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EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

This document (Adobe Acrobat format) outlines a legal ruing in the EU that seems to open the door for resale of digitally distributed software (thanks Joao). Here's a bit:

Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy tangible or intangible and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.

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98 Replies. 5 pages. Viewing page 4.
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38. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 16:02 Kajetan
 
NKD wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:57:
To those people I would ask: Where does the developer or publisher make their money in this utopia?
From selling games like they do now.

I am baffled by the level of paranoia and hysteria regarding used games or reselling games. There is a distinct lack of simple economic understanding fueling this paranoia. Used sale are natural part of the videogame industry since its humble beginnings and now, suddenly its worse than piracy? Come on ...
 
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37. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 16:00 SimplyMonk
 
jdreyer wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:37:
Ten years ago, few of these techniques were being used, and rarely if so.

I would also imagine that their install base has increased over the last few years. $60 price point may not have changed, but the quantity of product they move has. Also take into account new regional markets that have opened up.
 
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36. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:57 NKD
 
Draugr wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:21:
I never buy used though, as it's nice to know at least SOME of that money is making it back to the people who actually made the game.

Yup. Buying used, or even buying new but waiting 3 months to do so, does nothing to contribute to the first month sales numbers which are used to measure the success of a particular title or developer. That's just how it is. Your favorite studio could be canned for poor sales before you even get around to voting with your wallet.

People seem to envision this utopia where they can just buy super cheap digital used games that are indistinguishable from new games and then resell them whenever they want. Okay, great, sounds good right?

To those people I would ask: Where does the developer or publisher make their money in this utopia?

When a used copy literally becomes indistinguishable from new and is just as available, and is half the price, why buy five million copies from the publisher when you can just recycle 250,000 copies endlessly? Digital resale is the ultimate example of the problems posed by used software.

I can't think of any reason I'd ever buy a new title if I could just click the Used button on Steam, other than to try and support a developer I like. But most gamers don't give two shits about that. They just want the game at the cheapest possible price, even if none of that money goes to anyone who had a hand in creating the game.

necrosis wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:52:
So it is perfectly OK for them to charge us more and more while removing features left and right? Dumbed down games that are shitty ports? Buggy as all hell at launch? $60 games on PC is bullshit and you know it.

Woosh, the point went right over your head. Regardless of your opinions on the quality of the games, the cost to create them is higher than ever. Increasing costs must, at some point, be passed on to the consumer in some form or another. It's not even a complex economic model, it's simple math.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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35. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:55 Ripperjack
 
wtf_man wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:45:
I'd rather have a 30 day money back guarantee for a crappy game, than the ability to resell them. I'd even settle for a modest 10% restocking fee deducted.

If that was the case, then I wouldn't keep any games that I buy. With the exception of GW2, I'd hand back games in a heartbeat.
 
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34. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:52 necrosis
 
NKD wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:55:
I've always said, it's a simple matter of money in, money out. The cost to create games is increasing at a rate far exceeding inflation, while the cost to purchase a game hasn't even kept even with inflation. Even at $60 full price, games are cheaper now than they were 10, 15, 20 years ago, after inflation. At some point, publishers have to try and make up the difference. They can't just sit there and watch their bottom line dwindle away to nothing. They are a business, and while they don't have to be scumbags, they do have to try and be successful.
So it is perfectly OK for them to charge us more and more while removing features left and right? Dumbed down games that are shitty ports? Buggy as all hell at launch? $60 games on PC is bullshit and you know it.
 
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33. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:45 wtf_man
 
I've never cared about selling my games, because I collect them. Sometimes I'll come across one of my old games and install it to play it again after many years.

But, I guess some people like the ability to sell them for money towards new games.

I'd rather have a 30 day money back guarantee for a crappy game, than the ability to resell them. I'd even settle for a modest 10% restocking fee deducted.

/shrug
 
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32. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:40 Kajetan
 
D_K_night wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:29:
So by this EU ruling, I should then be able to to decouple that Batman license from my Steam profile, and transfer the game over to you, correct?
Yes, this is correct. But unfortunately, this ruling comes without an obligation for companies to get rid of DRM aspects preventing this trade. It just says: You, the customer, are allowed to resell the software you just legally downloaded from the internet. It lacks the second part: And you, the company selling these licences, have not the right to prevent that.

Not perfect, but its a start.
 
