Consumer group hopes to take Valve to court in 2013 over digital trade-ins

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations looking to challenge Valve's stance in digital trade-ins in court before the end of the year.

by

A German consumer organisation has confirmed that it intends to take Valve's digital distribution platform Steam to court before the end of the year.

The Federation of German Consumer Organizations, known as the VZVB, is seeking legal action regarding Steam's inability for its customers to resell bought software. The group previously announced its intentions to sue Valve back in February.

"Unfortunately a date of the trial is not fixed, we hope it will take place this year," said the Federation's representative Eva Hoffschulte (via Gaming Blend). "Until then, it is not realistic that Valve will change their policy."

Hoffschulte says that if the case reaches court then it is likely that Steam users would be able to trade in their games. "Our chance to win the process is very good and that will be really an improvement for consumers: then they can sell their games to others."

The VZVB adds that it is unaware of any current intentions by Valve to change its stance regarding users being able to resell games. "We have not checked the current directives, because first we have to finish our lawsuit against Valve. Over and above that we are not able to take action against Valve, because of our financial and personnel situation."

"We are aware of the press release about the lawsuit filed by the VZBV, but we have not yet seen the actual complaint," said Valve in February. "That said, we 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."

A judge previously ruled in 2010 that Valve's refusal to allow users to trade in their games did not violate German law.

Discussion

644 comments
RoyialNetwork
RoyialNetwork

i can only think this is a bit silly. Especially if the rumors turn out to be true about Steam allowing people to share their library of games with friends and such. I believe steam tries to give people as much control over the digital games they buy as possible. Fact is physical copies and digital are different for a reason and its why digital is always way cheaper and can be cheaper. Being able to trade and sell digital copies is a bit ridiculous and i don't see how they can expect to win or gain anything from it.

jark888
jark888

Valve+non-trading digital games are the reasons new games are much cheaper than their physical form. The movement should focus on how to maintain to right to play those games without having to pay for them again.

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

"Valve are greedy! So we're going to sue them for money! 'Cos we don't care about the money, we care about mon... Consumer rights!"

jsmoke03
jsmoke03

thought you cant sue valve?

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

If they sue Valve they'll have to sue Origin, Uplay, Amazon, MS, Sony, and every single digital distributor in the world since no digital distribution allows people to sell their used software or media, including itunes.  Germany, instead of worrying about Valve better to worry about how Europe is sucking you dry, especially Greece.

chris91090
chris91090

That's the drawback of buying digital. You can't always have everything you want. Buying digital endures the product will not malfunction due to physical damage and you get it instantly. The down side is you can't trade it because it's not really "used", you dont have a physical copy in case something happens to the servers. You have to choose one or the other. I myself prefer physical. At least I know my ability to play wont be compromised from a server side problem.

Tripwolf
Tripwolf

I end up getting AAA games on Steam for 5-10 bucks. These people are stupid.

Vodoo
Vodoo

That's the problem with pc games, or digital games in general, you're buying a license to play the game, not the physical game itself. This is the exact reason for the backlash with the Xbox 1, that we want the option to trade in a physical copy if we so choose. And being this has already been ruled on in the German Supreme Court, I don't see any light at the end of the tunnel for these people.

UnstoppableKARL
UnstoppableKARL

All I know is, I have a ton of games that I don't play - yes, I bought many of them for less than $10.  Yet, some of them aren't even worth that in my eyes :/

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

a digital game or movie is not something that becomes USED like a cd... so you sort of always get a fresh copy that doesnt have the risk of not working because someone played it before or just because it was sold... well used.

To re-sell something you need a physical thing... you dont re-sell a mp3, video, movie, song, operating system, software, etc... (well unless you're a crackhead nerd who knows how but thats something else)

jophy
jophy

steam provide us such cheap and easily accessible games and u wanna screw them over? You want to profit  $5 critical acclaimed full-content with DLCs game? Go fucking buy retail $60 and resell them all u want retards

TopHatton
TopHatton

  Solution to digital game trading: Sell game on Steam's Market to other users, but cannot set the price lower than 85%. This keeps Steam's sales relevant, but also appeals to Marketplace buyers because it's cheaper than retail and is enough incentive for the seller to make their money from an unused game. 

   5% of the seller's income goes to Steam to say thanks for letting us trade games digitally, 20% goes to the devs, and the rest of the money goes into your Steam Wallet to be inevitably used on another Steam purchase. 

