Court ruling means you might be able to sell your Steam games

Ruben Fields
September 22, 2019

Such an allowance would bring Valve's Steam platform into compliance with European Union laws created to protect "the free movement of goods within the Union". This means that users basically don't have consumer rights, which is to say that they are not allowed to resell the games they have bought.

In a judgment passed by the Paris' high court Tribunal de grande instance de Paris, the court ruled in favour of French consumer association UFC-Que Choisir, which maintained Valve was in breach of European Union law by not permitting players to share or resell products, even digital ones. The accusation resulted in the victory of the cause by the French association and in the consequent condemnation by the French court against Valve, which however still has the opportunity to appeal and potentially reverse the situation. Valve now has to reimburse French Steam users for any funds left in their Steam Wallets, should they request it. Valve also can't own any of the player-made modifications for games, eg those shared in Steam Workshops. Valve's rights to users' mods and community content will also be diminished, and the company will have to clarify the conditions under which users can lose access to Steam for poor behaviour. However, this is likely to be delayed as Valve has said that it will appeal the decision.

If Valve refuses to change its rules and post the court's decision to Steam within a month, it will have to pay a fine of up to 3,000 euros (around $4,900) per day for up to six months. This includes Valve's policy against reselling digital games purchased from Steam.

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Beyond the monetary fines or the change of policies in Steam, many game developers have been anxious about this judgment, since they see it as a direct attack on their profits.

Although convenient and fast, the digital software market does not allow users to resell their games as it historically happens in the physical market.

Aside from that, developers and publishers could raise initial game prices, for example, in order to compensate for reduced firsthand sales. Evidence showed that most games were a single time purchase, not reoccurring.

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