#1 Posted by Revan_NL (341 posts) -

When Microsoft presented their original plan on used games for the Xbox One, my initial reaction was: "Yeah, good luck with that in Europe." And now it seems that some progress is going to be made regarding the re-selling of digital games, regardless of the platform. As some of you might know, the European Court of Justice ruled in July 2012 that digital licenses can be classified as 'goods', therefore the first buyer has the right to re-sell that license.

Now, a federation of German consumer rights organisations is in the process of bringing Valve to court, based on the aforementioned ruling of the ECJ. With the lawsuit, they try to force Valve (and as a side-effect presumably also Microsoft, Sony, EA, basically anyone who sells games digitally) to implement the option for users to re-sell their digital games. And because the complaint is based on a ruling of the ECJ, chances are big that Valve will lose this one.

Question remains is: what will this mean for the industry in general? As much as Microsoft, EA, etc are pushing towards a digital future, the ruling of the ECJ was a ticking time bomb from the very day it was published. But this has the potential to create a big difference between the US and the EU market (assuming legislation in the US doesn't change). Personally, I think it's good that there is at least some form of consumer rights protection left in a time where companies are hell bent on trying to limit those rights as much as they can.

How do you guys think this will impact the industry?

#2 Posted by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

Uh...what decade are you living in? People have been using and "grappling" with this on mobile and PC for most of the 2000s. If you are looking for "impact" you missed it by about 10 years.

#3 Edited by Fearbeard (831 posts) -

Well, Valve already has a marketplace for users to sell goods to each other so if they are forced to allow the sale of digital game licenses then they have a heads up already. I'll be interested to see where the court cases go.

#4 Posted by Bell_End (1208 posts) -

i remember when watches went digital and people complained then that they would no long have ownership over time and how they would miss those moments in between the tick and the tock of a traditional analogue watch.

but look at us now with our digit watches all over.

#5 Edited by falserelic (5437 posts) -

We must take them down...

#6 Posted by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

The real question is what is the value in reselling a $0.99 game or what does it even mean to buy a used $0.99 game?? If no one can answer that then this is a meaningless "problem".

Reading between the lines, it seems that ECJ suggests it is fine for a user to sell and account with games but selling the individual games is not meaningful....which is something people already do.

#7 Posted by Alexander (1721 posts) -
@extomar said:

Uh...what decade are you living in? People have been using and "grappling" with this on mobile and PC for most of the 2000s. If you are looking for "impact" you missed it by about 10 years.

We're getting closer to a digital only games industry, the discussion is more relevant now and with Valve potentially being taken to court one could look at how they would adapt their business model, what it would mean for our Steam libraries, what could happen if used digital goes ahead in Europe and not elswhere but go ahead, carry on thinking this discussion is ten years too late.

#8 Posted by MattyFTM (14385 posts) -
@extomar said:

Uh...what decade are you living in? People have been using and "grappling" with this on mobile and PC for most of the 2000s. If you are looking for "impact" you missed it by about 10 years.

I don't see what point you're trying to make. Valve is being taken to court now, not 10 years ago. The potential outcome of this being that digital games will have to be resalable. That would have a huge impact on the gaming industry and the "all-digital future" many are predicting. The discussion about the resale of digital goods is only growing in relevance.

Moderator
#9 Posted by Matt_F606 (313 posts) -

By it's very nature a digital game is never really used. It's just a bunch of files. The EU may require companies to allow buyers to sell on there license but it would be the exact same cost as a copy from the publisher.

A used physical game is cheaper because of things like ware and online-passes.

#10 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@revan_nl said:

When Microsoft presented their original plan on used games for the Xbox One, my initial reaction was: "Yeah, good luck with that in Europe." And now it seems that some progress is going to be made regarding the re-selling of digital games, regardless of the platform. As some of you might know, the European Court of Justice ruled in July 2012 that digital licenses can be classified as 'goods', therefore the first buyer has the right to re-sell that license.

Now, a federation of German consumer rights organisations is in the process of bringing Valve to court, based on the aforementioned ruling of the ECJ. With the lawsuit, they try to force Valve (and as a side-effect presumably also Microsoft, Sony, EA, basically anyone who sells games digitally) to implement the option for users to re-sell their digital games. And because the complaint is based on a ruling of the ECJ, chances are big that Valve will lose this one.

Question remains is: what will this mean for the industry in general? As much as Microsoft, EA, etc are pushing towards a digital future, the ruling of the ECJ was a ticking time bomb from the very day it was published. But this has the potential to create a big difference between the US and the EU market (assuming legislation in the US doesn't change). Personally, I think it's good that there is at least some form of consumer rights protection left in a time where companies are hell bent on trying to limit those rights as much as they can.

How do you guys think this will impact the industry?

