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GameStop Sued Over Lack of DLC For Used Games

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the so-many-shoes-dropping dept.

The Courts 345

Absolut187 writes "According to IGN, 'A lawsuit filed earlier this week against retailer GameStop says the company is "deceptively misleading" its customers into believing a used game purchased from the store comes with all packaged downloadable content advertised on the box. This content, however, is only made available for free to those who purchase the game new, as the code to access the content can be only used one time.' I personally don't have a problem with publishers charging for DLC. IMHO, you put in the effort to make it, you have the right to (try) to charge whatever you want. I have the right to take it or leave it if I don't find your price fair (same goes for the main game). But what about the used game market? Should publishers be allowed to destroy the used market for their games by including 'free' DLC with a one-time use code? Should the copyright doctrine of 'first-sale' have any effect here? Or is it up to the consumer (frequently children) to realize that the product will have a reduced resale value due to the one-time nature of the DLC code? Is this any different from the use of unique 'CD-Keys' that are required for online play (e.g. for Blizzard games since 1997 or earlier)?"

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The Bigger Picture. (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628634)


/me peers into his crystal ball....

I see game publishers starting to make complete games included on disc as DLC then make the unlock code only valid for the original purchaser. That obliterates the resale market.

Re:The Bigger Picture. (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628682)

Why look into your Crystal ball? Modern Warfare 2 has the same limitation. If I sell the disks, manual with the CD key the other person will be unable to install the game and link it in with Steam.

Re:The Bigger Picture. (2, Insightful)

berwiki (989827) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629578)

you are talking about computer software.
I think the parent was talking about consoles.

Unfortunately, with the 'installable' nature of PC software, I do understand the difference, especially since you cannot play burned CDs in consoles.

Re:The Bigger Picture. (3, Insightful)

VernonNemitz (581327) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628768)

I think the obvious solution is for the game developer to allow online sale of new codes to unlock DLC (at a low price). Then they would be improving the value of the secondhand market, AND be able to get in on that action. Hey, they might even encourage users to sell their games! After all, if a game is bought second-hand several times, and each of those buyers also pays for the DLC (because they are not the original buyers), then in the long run the resales of the game might be worth more to the game maker than the original sale.

It's in the article (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628848)

I think the obvious solution is for the game developer to allow online sale of new codes to unlock DLC (at a low price).

The article stated that such codes were available for sale, but the price was greater than the discount that GameStop offered for a used copy:

Collins discovered weeks later, however, he would have to pay an additional $15 to access the downloadable content, ultimately paying $10 more than the cost of a brand new copy with the same content.

Re:It's in the article (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629088)

Well, there's the real travesty, the Used Copy of the game is only $5 less than full retail copy. Why would you save 5 bucks in that manner on a $50-60 game?
GameSpot is pocketing well over 50% (based on what they pay for used games and what the sell them for) of that for doing basically nothing.

Re:It's in the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629506)

Because that 5 dollars buys you a LOT of Smack Ramen Noodles.

Re:It's in the article (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629674)

enough for 2 days maybe....

Re:The Bigger Picture. (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629594)

I think the obvious solution is for the game developer to allow online sale of new codes to unlock DLC (at a low price).

You are assuming that the entire purpose of DLC is not to obliterate the secondary market for games. There's no reason to release DLC except to ruin the used game market. We now have the DLC already finished when the game is released and even included on the disk with the original game. How much more obvious can it be?

The real lawsuit should be by Gamestop against the game publishers. The people who now keep companies like Gamestop in business will just start getting their games from scene releases and keep the money in their pockets. I'm not saying this is right, but we've seen it happen time and time again. I'm continually shocked at how there are scene cracks of games and DLC within a day of the release date. Of course, I wouldn't download cracked games via bittorrent because that would be wrong, but I have no doubt that every time the game industry comes out with one of these brilliant schemes to squeeze an extra few dollars out of consumers it really just serves to create more people who are willing to violate the law.

"DLC" is just a gimmick, and something of an insulting one at that.

Re:The Bigger Picture. (2, Insightful)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629158)

My crystal ball says people will buy games online [steampowered.com] which can't be resold. Oh wait, that was my crystal ball OF THE PAST. My bad.

Maybe he should look at the box next time (2, Informative)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629454)

Look on the left. [imgur.com]

It clearly says that the DLC is for retail purchases only.

What is DLC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628642)

Can anyone explain?

