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GameStop Used Game Lawsuit

A lawsuit has been filed in the Northern District of California against GameStop, citing deceptive practices relating to used game sales. IGN has details on the suit, which stems from a customer buying a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins with the belief that additional DLC was available for free based on the cover blurb. Of course this DLC is part of the new trend intended to impede used-game sales, which the customer learned when they tried to get the DLC, which set them back an additional $15.00, making their final purchase price for the used game $10.00 more than the cost of a brand-new copy (that sound you hear is EA execs exchanging high-fives). IGN has a copy of the complaint in Adobe Acrobat-format, and an article on this on Gamasutra offers thoughts from an analyst saying that GameStop will probably be able to remedy this problem by affixing stickers to used games clarifying DLC availability.

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102. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 27, 2010, 23:40 I've Got The News Blues
Jerykk wrote on Mar 27, 2010, 21:43:
I'm sorry but I highly doubt a $5-10 price difference is the defining consideration for the average consumer when buying games. I think it's more realistic to assume that the people who walk into Gamestop and buy used copies...If used games were considerably cheaper (like $30 instead of $60), I'd be more inclined to agree with you.
Sometimes used games are considerably cheaper than new games. ebay is a great example of where this occurs. And, sometimes used copies of games are all that is available because the supply of new copies has been exhausted and the game was not re-released. Gamestop isn't the be all and end all of used video game sales. You didn't qualify your original statement that I quoted as pertaining only to used games sales by Gamestop and only to the most popular releases there like Halo and Call of Duty where I agree your assertion is more likely than not to be true. The point is that what you originally stated is not an absolute truth. It is no certainty that those who buy a used game would have purchased a new game if the used game were not available because of the difference in price.

Okay, let's say that publishers dropped all their prices by $10. Do you really think this would stop people from buying and selling used games? No, it wouldn't.
Yes, it would although the amount would probably have to be more substantial than just $10. That is exactly why there isn't such a corresponding flourishing market for used DVD's. The low price point of new product is the main suppression of that market. There is no corresponding national retailer in the U.S. for sales of used DVD movies that Gamestop is to video games because the movie industry doesn't price its new product at levels which encourage consumers to purchase used copies over new ones. However, back when movies were first released on VHS tape in the late 1970's and early 1980's, that was the case. The high price of the new product is what spawned the movie rental industry and movie sharing/trading clubs. However, the movie industry eventually realized it could make more money by drastically dropping the price of movies because it would vastly expand the market for them.

It is the relative high price of the video games that is causing consumers who would ordinarily not consider buying a used product to do so and to sell their used games to recoup some of their investment in them. Despite inflation $50 and $60 is still considered a high price point by many consumers for some bit of entertainment on a disc. This is especially true for the young demographic who are the main target of video games since they have more limited disposable income.

In the end, it doesn't matter how much new copies cost if people can always buy used ones.
Of course it matters. If the price of the new product is low enough, most people won't bother to sell their new copies so the supply of used product will dwindle to the point where used sales will have negligible effect on new sales. That's currently the case with other media like movies, books, and music.

This comment was edited on Mar 27, 2010, 23:54.
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