GAME Adds DLC Warning Labels to Used Games

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GAME Adds DLC Warning Labels to Used Games

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U.K. retailer GAME has begun adding DLC warning stickers to pre-owned videogames to let consumers know that they may not include all the bonuses a new copy would.

It's a idea that came to light with the release of Dragon Age: Origins and Mass Effect 2: Release bonus content as free DLC for anyone who buys a new copy, while those who buy used will have to fork over an extra few bucks to get it. Called "Project Ten Dollar" by EA, it's an attempt to curtail the pre-owned games market, which many publishers believe is unfairly cutting into their bottom lines, and while it may or may not be good for gamers, it's proving to be a bit of a headache for many retailers: GameStop was sued last month over "deceptively misleading" sales of used games when a customer was surprised to find that his pre-owned copy of Dragon Age: Origins didn't include the bonus DLC advertised on the box.

GAME is attempting to head off similar trouble by adding warning stickers to its used game selection, informing customers that such games may not include all the extra content advertised on the package. "We have been developing a policy for notifying customers at the point of purchase which was implemented last week in-store," a company representative told MCV. "Pre-owned copies of applicable titles have stickers on them saying 'Check with staff for availability of downloadable content,' giving staff the chance to explain clearly the difference so that our customers understand the benefits of buying both pre-owned and mint."

The list of games offering extra content with new purchases is growing: Along with Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, other titles include Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Race Driver: GRID Reloaded, The Saboteur and SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3. In February, meanwhile,EA said DLC would be released for every game in its 2011 lineup, making it very likely that Project Ten Dollar will continue to be employed. Warning labels are a simple and effective response to the changing market; given the legal hassle it's already run into, I wouldn't be surprised to see GameStop, and every other retailer who deals in used games, come up with something similar very soon.

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Ah yes. Us Brits think ahead. Glad you came here Calumon?

Calumon: Your tea isn't as good as Jeri makes it in Japan.

Not a bad idea. And a good warning to people who may not know of such things.

I know in my local GAME they have taken to verbally warning people too at PoS

I approve of this. Many times I had friends knocking on my doors why their used copies didn't came with the bonus DLC I obtained by purchasing it first-hand.

I don't like the fact Project 10 dollars will keep doing what's it doing but business is business, I don't approve of EA's actions. Either work for money or be content with a less 'filled' game.

Ah, good ol' GAME. I forever love thou for your trade-in system that allowed me to trade in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a couple other Wii games for enough credit to buy Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and have 14 worth of it remaining.

The logical step really, and something they should have done from the start. One would think they were actually intentionally leaving that info out just to see if they would get caught.

Now it will be up to them to either pretty much never sell a used copy of one of those games (assuming the used game pricing is the same as it is in North America where a used copy goes for only $5 less than a new copy) or actually reduce their used game prices to keep them an attractive option.

I think that sucks, trading in and buying pre-owned games is really good for people who can't afford the games when they're released.

Well its not all that shocking to me that a game store cares about its customers more than the game companies. Nothing new at all ..

Makes sense to slap the warning on there but I still don't completely approve of DLC. It just feels like a lot of developers hold back content so that they can bring it up in the future as a quick money grab despite the fact that it might be ready to join the bulk of the game. Not all developers who release DLC are like this though but the best example for me at least is Mass Effect 2. Bioware's latest DLC featured a character whose files were practically already in the game at launch. I love Bioware to death but even I have to frown at that.

Phoenixlight:
I think that sucks, trading in and buying pre-owned games is really good for people who can't afford the games when they're released.

I think this is actually good for the budget-minded consumer. These stickers will drive the price of used games down. The price of a used game will have to be discounted by at least the cost of the DLC, just to break even with it's non-used counterpart.

That's great.

Now start trading retro games, GAME. Or I'll bang you.

Oh, and for God's sake, get that adventure/puzzle game crap out of your PC stock.

Sue first in America, and everyone else just whistles and puts on stickers.

What a pain in the ass, good on GAME for at least warning people. You already have to buy DLC for each account, now they're just trying to put an activation fee on used games. What a bunch of shit. Unless my view is just skewed, that's all it seems like to me. Not many other manufacturers make money off of resale, why should they.

Andy Chalk:

The list of games offering extra content with new purchases is growing: Along with Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2, other titles include Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Race Driver: GRID Reloaded, The Saboteur and SOCOM: Fireteam Bravo 3.

The new Resident Evil 5: Gold includes it too.

The code is on the back of the booklet. I was confused when I put the game in and found nothing. I even completed the game again to no avail.

That pissed me off.
Actually this entire idea is silly, EA has enough money to keep it stable anyway, why squeeze a extra 10 out of us?