Re:What is DLC? (2, Informative)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628668)

Down-Loadable Content

Re:What is DLC? (-1, Troll)

jason.sweet (1272826) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629198)

I thought it meant Dumb Loser Cantevenreadthefuckingarticle.

Re:What is DLC? (2, Insightful)

beakerMeep (716990) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629676)

No no, it's "Content we want to charge you extra for" as sometimes those (ever helpful) game publishers include it on the CD.

Read the summary (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628686)

I can understand not reading the article because it's often either busy or behind a paywall. But even the summary mentions "downloadable content".

Re:Read the summary (1)

Decessus (835669) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628744)

Or he could just ask like he did. Different method, same results.

Re:Read the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629024)

Or he could just google like he didn't do. Different method, same results.

Re:Read the summary (5, Funny)

stevenvi (779021) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629150)

Google [google.com] told me that it's the Democratic Leadership Council. Must have to do with those MMORPGs or something....

Re:Read the summary (1)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629606)

But even the summary mentions "downloadable content".

The fault is in the summary. If you are going to use an uncommon three letter abbreviation (TLA), for something you have already used in long form, put the TLA in parentheses first.

I am not a grammar Nazi, it just avoids discussions like this one.

Re:What is DLC? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628688)

Dick Loving Cunt

Re:What is DLC? (1)

DevConcepts (1194347) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628722)

downloadable content (DLC)

Re:What is DLC? (2, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628990)

Don't Lose Cash (on it).

The real question. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628652)

..of course is do they have battletoads?

First Anon Post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628696)

Sorry, had to put it up there before the other Anon guy tries to post, I actually bought /. at GameStop, grabbed the CDkey and returned it, poor sap.

You know... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628742)

...I understand that publishers don't make any money off used games sales...I get that. What I don't get is why game makers still insist on doing their hardest to prevent the used game market from existing.

We can easily buy used cars, we can easily buy used computers, hell we can even easily buy used movies. Why are publishers being such dicks about used games? /rhetorical question

Re:You know... (2, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628890)

...I understand that publishers don't make any money off used games sales...I get that. What I don't get is why game makers still insist on doing their hardest to prevent the used game market from existing.

Because they can. They already tried this with books, sheet music, and phonorecordings. Then we got First Sale law, which says that you can resell anything you get in your hands regardless of what it says on it, which is why used CD stores can sell you CDs released "not for resale - for promotional use only" etc.

Re:You know... (4, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629166)

I understand that publishers don't make any money off used games sales

Sure they do. The ability for someone to sell a game will cause some people to buy more games new. Say they buy a $60 game. Then, in a month when they are tired of it, if they can sell it for $45, the next new game will only cost them $15. The publisher got $120 in sales, but the buyer only paid $75 (well, neglecting the time-cost of money). I'd bet this is the way a lot of younger people buy brand new games. They sell one or more slightly older games to pay for the newest one... Sure, there are some like me that don't sell games unless they really suck, but then again I have the money to be able to do that. If I was pushing a strict budget, you can bet I would sell the older games to finance the newer ones (and when you're talking a 5 or 10% difference between new and used, why not go new and have a better chance of resale later)...

Why are publishers being such dicks about used games?

Because they can, and because we still buy their games. It's as simple as that. If we as a unit boycotted games that have these kind of stupid restrictions, I'd bet they will change their policies. But the fact of the matter is that most people don't care enough to make a boycott effective (and hence it won't work)... Does it suck? Absolutely...

Re:You know... (1)

aynoknman (1071612) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629718)

but then again I have the money to be able to do that.

There's just too many people like you, who are want to pay to play, and have that option.

Re:You know... (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629456)

They aren't doing anything to prevent used sales. They're encouraging new sales with free stuff that makes the game a bit more fun or interesting. The DLC that this kid didn't get is completely unessential. There is no prevention. Prevention would be requiring downloading DLC that makes the game playable or completable. Even if they did make you do that, we have no right to be outraged unless the publishers don't tell us about this.

Bioware knows that people would catch on pretty fast if they had to download things to finish or play the game so they offer something trivial that you may or may not want. It isn't quite the difference in price between used and new, but who knows. I think it's brilliant.

Why not both? (1, Insightful)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628748)

Honestly, I don't see why they can't get money from both the new and used market.

