Thought: Do We Own Our Steam Games?

I guess I don't own any of these.

What do you own? Looking through my possessions, I feel fairly comfortable that the food in my fridge belongs to me. And I have an odd confidence that the hardware in my PC is mine. But the books on my shelves? I seem to have very little rights over them. The CDs stacked up in a cupboard (remember CDs?) certainly aren’t my property. And the software on my computer may as well be tied to a long piece of elastic, just waiting for the publishers to give it a tug. You own a license. But a license for what? This lack of ownership becomes even more concerning when it comes to the digital space, at which point our rights to anything become extremely ambiguous. And that’s something that can bite you hard on the bum, when places like Steam seem to reserve the right to ban you from your account, and not even tell you why they did it. Below is the story of one RPS reader who says he lost access to his entire Steam collection, and thoughts from game lawyer Jas Purewal on whether we really own any game we buy.

We’ve heard some very stupid banning stories from EA, and as many as we’ve reported, we’ve heard dozens more. But the odd thing is, EA tends to tell the bannee what ridiculous reason they’ve assigned. That’s something RPS reader ‘gimperial’ alleges he discovered Valve wouldn’t, after he had his account banned. An account that had over 250 games, with well over £1000 spent.

Gimperial’s case wasn’t clear-cut. He’s in Russia, and openly admits that he’s gifted games to people in exchange for money, to help them get them cheaper. Not frequently, and it’s certainly not something Valve could have known he had done when they banned him. And he states that he mostly gifted games for free, just as a favour. He acknowledges that gifting in exchange for a financial payment is against Valve’s TOS, and doesn’t protest innocence. But the strange thing is, while Valve wouldn’t tell him what he did to receive the ban, he says they did tell him that it wasn’t because of gifting.

Instead he received a message informing him he’d violated Valve’s Steam Service Agreement (SSA). Questioning what aspect of this he’d violated, as he could find nothing he’d done that matched up, he received a response with just a copy and paste of the exact same SSA, and the news that,

“We will not be able to help you further with this issue.”

They then ignored tickets he sent, trying to get clarification. Attempts by him and his friends to contact Valve directly, including emailing Gabe Newell, also didn’t receive replies.

Oddly, gimperial had his account suspended over Christmas because Valve were concerned it had been hacked. Once he assured them it had not, and he was the one purchasing, they apologised and reopened his account, telling him – says gimperial – that they would put a note on his account to prevents its being suspended again. gimperial claims they told him,

“If you are going to make large amount of purchases again, please reply to this ticket so there are no issues with your account in the future.”

And replied,

“I will make a note of it on your account.”

You can read the full exchange here.

Because Valve cannot have known that gimperial had gifted in exchange for cash (and he insists that most of the time it was genuinely as a gift, and often just in exchange for a beer), that cannot be the reason for the ban. And if it had been their suspicion that he was doing something like this, the normal practice is to issue a warning, not to just shut off the account. And it’s especially of note that gifting for money is not mentioned in the SSA.

On Sunday I emailed Valve to ask about this case, drawing their attention to the forum thread, and to ask what their policy is for issuing bans to accounts.

“Is it Valve’s policy to refuse to explain to customers why their accounts have been banned?

Does Valve think it reasonable to permanently withhold access to a customer’s purchases without offering the appropriate refund?”

As of Tuesday lunchtime, I have still not had a reply. However, late yesterday, gimperial received an email from the Valve tech support op who had told him they wouldn’t help him any further, saying they would be looking into his case once more. And this morning, gimperial has found that his account has been restored, with access to his 250+ games returned. However, he has had his trading privileges permanently suspended.

Well, suspended until 2022, it seems. So gimperial won’t be sending out gifts any more.

So this story has a sort of happy ending, and gimperial would be the first to say that this result is fair. Clearly there’s confusion, gimperial saying that Valve previously explained that his gifting was fine. The ambiguity is unhelpful, and certainly a cause for concern from any philanthropic sorts who might take it upon themselves to do something lovely like buy a game for everyone on their friends list. The idea that just the suspicion that extensive gifting is enough to have you account banned without explanation, isn’t one that sits comfortably. And hopefully Valve will soon get back to us with answers to the questions we’ve asked.

It’s also worth noting that had Valve not chosen to get back to gimperial, which only happened after we’d contacted them (although of course this could be a pure coincidence), he’d be stuck, and have nowhere to go but lawyers. When Steam’s meagre customer support refuses to respond, there’s no phone number to call (the one that exists redirects you back to email), no manager you can reach. You’re just shut out, seemingly unless you can cause enough fuss on the internet.

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.”

Of course, when we have a physical object, we do just about have the right to sell it second hand (something publishers are of course doing their best to scupper, taking away perhaps even the vestiges of ownership that we have of the plastic). But in the world of the digital, that right is obviously absent too. And indeed this comes with the ability to cut off your access to the game, even though you paid for it. Purewal says this adds even more focus onto the licenses that come with the games, usually the EULA. And where does that leave us?

“Is a EULA subject to consumer protection law? Yes. Has that been tested in a court yet? No, although as a very broad summary it requires a company who sells to consumers to act ‘reasonably’ towards its customers. Nor have governments/regulators definitively stated their position regarding consumer protection regarding digital content yet (though that is already beginning to change, certainly within the UK/Europe). So we don’t know the exact extent of consumer protection law regarding games – although developers/publishers generally do try to comply with the law insofar as they are able.”

But when it comes to answers, there are few. Pointing out that consumers tend to want to actually own something, Purewal also points out that publishers are pushing ever harder in the other direction.

“All this could have a big impact on the ‘ownership’ question. Would gamers care about ‘owning’ a game if they had very reliable, maybe cloud-based gaming controlled by rules that they understand? Would a publisher? If a publisher gives a gamer a right to return or exchange a digital game via a fair system that the publisher controls, would it really matter to gamers that they can’t sell the game through any other means?”

Of course, in the case of Steam, or any of its counterparts, this is a somewhat different situation. Steam isn’t a publisher, it’s a shop. This is the equivalent of being suspected of shoplifting from a GAME/GameStop, and having an employee come to your house and remove your entire gaming collection from your shelves. Individual publishers of the purchased games aren’t consulted for a Steam ban. This is Valve overriding all those individual licenses with their own, and removing access to your purchased goods. And, despite there being no legal position yet known, that doesn’t seem right at all.

