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French Court Says Valve Must Allow Steam Users To Resell Games


I agree with Fraggles’ closing statement above. I would want games I love to remain in my library, but those I never did like or I no longer want to keep, should be made available for resale if I wanted to. Refunds should only be given to games you can not get to run or are frought with errors and bugs, but used games should be made available for resale. Three stipulations I can see that would make this work and not be potentially abused are…

1.) Games MUST be region locked. So you can only resell your used games within your region.

2.) Rewards such as Steam trading cards for a game will be locked to the original game’s owner. So used games buyers won’t be able to farm off of a used game’s drops.

3.) Ingame purchases, on games with Microtransactions should be locked to the original owner as well. So if you buy a used game, you as the new owner MUST shell out your own money for any ingame items you’d want for yourself that the original owner might have bought for himself in the past.


Personally I find it much more interesting to ponder solutions over doomsaying and demanding things never change. So having had a shower and a ponder I think I might have a workable system that could well solve many of the issues we’ve discussed already.

For sake of clarity I’m going to work with the idea that digital licenses need to be treated the same as any physical goods. So the first thing we need to do is to separate the product from the service. Steam does indeed provide several services to the end user, chief among these being the distribution of the product but also updates, multiplayer servers and a whole host of other things.

As an owner of a software license you will be allowed the right to transfer said license, but you do not posses any rights to services rendered by steam and therefor can not demand those services to be provided to your 2nd hand license holder.

I don’t want to pretend like this only affects steam as this is about all software licenses and retailers of, but we’ll use steam as an example here.

So steam sets up a marketplace where you can sell your licenses, this might not even be necessary. When you put your license up for sale steam will require that you have the game downloaded to your system, steam will then package and encrypt the files that constitutes the product you own. You will also be provided with the key to decrypt and unpack the game and thus we have created an item to sell for which you, the owner, is fully responsible. You sell the game to someone and then you have to actually transfer the item to the new owner, how you go about that is up to you, this is not a service steam needs to supply.

Now compared to a couch this item could still be infinitely duplicable and we don’t want that, you have one license and one item to sell. So in order to verify that only the rightful owner can decrypt a copy of the package steam does supply a verification service. When you run the installer for your 2nd hand purchased game it will call for verification from steam, which will accept the decryption key generated only once and the game will then be installed on the new user’s system. It is up to the new owner to be mindful and take care of their installed copy as this is what they have purchased.

This wont work with some forms of DRM, wont work with steamworks for one. So as an addition or alteration of the system steam might allow you to register the license to your steam account but your license registry for that game will carry a note that makes it ineligible for redownload, maybe blocked from online multiplayer, maybe even not supplied patches automatically, possibly not awarding achievements, certainly not getting card drops and so on. But it will be in your steam library and still required to launch through steam. Steam could still offer the backup options for you that exists today but your local files will always remain your responsibility and the product you purchased.

I think this system would greatly reduce the risk posed by people hacking steam accounts in order to quickly dump all the games and steam items on the market and run away with the money. It would also greatly depreciate the value of a 2nd hand title as it would not be entitled to many of the services provided with a license purchased directly from steam. It would also make it quite bothersome for anyone trying to set up a rental system, since they would have to carry the distribution efforts themselves. Finally I think it would make buying a 2nd hand title more effort than it might be worth for a $15 indie game.

But your rights of ownership will not be infringed upon.

Please do let me know what problems you might see with this system and what we could do to assuage them.


I’d say it is what defines it in that there is no ownership if u cant transfer it. If u cant sell it, u dont own it, simple as that, so 100% with u on that.


You meant abusing the system then. Okay yeah. For me taking advantage of can mean simply using the service because it’s available. English is lovely isn’t it.

This might sound off, but I haven’t actually said that I’m against this. I’m just trying to argue that it’s not all Rainbows and Unicorns. There will be consequences and some of them may be as anti-consumer as the inability to trade. Would it be nice to resell games? Yes. I would love to get rid of Abzu on steam and buy it on GOG. I just think there is a lot of unnecessary baggage and consequence attached. (not to mention this is a MASSIVE slippery slope)

Looks like DRM to me. I personally think a system similar to trading cards will be the most likely option.

transfer =/= sell. There are a few things I can’t sell or transfer, legally, so do I not own them?


indeed, you do not own them



I guess I don’t own myself then.


you indeed do not own yourself, the actual proof for that is that you are not allowed to sell yourself; as I said before, the right to transfer ownership of something is a necessary condition for ownership itself, as established by law, both human and divine

and I am not trolling

we do not own ourselves nor our bodies, which are mere vessels which we have been given to use for a determined time period

but there’s no point of getting into a theological discussion which will probably not lead to anything positive nor any resolution, so it’s probably better to agree to disagree


About ownership - and this is just my feeling, not law or anything - I’ve always considered my GOG library games as owned. At any time, you can download 'em, burn them to disc or something and play them without the manager.

Conversely, stores like Steam, Uplay, Epic, etc … it’s definitely more like a ‘rent’ vibe. Like when you subscribe to a cable TV channel - you’re licensed to watch whatever you like, but the day the company shuts down - that’s it, ‘your’ shows are gone. Unless of course, you took time to archive them for your personal use later. The licence to view / use is temporary, not ownership per se.

