Steam ordered by French High Court to allow resale of games - consumer rights vs creator rights

The High Court of Paris ruled that Steam must allow consumers the ability to resell the games they have purchased digitally in contradiction to what consumers have agreed to when they signed up.

Reading through arguments for and against this ruling, while the court argued that digital goods should be treated in the same regard as physical goods when it comes to resale as second hand goods, a good number of commentators have warned that this will result in much higher game prices, the end of sales, the end of free weekends, the end of single player games and developers going out of business as publishers and developers lose out on sales and royalties from first hand purchases which they don't get from second hand reselling. There are also warnings of an acceleration of companies moving towards games as a service and streaming (a la Google's Stadia) as a response to this ruling.

The video game industry has not been a fan of second hand reselling for a long time. Namely for that royalty issue. They consider second hand reselling as immoral as piracy. Though they haven't gone for the likes of CeX, GAME, Amazon and eBay because they still need to be friendly with both brick and mortar and online places to sell the consoles for the time being. Probably the reason why we've seen a push toward subscription services and mini consoles - selling retro games with royality payments to the original developers which they don't get if a game is sold second hand.

It's a case of consumer rights of reselling their purchased good versus the creators rights to be rewarded for their work. The moral argument from the gaming industry being is that if it applies to digital goods, the same arguments should also apply to physical goods, including for goods outside of the gaming industry.


  • DCFC79DCFC79 Forumite
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    Wonder if other digital goods could face the same scrutiny eg ebooks, music etc.
  • It's always annoyed me that when I buy any software I don't have the right to sell it on when I no longer need it or I am bored with it, I just have a licence to use it.........

    Pretty much anything else I purchase from a house or car down to a £15 steam iron I can sell onwards whenever i feel like it, why not software?
  • sleepyjonessleepyjones Forumite
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    The problem is Valve can afford to keep this in the courts for years and years, so I wouldn't expect an outcome anytime soon.

    I seem to remember a similar thing with Apple in regards to iTunes, not sure what ever happened with that.
  • El_TorroEl_Torro Forumite
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    Personally I’m a fan of the Steam business model. The hundreds of games in my Steam library attest to that. I know what I’m getting into when I buy a Steam game though, which is why I always pay a price I’m happy with, knowing that I can’t resell it.

    I agree that forcing Steam (and other online sellers like Steam) to allow reselling will probably just push a move to a Netflix-style subscription service. I see the benefits of subscribing, I just want to have both options.
  • anotheruseranotheruser Forumite
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    Would be interest to see if this will be back dated.
    Have no intention of selling any of my games.
    If I don't provide specifics to a question, don't ask for them in your answer.
    When I want specific answers, I'll provide the information.
  • boo_starboo_star Forumite
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    Would be interest to see if this will be back dated.
    Have no intention of selling any of my games.

    I can't see it being implemented outside of France. There's no need to and certainly no incentive to.
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