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MadDuke

Steam Users Have the Right to Resell Their Digital Games Rules French Court

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I like where this is going.

I think that since going completely digital and because of the uptake of subscription based model on the net we really need to find good legislature that will help with our consumer rights.

Honestly. I'm a maniac like that and would like to see subscriptions (In EU where I live) to be tied to a standard of the place you live in.  

Not to mention a need to crackdown on different content scope of services like Netflix in US and EU in different countries where we consumers have to pay for a much smaller content library and for a couple of time worse standard the same price as US customers for example.

One cool think that is coming in EU is a legislation that any service provider in EU will have to provide it's services to ALL country members. So basically remove geo-blocking inside EU also for the web based services. 

(I know this is boring for most of you, but I live in a small country called Croatia and would like not to have the need to fire up my VPN to get the same content and/or services as someone else). 

 

Quote from the original article:

Quote

A new ruling by a French court has the potential to radically alter the way people buy, sell, and play video games. For years French consumer rights group UFC Que Choisir have been embroiled in a legal battle with Valve Corporation over several clauses in the company’s Steam user agreement, particularly the one that states you don’t actually own games purchased on the popular digital storefront – you’re merely subscribing to the games in your library. This clause means Steam users don’t have certain basic consumer rights, like the ability to resell the games they buy.

 

Original article:

https://wccftech.com/steam-resell-games-french-court/

And expanded on the possible influence on other stuff like re-selling apps on iOS, Android stores, e-books on Kindle.  Probably having an option for cross-polinating because if I own a game on one store I should be able to transfer it like domains.  As mentioned earlier. These things take time. May, or may not happen but I'm hopeful.  I think it's time to take some of our rights back. (like right to repair for the US folks also etc.)

https://wccftech.com/digital-content-sellers-like-amazon-apple-at-risk-of-french-court-ruling/

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Posted (edited) · Original PosterOP
13 hours ago, Captain Chaos said:

This is going to create interesting situations, with people buying a game in a cheap region and selling it with a profit to someone in a more expensive region. -removed-

(added the quote. Knew I forgot something).

 

About selling games from "cheaper regions"?    There are ways to control that and as a consumer I think I really shouldn't care how they solve that problem. It's a about money so they will find a way. 

Edited by TVwazhere
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You used to be able to freely trade gift copies of games on Steam before they stopped that about three years ago. Any previously purchased gifts were grandfathered into being tradable but any future gifts could only be sent. I wonder how Valve will handle this.


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Just now, MadDuke said:

(added the quote. Knew I forgot something).

 

About selling games from "cheaper regions"?    There are ways to control that and as a consumer I think I really shouldn't care how they solve that problem. It's a about money so they will find a way. 

Valve already does, with geoblocking keys purchased in certain regions of the world where the game is significantly cheaper than most other parts. This largely affects South America and some Asian countries.


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I guess I'm failing to understand why anyone would do this. The only "benefit" I see would be buying games on sale and selling them at full price once the sale ends, but this could create chaos. If I paid $60 for a digital game I'm going to sell it for $60. Digital games don't lose their value.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
2 minutes ago, BigDamn said:

I guess I'm failing to understand why anyone would do this. The only "benefit" I see would be buying games on sale and selling them at full price once the sale ends, but this could create chaos. If I paid $60 for a digital game I'm going to sell it for $60. Digital games don't lose their value.

It's your purchase and you should be able to sell it for whatever price you wish.  And people can get tired of a game and decide to sell it off. Or simply don't like the game at all and sell it off :)   Why not? 

 

I find it interesting because this is the exact thing game devs don't want you to do.  The best gamer is the one who purchases a game and rarely plays it (less impact on the server infrastructure. Not counting possible micro transaction gains of course).    Now. people will be be able to get rid of stuff they don't need anymore or want.   Or simply "trade" with their friends back and forth like you used to do with Cartridges, Floppies, CDs etc.    

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4 minutes ago, MadDuke said:

It's your purchase and you should be able to sell it for whatever price you wish.  And people can get tired of a game and decide to sell it off. Or simply don't like the game at all and sell it off :)   Why not? 

