Valve game resale case: German consumer rights group hopeful for trial this year

Monday, 22nd July 2013 09:16 GMT By Dave Cook

German consumer rights group Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband is hopeful that its case against a lack of game resale feature on Valve’s Steam platform will go to trial this year. Valve has yet to comment on the matter since it first surfaced last year.

Games.On.Net reports that the VZBV group took Valve to task over not including an option for players to sell-on their digitally downloaded titles, after the European Union ruled that consumers must be given the freedom to do so.

In a new statement from the group, representative Eva Hoffschulte said, “a date of the trial is not fixed, we hope it will take place this year. Until then, it is not realistic that Valve will change their policy.”

The only comment from Valve on the matter is from Doug Lombardi who claims he hasn’t even seen the VZBC’s complaint.

What do you make of the above?



  1. alterecho

    What happened to the case where a German group demanded a response from Steam within some days, a while back, regarding their change of terms, which prevented class action lawsuits?

    #1 1 year ago
  2. MidlifeAxe

    Does this mean we can get refunds now?

    Tried to get one a few days ago (I know, but you won’t get anywhere if you don’t try) but Valve were just like nope even when I referenced several laws. They just replied with “That doesn’t apply to digital downloads”.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. MFBB

    #2 no, this is about reselling your digital software and it is for Europe (rest of the world dosnt matter).

    Valve currently disobeys a european law that allows all customers to resell digital software the same as retail products.

    Doubt there is a way out of this for Valve but the case will as usual take years.

    So in the end Valve has to allow us europeans to resell our steam games and software products or find one of those legal loopholes that big companies use all the time to screw the law :)

    #3 1 year ago
  4. MidlifeAxe

    @3 Really? I live in the UK and didn’t know that you could resell digital software.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. Sorvin

    Oracle lost a similar case last year when the European court ruled that Oracle cannot block the resale of digital software in Europe. You can read more about it here:

    The quote from the law states:
    “Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy — tangible or intangible — and at the same time concludes, in return [for] payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy,”
    “Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.”

    Those 2 sentences make it clear that Valve cannot block the resale of a digital product in Europe.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. Dendroball

    So basically, if this thing becomes real, it means the end of sales and good prices for pc games in Europe, as you all know publishers are willing to axe prices given the fact there is no second hand market. This is a mess and I’m not sure gamers will be super happy with the results.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. TheWulf

    Valve is already working on this, I’m actually surprised no one remembers. There’s been code found in the Steam beta APIs for trading games, and you can bet this means that you’ll be able to sell your game to someone for money, too. It’s already in the works.

    This trial might make things happen faster, but they’re definitely already in the works.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. MrWaffles

    Europe ain’t a land of legal freedom guys… the law might say you can resell digital content, but 99,5% of digital outlets out there will make it impossible by exploiting a legal hole, misinforming the public, or by not providing the required tools to do it.

    So… I wouldn’t mind giving up a few freedoms to enjoy lower prices and access to more services (some companies are scared to go to Europe exactly because of things like this)

    (On the same note… the whole XBone always-connected thing would’ve gone through if they’d announced a digital-only price of 35 per game… think about it)

    #8 1 year ago
  9. GDom

    @6 Poor logic. They can offer cheaper prices because digital distribution has almost no distribution costs. All you need to do is host servers and provide bandwidth and your done. Considering how most of these companies already have cheap deals on both electricity and bandwidth, the costs are almost negligible.

    Also because steam is steam, it means they have a lot of leverage in their prices anyway. End result, cheap games for us.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. Dendroball

    @7 Yes I remember this thing but I think it was more in line with a borrowing system, one guy can play a game from one of his steam friends library (with no more details related to the length of the trial and so on).

    Even if Steam makes a trading thing possible, if publishers are not getting a cut from this thing, Europe will become a new price region of its own with far less sales and deep discounts, it’s just that simple.

    #10 1 year ago
  11. sh4dow


    Yeah good prices… like the fucking Rocksmith I recently bought for about 50€. Optimist that I am, I was sure that I was going to like it. I played it for about 3-4 hours and then decided it’s useless. Now it can only serve as a 50€ coaster.
    Alright, I could resell the cable but still – just trying out the game would effectively have cost me 30€. All thanks to stupid Steam and one-time codes.

    #11 1 year ago
  12. Dendroball

    @9 This is why any new game on steam is selling at the exact same physical retail price ? Of course Steam has a big userbase but at the end of the day it’s publishers who decide how much they want their games to be discounted.

    You’re maybe right and games will stay relatively cheap on Steam compared to the console market but it’s undeniable it will have an effect on the final prices and those prices will certainly not be the same as in the rest of the world where trading is not doable.

    #12 1 year ago
  13. Cobra951

    @9: Thank you. Saved me the typing time.

    #13 1 year ago
  14. Miliko

    From what I heard when you buy something from Steam you pay for a part of a service Steam offers. As if Steam is a F2P game and you buy various booster packs for it. So you never actually buy individual products you can resell. You buy parts of Steam. That is why this kind of lawsuits never got anywhere so far.

    But that is only something I heard…

    #14 1 year ago
  15. lookingglass

    Europe is trying to kill itself. Pushing out tech companies and stalling innovation is a good idea if that is there goal.

    #15 1 year ago

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