Green Man Gaming CEO Paul Sulyok believes Tuesday's EU ruling on second-hand digital sales will make cloud gaming a less attractive prospect to consumers in the long term.
Sulyok, whose company allows consumers to download games then trade them in for credit against future purchases, warns that, while the practical effects of the ruling won't take effect straight away, a future in which players are able to sell on their digital copies of games easily could have a negative effect on the market for streaming games.
"With cloud gaming you never actually get any 1s and 0s, all you get is a video stream," he told us. "So even if the cloud gaming provider asks 39.99 for you to own a game in perpetuity, all they're really saying is that you can play the game as much as you want in perpetuity. They're not actually saying that you own that game.
"That makes cloud gaming a little less attractive to consumers, because if I can buy a game, download it and then trade it in to offset the cost of my gaming experience, I'm reducing my risk."
While options like Onlive's PlayPack Bundle, which offers unlimited play of the service's catalogue for 6.99 a month, go some way to mitigating any concerns over ownership - and indeed value - Sulyok's point is arresting. But while consumers may be put off by the idea of a service in which they never own anything, it could be the very factor that drives publishers to adopt it more rapidly - especially given the harm to mexisting margins digital trading could bring about.
He goes on to suggest that, while the creators of "knock it out of the park, triple-A" releases would be unlikely to lose too much sleep, it would be the smaller studios with lower marketing budgets who may lose out as consumers used to selling on their digital games become less inclined to take risks.
Osbourne Clark interactive entertainment lawyer Jas Purewal, however, sees the potential for subscription resales at some point.
"One of the problems with the case is that it ignores the rise of cloud computing - including cloud gaming services," he explains. "It's certainly more unclear how the second hand sales ruling could apply to them.
"That said, it is conceivable that similar issues about allowing consumers to trade cloud gaming game subscriptions could arise based on this case - but that is likely to take some time in practice."
Either way, it will be some time before the impact of the ruling is felt, and even if friction arises between the needs of publishers and consumers when it comes to cloud gaming, Sulyok believes a compromise can be found.
"The market will address and will find a balance at some stage, both for the benefit of the consumer and content owners," he concludes. "It has to."

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