Dexter Feb 1, 2013 @ 1:04pm
Steam/Valve sued in Germany
By German consumer protection agency VZBV as direct fallout to the complaints about the EULA changes late last.
Apparently they already agreed to partial changes, for instance from the Press Release further below that says:
At least Valve has committed itself to allow the use of the Steam platform without automatically making it dependent from players consenting to the amended terms and conditions. Valve will be introducing new mechanisms after 31.01.2013 other than the pop-up window, which fell under criticism previously.

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/185823/Consumer_group_targets_Valves_digital_resale_policies.php
http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Valve-Modifying-Steam-EULA-VZBV-Files-Complaint-With-Court-Berlin-52002.html

Doug Lombardi apparently also commented to GamaSutra saying:

Valve's Doug Lombardi has stated to Gamasutra, "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."

Here is the Original Press Release by the VZBV btw. (tried to translate it roughly): http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_2546.htm
Valve locks itself away from resale of used software

Partial success in EULA-changes

The injunction against Valve Software from September lead only to partial success. At least Valve has committed itself to allow the use of the Steam platform without automatically making it dependent from players consenting to the amended terms and conditions. Valve will be introducing new mechanisms after 31.01.2013 other than the pop-up window, which fell under criticism previously.

Valve insists on a lifelong forced marriage with Steam

There was no agreement achieved in regards to the coupling of a game to the Online platform Steam and the non-transferability of playing privileges/accounts to third parties. Valve continues to hold fast to its business model and prohibits the transfer of the account to a third party in its Terms of Use. This has the consequence that, while the purchased game can be passed on or sold, the associated account cannot necessarily, which is essential for the use of the game.
In this context, it does not matter whether the consumer buys a game on a disk or by download – he cannot actually sell it. The vzbv has for this reason in January 2013 filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer Valve to achieve the goal that consumers may continue to sell used games.

Full purchase price and only half the ownership?

For consumers, the difference of use between game software as opposed to board or card games are incomprehensible. For both, the consumer pays the full purchase price. As the owner of a board game he can give it away, sell it easily or allow others the right to use it. These possibilities are often denied for game software. Technical hurdles, the prohibition of transfer and prevention of sale hinder the purchaser of a game software to proceed using his property as he wishes.

ECJ ruling strengthens the rights of consumers

In the opinion of the VZBV, Valve undermines the acquired consumer ownership rights by prohibiting the transfer of the account. While the Bundesgerichtshof (BGH) ruled in an action brought by the VZBV before the court in early 2010 that it was permissible that an account required to use a software product is not transferable. Due to the judgment of the ECJ, which affirmed the resale of used software, the VZBV now sees an approach by the courts and possibly the BGH, to reassess the situation. Thus, the consumer rights would also be strengthened in the online games market.
Last edited by Dexter; Feb 1, 2013 @ 1:04pm
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Satoru Feb 1, 2013 @ 1:10pm 
The thing is everything is based on a single article from Cinema Blend which isn't exactly very reputable at all. I've yet to see a real press release or anything from vzbv concerning what they've actually done. The main website has only one article from Sept 2012. So it's really confusing to me why everyone is quoting this single article that to me is of questionable provenance.

I'm also really confused what they have against Valve. Wouldnt' someone like Microsoft be a bigger more visible target? Who have the exact same provisions? I mean if you want to go after consumer rights, why not go after a target that actually has probably 10x more customers?
Dexter Feb 1, 2013 @ 1:14pm 
I linked to the Original Press Release: http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/hs.xsl/75_2546.htm although it is in German, I tried to roughly translate it too, see quoted text above. xD

It says "Stand: 30.01.2013" at the top right.

The VZBV is trying to strengthen consumer rights in regards to Digital Distribution and in this particular case Valve/Steam.
ChrisW Feb 1, 2013 @ 1:31pm 
The only news I see is where Valve states they won the previous case, which should put a nail in the coffin for those people hoping they could sell their used games on Steam. I see no evidence Valve has had to change their SSA.
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Date Posted: Feb 1, 2013 @ 1:04pm
Posts: 3