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Steam and Origin 'will have to facilitate a digital pre-owned market'

Retailer responds to new ruling suggesting that consumers should be free to resell licensed software

The likes of Steam and Origin "will have to facilitate" a digital pre-owned market following a new ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ).


That's according to Paul Sulyok, boss of London-based digital PC games retailer Green Man Gaming, who told Eurogamer that the ECJ ruling suggesting consumers have the right to resell downloadable games they've purchased will have significant implications for platform holders.

"I think some first acquirer somewhere is going to push this through, because it's the kind of thing the community does, and it's their right to," he said.

"There will be a first case against one of the platform holders. The result of that is a foregone conclusion. So they will have to facilitate that. This will shake up the digital distribution market. Long-term there are some important implications and this is very disruptive.

"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."

Sulyok also said the ruling could deter digital retailers from offering sales promotions.

"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.

"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."