It’s a little frustrating to realise that the answers to every question are, at this point, “We don’t know.” Can Valve legally ban you from accessing thousands of pounds worth of games you’ve purchased? We don’t know. Can EA really stop you from playing online games because you said a swear on their forum? We don’t know. And infuriatingly, the only way we’re ever going to find out is when it happens to someone rich/supported enough to take it to court. In the meantime, it seems that publishers are taking advantage of the ambiguity to write their own laws in the form of EULAs and other agreements, whether they could survive the test of a court or not. And that’s always worth bearing in mind when you consider what you actually own.

PS. We held this story back a day to give Valve a second chance to respond to our questions, but once again replies came there none.

289 Comments

  1. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I don’t have much to add other than a few notes.

    I’ve yet to suffer any such problem with Steam. That’s probably one of the advantages of being piss poor and having no friends, of course – I don’t buy gifts and no one offers me any, either. But I’m thoroughly against the disregard of consumer rights. Has some have said before, this has happened for a long time; which isn’t to say it’s any less acceptable. Buying a license leads into several problems, chief among them it being revoked on perceived wrong doings. When costumer support fails, when there’s no distinction or care about false positives, it lessens my willingness to put money in someone’s wallet.

    But the problem isn’t just with the product itself. During the whole Ubi DRM debacle regarding AssCreed 2 and Silent Hunter 5, the EULA made it very clear that players didn’t have rights over any saves stored in Ubi servers. At the end of the day, I’m shelling out more or less 50 euros for the “privilege” of not only not owning the game, but not even owning the saves. I’m also less than impressed with products that hide further options or functionality – Bioshock 2’s DLC-in-name-only, for instance.

    But then, isn’t this a bit like the fine print in social networks in regards to uploaded media? That we lose ownership of them?

  2. BrightCandle says:

    We all know thepiratebay offers a superior product in many many ways, with a better price point to boot.

    Only honest customers get screwed with DRM and steam is a a pretty powerful DRM that not only can remove access to a game it can do so across all of the games rented within its system.

    As to taking this to court chances are its been done and Valve Settled. No court allows you to reject a fair and reasonable settlement so that you can set a precedent in law, so its really hard to get it into the high court unless Valve are really stupid and go all in.

    But rather than fixing a genuine problem with ownership our governments are signing ACTA, the great censorship and legal process removing bill of the 21st century. Makes you wonder about the people “in charge”.

    • Gnoupi says:

      I don’t have an in-game communicator with TPB, do you?

    • BrightCandle says:

      I am off the opinion its more important I can play my game that I bought, than use a chat channel. Fundamentals first.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I have in game chat on my pirated games. Its called Steam Chat.

  3. Vinraith says:

    Thank you for this, John. These issues deserve public awareness, and have too often lacked it.

    • Khemm says:

      A big thanks from me, too. I almost lost hope RPS would dare post anything that isn’t in the vein of “Steam is awesome, everything else is bad”.

  4. Blackcompany says:

    Under no circumstances should a person ever be banned from playing games they have purchased. Ever. If they cheat, and you want to ban them from the multiplayer component of a game, fine. If they abuse store privileges and you ban them buying/trading, I don’t like it, but I see your point. Especially if they admit to guilt in abusing your TOS in this regard. To be honest, however, I find that classifying the purchasing of gifts for people as bannable to be ludicrous, but maybe there are extenuating circumstances. Perhaps someone buying Russian versions of games for people in other countries leads to content banned in those countries leaking across borders and thus to the risk of ‘guilt by association’ for Valve.
    .
    But to ban someone from playing games they bought already…no. Never. There is absolutely no reason to do this. Those products belong to the player. They have a right to play games they purchased. Ban them from multiplayer if they cheat or the store and trading if you must but from their own account, their own games…no. Not. Ever.
    ..
    I know this sort of practice has never reached a court room. If ever it happens to me, that will change, I promise.

    • NathanH says:

      I doubt it would reach a courtroom even if you wanted it to, because there’s no way that Valve are going to fight a case with an ordinary consumer. Either they’ll lose which is awful or they’ll win, acquire very little for it, and have everyone dislike them. They’d only fight if you’re doing something noticeably bad. Gifting games to a few people and then getting paid for it isn’t noticeably bad.

  5. Vandalbarg says:

    Surely just removing the games from the STEAMAPPS folder would let you play them?

  6. James says:

    The simple way to stop gifting for money would be to make the prices the same in every region. Surely it must be clear that people are savvy enough not to be ripped off if cross region gifting has become noticeable enough to cause bans.

    I’m glad he got his account unbanned, though it’s frankly poor form on the part of Valve that he had to kick up an internet stink to get it back.

    • Gnoupi says:

      You can’t have same prices in every region. You can’t sell video games for the same price in regions which don’t have the same market for them. There are regions in which piracy is very high because people don’t have the money or buying power in general to buy games for the same price as other regions.

      So to maximize your revenue, you decrease the price for these regions, so that people buy instead of pirating. And it wouldn’t make sense to decrease all prices together, from a seller’s point of view. If people in France are buying the sims 3 for 50 euros, and it’s selling truckloads, you have no valid reason to decrease the price.

    • BrightCandle says:

      Is this not against the trade agreements in Europe that allow us to buy from where ever we want to allow free unencumbered trade?

  7. zeroskill says:

    The guy has obviously been buying cheap games from a cheaper region to then sell them at a higher price to people in central europe, making a profit off of it. Its called “abusing the trade system”. Then going to the RPS forum and playing the innocent.
    However I agree Valve needs better customer service in general.

  8. mihor_fego says:

    So Steam bans people for exploiting its own features! It doesn’t matter if said person took money to provide the “gifts”, as there’s no way for Steam to know or verify the fact. If they’re so sensitive that they are willing to ban someone on suspicion, then I suggest a better solution:

    Remove the features that can be exploited from your service!

    That’s right, close down the trading and gifting services. Otherwise, every single Steam subscriber could at least exploit it once without raising suspicion, thereby hurting the profits of both Steam and the game publishers in millions.

    • zeroskill says:

      I tend to agree they should remove the gifting feature from Steam if it resolves in people abusing it and then making a fuss about how they got banned for no reason.
      Might be worth starting a forums thread in the Valve forums and linking to this article and make them aware how adding unconventional features to your service can end up in bad publicity.

  9. MichaelPalin says:

    I own my gog.com games. Just saying.

    • Khemm says:

      Yep. GOG games are yours. Without asking anyone for a freaking permission or jumping through hoops to install them or being forced to install some third party bloatware to be able to run them.
      GOG = digital distribution done right, PC gaming done right.

