Settlement Requires GameStop to Warn California Customers About DLC, Pay Customers Back

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Posted by patrickklepek (3398 posts) -
While today's settlement applies to California, the same lawfirm is looking at other states.

When GameStop sells a game requiring another purchase to access content that would have been available if a consumer had purchased the game new, it has to better advertise that fact.

For now, this only applies to California, and is a preliminary approval by the court. Final approval will (or won't) be handed down in September.

It’s the result of a settlement over a class action lawsuit filed by law firm Baron and Budd against GameStop.

The settlement covers the next two years, and requires two steps from the games retailer.

One, GameStop must “post signs on the shelves where used games are sold in California stores, and online, warning consumers that certain downloadable content may require an additional purchase.”

In essence, if you’re buying Batman: Arkham City used, GameStop must go out of its way to inform you about the Catwoman downloadable content, which is only available "free" through a code in the game's new box.

(Yes, I'm aware GameStop had an existing deal with Warner Bros. regarding this--it's just an example.)

Two, customers have the option to “recover” $15 from qualifying used game purchases. If you’re part of GameStop’s “PowerUp” program, that means a $10 coupon and a $5 check, while everyone else can elect to receive a $10 check and a $5 coupon. More details will reportedly be available through this Facebook page set up by the lawfirm.

The lawfirm said it’s looking into the same practices in other states--again, this only applies to California.

GameStop has not yet responded to my request for comment.

Staff
#1 Posted by patrickklepek (3398 posts) -
While today's settlement applies to California, the same lawfirm is looking at other states.

When GameStop sells a game requiring another purchase to access content that would have been available if a consumer had purchased the game new, it has to better advertise that fact.

For now, this only applies to California, and is a preliminary approval by the court. Final approval will (or won't) be handed down in September.

It’s the result of a settlement over a class action lawsuit filed by law firm Baron and Budd against GameStop.

The settlement covers the next two years, and requires two steps from the games retailer.

One, GameStop must “post signs on the shelves where used games are sold in California stores, and online, warning consumers that certain downloadable content may require an additional purchase.”

In essence, if you’re buying Batman: Arkham City used, GameStop must go out of its way to inform you about the Catwoman downloadable content, which is only available "free" through a code in the game's new box.

(Yes, I'm aware GameStop had an existing deal with Warner Bros. regarding this--it's just an example.)

Two, customers have the option to “recover” $15 from qualifying used game purchases. If you’re part of GameStop’s “PowerUp” program, that means a $10 coupon and a $5 check, while everyone else can elect to receive a $10 check and a $5 coupon. More details will reportedly be available through this Facebook page set up by the lawfirm.

The lawfirm said it’s looking into the same practices in other states--again, this only applies to California.

GameStop has not yet responded to my request for comment.

Staff
#2 Edited by superscott597 (109 posts) -

Wow, that's pretty huge.

EDIT: I got this achievement quite some time ago. Sorry for all you who suffer because of my villainy.

#3 Posted by Brodehouse (9519 posts) -

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

#4 Posted by WilltheMagicAsian (1544 posts) -

Great

#5 Posted by Video_Game_King (35825 posts) -
#6 Posted by greks224 (21 posts) -

I assume that the policy would apply nation-wide anyway to avoid future litigation

#7 Posted by Brad (2870 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@patrickklepek said:

In essence, if you’re Batman: Arkham City used,

You know I am.

I'M BATMAN... (arkham city)

Staff
#8 Posted by Choffy (440 posts) -
@Brodehouse While that'd be great, we're still a ways off. Without high-speed Internet available everywhere, and places with high-speed still lacking in the US, I think we're at least 2 generations away.
#9 Posted by rudyarr (251 posts) -

I doubt when it comes down to it..gamestop employees still wont mention it to blind consumers (parents going to pick up a game because their kid wants it, and will buy used because its cheaper.

#10 Posted by TheHBK (5458 posts) -

@Brad said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@patrickklepek said:

In essence, if you’re Batman: Arkham City used,

You know I am.

I'M BATMAN... (arkham city)

I am Catwoman (DLC)

#11 Posted by Video_Game_King (35825 posts) -

@Brad said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@patrickklepek said:

In essence, if you’re Batman: Arkham City used,

You know I am.

