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German Organization Sues Steam for Game Resale Policy

By - Source: PC Advisor | B 45 comments

The VZBV is suing Valve.

The Federation of German Consumer Organization (VZBV), a non-governmental, umbrella organization for 41 German consumer groups, is suing Valve over the Steam EULA, which prevents customers from reselling digital games.

Essentially, VZBV's issue with Valve is the fact that Steam ties keys to users, meaning users only partially own their games. "If I pay the full price for a game, then why am I not allowed to do with it what I want?" stated VZBV project manager Carola Elbright.

The VZBV warned Valve back in September and was asked to change the company's policy. Valve ignored the warning, hence why the VZBV is now taking legal action against the developer.

Valve, which apparently has yet to receive notice of the complaint, seems rather unconcerned. "[W]e understand the complaint is somehow regarding the transferability of Steam accounts, despite the fact that this issue has already been ruled upon favorably to Valve in a prior case between Valve and the VZBV by the German supreme court. For now, we are continuing to extend the Steam services to gamers in Germany and around the world," stated Valve director of marketing Doug Lombardi.

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  • 18 Hide
    tipmen , February 5, 2013 6:37 PM
    I see their point but normally I get the games so cheaply that I dont want to resell my keys. :-/ I like steam but this is a tough spot for some gamers.
  • 18 Hide
    dark_knight33 , February 5, 2013 6:54 PM
    Even though I don't have the urge to resell my games in general, I'd at least like to have the option.

    In general, steam doesn't want it's users competing with steam on the service of selling games. Why would you pay steam's price for a game when another steam user is selling their copy for $5 less?

    The ONLY people in the gaming community that are happy about used game sales are consumers. Publishers & distributors like Steam don't like it because they don't get a "cut". If it were up to them, you'd have to pay even just to watch someone else play the game.
  • 14 Hide
    d_kuhn , February 5, 2013 6:38 PM
    I like Steam... but I don't pay full price for games on it - not letting you resell doen't hurt nearly as much when you pay $19.99 for the title.
Other Comments
  • 18 Hide
    tipmen , February 5, 2013 6:37 PM
    I see their point but normally I get the games so cheaply that I dont want to resell my keys. :-/ I like steam but this is a tough spot for some gamers.
  • 14 Hide
    d_kuhn , February 5, 2013 6:38 PM
    I like Steam... but I don't pay full price for games on it - not letting you resell doen't hurt nearly as much when you pay $19.99 for the title.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 5, 2013 6:49 PM
    even at full price I don't mind not being able to resell my games.

    I never ever ever buy used Pc games as to the serial keys usually are always still being used by the original owner for the multiplayer aspect.

    If they didn't use SERIAL keys, then I can see this as an issue.
  • 18 Hide
    dark_knight33 , February 5, 2013 6:54 PM
    Even though I don't have the urge to resell my games in general, I'd at least like to have the option.

    In general, steam doesn't want it's users competing with steam on the service of selling games. Why would you pay steam's price for a game when another steam user is selling their copy for $5 less?

    The ONLY people in the gaming community that are happy about used game sales are consumers. Publishers & distributors like Steam don't like it because they don't get a "cut". If it were up to them, you'd have to pay even just to watch someone else play the game.
  • 0 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 5, 2013 6:56 PM
    it isnt like steam changed their policy after you bought the games. you knew what you were getting when you bought a game through steam.

    dont like it? go buy a physical copy and resell it. no one is forcing you to use steam
  • 11 Hide
    bucknutty , February 5, 2013 6:57 PM
    My 2 kids share a steam account. I have 1 copy of sonic, and 1 copy of magika. Because I only created 1 account the 6 year old can't play sonic becuase the 8 year old is playing magika. I have since made another account for the younger child but now I must rebuy the games for him. Its not really a big deal for me, but solving challenges like this will help steam get into the living room with thier steam box ideas.

    I guess this is sort of contrary to the console direction. You can sell games now, but your friend may have to buy an activation key to play the game on xbox live, or ps network. In the future I have the feeling games will be tied to you xbox "next" ID.
  • -8 Hide
    bak0n , February 5, 2013 7:01 PM
    I think out of my 50 games. I've bought 1 at "full price" that was borderlands 2 4 pack pre-release. I'm usually playing $15 or less for games. If I were to be able to "sell" them to others, I could undercut steam by 60% easy. How long do you think that business model would last them?

  • -9 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 5, 2013 7:02 PM
    Quote:
    My 2 kids share a steam account. I have 1 copy of sonic, and 1 copy of magika. Because I only created 1 account the 6 year old can't play sonic becuase the 8 year old is playing magika. I have since made another account for the younger child but now I must rebuy the games for him. Its not really a big deal for me, but solving challenges like this will help steam get into the living room with thier steam box ideas.

    I guess this is sort of contrary to the console direction. You can sell games now, but your friend may have to buy an activation key to play the game on xbox live, or ps network. In the future I have the feeling games will be tied to you xbox "next" ID.


    you could very well make one account per game, which would allow for easy sale and allow multiple people to play different games at the same time. you opted out of this option for the sake of convenience for one user.

    that was your choice.
  • 4 Hide
    ibjeepr , February 5, 2013 7:04 PM
    Overall I've found that the value of a used game makes it not worth my time to sell it. I can see how some that may power through a game quick and want any cash for the next game can be annoyed though.

