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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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117 Replies. 6 pages. Viewing page 3.
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77. Re: The used game market is just capitalism at work. Mar 26, 2010, 23:12 jdreyer
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 22:28:
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 22:05:
I think that piracy where no money changes hands doesn't equate to a lost sale, but sale of a used game does.
I agree with you that the sale of a used game is a lost sale to the publisher, but it isn't lost due to some inequity by the seller of the used game. It is the game publisher's own fault that it lost the sale because its asking price for a new copy of the game was too high to the buyer of the used copy. This is simply capitalism at work. If publishers don't try to compete for this business by lowering their prices to what potential these customers are willing to pay, then they will continue to miss out on these sales and deservedly so.

I think that if piracy was somehow impossible, a certain percent of pirates would purchase games since there would be no other way of getting them. I think this is much less than a user buying a new game at $5 off the new price however. So a much higher percentage of used game sales cannibalize new game sales compared to piracy, but piracy still cannibalizes new sales to some extent.

As I mentioned above, it's in GameStop's interest to discourage this behavior by alerting consumers that the resale value back to GS will be much lower compared to some other game b/c parts of it must be repurchased in the case of a second-hand sale. On the other hand, if publisher's TRULY wanted to prevent second-hand sales, they could provide a one-time code for the last chapter of a game as DLC, with no way to repurchase it.

Opposing that argument is the legality of whether once one purchases a product, the producer can prevent you from selling that product to someone else. My friend recently gave me his copy of COD MW2 for PC. It's tied to his Steam account and there's no way for him to gift it to me. I had to use his steam account to install it, unless I wanted to crack it, which I did not. Luckily, that was the only game in his Steam account, he doesn't use Steam otherwise, and he didn't care if I used it. But by not making the game resaleable, I wonder if that is breaking some kind of law? If I buy a book or DVD, I can resell it no problem, but in the case of this PC game, I am prevented from reselling by the publisher. Is there a right to resell something you buy?
 
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76. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 23:08 shponglefan
 
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 12:25:
I think selling and buying used games is worse than piracy where no money changes hands. When you buy and sell used games, the makers and publishers of the games don't get a dime, but someone else does thus profiting on someone else's labor. When you pirate a game without any money change, nobody gets any money.

Used games sales help fund the purchase of new games (essentially a person buying a used game is indirectly financing someone else to buy new games). The only issue is whether or not that outweights the cannibalization of sales of new games by used games. So far there is no apparent data on this, thus it's impossible to conclude whether used games actually hurt the market.
 
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75. Re: The used game market is just capitalism at work. Mar 26, 2010, 22:32 Bludd
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 22:28:
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 22:05:
I think that piracy where no money changes hands doesn't equate to a lost sale, but sale of a used game does.
I agree with you that the sale of a used game is a lost sale to the publisher, but it isn't lost due to some inequity by the seller of the used game. It is the game publisher's own fault that it lost the sale because its asking price for a new copy of the game was too high to the buyer of the used copy. This is simply capitalism at work. If publishers don't try to compete for this business by lowering their prices to what potential these customers are willing to pay, then they will continue to miss out on these sales and deservedly so.
That is fine. We are in agreement then.
 
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74. The used game market is just capitalism at work. Mar 26, 2010, 22:28 I've Got The News Blues
 
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 22:05:
I think that piracy where no money changes hands doesn't equate to a lost sale, but sale of a used game does.
I agree with you that the sale of a used game is a lost sale to the publisher, but it isn't lost due to some inequity by the seller of the used game. It is the game publisher's own fault that it lost the sale because its asking price for a new copy of the game was too high to the buyer of the used copy. This is simply capitalism at work. If publishers don't try to compete for this business by lowering their prices to what these potential customers are willing to pay, then they will continue to miss out on these sales and deservedly so.

This comment was edited on Mar 27, 2010, 11:39.
 
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73. Re: Let's burn down the libraries too! Mar 26, 2010, 22:05 Bludd
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 20:10:
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 19:18:
You are spectacularly missing my point. My point is that publishers should care less about piracy where no one gets paid, and more about used game sales.
You are spectacularly missing my rebuttal of your point which is that neither you nor publishers should care about used game sales because they don't have a legitimate complaint about them.
I think that piracy where no money changes hands doesn't equate to a lost sale, but sale of a used game does.