I'M BATMAN... (arkham city)

Used?

#12 Edited by IAmNotBatman (626 posts) -

@Video_Game_King: Highlighting the word USED.

You beat me yourself, bollocks.

#13 Posted by IkariNoTekken (990 posts) -

@Brad said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@patrickklepek said:

In essence, if you’re Batman: Arkham City used,

You know I am.

I'M BATMAN... (arkham city)

But are you used?

#14 Posted by geekbot (110 posts) -

I think this makes a whole lot of sense. I used to work at a game store when Battlefield 3 came out, and a lot of people didn't know they needed to buy an online pass when they bought the game used, and it caused us a lot of headache. Glad to hear they're looking into finding ways to better inform the public about their purchases.

#15 Posted by Swabbleflange (57 posts) -

This has been the case in the UK for a while now, I believe it stemmed from a customer complaint and legal action against a game shop for the same lack of information. Now every pre-owned game that has any kind of downloadable content whatsoever - be it online pass or a character costume - is labelled up as 'downloadable content used' or similar.

#16 Posted by SilenceUK (329 posts) -

They do this in the UK at least in Game they all have stickers on them saying ask about possible DLC issues

#17 Posted by YukoAsho (2001 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

No. Better to have these headaches than to have publishers able to take games away whenever they like.

#18 Edited by Athadam (673 posts) -

While I understand the consumer protection sentiment, 15 dollars (per case) like a lot of money - enough to make this totally unpractical and hurtful for businesses.

Furthermore, I don't understand why this responsibility falls on the retailer. Why is it specifically targeting Gamestop? What about the other retailers who sell used video games? Ebay, Amazon, Gamefly?

It seems to me that the responsibility should fall on the publisher/developer with a small disclaimer on the back of the product that there is a one time use code needed to have a full experience.

#19 Posted by mandude (2667 posts) -

"Included content may or may not be included."

#20 Posted by Make_Me_Mad (3001 posts) -

I really hate the vilification of used game sales and retailers. It's ridiculous that they're trying to basically kill an entire chain of stores because they don't like the idea of not getting paid more than once for their products. Everything gets resold, and it's bull that they continue to act like this is such a bad thing.

Online
#21 Posted by Godlyawesomeguy (6385 posts) -

Huh, interesting stuff. I am confused, however- Are they only required to post signs, or tell you about it at the register also? I live in California, and while I don't visit Gamestop often, this could present an interesting shift in the minds of consumers that didn't know they were missing out on content they may have otherwise by purchasing used. Furthermore, why does this only apply to Gamestop? I don't expect anyone to go after my neighborhood small business game store with this, but what about a corporation such as Best Buy?

#22 Posted by LordAndrew (14417 posts) -

When will publishers be required to warn us about DLC?

#23 Posted by MattyFTM (14328 posts) -

@Brad said:

@Video_Game_King said:

@patrickklepek said:

In essence, if you’re Batman: Arkham City used,

You know I am.

I'M BATMAN... (arkham city)

I'M SPARTACUS!!!!!

Moderator
#24 Posted by MrMazz (905 posts) -

Interesting if I buy a game late after it came out and its like 30 bucks and it had a online pass of sorts its still not going to make me buy new, I'm a cheap bastard I know.

#25 Posted by fox01313 (5061 posts) -

Looks like Gamestop needs to just follow with what other's have/will do with just putting a sticker on the open empty shells stating that there's more content you won't see unless you pay more for it. What was done with Arkham City to me was almost the same as some online fps/fighting games that have some kind of online pass but I'd think by now that just about anyone with any degree of common sense about video games currently might know that most games have the online pass/project $10 except for the ninnyhammer idiots that decided to sue gamestop.

#26 Posted by stinky (1543 posts) -

basically the box they are selling used still mentions "free DLC" since its the same box as the new ones.

yet when used this is no longer the case, so it falls along the lines of false advertising. this addresses that aspect of it.

#27 Posted by Hailinel (23679 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Online
#28 Posted by Suigyoken (188 posts) -

You know, when I worked at Gamestop before, I actually told and warned customers about this, it was split between those who didn't really care, and those who would pay into the DLC. What does suck though, is that publishers aren't being responsible for this at all, even though you can say its Gamestops' fault that they sell used games, what about Best Buy and small game stores?

