French Court Says Valve Must Allow Steam Users To Resell Games

The ramifications of this could be HUGE!

According to the French gaming site Numerama, as well as UFC-Que Choisir itself, the High Court of Paris ruled in UFC-Que Choisir’s favor earlier this week. If Valve’s appeal fails, this ruling stands to have ramifications not just in France, but across the European Union. Specifically, the court didn’t find Valve’s defense that Steam is a subscription service compelling. As a result, the court declared that users should be allowed to resell Steam games.

More on this at Kotaku including the ability to claim back money in your Steam wallet if you leave Steam.


I’m so confused as to how would this work? Would you have to resell directly to steam? Would you be able to go through certain channels (like the steam marketplace) to “sell” your rights to download and play the game? Would that work for drm free games? So many questions.


I like the idea of a marketplace exchange, although that means that Steam gets to take a secondary cut off reselling something that’s owned by you.

I don’t know about reselling directly to Steam, that’s just kind of odd, as it means that you have to use Steam as the middle person, and who knows what kind of fees they will incur that way.

One thing I can say that won’t work is reselling used keys, because so many people participate in giveaways, and so many keys exchange hands, it’s going to be a jumbled mess.

I am looking forward to seeing how things play out here in the US.


Sells back to Steam all of those removed games I have in my Library. You know, the ones that still drop unmarketable card boosters :rofl:


This sounds interesting to me:

In its original suit, the organization had also taken aim at the fact that, if a user leaves Steam, Valve would keep whatever currency was left in their Steam Wallet. The recent ruling states that the company will instead have to reimburse users who request it. Valve must now also accept responsibility when users say an item on Steam caused them harm, even if it’s in beta. 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 behavior.

Of special note:

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 per day for up to six months.

Amazing how court rulings are responsible for big Steam changes like the current refund policy.

I like the fact UFC and the French court demand a quick response from Valve with the 1-month thing!

In Brazil we have a government-owned website where we can openly read public court proceedings as they develop. I’m honest when I say I have no idea whether or not this is a worldwide practice.

Anyone has any idea where one might get access to the actual French ruling and the suing process online? I realize it will likely be in French.

I thought that might answer some of the questions Kotaku glossed over – as they should, per their style and pool of readers.

Thanks! :blush:

EDIT: I’m dumb and can’t follow article links. Here goes the process to anyone else interested:


I agree. And as unfortunate as having steam take a cut for transactions may be, it’s the best option I think we have. There would/will have to be official channels for this, since used keys won’t work and the games will have to be directly transferred from one account to another. I will be very interested to see what’s done if this.


pretty sure Valve will win their appeal and nothing will come of it; you can be damn sure that EA, Ubisoft, Sony, Nintendo, Bethesda, Microsoft, any publisher with digital game sales will be very alarmed at what happened and they’ll organize and start lobbying hard, and then Valve will win their appeal and that’s the last we hear of this ever


Friend of mine daringly speculated:

“I know what will happen, Steam will block France.”

What do you guys think?

Kind similar to M00’s thoughts above, which I also think are a strong possibility.

Personally, I’m wondering how all this will play into Steam’s PR and favor with the public – although, Valve having the monopoly it has, they might not be worrying too hard about it.


I think the thing is if it spreads to the whole of the EU. I can see Valve blocking france, but not the EU.

M00 may very well be right though. I’m quite hoping for this to pass myself.


Oh snap. One of two things will happen: Steam will block France or Steam will give special rights to France.


Steam will never block France, that’s one. [btw if u think this through and assume France actually goes through with it and then Steam blocks France, then the only logical follow-up on that would be that France then rules that Steam must give all their French ex-clients a full refund on everything they ever bought, and in addition to that, all other digital sellers will also block France because they will all be taken to court one by one with the same results cuz now there’s this precedent]

Two, if France were to actually go through with this, other EU countries will follow very, very fast, and soon the EU would implement it as a whole, possibly preceded by Australia, immediately, and then probably a slew of other countries, which is why the gaming lobbies just can’t allow this to go through, cuz they know this very well.


I really hope steam wins this case.Ive seen countless people(from this community also) getting their accounts compromised due to new scam methods that surface every day so the thing that scares me the most about steam implementing a 2nd hand market is the possibility of being hijacked and getting every game from your library sold to dirt cheap prices and being unable to get them back.
Hopefully that wont be the case


Wait, so barely 549,000 euro? Uh…I know what I’d do as Gabe N… :poop:


Woa what!?

France wants people to resell digital goods? That’s a big deal because it will not be any different from e-books and any software. Wow. This might really damage income for companies relating to those if this decision extends to all digital goods.

But as far as digital games…

If the game is sold back to the game developer, it will definitely harm sales because companies do not expect full or partial refunds at any time. Normally companies got around this because they claim the item lost value after it was purchased. But a digital good did not change or lose value after it was purchased. It is exactly the same as when it was purchased. Ouch if they have this burden.

If the game is sold back to Steam, I expect a lot of refunds and steam to lose a lot of money. Their refund policy is to stop people from buying it, finishing the game, and refunding it right? It seems like there is no limit with this. Steam will definitely have to counter with some policy that limits the refund as much as possible since people will be reselling their entire played library.