    • BrightCandle says:

      Direct2Drive was an equally good service in this regard. It is a real shame its gone.

    • Greg Wild says:

      You don’t “own” them. You just have copies of them beholden to no DRM schemes enforced by the company you paid to access those copies.

  10. idolminds says:

    Back in December just before the Christmas sale I found out my Steam account was suspended. I don’t use my account a lot (I don’t like Steam) so it could have been suspended for a few weeks before I actually found out. So, first off it would be nice if they sent you an email informing you when things like this happen to your account.

    I went through the hoops they needed to verify it was my account. Write a support number on the sleeve with the CD keys for a retail game. Then they asked for a photo of the receipt for that game…that I bought 8 months ago. Amazingly I still had it, but what if I didn’t? Eventually all was well and they unlocked my account. This took about a week to get it all straightened out.

    The problem is I still have no idea WHY my account was suspended. It was about a month between when I last logged in to Steam to the time I logged in to find it suspended. I didn’t receive any unwanted Steam Guard notifications. I don’t have any paypal or credit cards on the account. So I was curious and asked for the reason I was banned. The only answer I got was “for safety reasons.” That was the entire reply.

  11. vecordae says:

    All huff aside, central to this entire debate is what ownership itself entails and I don’t think anyone, save Greg Wild, bothered to address this. It’s one thing to say that a consumer should “own” the games they buy, but another thing entirely to address that from a legal standpoint.

    Consider this: If I purchase an apple, it is generally accepted that I own it. I can make a sculpture out of it and sell it to an art guy. I can eat part of it and give the rest away. I can let it sit out in the middle of the road (and get fined for littering). I can sell it for a profit. I can plant the seeds and make more apples and give those apples away. If I lose it on my way home, I am not entitled to a new, free apple from the apple farmer.

    If I purchase a copy of Captain Keen, would it be reasonable for me to have the exact same rights in regards to the software on it? Should I be able to modify the code and sell that as an original work? Should I able to play the game for a bit and then give it away? Can I leave 1s and 0s out in the middle of the road? Can I resell it at a profit? Can I copy it as many times as I want and give those copies away? If I lose my copy of the game, am I entitled to another one from the publisher because I already own it?

    It’s not quite the same, is it?

    • Furtled says:

      I don’t think anyone is asking that their ownership of a game extend to the same type of ownership you describe with the apple, every one is aware enough that they can appreciate it as a staggered concept; eg. I feel that I ‘own’ my car, despite the fact I am fully aware that the real owners are technically the finance company until I make a final payment. As another example I feel that I ‘own’ my DVD collection, knowing full well I don’t own them in a way that allows me to make 20 copies and sell them without getting in trouble; but I can chose to use them for frisbees if I feel like it, and there’s nothing the people who created or sold them to me can do about it.

      Ownership isn’t a black and white concept, legally or (and this is equally important when you’re talking one party attempting to persuade another to pay them for something) emotionally.

    • vecordae says:

      What should game “ownership” look like, then? In the case of a mortgage or the finance agreement for a car, there is actually a pretty well-defined set of responsibilities for all parties involved. If we want something like that for game owners, then we need to be able to have some idea what powers and liabilities that entails.

  12. Matt7895 says:

    They tried to defraud the system and got caught. As far as I’m concerned, they have no cause for complaint.

    I’ve been tempted to go the Russian or even U.S. route before, to get games that were blocked in my region (Europe), but I know to do so would get my account banned. It is pretty obvious really. Cheaters never prosper.

    I do sympathise with people losing hundreds of games they legitimately bought, but it isn’t as if Valve/Steam don’t warn you against doing this.

  13. Potunka says:

    I have decided to get around to setting up a RAID10 array as soon as I have the resources, for both speed and security reasons. I would love to have my whole game library installed at all times, and not ever need to re-download the games in case of HDD failure. A part of me feels like it is the PC equivalent of the paranoid man with barbwire around his house and a bomb shelter in his backyard with a hefty armory to boot. I’m sure with enough effort, if all games are installed, one could work their way around Steam to play the already installed games. I always just imagined I could go into offline mode if Steam wasn’t behaving. Now I’m not so sure. Very curious as to the measures Steam takes on the local machine when the account is banned. <3 GOG. With GOG I can be confident that the installer will work whenever I want it to.

    • diamondmx says:

      Offline mode is a bit wobbly, and even when working perfectly – it will expire by design in … something like 3 months at most?

  14. Tasloi says:

    The article title certainly asks a valid question but after reading through the forum thread of the affected user I don’t think this is the right example to highlight it.

  15. Unaco says:

    He wasn’t ‘gifting’ games. He advertised himself to a large audience as living in Russia, and therefore being able to buy games cheaper, and offered to buy games (even more specifically the large Publisher complete packs – already very good value in most Regions) and gift them to people if they paid him through PayPal. He set himself up as a reseller and resold vast quantities of games. He even said he wouldn’t do it for low value items (like Limbo for $0.50) because it wasn’t worth it. See HERE.

    “Russian prices are sometimes about 50% of US/UK prices, so if you guys see any with a huge difference like that let me know and I’ll see what I can do. It’s not worth it where the price difference is small, but for some games/packs you can knock about 40% off. (this seems to apply to most of the publisher packs)”

    His ban was entirely justified.

    • psyk says:

      nice find and LMAO about this article took its time turning up.

    • Lowbrow says:

      Check your reading skills. That sentence means “I won’t bother if the price difference is small” not “I won’t do it if the cut isn’t big”.

      Interesting that you ignore this sentence from Gimperial “I’m not really looking to make money from it, I get charged about $5 transaction fee per purchase so it costs me about $25 ..” that goes against your thesis.

    • Unaco says:

      Check YOUR reading skills. Nowhere in my comment did I say he was doing it for profit, or that he was doing it to make money, or that I thought he was. I don’t have a thesis that he was doing it to make money. Just that he was doing high volumes of reselling, to order… not gifting. And his ban was justified for that reason.

    • Lowbrow says:

      Check your writing skills. What do you think ” He set himself up as a reseller and resold vast quantities of games” implies?

    • Unaco says:

      That he set himself up, available to a large audience, to “resell” games on Steam. He would buy them, in Russia/at Russian prices, and sell them on to others, for monetary recompense. That doesn’t imply he was a good reseller and made a profit… he did it at a loss, or broke even. But “He set himself up as a reseller and resold vast quantities of games” doesn’t imply “he set himself up as a reseller and resold vast quantities of games in order to, or attempting to make a profit”.