Keep the "one time use" DLC code in the box. Anyone who buys it new now has a "value add" (though, they are paying a premium for the new game)

If anyone buys that same copy used, instead of "hell no", they should get a screen that says "This code has already been claimed. But for just $2.99, you too can have this exclusive content"

I'm sure someone can find the right price for that-- and it'd effectively be pure profit. (No, you can't call it a lost sale. Instead, think of it as getting paid twice for the same product).

Ideally, the system should also have a "relinquish" command. If I buy a game, get the DLC, then decide to sell the game, I should be able to "deactivate" that code (assuming it's tied to my gamer id or something? Who knows.) Then the next person can download the dlc for free. GameStop might even require people to log in and deactivate their codes before trading in a game, so as not to screw over the next user.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628802)

If anyone buys that same copy used, instead of "hell no", they should get a screen that says "This code has already been claimed. But for just $2.99, you too can have this exclusive content"

If the retailer is going to make the claims that they did, then it should be their responsibility to make sure that the codes work.

Re:Why not both? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628910)

Isn't that what EA is doing? As far as I know, owners of used copies of recent EA games have the option of purchasing the "free" DLC that came with the new copy. They don't offer the relinquish option, but it's EA so I doubt they ever will. :)

Re:Why not both? (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628912)

Ideally, the system should also have a "relinquish" command. If I buy a game, get the DLC, then decide to sell the game, I should be able to "deactivate" that code (assuming it's tied to my gamer id or something? Who knows.) Then the next person can download the dlc for free. GameStop might even require people to log in and deactivate their codes before trading in a game, so as not to screw over the next user.

The entire reason the DLC system is being used is so that the content does NOT travel with the game, reducing the resale value.

It costs five times that much (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628916)

If anyone buys that same copy used, instead of "hell no", they should get a screen that says "This code has already been claimed. But for just $2.99, you too can have this exclusive content"

If by $2.99 you meant $14.99, you have the situation described in the article.

Re:Why not both? (1)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628946)

That's what they do. That's why they're being sued. GameStop is selling a box that says the game has multiplayer. It does not, you have to buy it if the game isn't new.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629486)

Buyer beware. Unless GameStop claims the game is new and has the content, they're fine.

Re:Why not both? (3, Insightful)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629008)

If anyone buys that same copy used, instead of "hell no", they should get a screen that says "This code has already been claimed. But for just $2.99, you too can have this exclusive content"

That is what happens already (EA even has a gimmicky name for it: "Project Ten Dollar"). And the basis for this lawsuit.

The lawsuit revolves around the box art advertising something like "2 Free Exclusive Maps for Download" and don't mention anything about it only working for the first buyer. So your used game advertises 2 free maps (due to the publisher's box art), but when you go to redeem, they demand payment. Cut and dry false advertising. I can't tell you 'buy this and you get this free!' but demand cash for the free part after you purchase the original item.

The misguided part of all this is going after Gamestop. The fault lies with the publisher advertising free dlc and requiring payment. Gamestop is just a store who sold you the used game.

Re:Why not both? (2)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629218)

The misguided part of all this is going after Gamestop. The fault lies with the publisher advertising free dlc and requiring payment. Gamestop is just a store who sold you the used game.

Why? The publisher does offer the content for free. It's GameStop who should be putting stickers on the pack saying, "You will be required to purchase the DLC for $x.xx".

Re:Why not both? (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629370)

Indeed. This is no different than buying a used box of LEGO bricks that claims "over 543 pieces!". If you buy the box used, and find just 300 parts inside, it is not The Lego Group's fault for false advertising. It's at most misrepresentation on the part of the reseller.

And even misrepresentation can usually be solved by a disclaimer posted at the point of sale stating that used products are sold "As Is". Missing the downloadable content advertised on the box is little different than missing the free stickers and included manual advertised on the box.

Re:Why not both? (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629440)

The publisher does offer the content for free.

But they aren't. They're demanding (FTFA) $15 for the 'free' add-on. It's not Gamestop's responsibility to look over every game's box art to ensure its advertising is legit. The publisher should've put the "Free Content" advertising on as a sticker that Gamestop removes before selling the game used.

I'm not a fan of Gamestop, and there's plenty of suspect practices they encourage, but this isn't one of them.

Re:Why not both? (2, Informative)

copponex (13876) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629504)

It's not Gamestop's responsibility to look over every game's box art to ensure its advertising is legit.

It is if they are selling it.

Re:Why not both? (1)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629286)

The misguided part of all this is going after Gamestop. The fault lies with the publisher advertising free dlc and requiring payment. Gamestop is just a store who sold you the used game.