I’m not technical minded, maybe there’re some games on Steam that launch without the manager, and for Epic, the same applies. Just saying how I personally feel when the word “ownership” is used here.

Also also, I wouldn’t be reselling my favourite games. I’d like to transfer licences to a friend who also like the games - say to a few of my wee nieces and nephews. For games I don’t use / like, it’d be cool to toss them out the Library and maybe pick up a few Steam Wallet coins for them. (Yes, I know some people have 25k games). Hey, Economics is complicated and there’s no such thing as a perfect system - again, just my little 2 pence. Cheers.


Probably shouldn’t bring it into the discussion then. Just a tip.


I am not going to get into a discussion about it, and I’ve already said I’ll just agree to disagree in case you do (disagree). I answered your comment, and it felt necessary to me to explain fully where I’m coming from (though my point of view is legally sound and conclusive also).


simcity 4 and The sims 3 are two games I know off you can run without the Launcher. After you install both games you just simply delete the shortcut Steam creates for the games, go to their respective install folders, find the executable for each and create your own. This newly created shortcut for these two games won’t be tied to the steam client\launcher as if you installed them by disc. And you don’t even need Steam running in the background before you can run both games. :yum:


@Gnuffi posted this site somewhere in the back of the library here…:heavy_heart_exclamation:

You can copy the game folder anywhere you want to and launch the game directly without being online or having Steam or third-party software running.


Kind of an incomplete list as I didn’t see simcity 4 nor The sims 3 on there, granted I just scrolled each category quickly manually instead of using CTRL+F because I’m currently on my phone and I don’t know how to do it on here.


Scratch that, I figured it out and indeed those two games aren’t even on that list :frowning_face:


Personally I’m of the opinion that this ruling, in it’s current form, should fail. We’re getting licenses to play when we buy a game on Steam and not the games themselves. With Steam’s refund system, and with the license system in mind there’s no real issue with there not being a resale system. Can you resell your movie tickets so someone can see that film you’ve just seen?


I’m actually not sure about that; I think @Fraggles once explained that we do actually buy the games, but it is on the games’ publishers to enable us to play them, and as long as Steam works, they are honoring that obligation, but if Steam were to disappear one day, then it would still be on the publishers to enable us (direct download or a free key for another launcher or whatever) to use our product.

So IF i understand that correctly, Steam offers this service, and we agree to it; however, we do own the game, but the honoring of that sales contract falls on the publisher, not on Steam, and now (1 judge in) France (let’s not forget it’s merely a ruling by 1 judge atm) ruled that that is not how this works and that Valve have the obligation to allow us to sell our games (given that the ability to transfer ownership is a major condition for ownership itself).

If someone is willing to buy them, you can actually sell them, but they won’t be able to use them as they are a single-use item; this is not a valid analogy :smiley:


Well kind of sort of, that particular part was an extrapolation on my part. Primarily a theory that would have to be tested in court in the event of such a situation but based on what I believe is the foundation of the current inquiry. The finding that software licenses are not to be considered in any way different from any other goods and all the implications there of.


That is literally what you said. Observe:

If English isn’t your first language, I can see how this might be confusing. But what you said, in English, was that I was wrong to say that Steam provides a service. Maybe it’s not what you meant to say? Possibly, but over-defensive accusations just make it look like you’re lashing out at someone who pointed out an error in your claims by trying to assign them nefarious motivations.

A good debate should leave emotion at the door. Since you can’t seem to do that, I’m going to bow out of the thread. But for any innocent bystanders left confused about the opinions being aggressively presented as fact in this thread, I would suggest merely looking at the terms of service you agree to when you use Steam:

“The Content and Services are licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Content and Services.”


No THIS is what you said.

Your statement here is clearly exclusionary. Only way I can interpret what you said here is that you want to claim steam only provide services.

Where as my counter to your statement only supplements that products are being supplied. My statement does not, should not at least, be read as if it excludes anything else. In this case I do not deny that services are provided. This all I already tried to explain to you and I really fail to see where you spot any hostility there.

This time instead just try to pick at my supposed lack of linguistic abilities rather than touching in any way on the subject at hand. So on your way out I would appreciate it if you to take your own advice along on the matter.

Also TOS and EULAS rarely hold up in court, many rights can’t be signed away no matter how much companies want you to. EU laws and court findings over rules steams lofty wishes.

AND in fact even if they did, that line itself doesn’t work. Because the whole point here is that EU decided that licenses ARE supposed to be ownership. A license IS sold in the EU, rendering that whole clause pointless.


You’re buying access to the film for its duration. With Steam you’re buying access to the game for the period it’s available. You’re not buying the film and you’re not buying the game.


that’s what Valve says, yes, and technically speaking all Steam customers agreed to that, but according to the judge, French law says that that’s illegal (apparently he sees it as ownership and says the conditions for ownership apply), and so like i said, either the lobbyists will succeed in changing a bunch of European laws, or pretty soon all these companies will have to change their business model cuz a bunch of other countries are going to follow suit