It must be possible to resell games on Steam in EU, French court tells Valve

It must be possible to resell games on Steam in EU, French court tells Valve

A court in France has ruled that EU consumers have the right to resell games they buy on Valve's Steam platform.

That's according to local website Next Inpact, which reports that Paris' Court of First Instance ruled this Tuesday (September 17th) that Steam users should be able to sell on games bought digitally as they would be able to with a physical item. This case was brought by French consumer rights group UFC-Que Choisir back in 2015.

Valve's defence against the case was that Steam is, in fact, a subscription service. This was roundly rejected by the court.

It is, however, technically true. When users sign up to Steam, they sign the Steam Subscriber Agreement, which gives users - 'subscribers' - access to the platform. The defence was rejected on the basis that games are sold for good, rather than being part of a subscription platform.

Not only has Valve been found on the wrong side of EU law, it also has to pay out €30,000 - €20,000 in damages and a further €10,000 in costs. Valve also has to link to the judgement on the Steam homepage within a month. Failing to do so would cost the PC games giant €3,000 each day with a cap of €540,000.

Speaking to Engadget, Valve comms boss Doug Lombardi has said the company will appeal the ruling and that nothing was changing on Steam until it knows if the ruling has been upheld.

This isn't the first time that Valve has found itself on the wrong side of consumer rights activists. The PC giant lost both a court case in 2017 and 2018 appeal in Australia over whether users should be able to refund games

Valve is also currently challenging an EU anti-trust ruling over the geo-locking of game keys

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.