And if Gamestop altered the box to match reality, they could be sued by the publishers for messing with their trademarks or somesuch. i.e. Some people legally bought Barbie(tm) dolls, modded and sold them. Mattel(tm) sued because they didn't want BDSM Barbie.

Re:Why not both? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629474)

Yeah sure.

And they got sued for putting price stickers on them too!

Re:Why not both? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629572)

Oh and do you have a citation for that?

I see some similar lawsuits all of which Mattel lost. The publishers can already sue Gamespot for numerous reasons that they won't win (that their games aren't close enough to the front, that the lights are the wrong color, etc, etc) adding another is irrelevant.

Re:Why not both? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629416)

So if I sell you a used car and you then find out that I had ripped out the stock stereo system and replaced it with a cardboard cutout, you are saying that Honda is responsible?

Gamestop sold a used game that did not contain all the material the new game contained. They need to state that upfront, not the publisher. It's possible a used game could still have the working codes, if the original owner didn't bother using them after all.

This is *exactly* the same as selling a used game without the manual - it's perfectly find as long as you don't hide that the manual isn't being sold with it.

Re:Why not both? (1)

The Moof (859402) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629778)

So if I sell you a used car and you then find out that I had ripped out the stock stereo system and replaced it with a cardboard cutout, you are saying that Honda is responsible?

No, but if Honda issues a warranty with the car, the warranty moves with the car regardless of how many times it's sold. They don't make you pay for a new warranty for every owner.

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629098)

Battlefield: Bad Company 2 actually has a system in place just like the one you described, minus the relinquishing part.

If you buy it new, then you get a map code to get DLC maps, which are probably already on the disc, but also enables you to freely download the map pack that is coming out when Medal of Honor 2 is being released.

If you buy it used, then the code can be purchased separately. I forget the price, but it was not $3.

I am not a huge fan of the system, but I can appreciate their dilemma. GameStop sets up itself to push used copies of the games because it's almost pure profit for them--they pay very low trade-in costs compared to the actual used sale price. In a lot of cases, they are probably selling the same game multiple times without giving any of it back--from used game sales--to the publisher.

In the olden days I probably would have taken less issue with it now because, now, publishers generally host content for the game's that does cost them money (computers and, in particular, staffing).

Re:Why not both? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629356)

and they GOT THEIR MONEY. But now it's okay for game companies to double dip because they have an operating costs. It's also okay to fuck the consumer over because someone else is actually making money. Better go firebomb those used DVD, CD, and Book shops cause you know it costs money to produce and if the content products/publishers don't make their money 2, 3, 4 times over the terrorists will have won.

Re:Why not both? (0, Flamebait)

delinear (991444) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629116)

The problem is publishers can't be trusted not to abuse the system. Already in Dragon Age you have to buy DLC in order to increase your backpack beyond a tiny limit. For a game that involves a fair bit of trawling dungeons and collecting junk to sell, having sufficient storage space for your non-quest items, while not being critical, does make life a hell of a lot easier. By allowing essential game components to be pushed into one time use DLC, they can kill the used market or charge ridiculous prices for their DLC.

Re:Why not both? (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629600)

And yet I've played through the entire game without buying any DLC just fine. And even had fun doing so.

Re:Why not both? (1)

steveo777 (183629) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629338)

It's not like they're charging money for the game to be playable or completable. I think this is a brilliant way to keep people buying new content. Bioware knows that they're losing a used sale so they make up for it by offering some trivial (I have played Mass Effect 2, and it IS trival) DLC that you may or may not want. They also know that there would be massive upheaval if they forced you to pay $5 to complete the game if you buy it used.

Also, I think that the case is valid against Gamestop, and that it is a used game. New means unused, by anyone.

I don't have much problem with it (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629418)

I would say it was a problem if game makers were deliberately leaving out important parts of the game as DLC to try and force new sales. I'm sure that'll happen at some point, but not so far. The two games I've seen it with are Mass Effect 2 and Dragon Age. In both cases, the DLC you got with buying new truly was an addon. The game was a complete game, worth $50, without the DLC. There wasn't some massive hole that you said "Man there really should be something to do here," or a very shortened game or anything.

I'm ok with that. They give you a bonus for purchasing it new.

