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Is the Half Life 2 EULA illegal?

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 07 Feb 2005 22:54 User comments (4)

Is the Half Life 2 EULA illegal? The Inquirer has written an interesting article about Half Life 2. Firstly the article points out that on the Half Life 2 box an Internet Connection is down as a System Requirement (under "other") but the German Consumer Association finds it misleading. They claim that the mere listing of an Internet Connection as a "System Requirement" did not explain the extent of the Internet-tie with the game and ordered Vivendi to amend the packaging and untie Steam from HL2 or face a hefty fine.
It goes on to point out that consumers who purchase a copy of the game where their CD Key may have been stolen or hacked previously, are left in a very bad position. Most game store will not take back a game that has been opened and if you request a new CD Key from Sierra/Vivendi you will to wait about two weeks for it. However, the Inquirer has quoted from UK's Office of Fair Trading site to explain to gamers that a store that doesn't take back the game is breaking the law...

[The goods must be] fit for their purposes, including any particular purpose mentioned by you to the seller – for example, if you are buying a computer game and you explain you want one that can be played on a particular machine, the seller must not give you a game that cannot be played on that machine.

In the case of Half Life 2, if you don't have a constant Internet connection (like if you have time limits etc...) or if your CD Key has been hacked already, then technically you cannot play the game the way you should be able to. This entitles you to a full refund of your game for the gaming store that sold it to you. The article also goes on to explain another problem with users who want to transfer their game.

In the Half Life 2 EULA, it says a transfer can take place if the seller removes the programme from the computer and transfers all of it, including any code used to unlock the programme. But technically you cannot transfer the CD Key as you would have to pay $10 for a new steam account as the CD-key would be still registered to your account. So how could you sell on a game? But here's the last point and the biggest problem with the EULA.

There is absolutely no mention of the Steam software in the EULA for Half-Life 2. This means that the terms of the Steam EULA that you agree to when installing that software are almost certainly not incorporated into the contract you agree to when installing Half-Life 2. Consequently, the $10 transfer fee would not be enforceable because it isn't in the HL2 contract, and Valve would be acting illegally in blocking any sale of the game from one person to another.

So have you purchased a copy of Half Life 2 and you are now upset to hear all this? Well The Inquirer is urging you and your mates to complain to country's consumer association to get something done about it.

The Inquirer

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4 user comments

18.2.2005 11:50

lol, i knew it would eventually come back to haunt them :D

212.2.2005 1:06

That doesn´t really bother too much. I didn´t really face too much trouble when buying the game off Steam and I figured that if I ever wanted to sell the game I would just sell the actual Steam account my game is tied too. The idea of Valve´s total control over your games is of course a bit worrying, but I can see why they´ve implemented the kind of system they have.

320.3.2006 17:23

mistakenly posted in two different threads.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 22 Mar 2006 @ 10:54

421.3.2006 1:56

So you don´t want the game to be patched before you play it? Wouldn´t you normally patch a game you install if one was available?

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