 
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72. Re: There's still room left for Godwin's law. Mar 26, 2010, 21:57 Fartacus
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 16:17:
Stolk wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 15:54:
Careful. This thread is reaching the analogy limit.
Oh there's plenty of room left for analogies in this thread. Godwin's law hasn't even been evoked yet.

Also we can't stop now. Think of the children!

You know who else liked to limit analogies?
 
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71. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 21:54 Lokust
 
"Includes Downloadable character and quest.
A $15 Value.
One-time use code available with full retail purchase.
Expires April 31, 2010."
-Andrew X


Is anyone really dumb enough to think that buying a used game at a pawn shop constitutes a retail purchase?
 
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70. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 21:41 Ruffiana
 
Because they are getting $15 instead of $0, and because the whole point of that $15 was to make buying used games less appealing to consumers and less profitable to resellers, which this case proves is working exactly as planned.

Once this becomes better known, instead of charging $55 for a game they paid $25 for, they won't be able to sell it for more than $40. That cuts Gamestop's profit in half. Gamestop either accepts this and the reduction in profits, or they pay significantly less for used copies, making consumers less willing to sell.

They don't want to make a profit on used games. They want to cripple the used game market.

But it's okay for Gamestop to 'buy' a game for $20-$25, and turn around and 'resell' it for $50 pocketing $25-30 every time? It's somehow noble for Gamestop to want to make a profit off of someone else's work without those people seeing a dime.

People really surprise me sometimes. They're willing to save themselves $5 and completely screw the people making the game for them, and if those people have the audacity to want to make some money from every person that plays their game...they're greedy assholes.
 
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69. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 21:33 Fartacus
 
Why would EA execs be high-fiving over this? They're getting $15 instead of $50.

Umm... because they're finally getting revenue from a used game sale, maybe?
 
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68. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 20:25 PHJF
 
Games like any other item suffer value deterioration over time regardless of whether there is a physical medium to upkeep or not based on the time-honored principle that (barring "collectible" status) new things cost more than old things.  
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67. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 20:12 frag.machine
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 19:36:
At a most basic level no one really considers a used car over a new. They're very different markets. A used car has significantly less value and significantly more concerns. A used video game is identical to a new one.

Let's say I have a perfect copy of <insert the name of a game you bought and finished a couple months ago>, up to the last byte. Would you pay me the original price for that today ? No ? Why not ? It's identical to a brand new copy collecting dust in some shelf elsewhere!
 
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66. Re: Let's burn down the libraries too! Mar 26, 2010, 20:10 I've Got The News Blues
 
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 19:18:
You are spectacularly missing my point. My point is that publishers should care less about piracy where no one gets paid, and more about used game sales.
You are spectacularly missing my rebuttal of your point which is that neither you nor publishers should care about used game sales because they don't have a legitimate complaint about them. The right to sell a used copy of a video game belongs to the person who bought it not the copyright holder. The makers and publishers of the games aren't entitled to a dime of those sales just as the RIAA isn't entitled to used record sales nor the MPAA to used DVD and VHS sales. This has been the law of the U.S. for over one hundred years, and the video game industry doesn't deserve special treatment or an exemption from it.

If video game publishers wanted to eliminate the used game market they could easily do so by substantially lowering their prices so that neither purchasing nor selling used games would be an attractive option for most consumers. Once consumers stop selling their used games because it isn't worth the effort to do so, the supply of used games would dry up. This is essentially how the movie industry has prevented widespread competition from used sales because the price of new DVD's isn't perceived by most consumers who buy movies as being so expensive that they would buy a used copy instead or that they would bother to sell their old copies. The problem with video game publishers is that their greed prevents them from seeing that it is the perceived high cost of their product by consumers which has caused the flourishing used game market. Consumers who sell their used games usually apply the money towards the purchase of new games. But, most of the consumers wouldn't bother trading in their used games if they didn't really need the money to apply towards new game purchases.

Another alternative solution would be for game publishers themselves to accept game trade-ins which consumers could apply towards new games. However, publishers won't implement this because this would effectively lower the price of new games by havimg them effectively discount the price through the trade-in credit. Publishers would rather cutoff their nose to spite their face than lower game prices to a point where consumers wouldn't bother with trade-ins.

This comment was edited on Mar 26, 2010, 20:35.
 
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65. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 19:36 Beamer
 
Anyone that compares video games to cars from here on out is hitting my "ignore" list. The complete failure to comprehend basic business concepts means you shouldn't be partaking in this discussion.

