Digital retailers will be forced to provide the facility for customers to re-sell their digital purchases, the boss of digital trade-in specialist Green Man Gaming believes.
A ruling from the European Court of Justice yesterday said that consumers should be free to resell licensed software, whether it was purchased physically or digitally.
This applies regardless of any terms agreed to in the End User Licence Agreement. And, it’s important to note, that consumers will have to ensure that their copy of any game that it resold is "unusable at the time of resale".
This is not something currently offered by wither Steam or Origin, meaning that both portals will have to build-in such functionality if they wish to comply.
"Medium term, 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," Paul Sulyok told Eurogamer.
"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 part."
What is being largely forgotten in the excitement following the news, however, is that yesterday’s ruling is guidance only. It is not legally binding.
Indeed, EU member states will have to determine their stance independently, meaning that even if it does get legislated it’s very possible we could end up with a fragmented market across Europe.
And none of this will become law until the issue is taken to the national courts, be that by consumers or companies. And then that will be done on a state by state basis.