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View Full Version : German consumer protection agency warns Valve over recent EULA changes



Dexter
18-09-2012, 03:22 PM
http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Verbraucherzentrale-mahnt-Valve-ab-1709509.html
http://www.vzbv.de/10293.htm

Google Translate:
http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Fnewsticker%2Fmeldung %2FVerbraucherzentrale-mahnt-Valve-ab-1709509.html
http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vzbv.de%2F10293.htm
Apparently some of the consumer complaints bore fruit and the VZBV has issued a warning to Valve in regards to the recent EULA changes.

Free-ish translation:

"Not even game developers can unilaterally impose conditions on their users."
The company is forcing the users of its platform Steam to accept the new conditions if they still want to have access to their account.

Additionally users can not pass on or resell games specific to their individual account.
In early August Valve surprised many users of its platform Steam. When logging in they were presented a popup window prompting them to accept the changes in the Terms of Service and Valves updated Privacy Policy.
Alternatively players could choose the "Cancel" button, but couldn't access their user account when doing so.
In the opinion of the VZBV this especially disadvantaged the players that over the years bought countless software from Valve and only have a single account.

This is even more critical for games with registration and account coercion, which can only be used via Steam. If the users do not accept the new Terms of Service the games aren't usable Online anymore. The trend of binding games to specific Online platforms can be oberved for several years. Even with Valve many games are only useable through their Online-platform Steam.

No transfer of games possible

Even if a game can be sold or given away as a gift, the buyer or recipient can only use it in a limited capability or not at all, since the transfer of the Steam account to third persons is not allowed. Although the European Court Justice has ruled that games acquired via Digital Download may also be resold, but in the opinion of the VBZV their decision seems to be treading empty space if a game can be bound to an Online platform or limited through a one-use Activation key.
The VZBV sees a clear competitive violation in that fact, and is warning the provider therefor.

Valve has time till 26.September 2012 to submit the stipulated declaration to cease and desist.

There's also a link to another article regarding the recent court decision by the European Court Justice at the bottom of the page.
http://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2012-07/cp120094en.pdf

This news also hit some of the bigger German Publications by now: http://www.zeit.de/digital/games/2012-09/valve-steam-abmahnung
(http://www.zeit.de/digital/games/2012-09/valve-steam-abmahnung)But there's only few English sites reporting it: http://www.cinemablend.com/games/Valve-Slammed-By-Consumer-Protection-Issued-Cease-Desist-Anti-Consumerist-EULA-47038.html

hamster
18-09-2012, 03:24 PM
Excellent.

Revisor
19-09-2012, 08:48 AM
Thank you, VZBV. Someone with enough power has to watch the digital retailers. With the games bound to a single account, the customers are pretty much at their mercy.

Lukasz
19-09-2012, 09:19 AM
it doesn't really make sense from legal standpoint. the eula thing and changing it. blocking a shop unless you accept new eula, i think it might be alright. but banning you from your purchases even tough both sides agreed to previous eula? thats should be illegal.

nasKo
19-09-2012, 12:09 PM
it doesn't really make sense from legal standpoint. the eula thing and changing it. blocking a shop unless you accept new eula, i think it might be alright. but banning you from your purchases even tough both sides agreed to previous eula? thats should be illegal.
That's the problem the german Consumer Direct has.
Nothing wrong with changing EULA but not accepting the updated EULA and then being unable to access the purchased games should definately be illegal. And IIRC, it is in Germany. Maybe even the EU.

Drake Sigar
19-09-2012, 12:29 PM
That's the problem the german Consumer Direct has.
Nothing wrong with changing EULA but not accepting the updated EULA and then being unable to access the purchased games should definately be illegal. And IIRC, it is in Germany. Maybe even the EU.

Indeed, and many Steam users have a game list worth hundreds of pounds/dollars/rubles. To have that placed in jeopardy while being asked to sign a new digital contract is unacceptable.