Steam is an amazing digital gaming platform and is a worthy proponent of what our digital gaming future might look like. With strong consumer support and programs such as Steam Greenlight and Steam Workshop, which promote indie developing and community modding respectively, there is really only one more aspect they could work on: the way they handle DRM. Of course there have been rumblings recently that Steam may adopt a way to share your digital library, but these are still rumors at best.
So, what are we to do if we want to sell our digital copies we purchased with our hard earned dollars? As of now nothing really, but a preliminary court ruling in Europe from last year might soon put this DRM stuff in motion. On July 3rd of 2012, the European Court of Justice ruled that pre-owned digital software may be sold to other consumers. Since this is just a preliminary ruling, it may still be challenged and must be enforced by a national court. Still, the Federation of German Consumer Organizations or VZVB made their intentions known in February: they plan to take Steam to court for their DRM policies. Looks like this is now confirmed and the VZVB is hoping to take Steam to court later this year.
The developments of this story could be very pronounced. As of now there is no precedent for how DRM is or should be handled. It’s sort of a Wild West with each company handling it the way they want to, but eventually this will all come to a head. As digital content is integrated more and more into our lives, it is paramount that a uniform structure is created so that people may understand what to expect when it comes to their digital belongings.
We’ll keep you updated as more information surfaces.