We are all moving toward an all-digital future. Video game digitization is already starting to kill retail businesses. GameStop shares took a major hit in the last two years alone.
Now that streaming services are gaining traction, one wonders what’s the future of video game distribution business will look like.
One major aspect of physical distributions business is being able to resell video games. Stores allow gamers to sell their physical copies and others can buy used games for a cheaper price point.
Meanwhile, digital stores don’t allow you to do that. But a recent court ruling in France could be the beginning of change. French Steam users now have the right to resell their video games. A court in Paris ruled in a year-long case, allowing Steam users to buy Steam games.
The case isn’t yet over as Valve can appeal the ruling. Steam says digital games have no physical form so it can not be resold.
The court also ruled against some other Steam terms such as not refunding your Steam Wallet funds if the account is shut down. UFC Que Choisir has been taking Steam to court since 2015 to protect consumer interest.
One of the main points they raised is the fact that Steam’s terms say users must agree that they don’t actually own the games they buy. The digital storefront gives the right to access and sells licenses rather than providing ownership of the product.
All title, ownership rights and intellectual property rights in and to the Content and Services and any and all copies thereof, are owned by Valve and/or its or its affiliates’ licensors. All rights are reserved, except as expressly stated herein. The Content and Services are protected by copyright laws, international copyright treaties and conventions and other laws. The Content and Services contain certain licensed materials and Valve’s and its affiliates’ licensors may protect their rights in the event of any violation of this Agreement.
The court agreed that Steam’s terms claim many rights the company legally could not have. Valve can not keep the Steam Wallet funds when a user leaves the platform, Valve must accept responsibility when a user is harmed by Steam or something from it, even if that content is marked as beta.