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GMG and industry lawyer react to EU digital resales ruling

GMG and industry lawyer react to EU digital resales ruling

Wed 04 Jul 2012 8:22am GMT / 4:22am EDT / 1:22am PDT
RetailLegal

GMG's Paul Sulyok predicts big changes, while law expert Jas Purewal find problems

CEO of Green Man Gaming Paul Sulyok has reacted to the recent EU ruling on the resale of downloaded games, and warned it will "shake up the digital distribution market," while industry lawyer Jas Purewal argued the situation isn't so clear cut.

"This will shake up the digital distribution market. Long-term there are some important implications and this is very disruptive," Sulyok told Eurogamer.

The ruling overrides any EULA's, and allows consumers to resell any digital games, provided they make their copy unusable. Sulyok argued the community will demand the ability to do so, and the big digital distributors will have to react.

"Both Origin and Steam would have to facilitate some kind of method whereby a consumer could revoke the activation of that key and then pass a brand new key onto a third party."

He believed it would change the nature of sales and discounts in the digital gaming market.

"The classic technique of deep discount, short time limited discounts, all of that will be slightly skewed now, because you don't want to have a deep discounted game that can then be sold on elsewhere," he explained.

"The secondary market then cuts in and then what will happen is the same sort of thing as you've seen in the high street whereby a supermarket chain puts a fantastic discount on a product for consumers and all the other high street retailers trot down to the supermarket to buy them to stop them."

Jas Purewal, a lawyer who specialises in games industry issues, took to his blog to highlight some of the questions raised by the ruling. For instance, what about mobile apps where it just isn't possible to transfer games to a new user, or is a game that sees updated content added.

"The CJEU rather blithely said that there isn't a problem if the software changes/is updated/patched in between being bought for the first time and then for a second time," he noted.

"Really? What if the software goes from alpha to gold, or if it has substantial additional content added to it? Is it really the same thing then? I suspect the CJEU has stored some trouble up for itself here."

He also saw problems with making sure that users weren't selling on software, while at the same time continuing to use it themselves. Even the obvious solution, product keys, raised its own questions.

"To my mind, it suggests a situation in which product keys go from being one use only to becoming multi-use subject to some kind of transfer mechanism being put in place. Imagine that Windows 9 goes from having a single, one-use product key to having a product key which can be 'wiped' and reused by a second purchaser. Sound like it could cause problems to you? Me too."

He believes that game publishers will turn to cloud computing and "software as a service" and this will eventually lessen the importance of the ruling.

"I think [the ruling] will have a sizeable short term impact, with a whole range of software businesses considering how it affects them. However, looking beyond that it seems clear already that the CJEU has posed more questions than it has answered and, in any event, nothing stays still in the world of tech and software," he concluded.

"Will this case seem so epic in a year or three's time?"

4 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll
Games Blogger & Journalist

1,519 1,312 0.9
"To my mind, it suggests a situation in which product keys go from being one use only to becoming multi-use subject to some kind of transfer mechanism being put in place. Imagine that Windows 9 goes from having a single, one-use product key to having a product key which can be 'wiped' and reused by a second purchaser. Sound like it could cause problems to you? Me too."
Has already happened in PC games. Company of Heroes can be resold by the initial purchaser. The key can be activated on 5 different accounts, with each subsequent activation revoking the earliest. As far as I'm aware, it doesn't seem to cause problems.

Posted:2 years ago

#1
This isn't much different to selling physical copies of games/software, which was once an every day thing until the industries put a stop to it and enforced account tethering and always online requirements. There is no need for a new product key, they just need to hand that over to the new owner with the game (a link to get the game and deactivate it via their account if it was activated to an account), then just delete all traces of it because it would no longer be theirs. Honesty would have to come into play here too.

Why is this so hard for people to understand? Why does this have to be turned into something complicated?

Also, if the games and software were of high quality, sustainable and consumers were treated with respect, then you wouldn't see many sold anyway and certainly NOT as many as you would see right now with the poor quality and poor consumer treatment.

A lot of the time products are only re-sold when there is no longer a need for it and there is no emotional attachment to it... and especially when talking about games. I personally have never sold or given away a game I have purchased if it was of good quality, fun and sustainable. :)

Edited 4 times. Last edit by Lisa Pham on 5th July 2012 12:07am

Posted:2 years ago

#2
"Honesty would have to come into play here too."

Honesty doesn't work with a lot of people. If it did, we wouldn't have piracy.

Posted:2 years ago

#3
There has always been dishonest people and always will. Sad but true! But, if they don't treat people/consumers with some form of trust and respect as well as give good quality and sustainable games, you will find many honest ones will turn to the dishonest way of getting games.

I'm sorry, but you can't treat someone like crap and then expect them to hand over their money.

I'm not saying it's the right thing to do, but it IS happening and for a reason. Piracy/dishonesty increases more and more as games are being released broken and the more consumers are treated badly.
What any unsatisfied consumer should be doing is just avoid that company and their games completely until said company decides to do the right thing... Not to just say "screw you, I'll just get a free version from a torrent site", because that isn't helping the situation any more than what the companies are doing.

If you give a little respect/trust then you can expect to get some in return but it also works for the opposite.

Posted:2 years ago

#4

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