One more reason (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628792)

If the trend continues it will just lead to more piracy, which at the end of the day affects the game publishers/developers exactly the same way as used game sales. The producers of the game make no money either way, all their trying to do is give you a reason to purchase the game rather than buy it used; makes business sense, the issue they're running into is that people are accustomed to used games being just as good as new ones. At the end of the day I can see this seriously reducing the market for used console games, as well as ruining the social aspect of some of the games, no longer can you take your disk to a friends house and expect the same game play experience.

Yep GameSpot is at fault (5, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628812)

If there's some kind of bold feature list that says "free downloadable content" on the game's cover, then GameSpot and other sellers need to take a marker or sticker and block it out, because otherwise it's false advertising.

It's just like when I bought a Used Xbox 360. The description said "turn on the wireless controller and start playing immediately" but when I receive the X360 no controller was included. I contacted the seller and he tried to deny responsibility because "that was just a generic description from Microsoft and only applies to new consoles not used." However when I complained to Paypal they sided with me and gave me a $20 refund (which I then used to buy the missing controller).

Used or new, sellers are responsible for what they advertise. If it's on the cover's description it either must be included, or if excluded, blacked-out of the cover.

Re:Yep GameSpot is at fault (1)

Uranium-238 (1586465) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628964)

If they actually adverstised used games as coming with DLC that it didn't and they knew this then, yes, that's false adverstising. But since I'm not American and so have never been in GameStop I can't be sure, but in shops like Game in the UK they don't actually advertise anything, they just put the used games on the shelves and potential buyers are free to browse. Please correct me if its different in the US.

Re:Yep GameSpot is at fault (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629062)

It's not advertising. It's on the box. If the box isn't clear about what the box contains, they are liable.

Re:Yep GameSpot is at fault (2, Informative)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629502)

The box wasn't lying when it was new.
The advertisement on the box only becomes false when it is sold as used.
The question in this lawsuit is whether Gamestop is liable for this, or whether the customer should have done his homework before buying the game used.

There is also the issue of whether the publisher is guilty of any wrong-doing such as copyright misuse, but that is not involved in this lawsuit.

Re:Yep GameSpot is at fault (3, Funny)

spottedkangaroo (451692) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628996)

paypal sided with you? then you're certainly correct. QED.

Re:Yep GameSpot is at fault (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629054)

When you bought the system, did the seller say he was including a controller with it?

Nope - GameSpot is not at fault (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629570)

"If there's some kind of bold feature list that says "free downloadable content" on the game's cover, then GameSpot and other sellers need to take a marker or sticker and block it out, because otherwise it's false advertising."

But Gamestop isn't making the claim - the game company is.

Better yet would be that since games are able to be sold and re-sold, any claim that appears on the cover regarding free add-ons, should apply to the first purchaser or the hundredth. If a game company wants to charge for add-ons, then the problem goes away.

But of course the real reason they're including one-time codes is because they want to kill the second-hand market. Shame on them.

Destroying? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628826)

Should publishers be allowed to destroy the used market for their games by including 'free' DLC with a one-time use code?

How would it destroy the used game market? The free DLC is just a bonus/incentive for all people who bought the game new. Some people may not even use the code and it would still be valid if you bought that copy used.

How is this GameStop's problem? An easy way around this would just to put up a notice in-store saying "DLC codes in used games not guaranteed to be valid."

Suckers. (1, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628842)

I have no love for GameStop, but how is this deceptive? You're buying something used meaning that you're risking acquiring a compromised product. This might mean a missing manual, missing box or limited access to online content. I suppose what will come of this is that GameStop stops providing the box with the game.

I think the most offensive thing here is that this idiot would actually buy a used game for a mere $5 discount. This is the fundamental problem I have with the likes of GameStop. They probably gave the previous owner $20 for this game and then turn around and sell it for $55. The pricing on most of their used games is quite outrageous. But really, it's the fault of the consumer who is too lazy or impatient to shop around. You could probably walk into a Target or Walmart and find that same game, brand new, for $55. In fact, you can find Dragon Age on Amazon for $45. Wait a few extra days and in addition to paying no sales tax you get free shipping.

Keep in mind, I have no problem with selling used games. I have a problem with how GameStop screws people. But again, that's the fault of gamers and nobody else.

Re:Suckers. (0, Flamebait)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629134)

This is the fundamental problem I have with the likes of GameStop. They probably gave the previous owner $20 for this game and then turn around and sell it for $55. The pricing on most of their used games is quite outrageous.

I take it you never went to college. This is what the used textbook market is founded on.

And it kills me how people get indignant over this. GameStop wants to make a profit. They buy the game for $20 and sell for $55 and they make $35 profit. Are you saying they should pay more? Why? They've already proven they don't have to.

