this may seem like a good thing (and it is when dealing with physical wares). However, this ruling only applies for software being sold to you.. Now I am pretty sure that it will go further in the system before any final say, but lets just imagine the highest supreme court keeps the ruling which may in turn have to force publishers giving you the option to sell your digital copies.
Do you really think they will just roll over and say okay? No chance in hell. Like mentioned it only applies to software sold to you. Publishers will find ways to get around it.. What about "selling" you the games for a six month period or one year period? then suddenly this ruling does not apply.
The community will be in an uproar if this happens, but this is really just one way publishers could go. I am sure there are a number of ways they could go. Trust me though, they WILL go through EVERY single way to get around the ruling before giving you the option to sell your digital games.
When you pick up a game off the shelf then you have purchased a product from best buy or where ever. That contract is only between you and the merchant.
When you load up the game and sign the EULA then you agree with the game publisher that you are buying a license to play their game and it explicitly says nearly all EULAs that the publisher owns the game and you don't. In effect you've only gained a membership card that lets you access the game.
This means you can sell your box and it's contents to whoever, but only the publisher can grant a license to their game.
This is different than nearly every other buying situation and sucks, a lot, but it's there because if the EULA was not in effect and you were sold a game, then you would be free to crack open the game code and reverse engineer it and then generate a new game and start selling copies of that completely on your own without including the publisher. For reference, this is what people do when they buy a car, soup it up, and then resell it.
The reason why the US courts ruled differently than the EU courts is because copy right works very differently in the US than it does in the EU. In the EU no matter where a product goes it always has "Right of the Author". Which means that if you bought a painting second hand from someone who was the painting's third owner, and you decide to draw mustaches on all the people's faces, then you still need to get permission from the original painter to do that in the EU. In the US you don't because US has stuff like Fair Use.
I really don't think this is going to be a victory for the consumer... nice in theory but game Dev companies aren't just going to sit down and take it with a smile on their face. I see 3 outcomes
a) Initial sale price goes up
b) Games are no longer available in certain parts of the EU (ID already employs this tatic against certain markets)
c) Steam/EA change their wording so you no longer click on "buy game" you now click on "rent game" thereby bypassing the ability to on sell something you "purchased"
*if Johan still lurks here i expect him to resurface any second now*
a)No. Consoles have used games, console makers did not employ such a policy even though many publishers complained about used games. The backfire would be enormous.
2)No. Understand that this ruling has a very wide venue. In other words you're saying that Valve/EA will abandon almost the whole EU, a large and profitable market. It will not happen.
3)Possible, but not probable. Again the backfire would be tremendous and you will see people boycotting services like crazy. Hell, people already complaining about "on disc DLC" even though, legally, they do not own the disc.
Steam allowing used game sales would kill their current sales system. They'd only be opening up sales competition with themselves, and they'd lose a fair bit of the control they have over the pricing of games. That control is why they can sell us stuff for next to nothing. Initial prices might not increase, but the bottom line prices would take a lot longer to reach.