      If I had implied any of that, I would have said it explicitly.

    • Lowbrow says:

      Wikipedia: “A reseller is a company or individual that purchases goods or services with the intention of reselling them rather than consuming or using them. This is usually done for profit (but could be resold at a loss).”

      The implication of “reseller” is of a commercial venture, successful or otherwise. Despite your categorization of 70 as a “vast number of games”, this case does not have those trappings. He was a proxy buyer, taking advantage of pricing loopholes.

  16. Calabi says:

    If they are only leasing games. Then why do they charge full price, and why does the lease appear to be indefinate.

  17. FCA says:

    Yes, I own them. If in-game items being stolen counts as thievery in my country, I certainly own a game for which I paid money.

    People or corporations (Valve, thiefs, whatever) cannot legally take away what I paid for. Games as a services be damned, what would people say if you have a subscription to a magazine, that then stops sending me issues because I violated some terms?

    • Khemm says:

      “People or corporations (Valve, thiefs, whatever) cannot legally take away what I paid for.”

      Unfortunately, they can. Valve reserves the right to cancel your account and prevent you from accessing games you spent a lot of money on at any second.

      “Games as a services be damned”

      Gabe disagrees and people are mad enough to say they agree with his approach.

  18. iteyoidar says:

    Funny how when it comes to globalization, when it’s games devs and publishers dodging domestic laws and getting cheap shit in other countries, it’s just business, but when it’s the consumer using the same thing to their advantage to buy cheap media, it’s “fraud” and “cheating” and they’re all scum.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      It’s almost as if capitalism were designed to be advantageous to big business and not to the consumer.

  19. Joshua Northey says:

    Jon Walker,

    I hate to tell you this but your thoughts on this issue are just naive idealistic garbage.

    Companies sell the games with these stipulations because gamers would rather buy games with those stipulations at lower prices than purchase more robust ownership rights at higher prices. I guarantee you if steam had an alternate catalog of games you had “full ownership rights to” for say 2 or 5 times as much they would barely sell at all.

    Add to this fact that despite knowing hundreds if not thousands of people who use steam, not a single one, NOT ONE has had a problem with it that wasn’t their fault. A few friends have been unable to get refunds for purchases they regretted (not steam’s problem), and a few people have been banned for cheating/hacking/pirating (which is something a lot of people actively ask steam to do and is a sign steam is doing a good job not a bad job).

    On top of that every time I see some major publicized story like this when the whole story comes out (like with this guy) you find out they were wantonly breaking the terms of the agreement. Reselling games as a business is not part of the deal and I have no idea why you would just take his word on it that this isn’t what he was doing. I suspect steam noticed he was buying many copies of games and gifting them to people he never contacted before. Open and shut case.

    I can agree with you that it would be nice if gamers had more ownership options, but don’t think those options would be free. Piracy is the #1 issue facing the computer game industry, #1. Huge sections of potential consumers steal games because it is easy and it is hard to get caught.

    They might lie to themselves and say “oh but I would never buy this so it doesn’t matter”, but that is a trash argument. I am a frugal person who only buys used cars and lives in a modest house. Does that make it ok for me to steal a new car off a lot because I would never buy it anyway? It does not.

    Anyway in college I ran into literally dozens of the people who are hamstringing the PC game industry. People with disposable income and a great appetite for games and movies who proceeded to steal them systematically and regularly because it was easy and they wouldn’t get caught. Then when once in a blue moon one would get caught they scream bloody murder about injustice, it is a farce.

    Please don’t throw your lot in with the criminals, you are better than that.

    • Ultra-Humanite says:

      What on earth does piracy have to do with you having the ability to own your games? Wait…nevermind, I really don’t want to hear your answer, my eyes are bleeding enough already from your first paragraph.

    • diamondmx says:

      Lets see… where to start.

      Firstly, these are rights that apply to most products we buy – they are not being allowed to us for games, and the games sure as hell aren’t cheaper because of that. Sure, the companies would love to charge a premium for giving us these rights – but you are wrong in assuming that the price point just now is a fair price point for what we’re getting. It simply is the *only* price point available.

      Secondly, the right to refund for a poor or outright broken product should apply to everything. ESPECIALLY the games market where so many products are released in a barely working fashion, and we’re expected to simply wait and hope for a decent patch some month. How many people are still struggling with Skyrim issues? In few other fields is there the option of releasing a product, not mentioning the many serious flaws in it’s design, and promising to probably fix it later.
      Yes, there is no need to offer a refund for a poor purchase decision, with regard to the game being less than awesome. But should the game be materially different from advertised, or simply unplayable – then it should be required to offer a refund. Look at From Dust – where the publisher was being (fairly) accused of outright fraud, and Valve only offered a refund when the publisher okayed it.

      Thirdly, if you want to talk about naive – piracy is not, and has not ever been shown to have the level of harm you claim it does. Piracy is a bad thing, most people will agree. But “Piracy is the #1 issue facing the computer game industry, #1” is shameful hyperbole of the kind usually reserved for shareholder meetings and anti-PC gaming rants at console publishers.
      I agree that piracy is a problem, but I think it is much further down the ranks of problems than say: consumer rights, buggy releases, no/useless demos, DRM, or all the other things that make the piracy option seem like a necessary evil – if only to give customers a fallback when the companies pull the rug out from under them.

    • Brun says:

      I can agree with you that it would be nice if gamers had more ownership options, but don’t think those options would be free. Piracy is the #1 issue facing the computer game industry, #1. Huge sections of potential consumers steal games because it is easy and it is hard to get caught.

      The gaming industry is approaching this issue the wrong way. They’re so focused on preventing their games from being stolen (alienating and pissing off legitimate customers along the way) that they forget that pirates are indeed potential customers. By pirating games, those “criminals” are expressing interest in those games. The trick is to come up with a way to turn those pirates into sales. The games industry has tried to accomplish this with draconian DRM and the erosion of ownership rights. While some degree of DRM will always be necessary (unfortunately), there are plenty of other things that publishers can do to encourage sales over piracy that they are bafflingly not pursuing at all.

