Rock, Paper, Shotgun - Thought- Do We Own Our Steam Games?
Once again drives home a crucial thing to understand. You do not own your games. Whether bought through Steam, Origin, or any other digital download service that requires a live account to play them, you are at best renting those games, with no guarantee that you’ll be able to continue to do so. And those bans can be issued without a stated or proven reason – it’s in the agreements you click “Agree” to when you sign up an account, or buy a new game.
But is that legal? I asked gamer lawyer Jas Purewal about this a short while back, not specifically about Valve, and he explained that the matter is still unresolved. “In fact,” he says, “it’s never been completely resolved for software generally – at best, we have some guidance to follow.” But he explains that the commonly taken position is that when we buy a boxed game, we own the DVD, but only have a license for the software on it. “A ‘licence’,” Purewal explains, “is essentially a limited personal right to use the software on certain terms and conditions – it doesn’t give you the right to e.g. sell/transfer/copy/reproduce the software.”