How Will Valve Respond To The Desist Declaration For Steam's EULA?
The vzbv or the Federation of German Consumer Organizations, recently put Valve under the microscope after a change in Steam's end-user license agreement back in August, which the vzbv deemed unfair to consumers. The organization has setup an ultimatum to require Valve to respond to their insistence on a change of Valve's policy for restricting access to content based on the forfeiture of signing the EULA by September 26th.
I think there are two questions circling everyone's mind: How will Valve respond to the desist request and what legal measures will the vzbv take if Valve shrugs it off after September 26th?
Just a few days ago the vzbv laid out the challenge that created quite a stir within the gaming community. The challenge from the vzbv rails on Valve first off for not giving users the option of opting out of signing the new EULA and it also railed on Valve for limiting the way software licenses can exchange hands, as indicated by the new EU court ruling regarding digital resale.
On the one end, a lot of gamers hate the idea of having their games held for ransom on the whim of corporate changes to a terms of service. On the other end, having Valve implement the tools to resale digital goods could create a host of all new problems that could be more disastrous than positive.
If Valve decided to forfeit a response and the vzbv decided to take the matter to court, it definitely leaves you wondering on what side would the law fall? In favor of a company who actually has a good upstanding relationship with consumers or the group fighting for a fairer shake for consumers who have regularly ended up on the wrong end of a screw job in the gaming industry?
What's really interesting about the whole ordeal is that it could pave a way for how other up and coming digital distribution services provide or restrict content, such as EA's Origin and Ubisoft's Uplay, that's not to mention already available distributors such as GOG, Direct2Drive, Impulse and GamersGate.
Without getting too far into the nitty gritty, I think most gamers would simply like it where the click of a mouse button on a EULA doesn't forfeit them access to games they've already paid for. No one likes the idea that they have hundreds or thousands of dollars worth of content on their account that could just as easily disappear because they decide to opt out of agreeing to the terms of service in an end-user license agreement that they don't necessarily agree with.
I'm pulling for Valve to make the right decision in this and I'm hoping the vzbv takes the appropriate steps in also securing consumer rights when it comes to digital distribution. It's unfortunate that Valve was caught in the crosshairs but as we've already seen with companies like EA and Ubisoft, they don't mind taking a dump on their consumers and leaving them with lopsided service features that fall in favor of the company.
Hopefully this situation doesn't end with Valve pulling support for Steam in German territory. That would only make things worse.
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