Valve: Accept New Steam Subscriber Agreement Or Disable Your Account

Earlier this month Valve updated the Steam subscriber agreement to include language that prevents customers with disputes from filing lawsuits against the company, and instead forces them to agree to the decisions of a Valve-paid-for “independent” arbitrator.

As bad as that is, we are now getting reports that users are being told that they have to either submit to the new terms or have their accounts permanently deactivated, and in the process lose access to all the content they purchased through Steam.

The news of this anti-consumer tactic comes from a Steam support message to a user who asked what would happen if they “don’t wish to accept” the updated terms. The Steam support tech responded saying:

Thank you for contacting Steam Support.

We can permanently deactivate your account for you, remove any stored payment information and clear your Steam profile.

Disabling your account will not result in a refund, as explained in the Steam Subscriber Agreement.

The games in your account will not be accessible for future use. It is impossible to make your games available once your account has been deactivated and your information deleted or archived. Once we have permanently deactivated the account, we will not be able to reactivate the account upon a future request.

Please let me know if you would like to proceed.

This type of forced arbitration language in end-user-agreements is, sadly, nothing new. Last year, after the PSN hack, Sony changed the PSN terms-of-service agreement to included similar statements. However, they also included a clause in the agreement that allowed their customers to keep their right to file a lawsuit, if they wrote a letter to the company stating that they wanted to opt-out.

Judging from the above Steam tech support statement, it does not appear that Valve has any intention of being so merciful with their customers.

Regardless of how this ends up working out, this is a good example of why gamers should not be excited for the upcoming all-digital distribution revolution, that video game publishers are pushing for. Often you are not buying a game, but simply a license to play a game. The problem with that (as evidenced by Steam‘s new subscriber agreement) is that the license can be taken away from you, at any time, for any reason, and without compensation.

Say what you will about GameStop, but I’ve never heard of them breaking into a customer’s house and taking back all the video games that they purchased from their store.

Source: NeoGAF

Comments (23)

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  1. Negative Nancysays:

    Oh, just agree to the TOS and shut up about it. You have no control, and if you think you ever did, you’re a fool. …or, disable your account. Frankly, me nor Steam cares what you do either way.

    1. Jacob Ellingersays:

      well you know. if enugh people left steam they would probably change things. But sadly there are too many people like you who are sheeple.

  2. Elvinsays:

    this is the risk of using something like steam… and especially the monopoly steam has over pc games.

    1. Agreed. I’m not at all big on lawsuits, but forcing customers to give up their rights is not good. What makes it even worse is that the next round of consoles will most likely have an even bigger digital distribution focus.

  3. and you say Windows 8 is catastrophe

  4. Jonathan Stoffregensays:


  5. Fatalsays:

    thank god i backup all my games on the pirate bay.

    1. Elvinsays:

      haha. good to have a backup on a free cloud service :))

  6. DAFAQsays:

    Skum bags… and i had respect for valve. i hope they read this coz its all gone 100% gonna pirate all their shit from now on WAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    1. Gunman121says:

      What an ignorant response.

  7. This is a company that just had a major breach of credit info just a few months ago. Let them go.

  8. disqus_CsMWkpekZLsays:

    This is what happens when idiots sue big companies over stupid things.
    By forcing them in to arbitration it cuts the cost down IMMENSELY, but of course most people dont understand this step even exists and instead go straight to the class action law suits. This shit costs big companies millions a year simply paying for legal costs, something no company wants.
    Also this article conveniently left out the fact that valve will pay for all legal costs (under $10,000) even if you lose the case, assuming the claims are deemed reasonable, (eg: not suing valve for your computer exploding whilst running Steam etc.) So really theyre not the evil baby-eaters this journo is spinning them as.
    Whilst I cant say I approve of Valve themselves hiring the arbitrator I can definitely see why this is happening in todays lawsuit happy consumer environment.

    1. X steam custermersays:

      You blind dumb ass. Today they say they will pay, next week another new TOS that says you will pay double.

      1. disqus_CsMWkpekZLsays:

        That was the single most ignorant thing Ive read all week, and I read YouTube comments.
        You do realize Valve dont make money from this right? the arbitrators do, simply because Valve is providing them with work. If they pulled some idiotic crap like what you say then they would be sued immediately, not by consumers, but by the state for bad business practice.
        You and all the other crazies need to take off your doomsday-tinted glasses and see this for what it really amounts to: Cost-savings for both legal savvy consumers AND Valve. I literally cannot see a downside big enough to make this a bad thing.

  9. Ultra-Humanitesays:

    First of all, that doesn’t look like any correspondence I’ve ever seen regarding Steam. Second of all, that tech, if this is real, is an idiot, because most of what he said in there isn’t true, and third just accept the damn agreement. It’s NOT legally binding. Watch them frown in chagrin when you sue them anyway if you have a real legal dispute because there is literally nothing they can do about it. They are banking on the fact that a judge would throw the case out based on the terms of a subscriber agreement. Good luck with that Valve.

    1. Mark Wolfsays:

      Actually Ultra, everything that tech stated is true if you read the SSA. Also, regarding a EULA not being a binding document, you might want to reconsider… The Supreme Court of the US recently upheld a Class Action Waiver provision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion.

  10. Isn’t their something called dark steam? basically all steam games for free, you can even play them on cracked servers iirc… I forsee a big population jumping over there and I don’t blame them.
    It should be illegal for companies to even ask you to give up ANY of your rights.

  11. Gunman121says:

    The amount of ignorance in this topic astonishing. Why does it NOT MAKE sense that YOU WOULD LOSE access to your account, if you DON’T agree to their user agreement?

    If you choose “No” that means you do not agree to any of the enclosed information — thus if you were allowed to use Steam, you would be able to do whatever you wanted..

    You hit “Yes” and that means you accept the terms and conditions.

  12. Rushsays:

    Gabe is a jackass! a liar! get out my wallet Gabe the Liar!

  13. Oscarsays:

    The big Gabe Newell first opened a talk about a Valve console platform, then a talk about the open source is perfect to turbine my resources for free, and… i mean, is cool! let´s bring on!

    EA or Valve? the future of the Cloud nightmare is coming, using a Fat Hippie Talk or a Shit Corporation Look. Your choice!

  14. Jacob Ellingersays:

    I already left steam. cuz fuck-em. I love a lot of the games on steam but the policies steam had adopted are horrible. Did you know that at any point they can suspend your account for ANY reason. There is no oversight. And now with this user agreement you can’t even sue them.

  15. dskhurysays:

    The same apply for a physical copy of a game. Sony/MS could revoke your license of a physical copy of the game. Remember MS wanted to lock a disk game on a single console?

  16. Eric Andrew Christophersays:

    Making a comparison to a single game store chain is pretty asinine. Undid all your credibility in like two seconds for me. Article is now rabble.

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