Steam says you can't pass down your account in a will

A recent conversation with Steam seemingly indicates that trying to give a Steam library to a loved one through a will could face problems.

Steam says you can't pass down your account in a will as digital game collections are not inheritable since digital distribution limits ownership as users buy a license, not the product.

Digital distribution in general often carries the limitation that users aren't really buying the product, but rather buying a license to access it, which can potentially be removed at any time.

As digital libraries for games, movies, books, and other media continues to replace buying physical copies, how do you feel about the realization that you don't actually own any of what you've paid for?

Do you think you should be able to resell or transfer your digital licenses?

If a distributor revokes a license for any reason, do you think you should get a full refund at any time?

Parents
  • I doubt they will do anything serious since they don't know when someone has died. If someone passed and gave their accounts to their family Steam wouldn't know unless they looked into their death. In this situation for that this just seems like terms and conditions lingo for "we aren't going to refund/do anything for games you bought from years ago because you died or the publisher wanted to remove their games." Now for the ownership that's just digital products for you. I've been a huge advocate for physical games, books, movies, etc. People don't see that making things digital is only allow companies to own what we buy. I barely ever buy games off of digital platforms for this reason only. Sony has removed plenty of shows that people have bought and nothing has happened to help the consumer. I got a free movie on Xbox a few years ago and they removed it without telling me. Games on steam are being removed yearly at this point by companies like EA and Ubisoft but no one can do a thing because digital limits ownership of these products. These are things that are going on are not changing because people don't care unless something groundbreaking happens that effects everyone. 

  • Yes. How would they know you died? I feel like this is an official answer with no enforcement mechanism of any kind. Maybe you could give the heirs passwords when you are alive. Charles can leave an account to Charles Jr. and they wouldn't know. Could start an account in your baby's name for posterity, or just leave them your computer and bequeath the notebook with ALL the passwords. I'm not worried. Also, I have no heirs or friends that game. Starting a Steam Task Force to comb obituaries and investigate use would cost soooo much more than a Laissez-faire attitude toward this. Stores generally don't enforce their "no shoes, no service" policy, but it is policy.

Reply
  • Yes. How would they know you died? I feel like this is an official answer with no enforcement mechanism of any kind. Maybe you could give the heirs passwords when you are alive. Charles can leave an account to Charles Jr. and they wouldn't know. Could start an account in your baby's name for posterity, or just leave them your computer and bequeath the notebook with ALL the passwords. I'm not worried. Also, I have no heirs or friends that game. Starting a Steam Task Force to comb obituaries and investigate use would cost soooo much more than a Laissez-faire attitude toward this. Stores generally don't enforce their "no shoes, no service" policy, but it is policy.

Children
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