After recently reading this, I wonder if the games I downloaded and currently own on Steam can be passed on to my son. Will Steam allow transfer of ownership of my account? If it is written in my last will and testament, will they accept it?

  • 5
    PROTIP: give him your password.
    – kotekzot
    Sep 4, 2012 at 7:20
  • 3
    @kotekzot: This will, however, not be a proper transfer of license. Unfortunately, the answer to the question depends too much on your local laws (and those change too) to be of much use. In doubt: contact a lawyer, don't ask random strangers on the internet. Sep 4, 2012 at 7:24
  • 1
    @kotekzot: If the lawyer is any good, he'll keep you informed on the status quo changes when you come over every few years to update your will. You do plan to update it to your current situation and the changing laws every few years, right? Sep 4, 2012 at 8:02
  • 3
    @MartinSojka or you could just leave your password to your son.
    – kotekzot
    Sep 4, 2012 at 8:32
  • 2
    @Ramhound I very much doubt they are going to bother.
    – kotekzot
    Sep 4, 2012 at 13:03

1 Answer 1


Well, it's a bit more clear cut for games than music.

Games are software, software is always required to have valid license to be used. Using software in a breach of license is piracy. Steam EULA makes it very clear that you don't own the games:

Valve hereby grants, and you accept, a limited, terminable, non-exclusive license and right to use the Software for your personal use in accordance with this Agreement, including the Subscription Terms. The Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Software.

Also according to EULA games nor account cannot be transferred to another person:

You are entitled to use the Software for your own personal use, but you are not entitled to: (i) sell, grant a security interest in or transfer reproductions of the Software to other parties in any way, nor to rent, lease or license the Software to others without the prior written consent of Valve, except to the extent expressly permitted elsewhere in this Agreement (including any Subscription Terms or Rules of Use);

There comes interesting part. If you're living outside of European Union, the choice of law is WA, USA. So you're out of luck. However if you live in European Union, there is interesting part about choice of law:

For EU Subscribers:

You agree that this Agreement shall be deemed to have been made and executed in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and that it is subject to the laws of Luxembourg, excluding the law of conflicts and the Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods (CISG). However, where the laws of Luxembourg provide a lower degree of consumer protection than the laws of your country of residence, the consumer protection laws of your country shall prevail. In any dispute arising under this Agreement, the prevailing party will be entitled to attorneys' fees and expenses.

Why is it interesting? There have been some countries, where it has been ruled that preventing re-sale or transfer of software licenses is violation of free market, thus the "non-transferable" clauses are invalid. And there have been rulings confirming it on EU level.

  • Are you speaking as a lawyer? Inheriting stuff is typically different from regular transfer of goods and rights.
    – Hackworth
    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:29
  • 1
    @Hackworth: I don't live in the Lawyerlandia, I don't need to be a lawyer to read EULA. In fact you too should have read that EULA before clicking to accept it.
    – vartec
    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:33
  • What does you or me reading the EULA or not have to do with the question at hand? Interpreting the EULA is the question here, and while speaking as an outsider myself, in Lawerlandia hardly anything is ever as simple as a first glance would suggest. By that I mean, death and a Will might well be a case different from those covered by the EULA, since if you die, all your stuff and rights are inherited by some entity, be it your son, other relatives, or ultimately the state. Consumer protection laws may not apply, since a dead person may no longer be a consumer in the legal sense.
    – Hackworth
    Sep 4, 2012 at 12:52
  • In Lawyerlandia, if anything is ever up for any kind of interpretation whatsoever, then a case could go either way. Considering Valve has always tried to come off as "the nice company," it's a safe assumption that they wouldn't fight against it. They might, but the fact that they acknowledge the difference in laws suggests differently.
    – KOVIKO
    Sep 4, 2012 at 13:48
  • @Hackworth: it's not about consumer rights, but about legal rights to software licenses. And EU says they are transferable, thus making part of EULA which contradicts that invalid in EU.
    – vartec
    Sep 4, 2012 at 14:24