 

I find it interesting because this is the exact thing game devs don't want you to do.  The best gamer is the one who purchases a game and rarely plays it (less impact on the server infrastructure. Not counting possible micro transaction gains of course).    Now. people will be be able to get rid of stuff they don't need anymore or want.   Or simply "trade" with their friends back and forth like you used to do with Cartridges, Floppies, CDs etc.    

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you on this. I just can't think of a scenario where I personally would use this.


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I definitely don't see you getting the legal right to "transfer" a game from one platform to another. There are costs associated with running a platform (such as game downloads, running servers, bandwidth, etc).

 

Take for example, buying a game from EGS and "moving" it to Steam. When you bought it from EGS, they took a cut, which goes to fund things like those servers, etc. When you transfer the game to Steam, they never got their cut of the game. So now they are supporting you, including allowing game patches, cloud saves, etc - for free.

 

At best, if this was forced, platforms must be allowed to charge a fee for such a thing - eg: You transfer from EGS to Steam - steam charges you 15% of the price of the game (replace 15% with whatever they negotiate for, and/or think they can get away with charging).

 

Now, on to selling a "used" Digital Game. This is tricky, precisely because used goods in real life lose value. They're finite. They get wear and tear, which makes them lose further value. They lack warranties, etc.

 

Digital goods don't have any of those problems (perhaps except warranty, since the devs could simply say if you sell the game, it loses warranty).

 

I don't see a good way of allowing selling used digital games.


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1 hour ago, MadDuke said:

The best gamer is the one who purchases a game and rarely plays it (less impact on the server infrastructure. Not counting possible micro transaction gains of course).

We'd simply see an accelerated shift towards micro-transactions / subscriptions / pay-as-you-play business models (in other words, business models with little to no up-front costs), if the bottom lines end up materially impacted by the resulting arbitrage?‍♀️.

 

That being said, a gamer that continues to "exist" in a game's social community still provides value by being a constituent of the social fabric the whales typically live in.

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Oh yes maybe I can swap out some of my unplayed games for DLCs


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I hope I will be able to sell games on Steam marketplace. I don't care if Steam/developer of the game takes let's say 40% of it or something, I just want to get rid of many games I know I won't ever play again and get something back even if it's quite little.


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This would be a nightmare to implement. Sounds good at first, but the more you think about it the worse it gets. However I still think the wording should be changed. For example when a company goes bankrupts or just stops it services you should be able to download all of your bought products for a limited time. Some companies already did this, but I don't think they are forced to at the moment.

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I'm surprised so many people are seeing this as a bad thing.  It's more freedom for consumers, and while it must be noted that it's not a new freedom but simply regaining one we used to have in the physical days, it is what it is.  We can expect that this will come to all regions sooner or later.  Remember when Australia ruled that games must be refundable and suddenly they added it for the whole world?

5 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

I definitely don't see you getting the legal right to "transfer" a game from one platform to another. There are costs associated with running a platform (such as game downloads, running servers, bandwidth, etc).

It never even occurred to me that this would imply that, I would assume that the sales would be within the Steam marketplace

5 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

Now, on to selling a "used" Digital Game. This is tricky, precisely because used goods in real life lose value. They're finite. They get wear and tear, which makes them lose further value. They lack warranties, etc.

 

Digital goods don't have any of those problems (perhaps except warranty, since the devs could simply say if you sell the game, it loses warranty).

I really don't see the issue with pricing or reselling.  There are loads of digital products resold and traded all the time, this isn't anything new.  People can pick whatever price they want, and people will pay for what they can find.


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6 hours ago, Sakkura said:

It's probably going to cause higher prices, and could negatively affect the playerbase on European multiplayer servers. So while I kind of appreciate this in theory, I'm skeptical about the outcome in practice.

Why would it lead to higher prices in the EU? If the prices of new games rises, it only validates the need for being able to sell it at lower prices.

Profits isn't what dictates the prices, Sweet spot is. Prices for current games aren't set at ~60 dollars because that's how much it costs to produce, it's set at 60 dollars because that's the spot where the most people will buy the game. Increasing the price by 10% might result in 15% less sales, therefore being a net loss. I am sure game publishers have spent a lot of time figuring out where the sweet spot is for game prices.

 

If game publishers believed that they would make more money raising the price of games then they would have done so already. This ruling won't change that.