   For example, I want to sell a £20 game because I've not really touched it. I go on the Market, put it up for 85% of it's retail price, which would be £17. An interested buyer would see this and think 'great, I'm saving a few quid with this. Or I could wait for the Sale and save even more money.' Let's say they decide to buy my game from the Marketplace. He's getting a good deal, and I'm making most of my money back from a game I'm not using. But Steam's Sales are getting undermined and the devs are losing out on rightful income. So 5% of my £17, 85p, goes toward Steam, and 20%, £3.40, will go toward the devs. Now I'm left with  £12.75. Am I happy with this? Of course I am. 
   I'm not too fussed if we can't trade in games though, but it would be cool. But what happens when people buy a game on Sale and then sell it? The seller would have to only make 75% of the Sale's price back, but the buyer would still pay 85% of the retail price. What if the game was a part of a package? Then it would calculate it's worth I guess? This is getting complicated. I'll leave it there. :P

Daian
Daian

Well if they're so righteous then why go after Steam which offers great sales all the time and is arguably the best digital retailer, and not every major digital distributor including Xbox and Playstation?

I smell corruption.

binnismann
binnismann

this isnt about rights its about greed, VZBV go fuck your self

skyke101
skyke101

I think some people just failed at understanding what Steam platform and other digital game distributor does

lucutisborg
lucutisborg

Good! Need more consumer rights when it comes to digital products. At the moment, there are none. Time for it to be fixed.

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

I wouldn't just side with Steam because I like Steam, they're a distributor, like any other, they're trying to make your money. That said, I don't agree with this, in this rare case, the convenience, ease of use, and sales actually tip the scales in their favor.

Usually game companies that don't let you trade in do so because they are taking you for a ride- they just want full control, but they also don't offer any concession in return in the way of good sales or light DRM, or ease of multiplayer services. Like I said, Steam's benefits outweigh it's cons, and for that reason I don't mind that you give up some freedom to trade games.

On the OTHER hand, it's sorta good to make some challenges to companies sometimes, no matter how you agree or not. It might change things in the consumer's favor, or at the very least, make them think twice about adopting any policies that might be more oppressive than their current ones.

bbrruunnoo
bbrruunnoo

@SebCrakpot1234it''s amazing how people raged against xbox one when they said you could only give a digital game once to another person, and still love steam, where you can't give any digital game to anyone... fanatics

Shanks_D_Chop
Shanks_D_Chop

@plm3d_basic Actually... fuck, yeah... I'd be willing to see Valve take the hit for the sake of Apple/iTunes getting done over.

Slagar
Slagar

@Tripwolf You're stupid if you think these people are stupid. They're sticking up for consumer rights - YOUR rights.

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Vodoo That's actually not the problem - there IS no problem with PC games. No one who buys a PC game should ever even have a dream of trading in or returning a game because we know better.

And that is what the backlast from sonybots and xbots was about. They have not reached the level of consumer maturity required to participate in anything remotely similar to PC gaming. Microsoft tried to make things better and they all just hissed.

Also, fuck Germany. If you want the option to trade a physical copy, don't buy it for PC. PC Gamers do not trade games and if they could, they wouldn't.

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

@UnstoppableKARL haha same.. i buy a lot of em cause they are so cheap when they make big deals... some i have never played some i played 1-2 hours max

Dissentioncc
Dissentioncc

@SebCrakpot1234 Really? Tell that to the Diablo 3 auction house where I made like $600 off of selling digital items. Just because there is no physical degradation doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to resell. This attitude that we should be stuck with our purchases because they are digital is a joke. Especially considering the talk of eventually entering a digital only age for everything. I say fuck that. I want to be able to resell anything I buy.

jophy
jophy

@SebCrakpot1234 imagine people starts suing apple to resell music in their iTunes they got bored to listening to

TopHatton
TopHatton

Could also not let user's trade games if they've played more than 10 hours, because if you've played it for that long then you've probably got your money's worth

lucutisborg
lucutisborg

@Dradeeus Er what? We are customers, whether the goods we buy are physical or digital. We need to have a feature that allows full refunds if <1 hour of a game has been played (we all know that Steam does have this data) and ability to resell to friends/family once we are done with a game. At the moment the one copy per user, no refunds and no resale policy benefits Valve and developers 100%, with nothing for us customers. Companies want digital products to be considered the same as physical ones, but at the same time don't want to give customers the same rights with digital products as they enjoy with physical products. Unfair, old-fashioned, time for an update.

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

@bbrruunnoo @SebCrakpot1234 Good point. Funny indeed. People are pathetic but not everyone so I don't hold a community responsible for its inevitable stupid enraged haters. Steam deals are very good so people are scared they would lose that in exchange, unlike consoles where you waste a lot more money for games so by going digital with used games restrictions it strongly affects a lot of gamers.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

@desolation00  

No, it depends on the judge and the location where the court takes place.  It's unlikely to go anywhere since you can't resell anything on android or itunes for years and that is the precedent.