Re:Suckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629146)

I live in Seattle and therefor pay sales tax from Amazon, you insensitive clod!

Re:Suckers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629220)

They probably gave the previous owner $20 for this game and then turn around and sell it for $55.

You're completely free to sell your game on eBay or Craigslist for whatever you can get for it.

Don't blame GameStop for making it easy and convenient to buy and sell used games just because they make more profit than you like.

Re:Suckers. (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629448)

And if GameStop has a sign posted in the store pointing out that used products are sold "As Is" and may be missing extras noted on the box, I 100% agree with you.

Lacking downloadable content isn't much different than lacking the free Dragon Age 2 temporary tattoos and bumper sticker, or the instruction manual, or anything else that might be advertised on the box but is missing with a used product. Provided it's posted, let the buyer beware. And yes I include the DVD; provided such a disclaimer is posted, if you are stupid enough to buy a used game without ensuring the DVD is included, it's your fault.

Re:Suckers. (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629538)

You're buying something used meaning that you're risking acquiring a compromised product.

I don't think it's reasonable for the buyer to take the risk when buying a boxed set at near full retail price. Really though, the publisher should makes it clear that they intend to screw the used market on the box. Free downloadable content (offer open to original purchaser only). Problem solved.

A meritless Lawsuit (2, Informative)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628860)

It's not going to work. Gamestop is rich enough to have lawyers that will squash this little unification of idiots. I have no love for Gamestop, but I downright hate litigous morons. This "I'll sue everyone because I'm almost too stupid to breathe!" attitude SHOULD be stomped on, even if it is stomped on by an "Evil Inc."

Re:A meritless Lawsuit (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629396)

The packaging said something. The buyer had no reason not to think that the packaging was accurate. The packaging was not accurate.

How does this make him a litigious moron too stupid to breathe?

Re:A meritless Lawsuit (0, Redundant)

CorporateSuit (1319461) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629546)

Gamestop did not design the packaging.
The packaging almost ALWAYS refers to the original purchaser or "1 time use"
Gamestop clearly marks the game as "Used"
Gamestop ALSO offers the option of returning the game, without stipulation (the clerk might ask out of interest why you returned it, but otherwise, no questions asked) -- in case you were suddenly upset because you STILL didn't understand you weren't getting the 1-time use token.

Gamestop is not the problem here. The problem is a mindless purchase, nothing done by the consumer to rectify their mindlessness, and a publisher who pulled a scam to revoke the consumer's first sale rights, and a man-in-the-middle powerful enough to be a target.

Sorry dude (1)

KneelBeforeZod (1527235) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628876)

Caveat emptor. Let the buyer beware. If you knew the game was USED then you had 7 days to return it.

But i wonder how much game studios profit from DLC addons to their games. I'm thinkin Mass Effect 2, Fallout 3, GTA4, and others. Because the worth of DLC is variable from a freebies to 10-15$, always a fraction of the original retail game disc.

It's not just games.. (1)

RabidRabb1t (1668946) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628884)

Textbook publishers have been doing an analogous thing for years. They set up some pitiful homework website and the code to use it only comes bundled with the new book or will set you back $49.99. Usually this isn't an issue, but some prof's are too lazy to grade the homework and get roped into this scheme (e.g.: mastering physics). It's a total scam. I, for one, bought an old copy of the textbook used for $30. Then i found out that because I didn't buy the new, ~200 textbook, I would have to pay $50 to do my homework!

Re:It's not just games.. (1)

BatsShadow (776317) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629152)

Who cares? You still paid $80 for a $200 book. Now, whether or not the book should legitimately cost $200 (or even $80) in the first place is an entirely different question.

Re:It's not just games.. (1)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629494)

To better match the analogy to GameStop, though, the book would have cost him $190 used instead of $200 new, and then he'd have to pay the $50 fee to do homework.

Which, if "As Is" was posted at the point of sale for the used book, would be his fault.

AC SPEAKS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628888)

IANAL, and certainly not an american one, from where i assume the story originates; but in the uk, any thing that is explicitly provided free with the purchase of another good, must be given for free without purchase of the good. the idea being to stop false advertisement, if it's free then it's free (i.e. not conditional on the sale)...

a common example of this is 'FREE ENTRY INTO PRIZE DRAW!' on chocolate wrappers, where free entry can as be gained by contacting the company... thanks to this law.

i would think a similar argument could be said about free content for software games though this is probably untested. also i have no idea if the second hand nature of the sale alleviates the publisher of this burden.

