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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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105. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 28, 2010, 00:12 Jerykk
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.

If a game is no longer being sold and is no longer being manufactured, I have no issue with buying it used because the developers wouldn't see a profit anyway.

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 where I agree it is more likely than not.

Gamestop is the biggest source of used game sales due to their convenience and immediacy. If you buy on eBay, you often have to bid, pay for shipping and wait for the game to be shipped to you. Gamestop is much easier, as any kid can walk into the store and sell the game they just beat, then use the money or store credit to buy another used game a few feet away.

That is exactly why there isn't such a corresponding flourishing market for used DVD's.

I think the popularity of movie rentals is why there isn't a flourishing market for used DVDs. Most people don't watch a movie more than once so why pay $15-20 for a 2-3 hour experience? Videogames can be rented too, sure, but they typically last much longer than any movie so renting holds less appeal. Even then, there are many people who rent 90% of their games anyway. Movies are also offered for free on television.

While I agree that people are more likely to buy something new when it's cheaper, I don't really see how that would dissuade people from buying used games when it's always the cheaper option.

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.

I don't think you can really compare games to movies, books or music. Movies are very brief experiences which most people only watch once, which is why the movie rental business is booming. Movies can also be watched on television for free. DVDs are also not the only market for movies; theaters are a big source of revenue as well. If there was no rental market and movies weren't shown on TV, the used DVD market would be huge. Books are a physical medium which degrades relatively quickly. As such, the perceived value of a used book is much lower than a new one. Sales of music CDs have suffered throughout the years due to the popularity of radio and digital distribution. If there was no radio and no digital availability of individual songs, the used music CD market would be huge.

Consumers have three legal choices when it comes to videogames: buy new, buy used or rent. Even if retail prices were lowered, these would still be the only options. Unlike movies, videogames will never be offered for free on television or shown in theaters. Unlike books, videogames don't noticeably degrade over time and use. Unlike music, you can't buy portions of videogames for significantly less than the price of the full game, nor can you listen to videogames for free on the radio. For the cheapest people who rent 90% of their games, lowering retail prices would make no difference because renting would still be cheaper. For the people who buy used games, used copies would still be cheaper than new copies.

You're just never going to get it.

I understand your argument perfectly. Used sales are good because they help fund new sales, even if those new sales are for different games from different developers. Of course, there is no distinction between developers so any money you give to one will be shared by all, helping the industry as a whole and making you an altruist. And hey, all used games were bought new at one point, right? It doesn't matter if they were resold 100 times after that because someone originally bought them new! Oh, and used sales are perfectly legal and within your rights as a customer. That means they can't be wrong because legality and morality are one and the same. Who cares about the actual repercussions of buying and selling used games? If the developer doesn't see any money from your transaction, that's not your problem. You paid for the game and didn't do anything illegal so you are an honest customer.

I think that sums it up pretty well.

This comment was edited on Mar 28, 2010, 00:20.
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