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Default EU court rejects EULAs digital games can be resold

July 3rd, 2012, 19:14
I thought I would share this since the topic pops up many times. Remember how someone in every forum tells you don't own anything you buy and can't resell it.

Well if you live in the EU you do now. The European Court of Justice ruled the sale of any pre-owned software is legal digital or otherwise. The ruling applies to all software, not just games.

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/20…wnloaded-games
http://www.pocketgamer.co.uk/r/Multi…t+additions%29

This overrules a publisher's EULA, meaning that no matter what the small print says, if a consumer wishes to sell his or her games, they have every entitlement. This effectively dissolves the idea that gamers pay only for licenses, and asserts that they have paid for an actual product that now belongs to them.

Of course, with services like Steam and Origin, this ruling is more a moral victory than a tangible one, since there's no effective way to resell most digital games. However, it's still a nice middle-finger to serve any uppity executive who acts like you're paying for a glorified rental rather than the game itself.

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Last edited by Couchpotato; July 3rd, 2012 at 19:34.
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July 3rd, 2012, 19:17
As far as I can tell, all this effectively does is make it allowed to sell your account.
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July 3rd, 2012, 19:37
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
As far as I can tell, all this effectively does is make it allowed to sell your account.
If this really means you can legally sell your Steam account, it will result in the imminent shutdown of Steam in Europe.

What's to stop people from playing Risen 2, beating it, then selling their Steam account, and buying someone else's old Steam account who got bored of playing Skyrim?

Unless they all have multiplayer or mods, etc., most games are a kind of product that is consumed and then you get bored with a game after a certain point and stop playing.

If there is zero difference between the quality of a new digital download and one that someone else played (after all these are just data files), then of course everyone would buy the used versions. One used digital download could change hands many thousands of times and it would still be the exact same game.

The only alternative for publishers would be to make all games a kind of service that you subscribe to, or a Free to Play system requiring you to be always online to play, etc.
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July 3rd, 2012, 19:47
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
The only alternative for publishers would be to make all games a kind of service that you subscribe to, or a Free to Play system requiring you to be always online to play, etc.
Ah, it all makes sense now. This is probably the reason why every publisher and their cat/dog want to go free-to-play - probably they were expecting this ruling (the devils!).
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July 3rd, 2012, 19:48
I don't think you can sell your Steam account… But your Diablo3 account on the other hand… As Steam is practically a FREE service, but D3 is a (free? yea, right) game…
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July 3rd, 2012, 19:53
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
Ah, it all makes sense now. This is probably the reason why every publisher and their cat/dog want to go free-to-play - probably they were expecting this ruling (the devils!).
Exactly, Sony just paid billions to purchase Gaikai which is a sort of service that streams games run on remote servers to end users.

Maybe publishers will adopt a sort of Netflix model where you pay monthly and stream the games you want to play.
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July 3rd, 2012, 20:16
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
If this really means you can legally sell your Steam account, it will result in the imminent shutdown of Steam in Europe.

What's to stop people from playing Risen 2, beating it, then selling their Steam account, and buying someone else's old Steam account who got bored of playing Skyrim?
errr…. as far as I can see it this would only be viable if there is just a single game on your Steam account. And even than account sales can be managed by not allowing people to create multiple accounts.
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July 3rd, 2012, 21:37
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
If this really means you can legally sell your Steam account, it will result in the imminent shutdown of Steam in Europe.

What's to stop people from playing Risen 2, beating it, then selling their Steam account, and buying someone else's old Steam account who got bored of playing Skyrim?
That sounds like an awfully awkward way of doing things to be honest. Would anyone actually be willing to create a new steam account (one account per mail address), then buy a game, play through it, go through all the trouble of finding someone else willing to buy their one-game account and then go through the process of creating a new account if they want to play another game near launch? It sounds like a lot of work for a very small gain (and why has not used games effectively killed the retail industry? It is a lot less hassle to buy & sell used boxed copies than it is to sell steam accounts)
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July 3rd, 2012, 21:50
Originally Posted by Fnord View Post
That sounds like an awfully awkward way of doing things to be honest. Would anyone actually be willing to create a new steam account (one account per mail address), then buy a game, play through it, go through all the trouble of finding someone else willing to buy their one-game account and then go through the process of creating a new account if they want to play another game near launch? It sounds like a lot of work for a very small gain (and why has not used games effectively killed the retail industry? It is a lot less hassle to buy & sell used boxed copies than it is to sell steam accounts)
Even though sales of Steam accounts is currently prohibited, and currently yes it is probably a hassle to do it due to IP tracking etc., people already do this and get banned for it all the time, and lose their accounts and game libraries.

If Steam were forced by the EC to permit member accounts to be legally bought and sold, then this practice would no longer be a hassle and it would explode, because once you finish most games, for most people, those games no longer hold any value. As a result, Steam would almost certainly shutdown its operations in Europe, or only sell F2P games, etc.

