German consumer protection group sues Valve over Steam used sales ban, despite EULA changes


German consumer organisation VZBV have been making threatening gestures in Valve’s general direction since September, when they first issued the Steam guardians with a cease and desist order. At the crux of the issue was an EULA update last year which forbad the use of any third-party software or tools which might enable the resale of Steam games – and while Valve proposed changes that temporarily appeased the German federation, the VZBV have decided that those measures haven’t been enough. As such, they’ve decreed their intention to sue Valve in Berlin on the behalf of Steam’s EU consumers.

VZBV representative Eva Hoffschulte told CinemaBlend that the group had “submitted complaint against the company to the district court Berlin”. Her statement is reflected in an untranslated announcement on the VZBV website.

The VZBV have taken issue with consumers’ inability to sell on games bought at full price on Steam. They specifically cite board and card games as expensive entertainment mediums in which second-hand sales remain an important and frequently-used consumer right.

It’s not clear exactly what Valve did do to keep the wolf from the door these last few months. But the Bellevue company have shown no intention of modifying Steam’s terms of service to allow for the sale of accounts to third parties, and so VZBV have filed the Berlin suit with the intention of putting that straight.

Update:Valve’s Doug Lombardi has told 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.”
Valve are now letting players sell spare Dota 2 invites on the Steam Marketplace, but I don’t for a second expect that will still be the case when the game hits gold.No other major digital games distributors currently allow for resale – with the partial exception of Green Man Gaming, who conducts trade-ins. But it’d be nice if they did, eh?