Re:AC SPEAKS! (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629712)

Funny thing is, if they advertise a free mobile with a horrendously over-priced tariff, you cant go into Carphone Whorehouse and get the phone for free with no tariff. (Although in my experience, you can get the tariff and be promised a Blackberry which, when you get it, doesnt work and when you complain, they replace it with "another one" which is actually the same, not working, one! Then when you wont pay for the free phone you have not got, they threaten to use you!)

Disclaimer: I live in the UK and have a legal dispute with Carphone Whorehouse.

Publishers (2, Insightful)

magisterx (865326) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628902)

I agree with ggeezz. I hate the "one time use codes". If it is part of the core game, then it should be on the disc with no need for codes. If it is an add on, then sell it to everyone as a separate add on. Even when I do buy it new, the need to input that code is an annoying detraction and slowdown from what is supposed to be a pleasant experience in my very limited leisure time. I love Dragon Age Origins, best game since Planescape Torment in my opinion, but putting in the codes for shale and the armor were a royal pain on a PS3. I do not think any party has done anything ethically wrong really, but I think the publishers, not Gamestop, is taking a consumer-unfriendly and inconvient stance on this. Also, this may not apply to eveyone, but when I buy a console game new, I do so factoring in the fact I can resell it as part of the price. If I loose the ability to do that, then either a game will have to be cheaper or it will have to be so good I am convinced it is really worth the full $60. Dragon Age Origins would pass that test, but most of the other games I have purchased recently would not...

In my opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31628934)

In my opinion Game Stop aren't at fault. If I were going to buy a used game that's exactly the sort of thing I would ask about. In my eyes it's more the fault of the game developers for putting that on the boxes/including DLC for free with games since they must know people buy games and then sell them on to shops like GameStop. Having said that, GameStop could've easily but stickers or similar on the boxes either covering the "includes DLC free" or "DLC not inlcuded when sold as used" or similar. But hey this all my humble opinion.

Re:In my opinion (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629322)

If it wasn't printed on the receipt as part of a standard boilerplate or marked out by the employees when the used game is received, then they certainly committed misrepresentation of product. I'm also guessing the employee never told him that the DLC wasn't available for used games either; but that's speculation.

The full story is that the box said, "Free code inside to download DLC." Box contained said code. Said DLC isn't available to the player until the main story is finished. player didn't finish the game for weeks, well past the return date. Went to go redeem DLC so he can play addon content he was sold; turns out it was already used. He was sold something that represented itself as working, turns out, did not work.

CD-Key (5, Informative)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628938)

Is this any different from the use of unique 'CD-Keys' that are required for online play (e.g. for Blizzard games since 1997 or earlier)?

Yes, the CD Keys for Blizzard Games travel with the game. Only one can be active online at any time, but you are perfectly able to uninstall the game and sell it to someone else. DLC is locked in.

Re:CD-Key (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629250)

but you are perfectly able to uninstall the game and sell it to someone else.

You're also perfectly able to keep the game installed and sell it to someone else.
You can continue running the game (using a spare Broodwar disc or an ISO).
Then you have two people trying to use the same CD key.

Re:CD-Key (1)

rockNme2349 (1414329) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629532)

Scenario 1)
I play starcraft for a year, I am done playing, so I sell to my friend directly. I give him my CD-KEY and ownership is transferred. Since as you mentioned I could keep it installed, this requires trust.
 
Scenario 2)
I play game X for Xbox 360 for a year, I am done playing, so I sell to my friend directly. I give him the codes but he CANNOT use the DLC that came with the original purchase. The content of the game is tied to the first purchase.
 
Even if two people installed with the same CD-KEY there would not be a problem unless they tried to log on to battle.net at the same time.

Re:CD-Key (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629788)

Correct.

So if you buy Starcraft used at Gamestop, you have no way of knowing how many people are out there with the CD key you just purchased. Could be zero. Could be published on a website somewhere (in which case Blizzard has probably banned it by now).

So its a similar issue to the one-time use codes.

Yes game companies should be allowed to do this (2, Insightful)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628974)

Yes, game companies should be allowed to do one-time-use codes in their games. Yes, this is going to mean the games aren't particularly attractive in the used-game market. The problem is stores like GameStop that don't clearly mark their used games clearly as to what's advertised on the packaging that isn't actually going to be available because somebody else has already used it up. And I think that should be the responsibility of the used-game sellers, not the publisher. They're the ones who know that copy's used, after all.