I don't buy enough games to justify getting them pre-owned. I play games through and through endlessly. I mean I've been on STALKER since christmas and I'm still not bored of it. Although I need a new game now... Getting TF2 I've heard that lasts a long time.

As long as they put it on the plastic cover, and not the paper cover, I'm happy...

Probably a good move for GAME considering their slogan for used games is 'The Only Difference is The Price'.

Of course if they put up signs saying there can be differences, they may well need to rethink that particular slogan.

Regardless of how the retailers handle this, this isn't just a blow to them, EA is hurting their customers and themselves.

If people can't afford a $60 new game, they aren't going to buy it, DLC or no DLC.

Gamestop has something like 5 times greater profit margin on used games as they do new games, so whats stopping them from dropping the price of the used game another 5 or 10 bucks, allowing the customer to still get the game and the DLC at a lower cost than the new copy, and only hurting their profits a tiny bit.

Personally some nifty armor DLC isn't enough to make me spend an extra 5/10/15 bucks on a game.

Masteryuri666:
Makes sense to slap the warning on there but I still don't completely approve of DLC. It just feels like a lot of developers hold back content so that they can bring it up in the future as a quick money grab despite the fact that it might be ready to join the bulk of the game. Not all developers who release DLC are like this though but the best example for me at least is Mass Effect 2. Bioware's latest DLC featured a character whose files were practically already in the game at launch. I love Bioware to death but even I have to frown at that.

at the other end of the scale of DLC evil are Gearbox, who apart from their sterling work on the HL1 expansions have released a slew of cheap but excellent DLC for Borderlands (Dr Ned, Underdome and Knox as well as another announced but unspecified DLC)

Arent they doing this cause that guy sued gamestop?

Either way its a good thing theyre doing puttng the stickers to warn people.

It's a logical move but that still doesn't change my opinion on how stupid Project 10 Dollar is.

This is yet another sign and proof that society in general has degenerated into a sue happy litigation oriented abyss. I think its completely MORONIC to expect NEW GAME benefits from a USED GAME. Anyone who does needs a brain transplant. When you buy a used car do you expect a full manufacturer's warranty? If you do, again, check into a hospital for a brain transplant.

All these retailers need to do is put a sign by the register "Used games may not include all the content as new games. Individual games vary in used game content." Done. No need for stickers, employee time to apply them and shipping/printing costs to buy them. Consumer was warned at the register.

People need to stop suing because THEY are stupid, lawyers need to stop taking the cases from STUPID people. Pour hot coffee in your crotch, wow, it burns. No shit. Here's your sign. You bought a used game and didn't get all the content as a new game. No shit. Here's your sign.

I wish the place I worked at did this. You don't know how many times I've been yelled at by customers who buy a used copy of the game and it doesn't come with the DLC. I always tell them: The DLC card may or may not work. It depends on what the previous owner did.

Good ol' GAME with your free rewards card that gives me ten percent of all store purchases back to me as store credit [/advertisement]. Still... it's not as good as Gamestation.

wadark:
If people can't afford a $60 new game, they aren't going to buy it, DLC or no DLC.

Gamestop has something like 5 times greater profit margin on used games as they do new games, so whats stopping them from dropping the price of the used game another 5 or 10 bucks, allowing the customer to still get the game and the DLC at a lower cost than the new copy, and only hurting their profits a tiny bit.

They very well might. In fact, that point came up back when discussion about this first began: GameStop and the rest make enough on used games that they could afford to drop the price ten bucks, eat a few points of margin and still come out ahead.

But the biggest issue for publishers is with used copies of games that are still new; in the case of the moron who sued because he couldn't be bothered to read the package, he paid $54.99 for a used copy instead of $59.99 for a new one. That pretty much kills the argument about screwing people who can't afford to buy the game new, because if five bucks is going to make that much of a difference in your life then you shouldn't be buying ANY games.

I work in GAME. And I am a proud employee.

*salutes franchise in front of of purple flag background while shedding a single tear of pride as the orchestra swells*

If it stops middle aged women ranting at me on behalf of their pissy little 13 year old, huzzah!

Wolfiesden:
I think its completely MORONIC to expect NEW GAME benefits from a USED GAME. Anyone who does needs a brain transplant. When you buy a used car do you expect a full manufacturer's warranty? If you do, again, check into a hospital for a brain transplant.

Take it from someone who's worked in retail for a while, you would be surprised. Some people seem to just autopilot through life and get incredibly shocked when they bang in to something beyond their meager mental abilities.