      The other thing to keep in mind is that piracy will never be completely stopped. It is always something that any producer of content will have to contend with.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Hi Joshua,
      I used to write unnessecarily rude and angry posts on the internet like you, but discovered this neat little trick: pretend you’re speaking to somebody in real life who you haven’t met before, who has a great deal of experience in the topic being debated, and then read your post out loud as if you were speaking it to them. If the tone of your voice sounds angry, impolite, petty, smug, condescending or pedantic then you should probably change it.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      I am perfectly capable of writing pleasant and mild mannered posts when I feel like it. At the same time, I certainly do speak to people with this amount of abruptness when I am frustrated them in real life. It goes fine thank you very much.

      Anyway, I am just sick to death of a gaming culture that thinks large number of people stealing from the very providers of the services we demand is acceptable. This person made an agreement with steam, then repeatedly broke it, then this journalist just uncritically takes up his cause because hey its a lot easier to attack the big bad company than it is to actually have disciplined personal behavior.

      Look at the posts in this thread. They are full of ridiculous juvenile entitlement. I demand the exact services I want under the terms I want them or I will just steal what services you do provide.

      You know I would love it if I could buy a small 1 person car that got 70 miles to the gallon and didn’t have cargo and passenger space my wife and I would never use. The fact that there isn’t enough demand for cars like that to make them worth selling, ot that it isn’t profitable enough to make them worth selling does not give me license to go rip off some car dealership.

      You don’t like the terms Steam sells the games on, then don’t buy from them. Clearly most people are willing to live with it because software sells like hotcakes on the site. Steam is one of the main things that saved the 80% PC games industry from cratering into nothing but wildly intrusive DRM, and yet all people do is complain about it. Mostly because they are children with no understanding of business, personal responsibility, working for a living, or generally how the world works. And I would say that to whomever wants to have a discussion about it.

    • Everyone says:

      I hate to tell you this but your thoughts on this issue are just naive idealistic garbage.

      It’s almost like you didn’t even read the article.

      … or you read the article with your own issues foremost in your mind and interpreted it in the way you wanted to instead of understanding what the article was about. Bingo.

    • diamondmx says:

      @Joshua Given your post makes no reference to the points brought up by those who disagree with you, contains mostly ad hominem crap, and one exceedingly amusing yet useless car analogy – I’m going to assume you’re just not the listening type.
      And I totally believe that this is how you talk to people who disagree with you. :)

      PS: If you’d care to actually dispute the reasons above, then perhaps we’d all learn something. Simply bitching about “These damn entitled kids on my internets”, not so much.

    • Brun says:

      What most people complain about is getting repeatedly screwed by publishers’ piracy paranoia and the draconian anti-consumer practices it implements to appease shareholders who barely understand the nature of the internet. The real shame is that piracy is never going to be completely eradicated, but consumers suffer while Big Content takes its time figuring that out.

    • Lowbrow says:

      “thoughts on this issue are just naive idealistic garbage.”

      Paragraph 1: Speculative rant, not based on any actual data outside of your head.

      Stopped reading your screed at that point. Plato was more grounded.

    • alundra says:

      @Joshua

      You didn’t even try to disguise that you are shilling for this greedy industry, you get +8 for the effort and 0 for the result.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      “It’s almost like you didn’t even read the article.

      … or you read the article with your own issues foremost in your mind and interpreted it in the way you wanted to instead of understanding what the article was about. Bingo. ”

      The article was just a big whine. “Why won’t the publishers give me the content the way I want it?” Why doesn’t mommy bring me a lollipop everytime I cry? Why!?! “Look at this poor sucker who broke the rules, imagine what it could mean for you!”

      I read the whole thing and understood it fine.

      It was A) Scare mongering: There is no history of this regularly happening to people following the rules.
      B) A huge whine because the author (and most of the posters) are apparently unhappy with the terms of the current agreements they make when they purchase games, but would certainly NOT being willing to pay more for more robust rights.
      C) Trying to playing “gotcha” with Valve in a case where clearly the criminal is the one who “got” the journalist with this made up story about how he wasn’t a criminal when clearly he was.

      I note that other than attacking the “form” of my post, or mistakenly calling it adhominem (when it clearly isn’t), no one has actually defended this article or the guy it is about. This whole thread is just a bunch of people making childish demands on game companies completely divorced from the realities of the marketplace and when I point that out you just throw out the word “screed” as though that somehow invalidates what I said.

      I would also point out I was right about his story to the author being a lie, as pointed out by others (with links!) in this very thread. But if you would rather rage against the man then put grown-up pants on and act like an adult I guess that is your prerogative.

    • kud13 says:

      I really don’t know why this has to come up every single time anyhting DRM is involved.
      piracy is not theft.

      copyright infringment is not theft.

      it is a crime, in may jurisdictions, but it is NOT THE SAME THING AS THEFT.

      on-topic; the term “ownership” is indeed a misnomer, since it implies a bundle of rights over property, including disposition rights.
      I’m pretty sure what we, as users, are looking for, is an inalienable right to access that which we paid for. Regardless of whether we have Internet, whether we’ve put the software on 1, 2 or 10 different machines, and regardless of what we happened to say on the dev’s forums. So, in other words, we’re looking for a GOG-type model.

      Re-sale of games is a big issue, though strangely, the much bigger issue of resale of used console games doesn’t get nearly as much publicity as Internet piracy. I can sympathise with this, (although I’m allowed to sell a paperback I own to a used books store, and majority of copyright legislature treat software same as literature, go figure)
      The issue is, in fact, EULAs. 9i’m fine with a “license”. As long as you guarantee my right of access.
      it’s when publishers start to push me by putting BS in the license agreement that I, as a user, demand the freedom to exercise my right to push back.

    • Lowbrow says:

      You confused “form” with “hypocrisy”.

      “Screed”- a form of self-righteous rant whose minimal connection to reality repels intelligent discussion.

    • samsharp99 says:

      “Add to this fact that despite knowing hundreds if not thousands of people who use steam, not a single one, NOT ONE has had a problem with it that wasn’t their fault.”

      What about what happened to me (see my post on page 3) – Steam’s payment system fell over, I was charged for a game I didn’t get and when I tried to get a refund or the game added to my account I got no response from Steam so had to pursue a refund with PayPal – which got my account banned.

      How is that my fault? It’s either a mistake with PayPal (who Steam decided to use) or with Steam for failing to handle failed transactions and Steam’s poor customer service didn’t help.