Shale is fruity anyway (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31628976)

Really unless you like Zevrian you really don't need Shale in your party

Not like CD keys (1)

rxan (1424721) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629030)

Is this any different from the use of unique 'CD-Keys' that are required for online play (e.g. for Blizzard games since 1997 or earlier)?

Yes it is different. For example the Blizzard games only required that one person used the game on Battle.net at a time. As long as whoever sold you the game uninstalls it from their machine, you're in the clear. But it's an act of pure faith.

The key difference is the one-time use codes. However I have usually found publishers to be pretty friendly when it comes to switching machines.

"free" one use DLC is fine (3, Insightful)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629112)

The buyers should be demanding a lower initial purchase price due to the lower resale value.

And if the box says there's included stuff that isn't included in the resale version the seller needs to state that. Just like that have to state that the manual is missing, etc.

Re:"free" one use DLC is fine (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629334)

buyers demand by not being buyers... Can't blame the company for releasing and pricing products that will be bought. It's called making a profit.

Good for Consumers. (3, Interesting)

pwileyii (106242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629184)

I've got two game that use this types of system, Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2. I honestly think this system is good for consumers in the end because it should decrease the cost of used games. We all know the Gamestop, as well as the other used game sellers, make a killing on buying and selling used games and this may get them thinking about reduced the price on these titles. I find buying a used copy for $5 less then the new copy and bit ridiculous in the first place and I'm hoping this will have the effect of reducing costs. As for the DLC itself, it is never a fundamental part of the game, it is simply a bonus you are getting for supporting the game developer. It is like getting something free for buying new and I like free stuff.

It's generally understood (1)

jim_v2000 (818799) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629258)

that such offers apply to the new product, not the used product. It's a bunch of people whining about nothing and I hope the case gets tossed out of court.

Why sue Gamestop? (0)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629308)

GameStop has no control over the fact that the codes are single-use. That's completely up to the publisher. Sue them.

GameStop sells used games at reduced prices, reflecting that the games are used. If a game doesn't have a manual, or has a case that is missing the artwork panel, they still sell it. It might cost less. If the DLC code for a game has been used, how exactly would GameStop be able to determine this, in order to adjust the price accordingly? I would think that their pricing assumes that the DLC code is not good, since it cannot be relied or proved good.

That's it, case closed.

Publishers: wake up and make the DLC codes re-usable. Forget the used market for a second. If my console breaks and I have to get it replaced I am going to be pissed off if I have to re-purchase DLC that I already own.

Re:Why sue Gamestop? (1)

Nukenbar (215420) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629634)

What if the case said manual included, but there was no manual? By reselling the game, don't you think they have a duty to accurately describe what is being sold?

Re:Why sue Gamestop? (1)

Orga (1720130) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629640)

Make codes reusable: 1 time purchase Make codes not-reuable: 1 time purchase + chance your hardware screws up you'll rebuy the game you already bought? CHA-CHING!

You know... (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629378)

I'm surprised that game companies haven't started doing this whole one-time console locking code business for the whole game. It would completely destroy the used games market for that game, forcing people to buy it new if they wanted to play the game at all.

The DLC XRC, BBQ! (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629588)

Not everyone is familiar with online games and whatever DLC means. After some trial-and-error, I'm thinking it means downloadable content. But sheesh, define terms if it's not common.

Like buying a used car (1)

jmcwork (564008) | more than 4 years ago | (#31629620)

and not getting the 'new car' smell. But really, how many other things do you buy used and lose something over a new version: a book with a special coupon insert, DVD with ticket to the sequel, cereal missing the toy (strike that last one!)

First sale doctrine is an emancipation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31629638)

getting Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus, 210 U.S. 339 (1908) extended.

A License is per se a negotiated object and must exhibit the clear and unique signs of having been the result of an honest negotiation. Negotiations among several economic actors will have the result of Licenses that are unique to each set of negotiators. Identical licenses are evidence that the transactions did in fact not involve a negotiation of terms between the economic actors and should be considered as a sale. These sales would be subject to the first sale doctrine, as should any body of licenses (save a small numbers exemption) that are identical and fail to exhibit the obvious signs of being the product of a negotiated transaction.

The First Sale Doctrine is as much about emancipation as the well know proclamation. Otherwise we all face an enmeshing servitude.

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