#29 Posted by forkboy (1108 posts) -

That's a good thing for the consumer man. Good stuff. Companies need to tell customers if they are missing out on features by buying a game 2nd hand.

#30 Posted by Hurricrane (128 posts) -

Finally, at least it's SOMETHING good for the end customer rather than fucking us over even harder

#31 Posted by mandude (2667 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

#32 Posted by Hailinel (23679 posts) -

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

Online
#33 Posted by falling_fast (2180 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

#34 Posted by Hurricrane (128 posts) -

Or even better, Gamestop should be like Best Buy and cut the publishers in on used shit so that we can go back to just PLAYING THE GODDAMN GAMES WE PAYED FOR WITH NO HASSLE OR STUPID FUCKING CODES OR NICKEL AND DIMING

#35 Posted by jozzy (2041 posts) -

I wanted to pick up a golf game the other day, and the salesperson (at Gamespot) was actively trying to dodge my questions if the game had free day one DLC.

(And then I picked up Tiger Woods '11, played it one time, realized that I like digital golf as much as real golf, and now it's on my pile of shame)

#36 Posted by Hailinel (23679 posts) -

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

I never implied that. I just think the concept of a digital-only future is beyond stupid and nothing but detrimental.

Online
#37 Posted by unstoptheday (22 posts) -

They make it seem like GS is trying to hide the fact you don't get the DLC when you buy it. Games with a online pass are almost always marked down more to offset the price of the code, and most codes can be sold at GS as well. I know everyone like to hate GS but I've been there over five years and I like to think I try to do whats best for my customers and not screw them out of their money.

#38 Posted by Video_Game_King (35825 posts) -

@patrickklepek said:

In essence, if you’re buying Batman: Arkham City used,

Wait, you changed this without editing your post? You are clearly a Time Lord and this CLEARLY DEMANDS AN UPDATE.

#39 Posted by KaneRobot (1397 posts) -
@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

I never implied that. I just think the concept of a digital-only future is beyond stupid and nothing but detrimental.

You're right, and if the pro-digital/anti-physical argument has now been reduced to "shelving space," then it's not much of a debate at all. 
 
If someone is happy with an all digital distribution scenario and not actually owning the games they purchase, then those ignorant individuals can have it. But don't take away the alternative for those who still want it. All a digitial distribution-only future will provide is higher & more controlled prices. If you think MS/Sony/Nintendo are going to have Steam-level sales where you can get Batman for 5 bucks or whatever, you're not paying attention.
 
Oh, and when you run out of "shelving space," sell a few of the games you don't play anymore. Just like you do with any cars, DVDs, books, instruments, CDs, etc you supposedly no longer have room for. 
 
Awaiting a "selling stuff takes too much effort" eye-roll worthy reply.
#40 Posted by Viking_Funeral (1727 posts) -

@YukoAsho said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

No. Better to have these headaches than to have publishers able to take games away whenever they like.

As I understand it, and has been my experience so far, a publisher can force Steam to stop selling new games, but Steam will always support the games that you've already bought, even if they're no longer available for purchase. Even GoG is pretty good about this.

Of course, if you're talking about Steam-like setups owned by a publisher a la Origin, then yeah... I can see that being a problem.

#41 Edited by falling_fast (2180 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

I never implied that. I just think the concept of a digital-only future is beyond stupid and nothing but detrimental.

Fair enough. I guess in terms of consoles it makes sense to want to own physical copies of games, because they will eventually take down online capabilities for old consoles. Although they might just pull a Sony and decide to fuck you over and force you to pay extra to play your old games.

I play a lot of pc games, though, and as the pc is a single monolithic platform there isn't that problem. I'm confident that Valve and GoG, if they were for some reason to shut down, would keep their word and give me plenty of time to download all the games I have bought from them.