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31. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:37 jdreyer
 
NKD wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:55:
I've always said, it's a simple matter of money in, money out. The cost to create games is increasing at a rate far exceeding inflation, while the cost to purchase a game hasn't even kept even with inflation. Even at $60 full price, games are cheaper now than they were 10, 15, 20 years ago, after inflation. At some point, publishers have to try and make up the difference. They can't just sit there and watch their bottom line dwindle away to nothing. They are a business, and while they don't have to be scumbags, they do have to try and be successful.

So, something has to give. They have to get the money somewhere, and so far that's been with mostly lame DLC. If they can kill GameStop's used game market, they can probably get away with making fewer lame cash-in DLCs.

Yeah, there have been all kinds of attempts to battle the cost increases:

- Buy an engine from Unreal or physics from Havoc instead of making your own.
- Outsource some design, or locate the entire studio in a cheaper location like Poland or China
- Design DLC along side the game and sell it within a month of release
- Sell vanity items or upgrades for microtransaction fees
- Sell "Collector's" editions for a premium
- Have sales to entice people who would never have bought the game at full price
- Repackage the game with extra content to give it greater value (Gold editions, etc.)
- Sell premium online access as a subscription (COD Elite, etc.)
- Give "beta" access to preorder customers

Ten years ago, few of these techniques were being used, and rarely if so. These days they are standard. Expect more "innovation" along these lines going forward.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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30. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:29 D_K_night
 
OK so:

Let's say I finished playing Batman. Now I want to resell that digital license of Batman - to you.

So by this EU ruling, I should then be able to to decouple that Batman license from my Steam profile, and transfer the game over to you, correct?

Question: If Steam wishes to charge me for this license transfer - is that illegal?
 
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29. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:26 eRe4s3r
 
Well there could be a fair profit share ratio between gamer, steam and developer. Imo if they allow selling bought stuff on Steam as long as it's only the base game (not the DLC) I would even go so far as to be pro DLC and more massive splits into SP / MP DLC's.

Just because it would be kinda silly right now, doesn't mean there isn't a system that could work really well. If we could sell they could even make it an auction based system
 
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28. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:22 jdreyer
 
Ruffiana wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:33:
Sad fact is that, unlike a physical good or product, there is no diminishing utility for digital media. The game I sell you is exactly the same experience and level of quality as the one you in turn sell to someone else, and someone else, and so on and so forth. There's no such thing as a high-mileage game. The storage media for a physical game may see wear, but when dealing with the actual data it's essentially immortal. The only consideration is 1) does it work and 2) is it cheaper than a new copy at retail price?

This isn't exactly true. For example, my copy of Defense Grid has all of my high scores, and all of my achievements. If I sold it to someone, those things would still remain, since they are tied to my individual game code. My copy of COD:MW would have all of my unlocks. I suppose it's possible for the developers to create a way to clear that data, but they'd have no motivation for doing so.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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27. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:21 Draugr
 
NKD wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 15:05:
eRe4s3r wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:59:
Hhh... I would be willing to sell 90% of my entire steam catalog even just for 5 per game, or even less

I can't even imagine Steam with resale functionality. I don't even know how they could operate unless they took a healthy cut of each sale. After the first week, no one would buy new because on Steam it would be identical to used, just more expensive, and with that big of a user base, there would always be "used" available.

Just because they are obligated to let you sell your used copy doesn't mean they need to facilitate that at all. Then again, if they don't someone else might do it for them using some gamestop style model.

I never buy used though, as it's nice to know at least SOME of that money is making it back to the people who actually made the game.
 
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26. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:19 Draugr
 
Shok wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 11:29:
Companies will just start giving away the games and requiring subscriptions to play. Peter Moore may have been right...


Absolutely This is just going to encourage 'rent' playmodels and 'f2p' style games. oh and of course 0-day DLC will also be encouraged, they'll just take even bigger chunks out of the game.
 
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25. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 15:05 NKD
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:59:
Hhh... I would be willing to sell 90% of my entire steam catalog even just for 5 per game, or even less

I can't even imagine Steam with resale functionality. I don't even know how they could operate unless they took a healthy cut of each sale. After the first week, no one would buy new because on Steam it would be identical to used, just more expensive, and with that big of a user base, there would always be "used" available.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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24. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 14:59 eRe4s3r
 
Hhh... I would be willing to sell 90% of my entire steam catalog even just for 5 per game, or even less  
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23. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 14:55 NKD
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:36:
I don't really see this having an effect on anything unless they require Steam and other such services build a method to make this available to the customer.

