Open letter to Valve:
„Steam Gaming Network – enforced & permanent game registration“



Berlin, 1.4.2012

Dear Michael Abrash, Mike Ambinder, Matthew An, Elizabeth Andrade, Ted Backman, Jeff Ballinger, Aaron Barber, Jeep Barnett, Mark Behm, Mike Belzer, Jeremy Bennett, Dan Berger, Yahn Bernier, Ken Birdwell, Mike Blaszczak, Steve Bond, Michael Booth, Antoine Bourdon, Charlie Brown,Tom Bui, Bill Van Buren, Tobin Buttram, Chris Carollo, Dario Casali, Matt Charlesworth, Greg Cherlin, dear Valve-Team.

First of all i want to take a moment and thank you for creating a platform, that has completely revitalized the PC gaming market and allows players around the world sharing their gaming and social experiences.
A new kind of model (as steam is one) can never be free of issues, but through excellent communication and response time, you make me being very optimistic to develop the service and maintain steam as a reasonable way of selling, purchasing and playing games of the next coming decades.

I want to bring your attention to a topic which probably has been pointed by people a lot of times in the last years – even brought to court from various people – such as consumer organizations, gamers from around the globe, normal people that feel a little pranked in their freedom of choice after purchaising a steam registration game and then realizing the consequences.

I am referring to the forced binding of games to a players account by the first installation – without any opportunity of resetting the game and removing it from your account after that, in order f.e. to resell it.
Why is it, that the german consumer protection association sued Valve in 2010 for the enforced binding of the product key to a single account? This Association is a good thing – it helps normal people that feel treated in an unfair way and restore their rights. As the reasonable people you are doing such a great project as steam you will probably agree with these social arguements.

Even if Valve won the case – why does Valve not react by its own philosophy on that issue, which is obviously frustrating thousands and thousands of your honest customers?

It is a matter of fact, that nobody is able to resell his honestly bought Pc Game, if it is registrated to steam once – even if you never played it. That means your customer feels exploited – he does not have the opportunity to buy and test a product and then decide to bring it back to the shop or to resell. He cannot resell it, because if he would – nowadays -, he would actually betray the buyer, selling him a needles box with a worthless „alreaday in use“ cd key. Just imagine the situation: You buy a product and test it at home. You realize, that its the wrong product. Now the products company says: „Hey, middlefinger. Its not our fault. If you like it or not – we have your money and that is the way it is: you are doomed to keep that thing until you die!“

What you, Valve, should do, is facing the truth of the tons of frustrations you put on millions of customers and do something about that really frustrating problem you created here. I cannot imagine, that you really want to embarrass us, your customers, any more. Especially now – where other gaming corporations try to start similar approaches and the public seems to be very aware of illegitimate strategies, you should be that one step further and do it better then your competitors.

If you, as a corporate identity, still have the idea of making a good product and the best service you can offer, if you really are interested to maintain Valves image of a real game obsessed developer with a heart for games and gamers, if you really want ongoing satisfaction of your customers (no „please“) – DO something about it.

It is technically no problem to allow the resetting of product keys. It should be normal, that if i decide to delete a game from my account, i then can give the game to a friend or resell it somewhere.

And please do not tell us, that it is possible to sell an account. Sure, that is possible. But let us be honest: which real gamer wants to sell his whole account he loves just because he bought one single game he wants to get rid of? It is definitly not in valves favour, seeing faithful steam users reselling their accounts because they wanna get rid of something they dont like anymore.

I would be happy to read from you,

Sincerely yours,

Adam Nümm
from Berlin, Germany.

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