Then again some are just not all that tech savvy. Mass effect 2 was a big release and could be a first game for a few people. In a car you wouldn't expect a warranty but you'd expect the car to be physically identical to a new one, this'd be like a new car having special wheel rims or a turbo that was removed before resale. it's easy to forget how much of the gaming industry is jargon when you use the jargon day to day.

It's stupid to sue but I can see the problem, some are stupid, some are misinformed. Staff need to work around the stupid.

Wolfiesden:
All these retailers need to do is put a sign by the register "Used games may not include all the content as new games. Individual games vary in used game content." Done. No need for stickers, employee time to apply them and shipping/printing costs to buy them. Consumer was warned at the register.

Again, people spent three months in our store ignoring the "No Scottish Notes" sign, it was at face height too. We even got people telling us that was illegal (protip: a store doesn't have a legal obligation to sell anything) and getting angry. Frankly anything that saves the poor staff any headache is fine in my book. Staff in stores get a lot of shit about the "dumb employee" stereotype, they're not dumb folks, they're just not allowed to fight back.

Sun Flash:
I work in GAME. And I am a proud employee.

*salutes franchise in front of of purple flag background while shedding a single tear of pride as the orchestra swells*

If it stops middle aged women ranting at me on behalf of their pissy little 13 year old, huzzah!

Precisely, my heart goes out to our brave lads in our stores, taking shit off of pissy customers who've never been challenged over anything they say in their entire miserable life.

good show, good show. I hope the stickers help. If not I'd imagine an entire reel could seal a mouth quite effectively...

someboredguy:
Ah, good ol' GAME. I forever love thou for your trade-in system that allowed me to trade in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a couple other Wii games for enough credit to buy Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and have 14 worth of it remaining.

Yet I only got a tenner for trading in assassins creed 2...

I approve entirely of Project Ten Dollar, because I tend to buy my games new anyway. I'm not gonna bitch about free DLC.

generic gamer:
In a car you wouldn't expect a warranty but you'd expect the car to be physically identical to a new one, this'd be like a new car having special wheel rims or a turbo that was removed before resale.

Apparently you are proving my point by your counter point :) No you wouldn't expect a new warranty and, I at least, don't expect a used car to be identical to a new one. They are USED, their owners drive them, wear them, and yes, remove things from them. Perhaps that owner used the "Free Oil Changes with a new car purchase" coupon too. You expect that to be valid for a used car too I suppose?

When I buy a used game, I expect that the prior owner probably registered and used the codes the new game had included and they are not going to be re-usable. I am usually right. If you expect new game benefits from a used game, maybe you shouldn't own a PC or console and should invest in a good deck of used cards from a pawn shop to play solitaire with. Hopefully all the cards are in the used deck.

Wolfiesden:
This is yet another sign and proof that society in general has degenerated into a sue happy litigation oriented abyss. I think its completely MORONIC to expect NEW GAME benefits from a USED GAME. Anyone who does needs a brain transplant. When you buy a used car do you expect a full manufacturer's warranty? If you do, again, check into a hospital for a brain transplant.

All these retailers need to do is put a sign by the register "Used games may not include all the content as new games. Individual games vary in used game content." Done. No need for stickers, employee time to apply them and shipping/printing costs to buy them. Consumer was warned at the register.

People need to stop suing because THEY are stupid, lawyers need to stop taking the cases from STUPID people. Pour hot coffee in your crotch, wow, it burns. No shit. Here's your sign. You bought a used game and didn't get all the content as a new game. No shit. Here's your sign.

Xept that we are not talking about something like a car or second hand clothing. But a Medium.
The whole policy is the same as if you bought a DVD without the bonus content printed on the Case, A Book with missing Chapters, or an Music Album without Tracks 2,5 and 12.
Just another money-making trap so that you got to buy the DLC which should have been in the game in the first place, but EA decided that its cleverer to sell a 75% Game earlier in developement and then SELLING Patches of 5% bits.

scnj:
I approve entirely of Project Ten Dollar, because I tend to buy my games new anyway. I'm not gonna bitch about free DLC.

Me too, but that stems mainly from being a PC gamer.

I think this is a good move. If it's well sign posted, people will not be able to plead ignorance as easily. As for the "$55 Used $60 New", GAME tends to be quite good for pre-owned prices. They're not always great, but it's better than what I've heard about Gamestop. BUT you have to check the game cases of new ones first, because rarely a used game can cost more than a new one.

Captain Pancake:

someboredguy:
Ah, good ol' GAME. I forever love thou for your trade-in system that allowed me to trade in New Super Mario Bros. Wii and a couple other Wii games for enough credit to buy Battlefield: Bad Company 2 and have 14 worth of it remaining.

Yet I only got a tenner for trading in assassins creed 2...

