you bought doesn't get destroyed with time you should not have the right to sell it?

I think the issue we are discussing here is one of ownership. I can't understand why people are so willing to play along and just completely accept that things you buy and are by all means presented as if you buy them are not your property.

And sure, this will cause some headache for the game industry, but in the end they will adapt and hopefully not in the bad way in that they try again with such tricks to prevent us from owning the products they sell us.

Also, coming back to physical copies. They don't just deteriorate and are gone. Some of those products even gain in value over time. If you have even a semi old collection of games, it will not be hard to find at least one product people will pay vastly more for than you actually payed originally. You don't get that with digital copies, and that is a pretty good compensation for the fact that it doesn't deteriorates. Still, it should be something we own if we payed for this product.

I very much agree with you!
In fact, my original post said very similar things as yours. I had say that (while I strongly doubt it would ever really happen) I hoped physical distribution would come back... and that just lead a few (including myself) into a debate over the merits of optical disc storage vs hard drive storage.
  Go to:
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on Patreon, Liberapay or Paypal. We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

You need to Register and Login to comment, submit articles and more.


Or login with...

Livestreams & Videos
Community Livestreams
See more!
Popular this week
View by Category
Contact
Latest Comments
Latest Forum Posts