Slagar
Slagar

@Grenadeh@Vodoo"No one who buys a PC game should ever even have a dream of trading in or returning a game because we know better. ... They have not reached the level of consumer maturity required to participate in anything remotely similar to PC gaming."

Riiiiiiight. You might want to reread what you've written, and then take the carrot out of your backside. You're advocating for less freedom for yourself, simply because "you're more mature than others". Real clever!

sammoth
sammoth

@Grenadeh @Vodoo I think a majority of this is the FLOOD of console gamers moving into the PC market wanting the same thing there console counter parts have. When in all my years you could NEVER trade in any Software. You where however able to buy a license if some companies allowed it.

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

@Dissentioncc if you were to invent a thing would you want to sell to a lot of people or would you want to sell it to only one people and everyones buy it from each other in a chain so dont have anything in return for you work?

Plus digitals things dont become USED so it is why it is different but I guess you will forever be stuck to only think about yourself, the happy ending for your own sake and how it can benefit you you you you YOU... (no mean to be rude)

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@lucutisborg We really don't. Games on Steam are so insanely cheap that it's disrespectful to Steam and the publishers of those games to basically tell them "I bought your 60 dollar game that you spent 300 million dollars to produce, for 1.74. Now I want to give it to my brother for free or resell it for 1 dollar when he could buy it for 3 dollars. And I'm going to sue you because you won't let me."

Get a fucking job. There are way too many god damn hippies invading our gamersphere. Seriously if you can't be fucked to pay 3 dollars for a game, you have absolutely no business nor should you have any right to buy a game.

Dradeeus
Dradeeus

@lucutisborg @Dradeeus Refunds are different than resells, and on that front, I totally agree, Steam is REALLY lacking in that department, where refunds are only some crazy concession to a media backlash, following the disastrous release of a game like WarZ.

Look, the excuse that people argue about resales, the companies always use, is that it will drive up the prices of their games. It's usually bull, as even when they don't have resells, they will often sell games the exact same price.

I give Steam a little more credit, and I'd be really interested to see how much the concept of resales would effect their financial situation. They really MIGHT be able to sell games with good deals like the summer sale because they don't have resales. I have no idea.

SebCrakpot1234
SebCrakpot1234

@bbrruunnoo why didnt they say so then? would have makes things easier for them and wouldnt have caused this massive shock. You can't expect people to think like that... what did THEY expect? They shouldn't have change heir policies then and just explain it more to the average customers. They could have said something like you can't trade games anymore but the maximum price for a game is now 40$ or it will drop three times as fast as before... that would have light up the customers and make it clear.

bbrruunnoo
bbrruunnoo

but if people conclude that if trading digital games is possible, prices can't be that low, why didn't they even consider that was what microsoft was trying to do?

nedrith
nedrith

@plm3d_basic Actually it has a good chance of going somewhere. Last year the European court of justice ruled that the First-sale doctrine applies to digital purchases.  If Germany decides to respect the courts ruling than this would be a major change from when they first made a ruling in 2010.  Of course ECJ rulings aren't binding in cases like these so their is no guarantee, but not being able to resell on android or itunes does not set a precedent.  It just means that no one with enough money decided to take them to court.

 I was actually expecting this to happen if Xbox 1 went ahead with it's attempt to restrict used game sales.

sammoth
sammoth

@Slagar @Grenadeh @Vodoo I think he is simply pointing out that you where never able to do it before so why do you feel entitled to it now. The Reality is it does NOTHING to help the video game industry. Just the middle man and some poor gamers.

LE5LO
LE5LO

@Grenadeh Once retail Steam games have been activated, the disc becomes void for any other user. How is that irrelevant?

Grenadeh
Grenadeh

@Dradeeus Steam should not offer refunds. The fact that that guy made a stink about refunds for BioShock Infinite has pissed off a LOT of people. Steam gives you absolutely every single opportunity possible short of a 5 hour demo to understand EXACTLY what a game is before you buy it.

If after all of those warnings, all of that information on Steam and on the internet EVERYWHERE, you buy it anyway and you ask for a refund, you're an asshole. An absolute asshole who makes a mockery of consumer rights, and you should be given a refund then banned permanently from Steam.

lucutisborg
lucutisborg

@Dradeeus @lucutisborg Agreed, but I still think we should be able to resell a game that we have bought on steam, for less than the Steam price. That should be our choice, like everything else that we can purchase and then resell in the physical world. 

Why do you think companies are pushing for an all-digital future? Because they want to help us access our products wherever/whenever/whatever platform? Of course not. It's because they see an unregulated, profiteering New World of digital products in which all the consumer rights and protections which govern physical purchases are handily non-existent.

No to digital exploitation of customers!

:D