Are you like many gamers across the land that hate being forced into keeping the games you buy, instead of being free to trade them away at your convenience? Today, a German group known as the VZBV, or the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, decided to defend those that this affects on Steam in filing a lawsuit against their restriction of redistribution of consumer owned games. While Steam has in their end-user agreement that all digital media must remain with the owner that originally purchases the game, a judge in Europe ruled in 2010, that no content creator can dictate what consumers decide to do with the purchases after they have doled out the money.
The VZBV did originally contact Valve in September of 2012 saying that they would take legal action against the company should they decline to comply with their request. Valve decided to take their chances and did not make any changes to their policy. Though some games are Steam trade-able, no game is resell-able on Steam once the consumer has completed the transaction.
Valve did acknowledge that they had seen the press release that they were being sued, but has no formal documentation stating the information yet, saying to GameSpot: “We are aware of the press release about the lawsuit filed by the VZBV, but we have not yet seen the actual complaint. That said, we understand the complaint is somehow regarding the transferability of Steam accounts, despite the fact that this issue has already been ruled upon favorably to Valve in a prior case between Valve and the VZBV by the German supreme court. For now, we are continuing to extend the Steam services to gamers in Germany and around the world.”
Though Valve has won a case before that the VZBV had filed, the console makers of Sony and Microsoft will be sure to eye this case carefully with the upcoming launch of their next generation systems.
Rumors have swirled about the web for about a month that at the very least, Sony’s next console will include Digital Rights Management tabs that are linked to an individuals account limiting the resale of such products. Some people have also linked Microsoft to such activity and knowing the United States Court System, both companies will likely hesitate to instigate such DRM features should the German Courts rule in favor of the VZBV.
Gamers around the globe have been negatively responding to the thought that a trip to Gamestop or other local retailers, to resell their games and receive credit or cash to buy more games or do with what they please, not being able to happen anymore. I believe that such a move by the companies would infuse a frenzy into the gaming communities and retailers because of the freedoms that we enjoy and those being taken away. Not to mention the ramifications for the businesses that would be effected by such a move and the losses of revenues that could result in job loss and company closure for many.
Whether or not the VZBZ wins the case it likely won’t ultimately effect the decision for those to do the same against Sony and Microsoft should they choose that route, but it could make it easier for them to win their case as many judgments do have influence on other cases no matter the country of origin. Personally, for me this would be a very decisive factor in my purchase of a next-gen system and what way I sway, and I’m not likely the only one that feels that way.
Game prices have risen already $10 from the previous generation (XBOX to XBOX 360, or PS2 to PS3), and with new technology normally means higher prices across the board. With factoring in, the force of keeping that product upon purchase could cut down the number of games purchased and hurt the game companies too because of the fact that gamers will have to choose, often, what games offer the most replay value and lasting appeal. Why should any company have the right to make gamers commit to keeping a game when a person has purchased it? Why should I not be able to use my local game store to swap MY game for credit, or another game should I so choose? The answer is, they shouldn’t; my hard-earned money went to buying that game from that company, it is mine and I own it, I should be able to do with it what I choose.
While Valve has run this way for some time, they also have been able to keep this model due to their sales and offers that they give gamers that entice them and not make them feel like their “allowance money” is gone. Sony and Microsoft would not be able to do this as easily due to the fact that they must work through third-party distributors and retailers to distribute their games to the masses. Unless they remove the middle man and sell all their products from the originating source which would allow them to sell at their price they wouldn’t be able to control the prices that retailers offer. The store-bought it so they can sell it for what they want. If Target or Walmart buy games to sell, they can mark it down as low as they want to get the sales and people through the door. If they can do with it what they please, why can’t I? Should either company choose such a tactic, a case such as this one could open the door to me being able to resell my game whether Sony and Mircosoft want me to or not. In the end, that could cost them more than simply choosing not to from the beginning.
Would that be a deciding factor for you and your purchase of a system? Would you sign a petition for a change should either company do this to the consumers? Let us know what you think in the comments below.