08-07-2012, 05:36 AM
Steam is still awesome. But it's awesome and evil.
08-07-2012, 07:35 AM
Steam is sending people who gift games across some international borders emails to cease their gifting, and in some cases is outright disabling gifting. Cheaper territories to more expensive ones is a concern, but so is gifting to Germany to get around the censorship.
08-07-2012, 07:41 AM
You might just need to start gifting from smurf accounts. This won't stop anything. It's flat out price-gouging and censorship to do this beyond a minimal range (something on the order of a week is fine, anything beyond that you better have a legit reason)
Valve is just getting worse and worse right now. Until a couple months ago, I was wary of a Steam monopoly, but didn't have anything concrete to really put my unease into words. Now I do.
I just hope some of the smaller give devs, like some on here, don't make Steamworks mandatory, even if it's short-term profitable.
08-07-2012, 07:45 AM
And to be fair to Valve/Steam, the original complaint was about using VPN to trick Steam into selling at another territory's price. The gifting issue came out of that original "workaround" which was against the ToS.
Originally Posted by Alstein
08-07-2012, 08:15 AM
Unfortunately, I was right all along >< (I keep steam games on separate accounts)
Originally Posted by Alstein
Honestly, at this rate given Steam's market share I think they might well be looking down the bore of an EU competition (antitrust) investigation, especially given the recent EU ruling on software resale.
(Also, disabling an account for gifting to another EU member or buying from another EU country would be a fairly severe breach of the EU's Internal Market rules!)
08-07-2012, 09:03 AM
I'm sure I'm not the only person who hasn't read a thing in this thread that's going to affect my usage of Steam.
I'm glad to see we've actually found one of the mythical "buys each game on a different Steam account" people though. :)
08-07-2012, 09:23 AM
Worse, I've actually sold a couple of those games and hence accounts :P
(mostly to make a point under UK law, true)
08-07-2012, 07:54 PM
That's unfortunate. If they have rules about this... are they spelled out somewhere?
Originally Posted by Telefrog
08-08-2012, 08:36 AM
I too was wondering about all the outrage being expressed over something they were extremely unlikely to do anyway. Really, how many people are sitting at home gleefully awaiting their next class action lawsuit letter or email? Personally, I find them depressing, since a company I am doing business with is being burdened with expenses that have nothing to do with giving me what I want affordably.
Originally Posted by Alex Hopkinson
08-08-2012, 08:52 AM
I think this case involved folks using VPN's to self-gift games to themselves to get lower prices- I can see Valve's point here some- though I do think globalization should work both ways- I ordered many of my college textbooks when I went back to school through India- and my economics profs actually said "we'll get fired if we say to do it, but we're not going to do anything if you're outsmarting the system"
Originally Posted by Nesrie
Also, it is in their TOS- so this is a fairly clear-cut case to me, it's not changing the rules to screw someone over, it's the shitty Europublishers.
Could EU antitrust stuff help us over here in the US? Could it get to the point where a company would say screw you Europe and leave? (you'd have a lot of angry PC gamers)
08-08-2012, 09:07 AM
Though I'm usually on the defensive side of these things as an attorney, I am someone who believes that things like class actions can from time to time be useful tools to keep companies from doing the wrong thing. It's not a matter of "gleefully awaiting the next class action lawsuit or letter." It's a matter of knowing that these companies might reign in the consumer fuckovers a little bit if there are potential consequences to those fuckovers.
Originally Posted by RickH
Even though I am unlikely to be the one starting the class action, I like the fact that the can serve as a check against overly aggressive practices. They're another tool in the basket against such things. While I believe that they are often abused (and that the proceeds generally go to the attorneys), I also believe that they frighten companies and help to keep them honest.
08-08-2012, 09:58 PM
Well since TOS are subject to change without notice, I am sure i read Steam's TOS years ago. I see the VPN was the catalyst to this, but it would be unfortunate if they tried to kill cross region gift giving. I wouldn't even mind paying the new regions price if i could... usually i have a friend across the sea i gift one of a four pack or a couple of older titles around steam sales to feed her gaming habit.
Originally Posted by Alstein
08-09-2012, 03:00 AM
If they start going after gifters, then rage will be very justified, but not yet.
There's enough to criticize Steam about fairly that we don't need unfair criticism.
08-09-2012, 04:30 AM
I'm pretty sure that this is about people that semi-commercially gift a TON of games. I can't find anything in the new TOS about gifting, there's just a knowledge base article stating that you may not sell gift subscriptions.
The people who have helped me keep my Steam account free of low violence and German only language games are all still very much at large.
I really don't get why Steam can't just implement age verification for the German market, any half bit porn site can do it. Then maybe I would buy some games by shitty publishers like THQ or Activision who like to strip the EFIS out of EFIGS for no reason.
08-09-2012, 05:11 AM
Because it doesn't work that way, zombo. If you sell to Germans, you comply with German law. Frankly, I'm rather surprised that they don't transform gifted versions to comply with German law.
08-09-2012, 05:57 AM
I am puzzled about this as well. Is it that the serial numbers are tied to a specific version and there's no way to exchange a gory US version of a game for a clean German version on the back end? I would've thought this would be handled pretty easily.
Originally Posted by Starlight
08-09-2012, 06:35 AM
Serial numbers are indeed often tied to regional SKU's. I found this out the hard way with importing hard copies of games, myself.
I'd imagine that any kind of verification after the point of sale could get really dicey really fast for people who move between countries. Do you base what version you get from the IP address someone downloads it in? Maybe where they opened the account? What if you're a U.S. military serviceman stationed overseas? What about a German businessman working out of NYC? What if you've changed citizenship?
I'm thinking that's too many potential headaches for Valve, so they're just trying to keep it simple and comply with laws where you're ostensibly obtaining something in while allowing existing purchases to be portable.
08-09-2012, 08:13 AM
Eh, it's actually quite clear on territoriality, actually Dan. If you're in Germany, their censorship laws apply.
08-09-2012, 08:39 AM
Right - that's what I was saying, sorry if it came across differently.
edit: FYI on the censorship from what I've gathered - in Germany you can own and even download free demos of games that violate the code, but you cannot sell them. If you bought a "smuggled" game then the seller is at risk for prosecution but the buyer is not.
Last edited by Dan_Theman; 08-09-2012 at 09:38 AM.
08-10-2012, 05:11 AM
My point was that if they used an AVS they could sell PEGI/ROW versions of games to adult Germans. And at the moment they don't comply with German law anyway since any 6 year old can buy USK18 games on Steam, they don't implement the silly 18+ rated content only between 22:00 and 04:00 local time laws either.
Originally Posted by Starlight
09-17-2012, 05:53 AM
The German consumer protection agency has filed a cease-and-desist order against Valve, criticizing the way people were forced to accept the new terms. Mind you, this is about the general changes - the concept of class action suits doesn't really exist in Germany. They're also criticizing the point that you can't resell your software or account.
09-17-2012, 06:05 AM
criticizing isn't really a legal term, so thats really a non-issue I'm sure for Valve. The other suit though, is VERY interesting.
09-17-2012, 06:10 AM
Well, it's a cease-and-desist order - Valve can't completely ignore it. They have to respond/react before Sept. 26th.
09-19-2012, 09:01 AM
I'm surprised it's taken this long really, but I'd suspect August's ruling by the ECJ that exhaustion doctrine (first sale) applies to downloaded software is also partly why now...
02-02-2013, 08:49 AM
Well they've gone and filed their lawsuit against Valve.