  20. poohbear says:

    I never understood ppl who were in love with Steam as if they were some altruistic platform. I have no problem using Origin or other online services, i think Steam really needs to outline under what conditions exactly it can ban people because having $500 worth of games on it is a bit alarming considering they can just ban it on a whim.:(

  21. Brun says:

    Unfortunately games as a service is here to stay. All software is moving in that direction, not just games. And this issue doesn’t just affect Steam – ALL platforms (save GoG) have the same problem.

    As for the ownership question, that’s also a problem that extends beyond the game industry. It applies to any multimedia content. Music and Movies have the exact same ambiguity surrounding ownership – SOPA/PIPA were born from this confusion as an attempt by big content to define digital ownership in the way that benefits them.

  22. mbp says:

    I am trying to think this through from Valve’s perspective. I guess they are worried that about budding entrepreneurs creating a bunch of Russian Steam accounts (whether they are actually in Russia or using a vpn, doesn’t matter) and then using them to set up a grey market business gifting cheap Russian games for payment.

    If this is actually the case then banning the gifting Steam account is closing the Stable door after the horse has bolted. The grey marketeer can create as many new Steam accounts as he wants for free. Valve needs to individually ban suspicious games in the GIFTEE accounts.

    Let’s hope that the infamous rich / well supported gamer case crops up sooner rather than later. It is my guess that if even one game on the account was legitimately bought and paid for then Valve will have a hard time justifying banning the entire account to a judge. Of course not giving any reason for the banning is in itself just nuts and will probably not help them either if it ever comes to court.

  23. schuubars says:

    I’m very very happy that Steams volunteer moderators can only ban users from the Forum.

    I had an account since 2004/5, and there was a discussion about using a crack if a game got legally bought but wouldn’t work because of the Copyprotection.( yeah believe me that happend sometimes even with Steams own protection…haha)

    My stance at that time was that i wouldn’t have any regrets to use a crack in the case a game wouldn’t work because i wouldn’t anyway get a refund for it.(But in the end i have the Right to use my License and i want to support the developer who creates my most beloved games.)

    My account got banned with the reason: piracy

    Fact was: a if/when/woul’d/wouldn’t discussion ist not a proof for piracy in any legal way.
    Now imagine if that type of Steam FB’s could ban Steam accounts.

    My account is probably 7 to 10 k in $ worth, and i promise if my account ever woul’d get banned because someone “just” thinks that he has the/a reason to ban my account, i will not hesitate a second and bring the case to court, and it will get bloody messy! AND I WILL WIN.
    (And no i’m not rich.)
    ————————

    Besides that, they wouldn’t actually have reason in my case, and i like Steam/Valve, but it’s true they make many mistakes and their Consumer support is compared to their Size just shit, nothing better than that, and they really don’t give a shit about Consumer Rights.

    Oh and they started the trading thing, now it’s their thing to get a solution without banning accounts.(or stopping people to have access to their games libary which they paid a License for,,,

  24. bear912 says:

    I hope this kind of publicity will lead to a response from Valve. While my experiences with Valve’s customer support have been generally good, and while I respect them more than most companies, they could benefit from more clarity and transparency, particularly in the areas of bans, both account and VAC.

  25. D3xter says:

    This was for a long time and still IS my biggest issue with Steam, I’m not optimistic enough to think that if something happens it’ll always end in my favor and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard of things like this before, I remember a thread on the PCGamer forums for instance by a user with a similar issue: link to pcgamer.com

    There’s even someone on one of the last pages saying this:
    “I feel your pain friend, I am US based and I have the exact problem almost word for word. The only difference is mine was a double charge and when I disputed the second charge I had my account disabled. I will never buy another steam product, ever. They are ntohing more than thiefs….bottom line. I have a legal right to access the games I have legal cd keys for, and yet they deny me access.”

    Unfortunately I don’t know how it ended, I’ve also seen similar issues brought up often in different places, but more often than not users are being told it’s probably “their fault” or “they knew they did something wrong” or whatever and brushed off, and you got to know that not every single one of those cases will end up on a portal with millions of readers and put pressure on Steam or similar services to react. I would likely sue them for the rights of a large amount of Retail games I bought for Steam, as well as the various games I either bought directly from them or 3rd parties if they wouldn’t react as I have a very large amount of money invested into it by now, but this IS an important issue.

    As such, I will also NEVER buy into any Cloud-based service and rather intend to stop gaming altogether (or stay with the few Indie-titles not based on that) before I do and wished that more people thought the same…

    • Veeskers says:

      Same here. There’s a line i will not cross, and it’s getting very close. I’d gladly bail and gain more time for other things.

      also: big thanks to RPS/JW for articles like these.

  26. Eddy9000 says:

    Can I ask something? It’s been years since I’ve had to install or activate steam, does steam require online activation to be installed on a machine, or could I copy the steam setup file onto a disk, install it on an offline PC, copy my steamapp files into the relevant folder and have them appear ready to play in my library? I’m guessing not but it’s worth an ask.

    I suppose my tuppence on this is that I buy games off Steam in the understanding that I am buying a product that comes with restrictions on its use. A parralel for me is alcohol, I can buy it legally, but with certain restrictions on what I can do with it, I can’t give it to minors, I can’t drink it on the tube or in certain public areas etc. or else it gets taken off me and I lose my right to it, despite having bought it. My real problem with this is how unregulated online shops like steam are, with alcohol a policeman would have to be the one to confiscate my booze, with steam it is a faceless employee acting within rather loose guidelines with a very weakly established legal framework protecting and regulating my fair use of the product. I think Steam’s policy is fair on paper (or screen, although I think cases like this are important to raise peoples awareness of just what they are entering into by using steam) but there needs to be better regulation and more transparent customer service procedures to protect consumers on steams end, and better legal jurisdiction at the comsumer end.

  27. Teovald says:

    WOW ! It has been a couple of days that this issue has been nagging at me (caused by my binge buying on steam during the holidays). RPS, stop reading my mind.
    I bought more than 100 games on steam, but I don’t own them. I just have a more or less temporary access to those games via steam. I hope that sometimes in the future that problem will be resolved and that I will at long last be able to use my ownership on any platform.

  28. pingu666 says:

    the odd thing about the bans is the customer should be of value to steam, because there a customer, specially those with a large number of games. so rather than a full on ban, they should remove the game in question until the issue is resolved, or limit access/features of that account temporarly/perminatly as needed. its just over the top to flat out ban someones account for 1 infraction

  29. nanowired says:

    So to clarify, he wasn’t banned from steam for doing any of the number inane things you could do to get banned from EA. He was banned for either sharing his account(security risk) or banned for helping people bypass taxes/cheat the global financial system.

