GameStop Sued Over DLC and Lost
Recently video game publishers have begun to implement a new strategy in their efforts to combat used game sales. That strategy is Online Passes, the one-time use code that comes with all new copies of the game that unlocks either the multiplayer portion of the game, like with Dead Space 2 and Mortal Kombat, or some additional level or mission set, like in Arkham City and Kingdoms of Amalur. This has been particularly annoying for people like myself, who pretty much rely on used games and trade-in credit to be able to get games. Some people in California apparently felt the same way and decided to do something about it: They sued GameStop.
Baron and Budd, the law firm that is best known for their mesothelioma cases, sued GameStop because some customers didn’t know that when the back of the game box said that it had some free content that it only applied to new copies of the game. On Monday the two sides reached a settlement where, for the next two years, GameStop has to put a sign on all their used games saying that the games may have content that requires additional purchase. These labels are only required to be displayed on games in stores in California and online.
On top of the warning labels, GameStop also has to restitution for anyone who thinks they were wronged by the store. If you are a member of GameStop’s “PowerUp Rewards” program then you are eligible for a $10 check and a $5 coupon, totaling to the $15 you had to spend to unlock that content. If you aren’t part of the loyalty program you are eligible for a $5 check and $10 coupon. I’m not sure if this part of the settlement is only applicable in California or if anyone can do this.
Mike Pifko, the Baron and Budd attorney serving as counsel for the case, said:
“We are pleased that as a result of this lawsuit, we were able to obtain complete restitution for consumers, with actual money paid out to people who were harmed by GameStop’s conduct. The in-store and online warnings are an important benefit under the settlement as well, because if GameStop discloses the truth to consumers, it is unlikely that they will be able to continue selling used copies of certain games for only $5 less than the price of a new copy. In fact, we already know that not long after the lawsuit was filed, GameStop lowered prices for used copies of many of the game titles identified in the lawsuit.”
While I do agree that GameStop is a really terrible store with horrible business practices, I am not sure if this case should have ever even reached the courts. Most games nowadays have DLC, some of it Day 1 while others release shit further down the line, and games with Online Passes usually release that information weeks in advance of the launch. Sure, most consumers aren’t exactly savvy to all the things that are happening with games and usually just go into GameStop to pick up the newest Call of Duty then don’t come back until the next one comes out, but still. Also, this may just be a Canadian thing, but any used game I have bought where there was an Online Pass thing it only cost me $10 to unlock the content, not $15.
What do you guys think? Let us know in the comments below or in the forums.