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In a ruling that could have incredible implications for the gaming industry and its approach to digital transactions, the High Court of Paris has ruled that Valve must now allow Steam users to resell any games they purchased on the popular digital storefront. This remarkable outcome is the result of a chain of events that started way back in 2015, when Valve was sued by a French consumer organisation called UFC-Que Choisir after the organisation took issue with the way Valve conducted business on Steam, most notably its policy towards user's ability to resell their games - with the policy being fairly simple: users couldn't.
Fast forward four years, and the High Court of Paris, has come down in favour of UFC-Que Choisir, though Valve reportedly plans to appeal the decision. In a statement to Polygon, Valve co-founder Doug Lombardi confirmed that "we disagree with the decision of the Paris Court of First Instance and will appeal it. The decision will have no effect on Steam while the case is on appeal," though if the ruling is upheld Valve will have no choice but to change its store policy or else face hefty fines of up to 3,000 euros (£2,644) per day for up to six months.
French gaming site Numerama reports that Valve's defence - that Steam is a subscription service - didn't wash with the court, who argued that Steam doesn't sell games as part of a subscription package and this can't be regarded as a subscription service. Moreover, the court ruled that Valve's policy on game reselling is in violation of EU laws that govern the free-flow of digital goods. If Valve's appeal fails, there's a strong chance that the ruling could have an impact well beyond France and across the European Union.
In its original suit, UFC-Que Choisir took issue with a number of other conditions on Steam, which the court also ruled in favour of, including the fact that if a user were to leave Steam with funds still in their Steam Wallet, Valve would keep whatever currency was left. The court also ruled that Valve must accept a greater responsibility when a user says that a product on Steam caused them harm, and that Valve's rights to users' mods and community-created content will be reduced.
While we shouldn't expect these changes to come into effect any time soon, it seems clear that the EU is intent on changing the way Valve conducts business. Naturally, the company will be fighting these rulings with everything it's got, so while I wouldn't get too excited about the possibility of pawning off your Steam library just yet, it's looking like more of a reality than ever before.
Featured Image Credit: Valve/Capcom
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