I'm the weirdo who dislikes used game sales though, so whatevs.

Not really a big fan of used game sales myself. Or more accurately, I'm not really a big fan of vampires like GameStop making 60% of their profits from used games sales. It's those scumbags that have driven publishers to things like rampant DLC.

I've always said, it's a simple matter of money in, money out. The cost to create games is increasing at a rate far exceeding inflation, while the cost to purchase a game hasn't even kept even with inflation. Even at $60 full price, games are cheaper now than they were 10, 15, 20 years ago, after inflation. At some point, publishers have to try and make up the difference. They can't just sit there and watch their bottom line dwindle away to nothing. They are a business, and while they don't have to be scumbags, they do have to try and be successful.

So, something has to give. They have to get the money somewhere, and so far that's been with mostly lame DLC. If they can kill GameStop's used game market, they can probably get away with making fewer lame cash-in DLCs.
 
Avatar 43041
 
If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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22. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 14:51 Crustacean Soup
 
zombiefan wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 12:07:
It'll never happen in this country (the U.S.). Valve simply has too much money; they could buy any judge ten times over.

Valve? Valve is small potatoes. This would be opposed by all of the big software players.

And as noted by others, this probably won't affect the digital game distribution people much (though I'm assuming it may stop them from pursuing legal action against people who resell accounts for the purpose of reselling games). This will affect non-game software, though. The case was initiated by Oracle, not a game company.
 
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21. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 14:42 StingingVelvet
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 14:06:
I have always considered this argument as simply silly. I own my copy of the game. You position is equivalent to saying I can't sell my couch in a yard sale. I didn't make it. I only own the couch in its physical form. I don't own the couch. I was only purchasing the use of the couch, it isn't within my rights to sell it. Ridiculous.

What's actually ridiculous is silly comparisons between physical goods that wear and tear versus media files that are the same on day one as on day 10,000, and offer the same experience used or new.

Media is not a couch or a hammer. Media is media. Even an uneducated consumer should realize that different types of products require different types of laws.
 
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20. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 14:36 StingingVelvet
 
I don't really see this having an effect on anything unless they require Steam and other such services build a method to make this available to the customer.

I'm the weirdo who dislikes used game sales though, so whatevs.
 
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19. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 14:33 Ruffiana
 
Techie714 wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 11:19:
This is the last thing business in the U.S. wants to see. EA & Valve have no interest in you reselling your games. Hell, the rumors are all around that the next consoles wont allow resale of games. I could be wrong though. It would open the door to new business models in the U.S.

Not entirely true. Publishers wouldn't mind people reselling their games if they didn't see it as a direct threat to their primary business model: selling new copies. Argue all you want about whether piracy affects the bottom line one way or the other, it is impossible to argue that the Gamestops of the world most certainly do insert themselves between a buyer with money and the publisher attempting to sell a new copy of the game they've paid to develop. Sure, it's great for the consumer, but it's lousey for the business of developing the product they like to consume.

Sad fact is that, unlike a physical good or product, there is no diminishing utility for digital media. The game I sell you is exactly the same experience and level of quality as the one you in turn sell to someone else, and someone else, and so on and so forth. There's no such thing as a high-mileage game. The storage media for a physical game may see wear, but when dealing with the actual data it's essentially immortal. The only consideration is 1) does it work and 2) is it cheaper than a new copy at retail price?

This business model of making and selling games is being forced to change. It was prodded in that direction long ago before any legal decisions upholding a consumer's right to resell their games. That's practically unenforceable whether it's legal or not. People will continue to trade, lend, sell, buy used, and pirate games whether it's legal or not and in all of those scenarios the publisher does not get a dime for the product they've paid to develop and put into the market. It is an unsustainable business that's become worse every day as more and more people start finding ways of getting their games cheaper or for free. The mass market has opted to not support the pre-exisiting business model and thus the business model will adapt to the market.

Ultimately, that changes the type of games made. We've already seen the move towards sequels, established franchises, and licensed games because it's a safer bet. It changes the quality of games as developers have struggled to meet the demands of increasing complexity on leaner, less risky budgets and timelines. And it fundamentally changes how games are distributed and monetized...which gives us things like more emphasis on micro-transactions, server-based accounts, and DLC.
 
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