Signing up for a new Steam account (if permitted by Steam), would certainly be faster and less of a hassle than driving to a store and buying a retail disc.
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July 3rd, 2012, 22:03



Next thing they will do is to allow you to sell books, once you have read them! Nobody will buy new books any more! That will kill the book market.
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July 3rd, 2012, 22:03
I can't see everything going to a F2P system over this or even a Diablo 3 type SPO system. I can't see how that would stop people from selling their accounts for cheap in Europe.

Will it shut down Steam? I don't think so - there's too much money to be made in Europe. Now if it were Australia…

Let's only hope this kind of free market thinking finds its way over here.

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July 3rd, 2012, 22:11
Originally Posted by bkrueger View Post



Next thing they will do is to allow you to sell books, once you have read them! Nobody will buy new books any more! That will kill the book market.
There is quite a difference between a used book and a new book, especially after it changes hands a few times.

A single digital file, however, can be sold and re-sold thousands of times and it will always be exactly the same experience as a brand new game.

Already you can sell and trade games that you purchased on Steam. They just don't permit you to sell or trade the games you already played.
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July 3rd, 2012, 22:22
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
There is quite a difference between a used book and a new book, especially after it changes hands a few times.

A single digital file, however, can be sold and re-sold thousands of times and it will always be exactly the same experience as a brand new game.
May I call you Captain Obvious?

The difference is obvious. The claimed consequence of this difference is not.
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July 3rd, 2012, 22:23
Originally Posted by bkrueger View Post
May I call you Captain Obvious?

The difference is obvious. The claimed consequence of this difference is not.
Which "claimed" consequence are you referring to?
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July 3rd, 2012, 22:32
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
Which "claimed" consequence are you referring to?
The claim that this would dramatically decrease new sales and therefore make steam leave the European market etc.

I, for example would never sell my games after I played them. And for the same reasons I don't sell the books I read: The idea of being able to replay them later, even if I never really do this for most of them.

Edit: And, while the EU ruling seems to have no practical consequence for me, because I wouldn't resell my games anyway, it increases my willingness to buy games: because I feel, that they are "my" games in a similar sense a book is "my" book after I bought it. If I had the feeling that I only rent or license a game, my joy is reduced. While this seems irrational, I believe that it is a common feeling. So I could even claim that this ruling might increase new sales (probably not measurable though).

And +1 to what zahratustra says below…
Last edited by bkrueger; July 3rd, 2012 at 22:44.
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July 3rd, 2012, 22:34
Besides, while second hand book might be in "used" condition it content "always be exactly the same experience as a brand new" one.
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July 3rd, 2012, 23:20
Originally Posted by bkrueger View Post
The claim that this would dramatically decrease new sales and therefore make steam leave the European market etc.

I, for example would never sell my games after I played them. And for the same reasons I don't sell the books I read: The idea of being able to replay them later, even if I never really do this for most of them.
Perhaps not, but if you uphold to your principles and refuse to buy whatever AAA game you have been waiting for at one tenth of the price soon after release date you are certainly going to be in the extreme minority of buyers.
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July 3rd, 2012, 23:25
Originally Posted by CountChocula View Post
There is quite a difference between a used book and a new book, especially after it changes hands a few times.

A single digital file, however, can be sold and re-sold thousands of times and it will always be exactly the same experience as a brand new game.

Already you can sell and trade games that you purchased on Steam. They just don't permit you to sell or trade the games you already played.
Can? Yes. Will? Most likely not. You still need to find specific accounts with specific games on them, and unless some large scale re-seller steps in, finding those accounts is going to be painful. One or two might pop up on ebay from time to time, but you still need to find the right account, with the right games. Also, out of those sold, how many will be re-sold? Look at the used games market as it is today, the vast majority of all used games (at least over here) have only had one previous owner, it is not all that common for a used game to be re-sold again, due to how fast games drop in value. People simply don't find it convenient to re-sell games time and time again, only the ones with a high second hand value are actually being re-sold (from time to time people will dump a large collection of games in used game stores, but that is not the norm).

The reason why digital distribution has become so popular is because it is convenient. It is more convenient then piracy even, and that is a big thing. Make it less convenient and it suddenly becomes far less appealing. Heck, if the convenience factor was not there, people would not buy from stores like Steam & Gamer's gate, boxes copies are usually cheaper, and will drop in price far faster.
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July 4th, 2012, 03:00
I was just rushing in with a link to start a topic on this! How in heaven's name did I get beat out by somebody called 'couch potatoe' with an avatar of a sleeping…. <looks over at his own avatar> … oh yeah, right.

Yeah, this is going to be a big deal for the whole software industry. That license model has been around as long as the home computer!

P.S. Isn't there some case working through the courts here in the USA, too? I think it was Autocad vs. somebody selling their copy that they hadn't even opened yet.
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July 4th, 2012, 03:44
If there is such a case, US courts will probably side with producers. EU is much more geared towards customer rights while USA towards right of corporations.
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