Paul Sulyok of British-based digital distributor Green Man Gaming believes a European ruling on gamers’ right to sell on downloaded games will have far-reaching implications for the industry.
Speaking to Eurogamer, Sulyok said it’s just a matter of time before someone forces the issue.
“Some first acquirer somewhere is going to push this through, because it’s the kind of thing the community does, and it’s their right to,” he said.
“There will be a first case against one of the platform holders. The result of that is a foregone conclusion. So they will have to facilitate that. This will shake up the digital distribution market.”
Sulyok said the rulling will prove “very disruptive” in the long term.
“Both Origin and Steam would have to facilitate some kind of method whereby a consumer could revoke the activation of that key and then pass a brand new key onto a third party,” he said.
“The major platform holders are the ones that will be significantly impacted by this. If in Europe legally they are bound to give people the rights to be able to switch off a game and pass a token or a digital code on to a third party, that’s a very interesting proposition. It’s only one step away from being in a situation where a first acquirer says, I would like to have the rights to do this and I have the right to do this, therefore your system should facilitate it. It does link together.”
The ruling is also likely to put the pinch on the major sales common to digital distributors.
“You don’t want to have a deep discounted game that can then be sold on elsewhere,” Sulyok explained.
“The secondary market then cuts in and then what will happen is the same sort of thing as you’ve seen in the high street whereby a supermarket chain puts a fantastic discount on a product for consumers and all the other high street retailers trot down to the supermarket to buy them to stop them.”
Sulyok has concerns that a broader acceptance of transferrable licenses might eat into Green Man Gaming’s business, which differentiates itself with a “trade in” scheme on downloaded games,