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French Court Says Valve Must Allow Steam Users To Resell Games


This is grounds for serious contemplation.

Wait, wait, wait, I was doing this in the 2010s… In fact, about 3 years ago…


Precisely this. People think they want it, but I don’t think most of them have thought through the consequences. I get that it looks “noble” to fight for it, but the results will not benefit the consumer. Do you want to turn Steam into an actual subscription service where you have to keep paying to maintain access? Because this is how you motivate them to turn Steam into an actual subscription service where you have to keep paying to maintain access. Buying Steam games is so cheap if you’re just a little patient, so I don’t understand why people feel entitled to resales. Though trying to argue against entitlement these days seems a lost cause…

And as @GDBringer points out, I have no idea why they’re targeting Steam, as this has consequences for a lot of digital products. Steam is actually on the generous side, IMHO. Consider the restrictions of moving certain versions of Windows or Office from one PC to another. Steam at least lets you maintain access to all of your games in perpetuity (or for as long as they exist, anyhow) on whatever hardware you want.

I hope this doesn’t succeed.


Things to consider before I can type my own wall of text:

Increased prices
Hugely reduced sales. We’re talking max 35-50% off.
Surge in predatory MTX
Death of indie.


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.

I understand what you’re saying. I’m just concerned that this will greatly increase internet policing by the government. And their court decision isn’t for stopping some dangerous crime. This is just to get their hand in regulating business and the economy.

In a perfect world, I would accept this because it makes sense logically when compared to physical goods. I mentioned before that I can accept the decision because it gives more power to the consumer. But I can only see potential abuse wherever I look. A lot of things can go wrong if the repercussions aren’t thought out. It’s as though they are trying to fix something that isn’t broken and has been managing just fine so far.

sigh I’m on the fence on this one. There is too much to consider. I will only know the right decision after everything had been decided.


Honestly what concerne me the most, as someone who eats indie point and click adventures with 10 reviews on the steam store for breakfast.

Plis don’t let me starve, France.

I need N U T R I E N T S

I’m trying to make use of my “Max shitpost overlord” title, people, despite my urge to type down my own serious thoughts


The major difference being that a publisher sells a product, while Steam provides a service (many people ignore this due to the unusual arrangement of a subscriptionless service where you only have to buy in once per game - but it is a service nonetheless. A service so good that I have bought games on Steam even if I already owned them on disk).

The publisher’s relationship with the product ends as soon as they sell it. If you resell it, you don’t cost them anything but potential profits.

Valve has infrastructure to maintain. People downloading games and using their site costs them money. They have to store data and provide bandwidth. So you paid for a Steam game once, but your continued use of it, especially if you download it again, costs Valve actual money (“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place”). If more people download a game while paying less, Valve has to make up that difference somewhere or lose a ton of money. Valve doesn’t share its costs and profits, but in 2018, Google spent $25 billion on infrastructure. Hosting servers isn’t cheap. Steam is obviously smaller than Google, but we need to recognize that anything but a trivial slice of $25 billion is still a very large number.

Speaking only for myself, I’m quite happy with the existing Steam service that I only have to buy into once per product. Besides, aside from a few stinkers in my library (that I don’t feel entitled to sell), I want to keep my games so I can play them again. Otherwise, I would have to buy them all over again. I don’t see many legitimate uses for allowing resales, but I do see a lot of potential abuses.


No Steam provides a service to the developers and publishers but they very much provide a product to the end user. That’s rather the whole point, digital licenses are to be considered the same as physical goods.

As for the boogeyman that keeps being brought out any time steam does a pro-consumer move the “death of the indies”, refunds was supposed to kill the indies too. This wont kill indies because as anyone should be able to see people who like indie games tends to actually support indie developers and WANT to buy their games.

This idea that because a scummy or easy way to cheat is possible everyone will do it is very similar to the rationale behind DRM. If people could pirate everything then no one would ever buy things, right? Well it’s been decisively proven that that is not the case by gog and developers selling their games DRM free.

People do want to support creators that make things they like, just look at all the flourishing furry porn patreons.


I know for a fact that people will buy a game as cheap as possible. Otherwise Steam Sales wouldn’t be such a big thing. Nor grey market sites. If people are able to resell their digital games legitimately, how are indie developers going to make money? Especially since there really isn’t a degradation of quality that can be seen from console used purchases. If it is anything like reselling currently, the developer gets jack shit for second hand sales. Because really, we are literally talking on the forums of a site that’s main purpose is to provide great deals. It’s pretty obvious people are willing to save money, especially if the method is legit.

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t like the idea of Pro consumer changes. I just think this one has a lot of baggage attached that will be bad for the consumer as well.

Which gives me an idea, @RaccoonV, you guys have a line to developers. Any chance you can ask what developers are thinking about this?