    And suddenly Valve is a monstrosity.

    They made a good call.

    • Shooop says:

      Aren’t they denying that’s the reason for his ban though? It’s Valve’s lack of clarity with what he did wrong that’s most worrying. A consumer has a right to know what rules they’ve violated and are being reprimanded for.

  30. Kadayi says:

    “Because Valve cannot have knowing that gimperial had gifted in exchange for cash (and he insists that most of the time it was genuinely as a gift, and often just in exchange for a beer)”

    At a guess I’d imagine it’s because he’s probably principally gifting with people outside of Russia, and Valve are able to monitor where the gifts go through the system (whether it’s to an email or someone on a friends list). I suspect as far as they are concerned this idea that gimperial is somehow not profiting from the exchange in some fashion doesn’t hold up, especially given the frequency of the transactions. If he was gifting someone else in Russia then you could argue that the ‘just for beer’ thing holds up, but it’s a bit of a stretch when they are overseas.

  31. Muggy says:

    The way Valve treat their clients through support is just horrible, is always “this is your last change, next time you lose your account forever”. It looks like Steam is the client and we are the store.
    At least on Origin even if you are banned you can still play most of the gamesyou have without need to use the client, also EA support is very good. This week I contacted Origin support because I couldn’t activate my Bulletstorm on Origin, the guy from chat support gave me the Limited Edition plus a 15% off coupon.

  32. Ravenger says:

    The issue for me is that if you’re treating games as a service, then your customer service had better be up to the job. That means 24/7 support, handled in a friendly, efficient manner. Not play-by-email games of ‘guess the ban reason’. Valve should also offer a telephone service, so that users can speak to a representative personally.

    There should never be circumstances where someone’s entire Steam library is confiscated for an infraction, no matter how serious. By all means revoke individual games if there’s a payment irregularity or in serious cases ban the user from buying new games, or performing trading.

    I’m a big fan of Steam but I do worry that there’s the possibilty of losing your entire collection just because Valve says you’ve done something wrong, but refuses to tell you why, and there being no ombudsman or independent service you can use (apart from courts) when you have a complaint.

  33. ericks says:

    He broke the TOS and got banned, plain and simple.

    Just because “most of the time” he wasn’t breaking it, doesn’t mean he should be forgiven.

    Like it or not, he was buying a product cheaper in one country and importing it to another for the profit of others. Try doing that with physical copies of games and see how much customs likes it.

    • Kadayi says:

      Yeah the whole ‘for beer’ thing doesn’t make a whole heap of sense when your buying lots of games for people on different continents.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Like it or not, he was buying a product cheaper in one country and importing it to another for the profit of others. Try doing that with physical copies of games and see how much customs likes it.

      Doing this is a perfectly normal, natural, and legal practice.

      I did that for physical games all the time when I was living in Australia, and still do it quite often here in the UK. In both cases, Customs has no issue with it as long as the requisite taxes are paid in the country of import (which is why they ask for a declaration of contents and value, so they can determine if tax is due, and hold the parcels back until it is paid).

    • olemars says:

      Yep, it’s perfectly legal, and commonly done with most kinds of goods (except the cases where governments have some protectionism going on, like food). Worst case you have to pay a customs fee and relevant VAT percentage.

      It’s pretty much just two product groups that try to block consumers from looking across borders. DVD/blurays with their zones, and digital download like steam. The practice isn’t really founded in any law, it’s just been accepted through industry pressure.

    • Kadayi says:

      “Customs has no issue with it as long as the requisite taxes are paid in the country of import (which is why they ask for a declaration of contents and value, so they can determine if tax is due, and hold the parcels back until it is paid)”

      Digital sales include a regional tax element (thus the variable pricing on Steam games), so I’m fairly sure the Tax man isn’t keen on losing money.

  34. Tams80 says:

    While I’m quite happy to buy something that can only be used in one instance at a time (as in I can’t lend it to a friend and use it myself) and am also quite happy to not copy to evade the former; I’m not happy if said item is removed from me (this could removal of access), ever. Especially at the prices software and games are at.

    I’m not happy with games turning into services. For something that requires significant ongoing support, be it a reliance on servers, or new content continually being added (think MMOs), then I am happy to pay if the seller wants me to. I’m not happy if something that does not require a service is turned into a service though. I don’t want a singleplayer game, or a multiplayer game with little service requirements to become only services. If they are, I don’t expect to have to pay £30+ for them at once.

    Ultimately, if something can be either a straight up product or a service; I want it to be able to choose between them and then pay appropriately for them.

    Sorry if that was a bit convoluted. I struggled to make my argument coherent in my mild anger.

  35. MythArcana says:

    You only own the license to be able to use the software and they can revoke that right anytime they see fit. When this kiddie network finally implodes with their piles of 22 cent games, I will be over here with my DVD collection of older games that don’t suck.

    • corinoco says:

      Good lord, is that an elephant I see in the corner?

      “You only own the license to be able to use the software and they can revoke that right anytime they see fit.”

      This does not just threaten games. I am an architect (the real kind – concrete, builders, pretentious hipster colleagues) and all the software we use these days is covered by the same license conditions.

      The 1,000 gorilla (or elephant) of the Architecture world is Autodesk – we download their software (Revit), it uses DRM (“Safelok” provided by the wonderful Macromedia mobsters), and it also uses a VERY proprietary file structure.

      Here’s the trick – it’s a yearly subscription. So what? Well, if you don’t upgrade you can keep using your software BUT you are not compatible with next year’s save files. All of a sudden you cannot communicate with the rest of the industry. It’s as if there was an Autodesk-keyed padlock on your old paper drawing cabinet.

      Fortunately, Autodesk seem to realise that being heavy-handed would really piss a lot of people off, and they would lose the respect of most of their users…. but yet…. the threat is certainly there. Microsoft has the capacity to do much the same thing – you only own the (revocable) license to run Win7 – but again, corporate suicide is not their style.

      The recent kerfuffle over SOPA was equally scary – with growing use of ‘cloud’ storage, many construction professions now store and carry out a huge amount of work in the cloud – yet SOPA could in theory see those servers impounded a’la Megaupload. That’s our LIVELIHOOD! Autodesk might not pull the plug, but a US government jobsworth might…

      Given that Steam has forums, what would be the effect of someone on said forums mentioning the P-word under SOPA or it’s next incarnation? Are the FBI going to go Rambo on Gabe like they did with Megaupload, and impound all of Steam’s servers? Consider what is now happening to the unfortunates who actually used Megupload for legitmate purposes – the FBI now holds information that innocent people owned; although they seem to be indicating that if you used MU you MUST have been a naughty pir8 or teeerst.

