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Old 05-02-2013, 07:11 AM   #1
d-o.O-nkey
 
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Why are some games blocked in Germany?

Hi

I am Germany and my problem is that many games are blocked for me or only available in low violent versions. I was wondering why Valve is doing this. If they do it because of the German laws than they should follow the other laws to, in Germany I should have the right to get a refund.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:27 AM   #2
Washell
 
 
 
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Originally Posted by d-o.O-nkey View Post
If they do it because of the German laws than they should follow the other laws to, in Germany I should have the right to get a refund.
Valve follows European laws, Germany follows European laws. Heck, they're pretty much the ones writing them. European laws on digital distribution says no refunds if certain conditions are met. As defined in their SSA, vetted by lawyers specialized in European law, that condition is the game being added to your library/inventory.

So they are following all the applicable laws. You're just thinking regular physical consumer product laws and/or distant selling laws are applicable to digital distribution. You're wrong.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:28 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d-o.O-nkey View Post
Hi

I am Germany and my problem is that many games are blocked for me or only available in low violent versions. I was wondering why Valve is doing this. If they do it because of the German laws than they should follow the other laws to, in Germany I should have the right to get a refund.
Valve is not causing this, your government is. You have laws that game developers must follow to distribute games in your country.
Germany does not have a law that requires Valve to give you a refund.

Last edited by Masterblaster73: 05-02-2013 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:45 AM   #4
d-o.O-nkey
 
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In Germany it doesn't matter if it's a download or not, in some situations you are allowed to get a refund, like when the game is not working or when they do false advertising.

But beside that, the german law also says that you are allowed to resell your digital software and games and Valve doesn't allow this too.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:47 AM   #5
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Normally you can get almost every game uncut in Germany. However, due to country restrictions you'll not be able to download several games directly but you can buy and activate european or english retail versions via different online traders. You just have to search a little and you'll find what you need.

BTW: I see no clue why you should get a refund. Valve hasn't tricked you. There is no false advertising nor the product is broken. Valve just follows german laws. You are not forced to buy LV-versions.

Last edited by Darklord: 05-02-2013 at 07:51 AM.
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Old 05-02-2013, 07:55 AM   #6
d-o.O-nkey
 
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BTW: I see no clue why you should get a refund. Valve hasn't tricked you. There is no false advertising nor the product is broken. Valve just follows german laws. You are not forced to buy LV-versions.
The refund thing is not related to the low violent version, they say in the store page if it's low violent or not. I just named that one because sometimes the store page says that a game has mutliplayer but the servers are down and things like that. And I also retrieved a not working CD key once, and Steam also refused to give me a refund or ban my current CD key and give me a new one.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by d-o.O-nkey View Post
In Germany it doesn't matter if it's a download or not
Germany is a member of the EU and has to abide by EU directives. Chapter III, article 16, paragraph m

Chapter III, article 16 lists all "Exceptions from the right of withdrawel" aka getting a refund.

Paragraph m says:

Quote:
the supply of digital content which is not supplied on a tangible medium if the performance has begun with the consumer’s prior express consent and his acknowledgment that he thereby loses his right of withdrawal.
The express consent and acknowledgement is you agreeing to the SSA during the creation of your account and each subsequent purchase. So no, no refund for you.

As for the resale thing, it's tricky. There's a ruling from the European Court of Justice about the interpretation of an existing law that clarified that digital downloads fall under the same old law for physical distributed software and is allowed to be resold. But A, it doesn't deal with account based systems like Steam and Origin are using. B, there are no provisions that state that companies need to facilitate such sales, just that they have no legal standing to block them. C, if Valve is taken to EU court over this, it'll likely end up with being forced to allow entire account sales. Don't expect being able to sell single titles from your account.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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Valve follows local laws when it's convenient, when it doesn't eat too much into its profit and/or when it helps them to fly under the radar.

They could easily sell almost all game in Germany if they offered a functional age verification system, which they don't. (The current "enter your birthday" method is rightfully not considered sufficient by German law as it only prevents those kids form buying games that don't know how to lie).

At the same time they are or have been selling games that are or were on the dreaded German "Index" for a long time without a care in the world - like Hitman: Codename 47 (removed from the Index in 2012 but Valve sold it in Germany the entire time before that) or Conflict: Denied Ops or ... eh, there are many more.
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Old 05-02-2013, 08:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d-o.O-nkey View Post
The refund thing is not related to the low violent version, they say in the store page if it's low violent or not. I just named that one because sometimes the store page says that a game has mutliplayer but the servers are down and things like that. And I also retrieved a not working CD key once, and Steam also refused to give me a refund or ban my current CD key and give me a new one.
Servers can be down sometimes. That's the reason why I don't play MP .