If anything, raising prices might actually push even more people into second hand game purchases, which is something they certainly don't want happening.

 

 

6 hours ago, dalekphalm said:

Now, on to selling a "used" Digital Game. This is tricky, precisely because used goods in real life lose value. They're finite. They get wear and tear, which makes them lose further value. They lack warranties, etc.

In the ~20 years I've been playing games this has never been an issue. Serial keys did not lose value because they could be coped or even made into a text document. The CD might have gotten worn down by that was not really a big deal, and in a worst case scenario you could burn a copy.

 

 

All that, plus what @thorhammerz said here:

5 hours ago, thorhammerz said:

We'd simply see an accelerated shift towards micro-transactions / subscriptions / pay-as-you-play business models (in other words, business models with little to no up-front costs), if the bottom lines end up materially impacted by the resulting arbitrage?‍♀️.

I'd argue that we have already seen this happen even without this ruling. There are way more micro-transactions, subscriptions and pay-as-you-go games now than it's even been before.

 

I really don't see this ruling changing much, except giving consumers the rights they well deserve and used to have in the old days.

 

 

 

34 minutes ago, Ryan_Vickers said:

I'm surprised so many people are seeing this as a bad thing.

It seems like "people these days" have been so used to having their freedoms removed and restricted, and constantly being kicked by large companies that whenever something positive happens for consumers, they are more worried for the companies than themselves.

"Oh no, I'll regain some of my lost freedoms! How will this affect the bottom line of massive mega corporations?".

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1 hour ago, LAwLz said:

I'd argue that we have already seen this happen even without this ruling. There are way more micro-transactions, subscriptions and pay-as-you-go games now than it's even been before.

I use the term "accelerated shift" for that reason - we'll simply see more move to the aforementioned models, perhaps a bit faster depending on how quickly such rulings are enforced on commercial activities, and the geographic scope such enforcement will be applied to (within only France? within the EU? etc).

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7 hours ago, MadDuke said:

One cool think that is coming in EU is a legislation that any service provider in EU will have to provide it's services to ALL country members.

This will have potentially costly side effects looking at Europe's localisation issues. Depending on who qualifies as a service ofc.

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36 minutes ago, LAwLz said:

Why would it lead to higher prices in the EU? If the prices of new games rises, it only validates the need for being able to sell it at lower prices.

Profits isn't what dictates the prices, Sweet spot is. Prices for current games aren't set at ~60 dollars because that's how much it costs to produce, it's set at 60 dollars because that's the spot where the most people will buy the game. Increasing the price by 10% might result in 15% less sales, therefore being a net loss. I am sure game publishers have spent a lot of time figuring out where the sweet spot is for game prices.

 

If game publishers believed that they would make more money raising the price of games then they would have done so already. This ruling won't change that.

If anything, raising prices might actually push even more people into second hand game purchases, which is something they certainly don't want happening.

 

Profits don't dictate prices? Let's see what the wikipedia article says:

 

Quote

The sweet spot is the price where the total profit is maximized.

What you've missed here is that reselling effectively equates to lower pricing. If one person is willing to buy a particular game for $60, and another is willing to wait a little and pay $20, then today they pay a combined $80. With game reselling, they'd pay a combined $60 as the second person would pay the first $20 for the used game. Apart from psychological effects and alternative revenue streams, the rational response from the publisher would be to raise the game's price to $80, as that would restore the equilibrium.

 

One negative side effect here is that the first player loses access to the game, which for MP games might mean a reduced player base. Probably only slightly as people willing to sell the game aren't likely to be playing a lot, but it should be non-zero.

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Even in physical sales where you can trade disks easily, there were some ways to devalue used sales. I forgot which version it was, but it was one of the previous Gran Turismo series. When you get the game new, you get a one-time use key that unlocks some DLC. That gets activated on your account. If you later sell the physical game, the buyer would not get that bonus DLC. It doesn't stop the game from being resold, but if buying used you get a little less stuff than if you bought new.

 

Also note it is typical for game pricing to drop over time anyway. Pre-order or get it on launch day, you're paying max $. Give it a couple years, it'll probably be in the budget section or even given away on Humble Bundle.


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