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Consumer group targets Valve's digital resale policies

Consumer group targets Valve's digital resale policies

January 31, 2013 | By Mike Rose

The Federation of German Consumer Association, a German consumer advocacy group that took issue with Steam's end-user license agreement last year, has now filed an official complaint against Valve.

The VZBV, as the organization is known, takes issue with the fact that Steam does not allow users to resell digital content, which goes against a recent European court ruling -- and as such has now taken an official dispute to a German court.

Speaking to Cinema Blend, VZBV representative Eva Hoffschulte stated, "We have submitted complaint against the company to the district court Berlin."

The company says that Valve has been working to modify its terms to grant more leniency, but that what has been done up to this point simply isn't enough.

Consumers should be able to resell any product they buy from the Steam Store, states the complaint, just like with any other game product. The current system is not in the interest of consumers, says the VZBV, and will harm sustained growth of digital distribution in the long-term, as users realize more fully the implications of having their content tied down to a single digital platform.

At the moment, no online game distributors allow users to resell digital content, but the latest ruling says that companies cannot put any systems in place that would block their European users from doing so. Companies like GameStop have already expressed interest in used digital game sales, and the Federation wants to verify that Valve isn't doing anything to preemptively block used game sales on Steam.

[Update: Valve's Doug Lombardi has stated to Gamasutra, "We are aware of the press release about the lawsuit filed by the VZBV, but we have not yet seen the actual complaint."

"That said, we understand the complaint is somehow regarding the transferability of Steam accounts, despite the fact that this issue has already been ruled upon favorably to Valve in a prior case between Valve and the VZBV by the German supreme court. For now, we are continuing to extend the Steam services to gamers in Germany and around the world."]

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