France says that Steam must let you resell games – Valve “disagrees”

Digital game purchases are fast, convenient, and when sale season comes around, much cheaper than their physical counterparts. But they’ve got one big disadvantage: you can’t resell them. According to French courts, that needs to change – and the ruling could force Steam to allow players to resell games across the EU.

UFC-Que Choisir, a French consumer organisation, sued Valve back in 2015 over a number of issues it had with Steam, including the fact that users could not resell their games. Valve argued that Steam was essentially a subscription service, but the High Court of Paris says that this defense doesn’t hold up, in a decision reported by French-language gaming site Numerama.

Valve has a month to change its policies, or it will face a fine of €3,000 per day for up to six months – but it sounds like the company has no plans for immediate change. “We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it,” Valve tells Kotaku. “The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”

It’s not just about game resale, either. Valve is supposed to refund your Steam Wallet balance if you stop using the service. It’s supposed to be accountable if a beta product causes harm. It’ll need clearer rules on bans for toxic behaviour. And Valve’s rights over mods are meant to be diminished.

It’ll likely be some time before we see the results of the appeal, but this could have major implications for digital game storefronts throughout Europe – and it could mean that someday, you’ll actually own the games you’ve purchased digitally. Valve’s argument that it’s merely selling subscriptions is a pretty strong indication of how little your digital purchase actually buys.

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