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German consumer group is suing Valve over used game sales block

Despite Valve changing its terms of service in recent months to make it impossible for users of the digital download platform to sue it, that hasn’t stopped a German consumer protection group – VZBV – stepping up to the plate and announcing its intentions to sue the company on behalf of Steam’s EU users.

The legal complaint has been filed with the district court in Berlin according to a CinemaBlend interview with VZBV representative, Eva Hoffschulte (thanks PCGamesn). It was also outlined in a longer statement on the consumer group’s website, which explained its efforts in the past to have Valve modify its terms of use to reflect better consumer protection. However those changes obviously haven’t been enough, as it is pushing ahead with the legal action.

Breaking it down, VZBV believes that it’s unfair of Valve to sell games through Steam at the same price as the physical copy, since a user cannot resell the digital version, while they can with the real world alternative. It also doesn’t like that there are technical blocks put in place to prevent the reselling and that ultimately this halts the progress of digital distribution.

Apparently this is thinking long term, in a decade or two when every company could potentially have their own platform, with its own form of DRM by making you play the game through that company. It makes it very difficult for a consumer to make a choice when they are locked in with ownership.

Steam Sale
Steam might have great sales, but buying anything but a brand new game at any other time often gives you only one over-priced option

It seems a shame that in 2013 we’re not able to resell our used games, as it was thought back in mid 2012 that we would all soon be able to do so.

KitGuru Says: While I love Steam, I agree with the consumer group here. If you pay for something you should own it, not just rent it from Valve. I know I have the ability to download a game whenever I want and that is something that should be offset in the cost of the title, but it must be said Steam is awful for having games still at full retail price years after release, while you’ll find the physical copies for a couple of pounds at most retailers.

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