      Hopefully there are enlightened legal types out there who understand all this.

  36. Novack says:

    Not much time ago, something similar happened with the Kindle: they decided to no longer provide a book, so deleted the book from EVERY kindle, without any consultation, and refunded the money (!!!).

    This are the new times, Sadly. This is the kind of thing we’ll have to deal with, sooner rather than later, before they solidify with general acceptance, just like the EULAs.

    Its great that someone bring this to public attention, once again, thank you John Walker and thank you RPS.

  37. Hypocee says:

    My previous story on RPS. Five months locked out of my library over a problem with a five-dollar purchase, four of which were Valve’s payment subcontractor’s fault. Any problem loses your account, not the individual license. You’re rolling the dice on a bigger ante with every purchase.

  38. DrGonzo says:

    Come on John. Lets stop it with these articles. Write about the act of playing games please. Its why I love RPS so. Not for these vaguely researched tabloid smelling ones. (‘philanthropic’ – really? Trading things for money and goods is philanthropy now?)

    Even if this was the right place for this sort of thing, a couple of emails and the odd forum post are not real sources.

    Stick to what you do well. Very well I might add!

    • Hypocee says:

      The act of playing games stops when the mothership turns them off, sweetie, and trading money for, ultimately, nothing is pretty philanthropic, though probably not intentionally so.

    • Novack says:

      I can’t believe that someone would put time in writing a comment with such blindness and lack of perspective as DrGonzo just did.

  39. karthink says:

    Renting games from Steam is OK if the rules are made abundantly clear.

    I’m willing to give up on ownership in exchange for the conveniences of digital purchases.

  40. ThaneSolus says:

    tbh, i am starting to use steam less and use Gamersgate and GoG more often. impulse and origin can die in fire, and steam well i am starting to hate them:

    1) they accept crapy (non indie) products because of their relations with publisher. Crappy products with horrible value, game breaking bugs, crashes etc.
    2) terrible interface, and always online. Off line doesnt really work unless u do something every week or so.
    3) support of greedy corporation, so bassicly pretty bad.

    Even with those, i am thankful that they promote PC gaming, but i dont think ill use them as much as i did in the past.

  41. Maximum Fish says:

    In my one experience with Steam support (I was one of the crowd of people who got banned from MW2 for a while through some sort of VAC glitch), they were extremely rude and unhelpful as well. They responded to my first two emails saying I had been banned, that basically their system doesn’t make mistakes and so i had to have been doing something wrong, and helpfully suggested that i buy another copy of the game from them. Finally I got a particularly rude email saying the ban would never be lifted, there were no appeals, and they would never tell me why.

    A while later i got the mass email from Gabe Newell, saying that it was in fact a screw up on their part. All in all i wasn’t out all that much (I didn’t really like MW2 all that much anyways), but it was a bit chilling to just randomly have someone take access to one of your games away and rudely refuse to give any justification. Right after that’s when i discovered Gamersgate and GOG (which is awesome).

    This was a really interesting and well written article, and i know some of the commentors have disagreed but i do think it’s a signficant point to consider about the digital distribution model we all (myself included) have rushed to embrace.

  42. Shooop says:

    It seems I’m going to be making good friends with GoG in the near future.

  43. Dhatz says:

    considering only your personality is true posession because that is who you are, and that ideas don’t have owners, you dont own anything, but we can get pretty close to owning many things, just never completely.

  44. Sheepdawg says:

    What happens if Steam wants to ever “restructure” using bankruptcy or some other measure. I dont want to “doom and gloom” but seriously, it would suck if a few bad moves screwed their current 4.5+mill userbase. I can only imagine how much money that number equates too. I know my steam acct is valued at $1100, soooo….id be retty pised if Steam went down.

  45. Carra says:

    The real problem is in Russia games only cost half of what we pay in mainland Europe.

    If everyone had the same, fair price constructions like that would not be needed.

  46. darksune says:

    there is a very powerful way you can strike back just don’t buy anything and DL crack your games simple easy peasy still get hottest game o year for free or if you like the publishers and want to support then buy hard copys on disk if you can

  47. samsharp99 says:

    Reading through the comments since the article was posted – it’s a shame that RPS decided to cover this person’s story instead of mine or Hypocee’s as the argument is mired slightly by the circumstances in which the ban came about (i.e. comments raised regarding the gifting of games abroad in return for payment/favours/beer etc.).

    I think the real issue is the heavy handed nature by which Valve’s bans work (lose access to all games without any communication from Valve), how bad their customer service can be and how people can be banned over simple payment mistakes ($5 for Hypocee and £3.99 for me).

    • cheeba says:

      I was just thinking the same thing. I’m not familiar with your story, but Hypocee’s struck me as some absolutely shocking treatment over the most trivial thing. Just unacceptable.

  48. Rebirth says:

    Nice way to turn people to piracy i know this is what ill do if i ever lose my steam library.

  49. Leithal says:

    I buy most of my games on Steam, mainly because its convient. All my games in one place. I only hope this kind of thing never happens to me as i ususlly only buy games for my self and have never gifted to snyone outside of my own country.

    • jrodman says:

      But the fact that you can’t know it won’t happen: pretty awful, right?

  50. Rojocuarzo says:

    Question: “Do we own Our Steam Games?”.

    Easy answer: No, we don´t. That´s it.

    Recently, I tried to change my Steam account, creating a new one. I just wanted to change the games I had on my old account to this new account. Something very easy. I´ve physically purchased games in its box in street shops (and many of them are not exactly cheap at all!), and others games that I bought online. Well, Steam tells me isn´t possible. But I don´t want to use the old account. Therefore, I ask for a refund, I want my money back, or just to transfer games from one account to another. It’s not that hard!! Not really. It’s no go…

    So, for me and for this nonsense, Steam have lost a customer. It’s that simple. Anyway, this isn´t important, I´m just a client and the world is full of videogames addicts. And they´re just games, and I can live perfectly well without them.

    But the worst thin is I lost my money. It’s ironic because Steam and DRM policy harms people who buy original games. A system that is supposed to be anti-piracy, what it does is promote it. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

    I think all of this is very sad and ironic. This world is becoming more and more crazy … Luckily there are still places like GOG …