A result of the Wii (unfortunately) being more popular. Shame really, although NSMB Wii only counted for some of the money.

Wolfiesden:

Apparently you are proving my point by your counter point :) No you wouldn't expect a new warranty and, I at least, don't expect a used car to be identical to a new one. They are USED, their owners drive them, wear them, and yes, remove things from them. Perhaps that owner used the "Free Oil Changes with a new car purchase" coupon too. You expect that to be valid for a used car too I suppose?

When I buy a used game, I expect that the prior owner probably registered and used the codes the new game had included and they are not going to be re-usable. I am usually right. If you expect new game benefits from a used game, maybe you shouldn't own a PC or console and should invest in a good deck of used cards from a pawn shop to play solitaire with. Hopefully all the cards are in the used deck.

Actually i was just saying that a lot of people don't know for one reason or another, not knowing something doesn't make you stupid. Buying a game to play is a simple transaction, not one a layman would expect to have one use software mixed in with. A small sticker is cheap enough and informs people that buying it new will provide tangible benefits.

It's not a case of intelligence at all, it's a case of whether you're up to the minute with industry standards in a business you don't care about. Remember that if you're posting on here then you're more interested in computer games than is usual. It'd be like saying someone is stupid for not realising you can hardly ever return unwanted food, in principle it sounds perfectly reasonable.

EDIT: Game stores inform you if a game is missing the manual or the box, why not the dlc codes?

Therumancer:
Truthfully I do tend to side with the consumer in cases like this. Honestly it always seems like "someone was too stupid to read the package/fine print Lulz" as long as it's not you. When your on the receiving end and feel like you got screwed/taken advantage of it's something else.

Precisely, just because one person thinks it is obvious doesn't mean it is. And just because that person didn't think to read every article on that game ever and chose to just go out and buy it (like you used to be able to... /nostalgia) doesn't make them stupid. What it shows is how bloody unintuitive the games industry is getting. It'd be like buying a sofa, finding it came with holes, having to go back for patches to patch the holes up, then finding out that the casters weren't on it because the previous customer kept them.

game retail just isn't a starter friendly business any more.

The labels are a good thing. I mentioned in the article on Gamestop when it was covered here that this is what they should have done automatically.

Truthfully there are laws involving fine print and such, and honestly when your putting an asterix on a statement and explaining it elsewhere I get especially wary. Not everyone follows the internet on gaming, and it is possible to label packaging deceptively. Having bought a new copy, and known the details on everything ahead of time, I can't comment on how much I would have picked up if I was going purely by the box. Truthfully I do tend to side with the consumer in cases like this. Honestly it always seems like "someone was too stupid to read the package/fine print Lulz" as long as it's not you. When your on the receiving end and feel like you got screwed/taken advantage of it's something else.

Speaking for myself though, I wouldn't have gone to a lawsuit immediatly. I would have tried to resolve things with the retailer, and then if that failed gone to the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and Attorney General's office before then. That was if I *DID* go so far as a lawsuit I can add weight to my case by showing the measures I tried first. Truthfully though while a private organization, chances are your going to get satisfaction if you can get the BBB on your side. Most businesses would rather refund a product/take a return or whatever irregardless of their policies than risk the kind of bad press/problems the BBB can cause by putting the word out of them (so to speak).

For all my criticisms of the industry I tend not to be a big fan of lawsuits, that being a "last resort" type measure. I personally think what gamers need is to try and organize some kind of consumer advocacy, or get existing organizations to pay more attention to the gaming industry as a whole.

Simply the fact that we're having problems with the way packages are marked for things like this is a sign there is a problem. The thing is that while the industry itself has organizations there is nobody public or private keeping an eye on the industry for the consumers... and it's becoming a very big business. The kinds of things we're seeing here are similar to things other industries did when they had no watchdogs, and exactly why things like the BBB/Consumer Reports/whatever came into being.

I think it's a good idea to warn them, though I'm surprised the GameStop customer didn't get any DLC with thier used game (My PS3 version of DA:O was bought used, and I got the Stone Prisoner/Blood Dragon Armor DLC code insert with it. I wasn't expecting it, but I figured that maybe GameStop had some kind of deal with the manufacturers.)

The DLC idea makes sense from the perspective of the game companies. It means that a used copy would have to sell (assuming a $60 retail price for the new) for $45 for the customer to break even, making it more likely that game companies will get to see their retail sales.

But, buying used is better for the consumer. Even a $5 discount adds up (for $60 games, it's buy 13 for the price of 12). It also makes game replacement a lot more affordable if a disk gets scratched.

What I think would be the best for everyone is to cut into retailers' profits a bit and have them pay $X to the game companies and in return get extra codes to provide their customers in used games.

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