Or Valve will just bann Germany from Steam. Germany has stupid laws for example because of these laws we can not watch Youtube live shows as well. So I would not be surprised if Valve would just say FU Germany.

Also I think t is really unfair or can you resell Music? Or digital books?

#11 Posted by Corvak (1077 posts) -

It's ironic that they would target Valve - the company that clearly desires for steam games to be resold. Valve has been working on game sharing and trading for a long time, but is reluctant to jump into it because they don't want to raise the ire of big publishers. As it exists, Steam allows trading of "unopened" digital games - you can buy games into your inventory and trade them around, though Steam doesn't yet offer a way of trading securely for money. I've done a few paypal transactions with friends I trust.

Steam Trading Cards and the marketplace are another step on the road to used PC games - the % fees on these transactions could give publishers a cut of each sale, possibly giving valve a way to negotiate with publishers and convince them to implement the system.

I'm a bit of a game hoarder, and I don't really buy into the whole doom and gloom of "used is killing the industry" because every copy on the shelf was sold new at one point.

Seems a bit lame to target the one guy that agrees with you in a lawsuit, but Valve will likely prove that they are just a distributor and they dont control the rights to non-valve games on Steam.

#12 Posted by Zevvion (1873 posts) -

@extomar said:

Uh...what decade are you living in? People have been using and "grappling" with this on mobile and PC for most of the 2000s. If you are looking for "impact" you missed it by about 10 years.

He is living in the decade where games are more and more becoming solely available digitally, so this actually is starting to become a real issue. You know... this decade.

As far for this stuff, Valve isn't going to lose anything because they will be able to show that they are moving towards the digital resell/trade between two users separate from Valve's pricing. No court expects them to change things overnight anyway.

Valve isn't run by stupid people. They knew this would become an issue; either on the consumer or legal side (or both) because the indicators of it being a serious issue are getting more numerous by the day. They have been planning for this and right now, they are actually testing parts of it already. They want to be ahead of the shit-storm that they know will come eventually.

#13 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@zevvion: why is this never an issue with music and books sold digitally? Or even digital movies? Games are not different then all these things.

#14 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

We've been dealing with this for at least a decade on PC and mobile let alone with music and movies and books. Acting like it is *now* the time of digital content is laughable because the change over happened years ago. Asking "What does it mean to the industry" is equally laughable because we are dealing with the fallout from the change TODAY. PC gamers have been skirting the issue and coming up with our solutions to the issue for awhile now which is why I am acting incredulous.

Basically I love how some gamers live in a bubble never take a look around them. The biggest problem with digital download on games is the size and volume and that has nothing to do with "right of first sale". It doesn't matter if someone buys Halo 6 digitally, "selling it back" to a digital store is an interesting but meaningless action. There is some merit to the concept of a "transfer of ownership" feature but again the technical problem is the size and volume of many of these expensive game is such that whoever gets the copy next has to wait half a day where it did not matter if they were buying it new or used.

Basically at this stage in the technology, it is easier to gift someone a new digital copy than try to divine or devise a "digital used game market". Do I bother to try to figure out how give or deliver my brother my Steam-PC copy of Dishonored or just gift it to him for $12? It doesn't matter what the ECJ says or means because the issue doesn't make sense economically or technologically.

#15 Posted by AlexW00d (6275 posts) -

@darji said:

@revan_nl said:

When Microsoft presented their original plan on used games for the Xbox One, my initial reaction was: "Yeah, good luck with that in Europe." And now it seems that some progress is going to be made regarding the re-selling of digital games, regardless of the platform. As some of you might know, the European Court of Justice ruled in July 2012 that digital licenses can be classified as 'goods', therefore the first buyer has the right to re-sell that license.

Now, a federation of German consumer rights organisations is in the process of bringing Valve to court, based on the aforementioned ruling of the ECJ. With the lawsuit, they try to force Valve (and as a side-effect presumably also Microsoft, Sony, EA, basically anyone who sells games digitally) to implement the option for users to re-sell their digital games. And because the complaint is based on a ruling of the ECJ, chances are big that Valve will lose this one.

Question remains is: what will this mean for the industry in general? As much as Microsoft, EA, etc are pushing towards a digital future, the ruling of the ECJ was a ticking time bomb from the very day it was published. But this has the potential to create a big difference between the US and the EU market (assuming legislation in the US doesn't change). Personally, I think it's good that there is at least some form of consumer rights protection left in a time where companies are hell bent on trying to limit those rights as much as they can.

How do you guys think this will impact the industry?

Or Valve will just bann Germany from Steam. Germany has stupid laws for example because of these laws we can not watch Youtube live shows as well. So I would not be surprised if Valve would just say FU Germany.

Also I think t is really unfair or can you resell Music? Or digital books?

It's EU law though, not just German. Why would Valve ever say FU to it's biggest market?