At a most basic level no one really considers a used car over a new. They're very different markets. A used car has significantly less value and significantly more concerns. A used video game is identical to a new one.

Not to mention Ford does make money off of used cars. Where do you think the parts to fix them come from? When they're fixed, it's often by dealers or licensed mechanics, and who do you think they're paying? Lastly, cars aren't the easiest thing in the world to sell yourself. You need a place to store it, and you can neither warrantee nor guarantee anything, so dealerships are adding some value to the transaction.

How does any of this compare to video games?
 
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64. Re: Let's burn down the libraries too! Mar 26, 2010, 19:18 Bludd
 
I've Got The News Blues wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 12:41:
Bludd wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 12:25:
I think selling and buying used games is worse than piracy where no money changes hands. When you buy and sell used games, the makers and publishers of the games don't get a dime, but someone else does thus profiting on someone else's labor.
We need to burn down all the libraries too because that is the government spending taxpayer money to harm the publishing industry by sharing books, newspapers, and magazines, and letting people read them without buying them.

Remember whenever you play a video game without paying for it, the child of a game developer or publisher starves to death.

You are spectacularly missing my point. My point is that publishers should care less about piracy where no one gets paid, and more about used game sales.
 
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63. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 19:00 jdreyer
 
Whether this suit is successful or not, I don't really know. I can sell my old notebook computer on Craigslist for $3000. IF someone buys it, and complains it's more expensive than a new one with the same specs, am I to blame? Caveat emptor.

However, if Gamestop really wanted to fight this, they should have adorned each copy of Dragon Age with a sticker saying that the max price they'd buy the game back at was $10, instead of the normal $25. For many buyers looking to play and sell back, this would deter a new sale, causing fewer new sales for the publisher.
 
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62. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 17:46 entr0py
 
Andrew X wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 15:41:
Yeah, this lawsuit will go nowhere. From the back of the game box in question:

"Includes Downloadable character and quest.
A $15 Value.
One-time use code available with full retail purchase.
Expires April 31, 2010."

But does it have a little asterisk after the cover blurb? It sounds stupid, but it may come down to that. It's fine to make a false statement on the cover of the box, as long it's followed by a * that prompts the customer to search around on the box for the fine print explaining why the statement isn't really true.


 
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61. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 17:39 Dev
 
FloorPie wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 16:18:
Yeah! So like when I buy my Ford truckster, BMW FancyPants or Honda EconoGreenBox I don't own it totally. In fact, the auto maker should get a cut of the proceeds when I go to sell my car years later. How dare I profit on selling my classic car that I've had for years and is now rare! I should cut a check to Ford if I buy a used car as well as the "owner". But cars arent the same you say! Why, because they can't be made as fast as software can be copied? So what? We're talking buying a used version of software sold legally. EA etc. made their profit.

Don't give them any ideas. Cars have software too nowadays and they could start putting that in a license agreement and throw it into the stack of papers you sign when you buy a car.
 
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60. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 17:35 Dev
 
BobBob wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 12:03:
Are used games disinfected for germs?
Unlikely. If you can prove you got sick from one, you might have a case!
 
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59. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 17:34 entr0py
 
In recent years I'm just baffled by the passivity of gamers as customers. Many of them will without thought buy games that they do not have the right to give away, resell, or necessarily even play in the future. For the exact same price they used to pay to own a copy of the game.

The above is referring to DLC and Online sales. EA's strategy with Dragon Age and ME2 is to wean customers that but boxed games from the idea that they are actually buying something, and not just leasing or renting it.

For a moment setting aside if it's legal, why do we put up with constantly getting a worse deal?
 
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58. Re: GameStop Used Game Lawsuit Mar 26, 2010, 17:16 lvitriol
 
Beamer wrote on Mar 26, 2010, 12:42:
And here come the douchebags in droves claiming oh no, just because you buy something doesn't mean you own it.

Can you resell mp3s you buy from itunes?
Can you resell stock photos you buy from companies?
Can you resell movies you buy over xbox live?


Do you think you should be able to for any of these?

Myself does and noone shall fucking hinder me with laws. There is no difference between digital and material objects, yes! it takes up space just like a hamburger even tho it's tiny, yes there's copying involved but so what, i bet the color on cars is copied too or do they make new colors for each car?.

Should I be able to sell my bike or should I accept it's been linked to me and is unpossible to sell or give away? (knock knock here comes 2083).

This comment was edited on Mar 26, 2010, 18:06.
 
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more sp.
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