On pc at least, it's far more convenient to go digital: you don't have to worry about patching, and scratched cds, and getting games to run in dosbox, and storing the damn things, and so on. Sure I may not have a physical copy that I can point to, but I trust Valve and GoG not to fuck me over.

edit: also, I don't sell old games/movies/cds/books unless if I'm certain I will never want to use them again. Gamespot er, GAMESTOP, is probably annoyed at me for not taking part in their business model, but whatever.

and Steam and GoG offer a lot of games that would never be able to be sold in Gamestop because it costs money to make physical copies of games, and presumably because Gamestop is unwilling to sell inexpensive indie/ancient games

#42 Edited by NeoAthanasius (73 posts) -

I think this is a fair ruling. I can't imagine how frustrating it would have been if this DLC situation had been the norm when I was a kid. My Mom and most certainly my grandmother would not know what they were purchasing when they bought games for me. I can just see a little kid begging his parents to buy him the $10 code so he can play multiplayer.

#43 Posted by Hailinel (23679 posts) -

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

I never implied that. I just think the concept of a digital-only future is beyond stupid and nothing but detrimental.

Fair enough. I guess in terms of consoles it makes sense to want to own physical copies of games, because they will eventually take down online capabilities for old consoles. Although they might just pull a Sony and decide to fuck you over and force you to pay extra to play your old games.

I've never paid Sony a dime for a PS2 Classic. I still have an actual PS2 hooked up to my TV.

Online
#44 Posted by falling_fast (2180 posts) -

@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

I never implied that. I just think the concept of a digital-only future is beyond stupid and nothing but detrimental.

Fair enough. I guess in terms of consoles it makes sense to want to own physical copies of games, because they will eventually take down online capabilities for old consoles. Although they might just pull a Sony and decide to fuck you over and force you to pay extra to play your old games.

I've never paid Sony a dime for a PS2 Classic. I still have an actual PS2 hooked up to my TV.

The ps2 is pretty reliable, so ok. But the current generation of consoles are much less reliable. Do you think that they'll still be working 5 years from now? I'm not so certain :(

#45 Posted by Hailinel (23679 posts) -

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@damnable_fiend said:

@Hailinel said:

@mandude said:

@Hailinel said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

Fuck no. I'll take physical copies over digital any day.

Don't you know that material possessions harms the soul?

'Tis better to own what's mine than to leave fate to the cloud.

you must have infinite shelving space, then

I never implied that. I just think the concept of a digital-only future is beyond stupid and nothing but detrimental.

Fair enough. I guess in terms of consoles it makes sense to want to own physical copies of games, because they will eventually take down online capabilities for old consoles. Although they might just pull a Sony and decide to fuck you over and force you to pay extra to play your old games.

I've never paid Sony a dime for a PS2 Classic. I still have an actual PS2 hooked up to my TV.

The ps2 is pretty reliable, so ok. But the current generation of consoles are much less reliable. Do you think that they'll still be working 5 years from now? I'm not so certain :(

The 360, I have no clue. But I have been fortunate enough to not have my Wii or PS3 go dead on me yet.

Online
#46 Posted by Cataphract1014 (1313 posts) -

@Paul_Is_Drunk said:

@YukoAsho said:

@Brodehouse said:

Can we just go full digital Steam style already? Forgo all this nonsense.

No. Better to have these headaches than to have publishers able to take games away whenever they like.

As I understand it, and has been my experience so far, a publisher can force Steam to stop selling new games, but Steam will always support the games that you've already bought, even if they're no longer available for purchase. Even GoG is pretty good about this.

Of course, if you're talking about Steam-like setups owned by a publisher a la Origin, then yeah... I can see that being a problem.

Valve is a publisher. Indie devs are flocking to Steam, but Valve is "publishing" these titles.

#47 Posted by Kedi2 (242 posts) -

My local Gamestop has been doing this for months now.

#48 Posted by BBQBram (2199 posts) -

Yep, that seems completely fair - I'm suprised GameStop wasn't doing this before, sounds like it would be obvious.

#49 Posted by MikkaQ (10263 posts) -

@Make_Me_Mad said:

I really hate the vilification of used game sales and retailers. It's ridiculous that they're trying to basically kill an entire chain of stores because they don't like the idea of not getting paid more than once for their products. Everything gets resold, and it's bull that they continue to act like this is such a bad thing.

Yeah but how many people are out there selling used 2012 Fords at like $100 less than the new price? Because that's essentially the crux of gamestop's business. It's a caustic business tactic that actively harms the sustainability of the "core" games industry.

#50 Posted by deerokus (531 posts) -

If they don't already do this, it's pretty shady. Even the much maligned Game in the UK do this.

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