#16 Posted by jdh5153 (1034 posts) -

There's no such thing as a used digital good. That's just retarded...Just people trying to be thieves.

#17 Posted by Revan_NL (341 posts) -

@extomar: The transition might be going for nearly a decade, but there wasn't any legal precedent until one year ago. Since regular legislation is often as slow as a snail, these issues only get addressed when brought to court.

@jdh5153: In 1919 (if I recall the year correctly) 'electricity' was classified as a 'good' by a Dutch judge (which was done to classify 'stealing electricity' as 'theft', the way it's described in Dutch Criminal Code). It is generally accepted in the EU that electricity is in fact a 'good'. Now, the choice of the words 'used digital good' might be a bit poor, since basically it comes down to re-selling a license.

@darji: The ECJ ruling can be applied in a similar fashion to music or ebooks, since they are also digital licenses. Like I said, it's not going to be an issue until some consumer rights watch organization brings this to Court.

#18 Edited by GaspoweR (3041 posts) -

For some reason, I might think that this might affect what Valve does currently with Steam Sales or for any online retailers for that matter who have insane price drops for their sales. I for one would rather be able to buy games insanely cheap instead of trading/re-selling but whose to say that both models can't coexist right? I just don't know how any of the digital retailers would be able to pull it off.

Also I'm curious as to how Green Man Gaming does it, since I know there are games on there that you could re-sell, I just don't know how it works.

Online
#19 Posted by Darji (5294 posts) -

@gaspower: I am pretty sure you can only sell these games if you have not used a steam code and then only under certain conditions which is basically a non issue.

#20 Edited by EXTomar (4736 posts) -

The real issue is that software goes out of date very quickly. A secondary issue is that a lot of games are of good enough quality to maintain for any length of time. The combination of both seems to indicate that video game software is highly disposable.

I do appreciate the idea that the market would be a better indicator for the value of a (used) game but the economics is that many games are budgeted too big, sold at a very high price point, and "wither" rapidly. This is such a skewed market that a natural reaction from many is to create a used market place. The flaw in the market isn't that the consumer needs more used game sales but the supply especially on consoles are artificially fixed at a floor of $60 and that borked everything afterwards.

#21 Posted by mlarrabee (2962 posts) -

I'm working on forcing carnival managers to allow resale of ride tickets. Five dollars for three minutes is a bit steep. After all, we bought the bits of paper, we can sell them to our friends if we want to.

Wait ... .

#22 Posted by Rabbykayn (225 posts) -

I'm more interested in the legal question of "willing" my collection to someone.

I have no interest in the resale of digital content. I accept Steam's model of great deals, convenience (such as pre-loading) along with the DRM and inability to sell. That is the system I'm backing and choose to put my money behind.

#23 Edited by MattyFTM (14385 posts) -

@darji: The initial ruling was from the European Court if Justice and applies to every single EU country. That's a lot of countries and a huge market for Valve. They are not going to pull out of the EU market.

And these legal challenges will overflow into other countries. The US has the First Sale Doctrine which guarantees your right to resell your copy of anything you purchase. If someone challenges Valve in the US, we could seem similar rulings to the ones made by the ECJ.

This isn't some isolated incident of a "stupid German law" it's a serious issue of consumer rights that is going to take place across the world.

Moderator
#24 Posted by GaspoweR (3041 posts) -

@darji: Are you talking about Green Man Gaming?

Online
#25 Posted by Itwongo (1198 posts) -

@darji: I highly doubt Valve, a company whose public image is one of the biggest reasons for their current success, would do something as drastic as cutting off a whole country.

#26 Edited by MikkaQ (10290 posts) -

I think valve is technically in the clear because of their ability to buy and resell games as gifts. You could argue the steam gift is the good and by activating it you are agreeing to consume the good.

#27 Edited by Darji (5294 posts) -

@mattyftm: again why was or is this never an issue for music, books and movies? Games are not different. There maybe a chance if you buy a retail copy and you can somehow resell that version even if it uses steamworks. Like for example delete from your account but how will this work with digital only content? There is no way any judge would be as stupid and say this also will be possible for digital purchased content.

And the consequence of this is would basically mean. No retail Pc games anymore in Europe. Digital license do not get older, they will never die and so on. You can do that with a disc maybe but otherwise no chance and that is a good thing.

#28 Posted by Kidavenger (3556 posts) -

I don't understand why people are so stupid to push for this shit, if used digital goes through, it's the end of digital games period; having an online marketplace where slobs can sell games for whatever they want is just going to be an epic race to the bottom that no publisher will want to be involved with.

What will end up happening if this actually passes; we really won't own our games anymore, we'll be buying licenses that last a fixed amount of time and expire, instead of an online pass for BF4, we'll be buying an annual pass.