Should Steam games be re-saleable?


The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) has filed a lawsuit against Valve, saying that users should be able to resell games that they own.

The group claims that Steam users should have the right to sell their digital version of their games, much like that of a boxed product.

“If I pay the full price for a game, then why am I not allowed to do with it what I want,” said Carola Elbrecht, VZBV’s project manager.

VZBV reportedly threatened Valve with a lawsuit, unless the game company changed its policies.

A Valve representative has responded to GameSpot, saying that no formal complaint has been received from VZBV.

“We are aware of the press release about the lawsuit filed by the VZBV, but we have not yet seen the actual complaint. 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.”

It is worth noting that this isn’t the first time The VZBV has taken on Valve. Previously they claimed that Valve’s prohibition of user account transfers violated German laws. The case went all the way to the German Federal Court of Justice where a judge ruled in favour of Valve, saying the terms did not violate German law.

However, as reported by Gamespot, a European court recently ruled that content creators can’t prohibit post-purchase redistribution of work, no matter what the end-user license agreement says.

What do you think? Do you think Steam users should be able to resell games from their accounts?

Source: PC Advisor

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Forum discussion

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  • Alex [SS] PsyChoPanthis

    I was thinking about this the other day… i think its actually a very good idea. I have 10+ games i havnt played in over a year on my steam list alone, so why let them fester there when i can resell at a cheaper price that valve gets a share of, and buy newer/other games in the process? Somebody needs a bells, STAT!

  • CrzWaco

    The thing is what happens if your account gets hacked, then that person can sell all the games on the account. Great idea but also scary.

  • Axon1988

    I think a better option is this: Rather then sell it again, at a reduced price, to someone you should just be able to give it away. Otherwise it could become a ugly scenario, of people putting up old games for stupid prices.

    I’ve always wanted to give some of the games I already have in my library away to friends who can really use the entertainment.

  • Alex [SS] PsyChoPanthis

    there are hundreds of security measures they could use. email authentication, one time pins via SMS or email to name two.

  • Alex [SS] PsyChoPanthis

    ah but thats the beauty of steam. they could price a game according to its age and how popular it is on the steam charts.

  • CrzWaco

    Yeah there might be, but it still the user that’s the weak link.

  • Almost A Hero

    As a reseller, individual users are likely to undercut whatever the publisher can offer significantly. Even if it’s offered with the proviso that the publisher/developer gets a percentage of your resale, Valve wouldn’t undermine their platform in a way that makes it unappealing to developers/publishers. User-made content, sure. Hats, go for it. Other people’s products? Not likely.

    You may argue that that’s exactly what happens with second-hand goods – but it’s one thing to have your local game store buy and sell second-hand copies amongst a small group of prospective buyers and having access to six million+ active users on Steam ready to buy your “second-hand” game.

    I’d much rather people press Valve for a guaranteed method of playing the games you’ve bought should they ever go out of business. They say they will, but “saying” and being legally obligated to do so are two different things.

  • Robert Crous

    It’s a complicated issue,

    If valve allow re-selling of games a few outcomes are obviouse

    1) Valve lose money because only half of their userbase needs to buy a single game and then that half can resell it to the other half (these halves are obviously possible buyers)
    2) The Game Industry lose money and faith in valve because they are no longer making maximum profit (as explained above) therefore valve go out of business

    Essentially i would like to see being able to trade games but people have to understand that this is a very delicate issue. Knowing the gaming community there will be trading sites up and running within minutes of this going live and valve will feel the affects instantly.

    I think the best solution is that you are able to ‘gift’ your game to friends but you have to pay valve to do so.

  • The Rich

    Don’t they sorta already do that though?

  • Devon Stanton

    It could be argued however that Steam could then introduce a “handling” fee since the transaction and migration of the account will all happen through steams system I think steam would still benefit from this.

    Additionally I think looking at it from a 50/50 ratio is a little too harsh cause not everyone is going to buy the same game, espicially if it’s a mainly mp game since if you want to play with someone it’s not possible to sell your copy to that person. So this scenario only really works for single player experiences.

    if it does get introduced I think steam will take a cut of the transaction as well as control the price that the game is sold at just as it would happen at retail.