Valve has been riding a little high over the last few years. Since the massive success of the early 2000’s for the company, Gabe Newell has become a bit of an icon on the internet. And despite this growth, there’s been some problems. The Steam presence across the globe has grown consistently since launching more than a decade ago. By building off of the success of Half-Life, fans have slowly come around to the way of GabeN, although it hasn’t been an easy road to travel.
One of the core criticisms that some have laid on Valve is that the service makes it difficult for users to do things they’re used to with other platforms. In particular, Valve blocks both the transfer of accounts between users, as well as any reselling of games.
Carola Elbrecht, project manager for consumer rights in the digital world at the VZVB, announced the new lawsuit against Valve. This comes following a warning from the regulatory body back in September to Valve. The weird part here is that this is technically the second time this lawsuit has hit German courts involving Valve.
Steam was previously sued in 2010 in a case very similar to this one. The German Federal Court of Justice ruled in that case that Valve had not violated German law by prohibiting account transfers between users.
According to VZVB’s Carola Elbrecht, the goal here is to enforce a ruling from last July that says “used” game sales are legal and cannot be blocked by the author. This is the core of an issue with many PC gaming platforms. Valve in particular, as they have been able to gather a fair bit of dominance, have been keeping users from selling their games to each other. Steam account holders have no way of selling, or transferring, their games to other users.
Retailers like GameStop have also built a very strong presence throughout the global entertainment economy based on used games sales. This trend has no doubt pushed the expectation that PC gamers are used to on consoles with used games. It’s hard to say how this case will turn out, as it will likely be litigated on for the next few years in a back-and-forth style. But honestly, I wouldn’t expect used game sales to happen on Steam anytime soon.