Looking for Thimbleweed Park on ebay, I stumbled into a few sellers that don’t sell the box, but the game itself.
The description says that there is NO CD, NO BOX, NO KEY.
The delivery method says:
This game will be activated on a new Steam account, and we will send the Steam account name, password and email data to you via email and eBay message. You can change the account data and this Steam account belongs to you in the future.
Is that legal in your opinion?
I’ve seen this quoted text for many Steam games, not just Thimbleweed Park. I wouldn’t trust them, nor would I want an extra Steam account just to get a game. And I don’t think that Steam allows selling accounts either, so if they find out, they might delete it. Also it was not allowed on ebay to sell goods per email only either, the last time I checked. I think that is why some sellers claim to send you the data on paper, which they usually don’t anyway.
If you really need to get Steam games on ebay, take a look for official key resellers. They do in fact exist. Or get a boxed version (if available). That is in fact helpful if a game is censored or not available in your country otherwise. Asian keys may be region locked, though, so you probably wouldn’t want those.
You shouldn’t need to go that way for buyng Thimbleweed Park I guess, though.
Can you give an example for an official key reseller? The only trustworthy one I know is the Humble Store.
And why should I buy keys from resellers? If I would like to buy a game on/for Steam, I could buy it on Steam. This has the advantage that the developers get properly payed. There is only one exception: The Humble Store supports charity organizations (for example the american red cross). So this might be a reason to buy a game in the Humble Store.
btw: @RonGilbert: Why is TWP in the Humble Store 3 Euros cheaper as on Steam? (It seems not be on sale).
GB entertainment. I bought the Orange Box their, which otherwise is censored on Steam in Germany.
You should find discussions about resellers on the Steam forums.
I’d say a rule of thumb is, if a seller is doing this on ebay for several years, it is very likely that he is doing it legit. Also most of those sellers have its own shop outside of ebay, so you can easily research their reputation based on their domain.
As said, if the game is either censored or not available at all in your country. And since most of the world is not region locked on Steam, it is an easy way to get the game anyway.
This reason mainly applies to Germany only.
The other reason is that people buy games where it’s cheaper.
This may be due to regional pricing (which maybe is not supported by Humble).
We don’t set those prices. We set the main price ($19.99) and each store is responsible for then setting the price in each country.
Ah, Ok, thanks. Then @Nor_Treblig is right: The lower price is due to the conversion from Dollar to Euro. (I thought that the Humble Store takes the prices from Steam. Gog.com uses credits, btw.)
No, on Steam the price is 19.99 euros
AFAIK that’s correct: Steam uses the Dollar price in Euros. So if you buy on Steam, you pay a higher price.
How stores prices the game in different counties is a big mystery to me. For some it’s a straight conversion, for others they adjust the price to match norms for that country. Some stores let us go in and change the price for each country, others do not.
The lower € 16.99 price on Humble Bundle is due to the conversion from USD to EUR.
The developer can choose from different pricing models but the default one is called “Humble Princing” and here is how it works:
If the USD price is less than $2 USD
We will convert to the local currency and round up to the nearest .09.
If the USD price is at least $2 USD (but less than $20 USD)
We will convert to the local currency and round up to the nearest .49 or .99.
If the USD price is at least $20 USD
We will convert to the local currency and round up to the nearest .99.
The price on Steam follows completely different rules and that’s why you see € 19.99 on that platform. There are even websites that calculate for you in which currency you should make a purchase to save a few bucks.
To answer your original question:
It for sure breaks Steam ToS. Probably it’s not illegal per se, but I’m not a lawyer and I could be wrong on this point.
The phenomenon that you have observed is quite common and if Thimbleweed Park was a more popular game, you would see also other curious and colorful ways some people follow to provide the game at a cheaper price.
Because different resellers sell the game at different prices (due to temporary sales and to different pricing models) and you can use websites like this one to find in any moment where the price is lower.
The website that I have linked does not include resellers and marketplaces that are known to get the keys in “opinable ways”. All the listed resellers are authorized resellers.
But the developers of the games get their money?
I’m not sure if you are referring just to the sales or generally.
About the sales, I have always assumed that choosing if and when to put a game on sale is a decision that only the developer can take. So when I see an authorized reseller selling the game at a discounted price, I assume that the developer decided to put the game on sale (which of course implies that the developer gets less money for each sold copy of the game).
That is my concern. A lot of resellers aren’t authorized. So you are talking only about such resellers? If so, how can I get sure that the reseller is authorized?
If you don’t trust the reseller, you can ask the developers to confirm to you that they did actually put the game in that specific store.
I think legally it is s gray area. In Germany if you own a thing you are allowed to resell it. So question is do you own a game which you buy at steam? (This part is really not clear)
It isn’t gray. It must be illegal, or everybody would buy half of the steam store (or the iTunes store), and then resell stuff on their sites at half the price. But If I’m wrong, please tell me: I 'll quit my job, sell my house and start my new business.
Buying stuff and selling it for half of the price is a bad business model…