@yitzilitt wanna join in on our discussion here, my dude? I always appreciate your thoughts, for one. :blush:



You can’t in good faith tell me Valve does not provide a service to the end user. You can claim they provide a product and a service, and why you think trying to divorce them might be good for the consumer, but you can’t say they don’t provide a service. When I make a Steam purchase, I get much more than a game. I also get:

-The ability to download that game any time, from any computer I ever own
-Automatic updates for my game
-Access to customer service
-Cloud storage of my save, if the game supports it
-A community workshop set up to allow for easy installation of mods, if the game supports it
-Access to a robust forum of knowledge for troubleshooting (you don’t even have to buy the game to get this)
-And a host of minor but nice client features like chat, overlay, etc.

That’s just off the top of my head. Not one of those is a product or part of the game proper. Every single one of those features incurs ongoing costs to Valve (at no ongoing cost to the consumer) and requires Valve to have an infrastructure in place to provide the customer with said services.


Yes very much serious. Se what happened here is that you said steam does NOT provide products but services to which I replied that they really do provide products. I did not say they ONLY provide a product. So why go twist my words and be all snarky about it?

And yes @Pylinaer of course there’s always going to be people looking for the cheapest way to do a thing that’s why grey market sites like kinguin and G2A exists. But the sentiment of wanting to support creators still resides in many and as I already said evidence of this is plentiful. So please spare me the fallacy that just because one more option to be scummy is made possible everyone, or even a significant number of people, are going to jump on it. Most of the people who would take advantage of something like this are already being scummy and most likely never put any cash into indie pockets to begin with.

Resale will not kill indies, of this I am very confident.


I’m not talking Grey Market. I’m saying this makes it seem like Steam (and by proxy all etailers) will have to provide resellable Digital Games. Thus we have a legitimate marketplace were people can resell games that they are done playing and don’t want anymore. I think Gamestop was big for a reason.

What about buying from Humble Bundle? Do YOU feel bad when you purchase a bundle with lots of really good games worth a ton more than list price? Do lots of other people?

“Humble Monthly now has over 400,000 subscribers” And that probably doesn’t include the transient ones that purchase a month here and there. That is not an insignificant number of people.

My argument is not that people are “going to be scummy”, because fundamentally they aren’t. They are using the resell system as it was intended and designed. I would go as far to say that a majority of people would see it as a new avenue to get games cheap. Or potentially the replacement for deep sales if those are nixed. I would doubt that a majority of gamers would even know (or care to look) if the developer gets money on resale.

Absolutely kill, no not really. Some would survive. But it sure as fuck will make it significantly harder. Especially considering Steam is already a shitshow for Indie developers.

It appears you are basing this off that people said that “refunds would kill indies” and that they didn’t. Resale is not the same problem nor has the same implications. Refunds are just 1 single lost sale, end of story. Resale can be multiple lost sales as CouchDweller69 completes the game in 24 hours, resells it, PCGamerMaster86 sees it’s 25% off comparatively, buys that instead of the full price, plays it in a week, sells it, and IchigoBob decides to buy it used because he just had a car repair and he would like to save a few bucks.

Please note, this is only one of several potential bags of luggage this change could carry.

I’m going to be frank and let this be the TL:DR. No. I would say the people who would take advantage of this have zero idea that this was mandated in France, they thought it was a great idea, and have no idea how it affects anything because it’s a legitimate thing.

P.S. I find it interesting your defending it as a good idea yet saying people taking advantage of it would be scummy already.


That is because you do not seem to understand what it is I’m saying. A big part of the right of ownership includes being allowed to resell your things. I am always in favour of preserving individual rights where ever possible and I will always stand against businesses clutching their pearls and hollering about how not depriving people of fundamental rights is going to affect their bottom line. That’s the light I see this issue in and it makes it easy for me to pick which side I want to stand on. This does not however mean I think it’s not fraught with issues that needs to be carefully navigated, but I do think they’re worth navigating.

The advantage taking I was speaking of is not Joe average selling a game he’s tired of, but the scenarios GDBringer brought up with setting up organized resale chains and effectively rental stores. Buying a product and selling it to someone else when you don’t want it anymore is not scummy, it’s not ‘taking advantage’ it’s a right you have.

I see the argument that digital goods does not depreciate the way hardware would. Buying a couch 2nd hand gets you a worn couch but a 2nd hand game is the same as one purchased from a store and… quite frankly I do not really see how that follows then that 2nd hand sales has to be prevented. I understand that the market will change, I understand that first hand sellers will have to compete with a 2nd hand market of undamaged goods, this is tricky I admit. But it’s not an argument I can accept to not examine the possibilities at the very least.

The biggest break on the indie killing this change would have is not that I don’t believe many of us would be happy to buy a 2nd hand game, but that I do not think most of us would be happy to SELL our games. I can only speak for myself of course but I want to keep my 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