A French high court has ruled this week that European consumers are allowed to re-sell their digital games bought on Steam much in the same way they can do it with physical ones.
The ruling, delivered by the High Court of Paris (Tribunal de grande instance de Paris), came as quite a blow for the company, who, in turn, promised it will appeal the decision.
So where did this come from in the first place?
It all began four years ago when a French consumer group called UFC-Que Choisir filed a suit against Steam, citing a number of complaints. Among them, the fact that Steam does not allow the users to resell the games. The court ruled in favor of UFC-Que Choisir after Valve’s defense, which insisted on Steam’s status as a subscription service, didn’t really strike a chord with them.
If Valve’s appeal will fail, the ruling will most likely echo across the European Union.
The court also saw eye to eye with UFC-Que Choisir on other counts too: for example, the organization was not happy with Steam’s policy of keeping whatever currency was left in a user’s Steam Wallet, should they choose to leave the service. The court ruled that Valve is responsible for reimbursing the users, should they choose to leave.
Valve will have to comply with other rulings tied to this particular case, withing a month. If it fails to do, it will have to pay a daily fine of up to 3,000 Euros, for up to six months.
“We disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it,” a Valve spokesperson said. “The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal.”
So while the case is still rolling, we won’t see any changes on Steam but this is not the company’s only ongoing case: back in April the European Union charged with breaking the Digital Single Market rules and seems hellbent on changing the way the company is running Steam, one way or another.