The European Court of Justice ruled earlier this month that consumers have the right to resell video games that they were purchased through digital distribution services, provided they disable their original copy after the sale has occurred. Valve would seemingly be one of the companies hit hardest by the ruling, as it directly impacts Steam’s business model, however recent statements by Valve execs indicate that nothing is going to change.
PCGamesN recently asked Valve’s director of business development Jason Holtman about the court case and how it would impact their digital distribution service, and was told that they “don’t have any plans to change”. Holtman was then asked to elaborate on the comment to which he replied “We don’t have any plans to change”.
It’s highly unlikely that Valve doesn’t have some plan in place to abide with this court ruling, and possibly other similar rulings in countries outside of the European Union, but I’m a bit surprised that such a forward thinking company hasn’t already preempted the decision by offering their own digital used game sales plan.
Using DRM it would seem to be a relatively easy thing to do to allow gamers to “sell back” a key code for a game to Valve for some small percentage of what they bought it for. At that point all Valve would have to do is deactivate the key code, generate a new “used” key code and resell it for a lower price to some other consumer. Basically the same model that GameStop uses, only with digital games.
While a business model like that doesn’t fully comply with the court’s ruling, which gives customers the right to resell digital software to whomever they want, it does at least offer some type of consumer resell system and would likely go a long way towards stopping similar lawsuits in other countries from ever surfacing.