September 23, 2019 The CEO of the ISFE says last week’s Steam store ruling breaks EU law.
Last week, the High Court of Paris ruled that Steam would have to allow customers to re-sell games purchased via the platform in territories throughout the EU. In response, Valve told Kotaku that it disagreed with the decision – and it would appear that it’s not the only one.
In a statement on Friday, Simon Little, the CEO of the Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE), which represents the interests of the industry across the continent, said that the ruling “flies in the face of established EU law.”
In the statement (via GamesIndustry.biz), Little said that “far from supporting gamers, this ruling, if it stands, would dramatically and negatively impact investment in the creation, production and publication of, not just video games, but of the entire output of the digital entertainment sector in Europe. If Europe’s creators cannot protect their investments and their intellectual property, the impact on both industry and consumers will be disastrous.”
Per the ruling, Valve has a month to change its policies, or it will face a fine of €3,000 per day for up to six months – but it sounds like the company has no plans for immediate change. In a statement last week, a Valve representative said 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.”
It’s not just about game resale, either. Valve is supposed to refund your Steam Wallet balance if you stop using the service. It’s supposed to be accountable if a beta product causes harm. It’ll need clearer rules on bans for toxic behaviour. And Valve’s rights over mods are meant to be diminished.
It’ll likely be some time before we see the results of the appeal, but this could have major implications for digital game storefronts throughout Europe – and it could mean that someday, you’ll actually own the games you’ve purchased digitally. Valve’s argument that it’s merely selling subscriptions is a pretty strong indication of how little your digital purchase actually buys.