I also got a not working key once. Steam doesn't give a refund or removes the key in that case. They'll ask for proof of purchase and if it's valid they should move the key from the account where it's been activated to yours. Also they only allow this within 90-days after purchase which is not a nice thing IMO.
The best reason for a refund is, when a physical copy is not working (physically). Other reasons can be found if you go to the support page and type "refund" in the search box.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:04 AM   #10
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Germany has a strict policy about violence in video games. 99% times only for the german (okay, also australian) market the devs must do modifications to thier games, like recoloring blood to something else than red, add a lame disappear effect to dead bodies (L4D2, and body parts also can't be cut off) etc. etc.

Steam usually sells worldwide copies of games and for this reason the german "ESRB-thing" don't allow a lot games to be sold in Germany.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:42 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by SaltyDave View Post
Steam usually sells worldwide copies of games and for this reason the german "ESRB-thing" don't allow a lot games to be sold in Germany.
The Funny thing is, 90% of the games which are not allowed to be sold uncut are allowed to be sold uncut to people who are 18+. ( or you could say, the games which are not allowed to be sold are a lot less then the ones which you could buy if you are 18+ )
Stores are only not allowed to Display the uncut Versions in the Store itself so that persons under 18 can see them.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:50 AM   #12
Darklord
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaltyDave View Post
Germany has a strict policy about violence in video games. 99% times only for the german (okay, also australian) market the devs must do modifications to thier games, like recoloring blood to something else than red, add a lame disappear effect to dead bodies (L4D2, and body parts also can't be cut off) etc. etc.
It is not that easy. There is no law that forces devs to cut their games to meet german restrictions. The german system has 2 institutions that mainly observe the content of games, the USK and the BPJM. The USK gives clearance and decides which group of age is allowed to view the content (0,6+,12+,18+). If a game hasn't been given clearance it's likely to be banned by the bpjm. That doesn't actually mean that it's forbidden to sell but it's a risk for the publisher. The bpjm hasn't the power to forbid sale or deployment, only the jurisdiction can do that.

Devs go the most convenient and less strugglesome way. They cut their games in obedience to these regulations. Often it's not necessary and sometimes it doesn't even make a difference. E.g. a 1st person shooter where you can shoot at humans usually get's a 18+ no matter which color the blood is or if corpse are vanishing. If the violence is more visual like cutting limbs, etc. it's likely that it's not been given clearance, it depends how the violence is explained by the game. There are several examples where a game has been released without restrictions and given an 18+. Most famous is Dead Space 2 (SP).
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:15 AM   #13
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Therefore, there is also the steam group foruncut (we germans also annoys the topic) ... sry my bad english
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Old 05-02-2013, 10:24 AM   #14
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It is not Valve doing this, it is the developers choice to do it, and sometimes they have to follow certain laws in certain countries and not release there.

Take Ubisoft for example, they chose not to release some games to the UK for a certain period of time, and removed them from the UK store... A few weeks/ months later it was on there.

Just do a trade you be alright.

It is the company following that countries law and not allowing the purchase there, Valve are obliged to follow them..... It is the law
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Old 05-03-2013, 04:25 AM   #15
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The current situation is resulting from a mix of generations of german politics in believe that they are governing a nation of unstable morons, publishers censoring their games to be able to sell them in Germany (and often doing so in preemptive obedience) and Valve just giving a crap.

German politics actually seem to believe that even someone like me, a grown up man with a family and a career who even worked in a hospital instead of doing military service, will instantly turn into savage bloodthirsty spree killers the very moment we see an uncensored version of MW, Painkiller or what game ever. This is called "youth protection". For some reason they really are not able to realise that the only people they hurt this way are the mature citizens - every kid will get an uncensored version of "Chainsaw Massaker III - Saws of Death" on the internet anyway.

Once a game is on the index it is illegal to promote or advertise the game or to present it on store shelfes. This can lead to a serious loss of sales for a publisher, so very often they are eager to censor their games even before the authorities had a look at it.

What annoys almost as much as our gouvernment is how Valve, like so often, is giving a crap. Even if a game is on the A-index (which means no advertising and no public presentation, but selling and buying the game is perfectly fine) it can be sold to people at least 18 years old. And selling uncensored games on Steam would be perfectly fine as long as Valve would care to implement an age verification system other than "Please enter your age".

And to make the situation even more ridiculous Valve quite recently installed a bunch of new payment methods which allow under-age persons to circumvent Valves poor "youth protection system" quite easily.

Usually it is still possible to buy censored games in other countries like the UK or Austria or to get them as a gift from another country. The fun thing is, even if this has not happend for some time, that Valve sometimes decides not to unlock an uncensored version of a game for german gamers, which happend for L4D and a couple of CoD games for instance.

Which is, among other things like the ridiculously high prices, one more reason for me not to buy any full price games on Steam anymore for quite some time now.

Last edited by Angry Alien: 05-03-2013 at 04:28 AM.
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