    I love that last line of the quote "For now, we are continuing to extend the Steam services to gamers in Germany..."
    AKA if we were to lose the court case, you simply no longer get Steam.
  • 1 Hide
    g00fysmiley , February 5, 2013 7:06 PM
    i dislike the idea of resellign games on steam because i can see people hacking and stealing steam accounts then selling the games, right now you just have to do a password reset and peopel don't really try to hack steam much because ... well other than maybe spamming forums what is the point, allowing resale of games means somebody can hack an accoutn sell the games make the $ and then when you get access to your account your games are gone and you haev nothign to show fo rit, if steam does give you back your games then they are losing money or pissign off the person who bought the game from you for a cheap price
  • 1 Hide
    gladiator_mohaa , February 5, 2013 7:15 PM
    g00fysmileyi dislike the idea of resellign games on steam because i can see people hacking and stealing steam accounts then selling the games, right now you just have to do a password reset and peopel don't really try to hack steam much because ... well other than maybe spamming forums what is the point, allowing resale of games means somebody can hack an accoutn sell the games make the $ and then when you get access to your account your games are gone and you haev nothign to show fo rit, if steam does give you back your games then they are losing money or pissign off the person who bought the game from you for a cheap price


    Excellent point on the subject. I saw left for dead on goodwill for 5 buck's and knew I could not use it anyway because the key code would be tied to another account anyway. So what's the point. Steam is convenient and cheap. I don't see what the point is of buying a game, playing it for hours on end, then all the sudden you are so cheap you have to sell it for 5 bucks to recoup your purchase.
  • -3 Hide
    songemu , February 5, 2013 7:45 PM
    I see it like an all-you-can-eat buffet. You are entitled to as much gameplay as you want, but if you do something like switch seats with a stranger, the restaurant's well within it's rights to kick you out.

    Reselling games isn't really a good thing in my opinion. The publisher doesn't get additional money, just places like gamestop. Plus, you're selling an experience. It's like a movie, you can't just resell your ticket stub and let someone else mooch off your initial purchase...
  • 0 Hide
    happyballz , February 5, 2013 7:49 PM
    I am all for this lawsuit. While I like Valve, I do not like this "renting" and not owning the content thing -ever. If I buy CD or DVD I can easily sell that...this should apply here.

    This is one of many downsides to Valve and why I try not to buy games from them.

    More choice is never a bad thing; I mean seriously why would you NOT want to have this option? If game transfer were allowed the game could easily change the Key upon transfer to the new account (email). Obviously Valve wants to milk what would be re-sellers market.
  • -1 Hide
    A Bad Day , February 5, 2013 7:51 PM
    Perhaps Valve could mandate taking 50% of the sales profit from selling a used game, and having the right to undo a transaction when neccessary?
  • 5 Hide
    efeat , February 5, 2013 7:54 PM
    VZBV is trying to do the same thing publishers are: double-dip into the benefits of physical media AND digital distribution. The only difference is the VZBV is doing it from the consumers' side of things. It essentially breaks down like this:

    Physical Media: You break it or lose it, you need another copy to play (good for publishers.) You are free to resell it or give/lend it to a friend (good for consumers.)
    Digial Distribution: You will always have a copy for yourself, accessible from just about anywhere (good for consumers.) You are not able to resell it or give/lend it to a friend (good for publishers.)

    Consumers cannot resell digitally distributed games for the same reason publishers cannot charge for reselling of physical media. You get one benefit from your chosen medium, not both.

    So, take your pick, publishers and consumers. Pick which medium offers you the most benefits, and quit trying to have your cake and eat it too.
  • 3 Hide
    neon neophyte , February 5, 2013 8:02 PM
    it's not like steam sales are a magical thing, independent of valves profits. fact is, valve could not offer the sales it did if they operated under a corporate structure that wasn't able to profit. reselling of digital media would undercut valve extremely.

    valve is a good company, when they do well they pass on the benefits to the people that got them there. i have a couple games i got completely for free from valve and a pile of games i got for considerably cheaper than any other avenue has ever been able to offer them for.

    you cant have it all.
  • -3 Hide
    internetlad , February 5, 2013 8:02 PM
    I'd love to resell my steam "keys" to my buddies when i'm done. I have a list of 300+ games, many of which i'd never play.

    Hell, i'd be happy just to gift games i'm finished with. That would be awesome.

    However, this is not the right way to approach it. Are the steam users going to get a settlement on behalf of this court case if "we" win? doubt it.
  • -2 Hide
    happyballz , February 5, 2013 8:03 PM
    Quote:
    VZBV is trying to do the same thing publishers are: double-dip into the benefits of physical media AND digital distribution. The only difference is the VZBV is doing it from the consumers' side of things. It essentially breaks down like this:

    Physical Media: You break it or lose it, you need another copy to play (good for publishers.) You are free to resell it or give/lend it to a friend (good for consumers.)
    Digial Distribution: You will always have a copy for yourself, accessible from just about anywhere (good for consumers.) You are not able to resell it or give/lend it to a friend (good for publishers.)

    Consumers cannot resell digitally distributed games for the same reason publishers cannot charge for reselling of physical media. You get one benefit from your chosen medium, not both.

    So, take your pick, publishers and consumers. Pick which medium offers you the most benefits, and quit trying to have your cake and eat it too.


    CD/DVD could easily by copied and are allowed at least in U.S. as a "back up". So use that instead of original disk.

    Also, Steam has no storefront(s) to keep open. That greatly reduces costs.

    The only benefit I see from Steam is "portability"; able to get games on computers connected to internet.

    If steam wants to ban your internet-based game they are allowed and never let you petition/dispute.
    Likewise if they go out of business tomorrow you own nothing- be it single or multiplayer game.


    Edit: wow apparently there are tons of Valve fanboy leg humpers here.
  • 0 Hide
    susyque747 , February 5, 2013 8:13 PM
    About time, STEAM works great but their EULA is BS.
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