If the game is sold from person to person, this is going to wreck the gaming economy. When an economy is in the hands of a group of people, a lot of scummy things can happen. A mini-marketplace where people take advantage of any built-in economic systems.

For example, lets say one guy buys 1000 digital copies of one game. He makes a side business selling these same 1000 digital copies but actually rents them out for a time period to trusted “subscribers”. When the subscribers are done, they sell the digital copy back to the main guy and he sells it again. The same game getting resold several times all over the internet. I can see a lot of people relating it to piracy even though it is one digital product. And gaming companies will definitely hate this because, isn’t this why they moved to digital downloads? So they can avoid game stop and the reselling of games?

Hmmm. Well, despite all the negative aspects, I guess I can support it because it gives more power to the consumer. But I expect a lot of problems in the gaming industry in response to this.

PS. This might save Game Stop. lol.

implementing a 2nd hand market is the possibility of being hijacked and getting every game from your library sold to dirt cheap prices

I didn’t even think of that. That would be scary. Valve would open themselves to a whole group of hackers trying to destroy their platform and get a few bucks.


I expect this thing stems from the ruling in the EU that makes it so that you posses full ownership over your software licenses. None of that silly “you only get to have the license as long as we say so”. This would logically extend to also having the right to resell things you own.

I have a hard time seeing France backing down on this one and it seems likely to me that if it goes through EU courts that they will also find that Steam and every other digital goods distributor have to create a way for people to sell their software licenses.

Transferring ownership of a license between steam accounts shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish and I wouldn’t even begrudge steam to take their usual market trade cut from it. Even with that cut you’d get far more from your 2nd hand games than you would have through gamestop.

The security issue is a problem of course. As mentioned steam accounts are already valuable targets to hack, if you could also sell all the games on it that just makes them so much more lucrative. Additional trade holds and security measures making trade more bothersome isn’t going to be popular either.

Mostly I think this is the right thing to do but I certainly understand many of the problems doing it.

@GDBringer People are allowed to sell their physical books and libraries even lend them out for free to a lot of people. I don’t see a lot of publishers bemoan that situation. While I get that you’d have a far larger reach to a far larger public with digital goods over the internet I still think it’s entirely reasonable that the greater public have their rights secured despite the possibility of them being abused. That’s what we usually have laws for, rights under responsibility and if you abuse it only the abuser have their rights taken away. Some sort of existing law or a new one would have to be present to deal with edge cases.


Sometimes we think we want something, until we get it.

As cool as it would be to rewind time to the '90s era of carrying a bundle of old games to the store to resell, I’m going to predict one obvious downside: if this becomes widespread, new games going forward are going to get MUCH more expensive, and/or steep discounts will become non-existent on good games. We will be forced to trust a secondary marketplace of other gamers (and potential scammers) to secure cheaper prices on games instead of a storefront (Valve) and directly from the developers.

I’m going to reserve judgement on this though, maybe it will be nice and easily implemented. Personally I have zero use for it, myself and most gamers won’t be bothered to list their games as digital shelving space is cheap.


I kind of agree with them. What makes Steam (not just them) think I do not own my digital products as much as I would physical? I know it is far more complicated than presented of course, but it does raise a really interesting point about ownership on digital products (specifically games).

There could be a way to resell digital codes, they just don’t design it that way on purpose. For example, the code can only be installed or attached to a client one at a time. So if you sell it, you have to deactivate it first (maybe even wait 7 days for it to verify) and then the other person activates it, and that’s that. You no longer have it under your account, the purchase information gets updated as “market sold to x” (the client could search for the product key to determine who it was sold to even) or something and the product code is then registered to the new owner’s client (Steam, Uplay, etc).


the fact that you agree to that by making use of their services while their TOS clearly states it?

just playing devil’s advocate here; i’m 100% against these practices as well, but i just fear the lobbyists will end up having the laws changed if that’s what it takes, cuz in the end, the judge will rule according to the law, it’s not like lobbyists can do something about that [assuming corruption isn’t that far gone in France] so that’s what it will take, i guess, though i honestly did think that the fact that we supposedly ‘agree’ to their TOS would be a ‘valid’ excuse by itself to rule otherwise


Are you serious or are you trolling me? :roll_eyes: No duh I’m agreeing to their services, which is why I don’t fight it and continue to buy games from them. The comment is clearly asking (and not even seriously because, you know, they aren’t going to answer me personally) why they think digital products don’t deserve the same ownership as physical products.

The issue itself, regardless of Steam stating it in their services, is an important one, which is why I think it is a good thing it is being discussed.


I never, ever troll while seriously arguing; if I’m srsly arguing, then I’m serious about the subject

u know, when i actually do “troll” it is so childishly obvious that u can hardly call it trolling; it’s always either obviously sarcastic or completely batshit insane, like @Fraggles once told me “like a 12-year old with too much imagination” and i’m paraphrasing here

and so, yes, i am serious, if i place myself in Valve’s lawyer, i would simply argue that the consumer agrees to it by using Valve’s services, as stated in the TOS, which is how millions of companies can screw their clients in plenty of other examples as well, cuz “who reads through all that shit anyway”