Video Games Europe observations: Right to Repair proposal

Video Games Europe shares the European Commission’s conviction that addressing climate change is one of the most critical challenges of the 21st and is committed to contributing to the EU green transition, and launched in 2019 the UNEP-facilitated Playing for the Planet Alliance, encouraging studios and players across the globe to learn more about the impacts of climate change through in-game content. Our members also provide guidance to help studios reduce their environmental impact, and some have developed internal training tools to explain global warming and its causes, lay out the stakes of inaction, and provide specific insights and advice to employees based on their role (learn more here).

Video Games Europe welcomes the publication by the European Commission of its proposal for a Directive on common rules promoting the repair of goods, and supports the objective of the proposal to encourage repairs to promote more sustainable consumption of goods.

Executive Summary

On pre-determining the consumer’s remedy to favour repair over replacement during the legal guarantee period
Under the Games Consoles Voluntary Agreement, console manufacturers offer consumers the possibility to repair and/or refurbish consoles in authorised and qualified repair centres during and beyond the commercial guarantee period, thus ensuring access to repair over the entire lifecycle of a console. By having a pool of refurbished goodsthat they can immediately provide to consumers returning a good, consoles manufacturers have established a process for repairs that cater for the needs for greater circular economy (as efforts will be made for the damaged console to be refurbished for future re-use) and shorter delays for consumers (who will enjoy an immediate solution). Therefore, Video Games Europe encourages co-legislators to consider a replacement by a refurbished good as equal to a repair under this proposal.

On the provision of a loan for replacement during repair period
Video Games Europe notes the suggestion made by the main rapporteurs in the ENVI and IMCO Committees on the proposal to provide a loan for replacement to consumers during time for repairs. We believe such a loan would prove impractical for consumers, manufacturers, retailers but also from a circular economy perspective. Instead, Video Games Europe would suggest again to encourage co-legislators to consider a replacement by a refurbished good to be equal to a repair, as it would allow for a quick solution for consumers whilst ensuring that the replacing good is not having a detrimental environmental impact by being produced anew.

On establishing maximum time limit periods to perform repairs
Video Games Europe welcomes the decision from the European Commission to refrain from establishing maximum time limit periods for repairs, and encourage co-legislators to favour the notion of “reasonable period of time”, as established in Directive (EU) 2019/771, which is clear enough in its Recital 55 that such period should be limited to its minimum. Manufacturers may not be in full control of factors surrounding the reception of damaged goods (shipping issues, strikes, delay for the consumer to actually ship the good, etc.) and therefore flexibility should be foreseen.

On extending the length of the legal guarantee
Video Games Europe welcomes the decision from the European Commission not to extend the length of the legal guarantee period as evidence from the impact assessments surrounding the Sales of Goods Directive (Directive (EU) 2019/771) and of this proposal shows that such extension would lead to significant financial losses for EU companies against very little positive impact in terms of job creation and environmental impact.

On the pricing of the new right to repair
Video Games Europe welcomes the proposal’s market-based approach regarding pricing for repairs. As noted by the European Commission in its impact assessment of the proposal, regulating the prices of repair could be detrimental to independent repairers, as ‘if the price were to be regulated, all the repair demand would be channeled to the producer and the independent repairers would be foreclosed’. Therefore, Video Games Europe encourages co-legislators to follow a similar approach.

On further alignment and coherence with existing EU acquis
Video Games welcomes the willingness of the European Commission to ensure coherence with the existing EU legislative acquis and is concerned that some suggestions put forward by recent developments in the European Parliament could lead to legal uncertainty, namely on the inclusion of batteries as part of products to be covered by the proposal, and for the introduction of a direct liability for producers. Video Games Europe would encourage for a proper impact assessment of such new provisions and encourage co-legislators to channel such provisions in adequate instruments to avoid legal uncertainty, such as within the Batteries Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2023/1542).

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