The Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband (VZBV or The Federation of German Consumer Association) has recently filed a claim against Valve in the German court system.
The German Consumer Organizations are non-profit associations that are dedicated to consumer protection due to government contracts.Their primary purpose is to inform consumers on matters of private consumption and to advise, assist, and provide legal assistance as a consultation service.
Since Steam does not allow users to resell digital content, going against the European Union courts ruling last year, the VZBV has filed a claim against Valve within courts in Berlin. They admit while Valve has done much to meet the demands by the consumers, they have simply not done enough, and are still in breach of the court ruling.
The case last year decided that “digitally downloaded games must be allowed to be sold on by the consumer” and was brought on after the Steam user agreement was changed to prevent class action lawsuits, resulting in many users being locked out of their account for not updating Steam.
VZBV representative Eva Hoffschulte claimed a trial date is not fixed and “until then, it is not realistic that Valve will change their policy…But, our chance to win the process is very good, and that will be really an improvement for consumers: then they can sell their games to others.”
There has been nothing from Valve since the case was first lodged, other than a comment from Doug Lombardi to Gamasutra that said,
“We are aware of the press release about the lawsuit filed by the VZBV, but we have not yet seen the actual complaint. That said, we understand the complaint is somehow regarding the transferability of Steam accounts, despite the fact that this issue has already been ruled upon favorably to Valve in a prior case between Valve and the VZBV by the German supreme court. For now, we are continuing to extend the Steam services to gamers in Germany and around the world.”
Many companies such as Gamestop have expressed desire to delve into the online used game market, and despite Valve’s reluctance seem to preparing themselves as well. With next generation console systems making a big push into the online game market, last year’s ruling will be sure to be brought up again.