What just happened? The French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir had been in a legal battle with Valve for the past four years, alleging Steam's subscriber agreement is anti-consumer. This week, the case reached a major milestone when the high court in Palais de Justice, Paris, ruled against Valve by making it legal for European consumers to resell their Steam games on the digital storefront.
Valve's ban on reselling games on its storefront is one of the few downsides of having a digital collection of games as opposed to a physical one that can be resold or restocked to your heart's content. And while Steam has a virtual rewards system and a big community in place for stuff like trading cards, crafting badges and leveling up, there's no getting round the fact that once you've bought a game, it's strictly tied to your account and you're stuck with it for eternity (or at least what the EULA dictates).
In what might drastically shift Valve's mode of operating Steam is a ruling given this week by a French high court that legalizes it for European consumers to resell their games bought on Steam, reports French publication Numerama. The verdict follows EU laws on digital goods that ensure "the free movement of goods within the Union," and allow the selling of all goods, including software, to be sold in used condition without the permission of the maker or the original seller.
In its defense, Valve argued that Steam is a subscription service, thus its banning policy on game reselling. The court rejected this defense stating that Steam doesn't sell games as part of a subscription package and that Valve's policy on reselling games goes against EU laws put in place for the free-flow of digital goods and content.
The court's verdict further clarified that the legality of resale applies to selling a single copy of the game, and not duplicates. It also gave Valve three months to update its terms of service in light of this ruling.
A Valve spokesperson told Polygon that the company plans to appeal this decision. "We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it," further adding that "The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal," hinting at a potential delay for the three-month time period given to Valve for compliance.