DLC Warning Labels Coming to California GameStops

DLC Warning Labels Coming to California GameStops

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GameStops in California have been ordered to put stickers on used games warning customers that they may have to pay extra to access DLC and online features.

GameStop was sued in 2010 over "deceptively misleading" pre-owned game sales after a gamer saved himself five bucks by purchasing a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins but then discovered when he installed it that he'd have to pay another $15 to access the "free" DLC advertised on the box. Of course, that DLC was meant to discourage used game sales by forcing pre-owned buyers to pay extra for content that's included with new copies, but GameStop apparently didn't make enough of an effort to explain that point and so off to court it went.

And as a result, GameStop will now make a much greater effort to explain the point, at least in the state of California, by way of warning stickers it has agreed to affix to copies of used games. The stickers will inform customers considering a used game purchase that they may have to pony up more when they get home if they want access to all the stuff advertised on the package.

In addition, GameStop has agreed to compensate qualifying customers for their trouble with either a $10 check and $5 coupon or $5 check and $10 coupon, depending on whether or not they're members of GameStop's "PowerUp Rewards" program.

"We are pleased that as a result of this lawsuit, we were able to obtain complete restitution for consumers, with actual money paid out to people who were harmed by GameStop's conduct," Baron and Budd attorney Mark Pifko said in a statement. "The in-store and online warnings are an important benefit under the settlement as well, because if GameStop discloses the truth to consumers, it is unlikely that they will be able to continue selling used copies of certain games for only $5 less than the price of a new copy. In fact, we already know that not long after the lawsuit was filed, GameStop lowered prices for used copies of many of the game titles identified in the lawsuit."

The law firm also went out of its way a bit to characterize GameStop's used game sales practices as more than a little sleazy, alleging that it actually marks them up to maximize its profits. "Utilizing this practice, GameStop makes more than $2 billion a year on used video game sales, without paying any royalties to video game publishers or developers," it noted.

What it didn't note is that Dragon Age: Origins already has a label warning that The Stone Prisoner, Shale and Blood Dragon Armor DLC require a "one time use code available with full retail purchase." That's admittedly a bit mealy-mouthed but it's there nonetheless, right beside the PC system requirements and in larger, boxed text, too. I'm all for protecting consumers from predatory business practices, but just how much hand-holding do we need before someone finally says "enough?"

To find out more about the settlement and how to get your slice of the victimization pie, check out Baron and Budd's GameStop Settlement Facebook page.

Source: BusinessWire, via Kotaku

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I think this is good. It will push down the price of preowned games, too, since a big warning saying you'll have to pay extra to get everything the game has to offer will make people more likely to buy the full price copy.

Then again, considering that pretty much every game has one time passes or online passes these days, there's almost no point now.

Batman arkham city was being sold at game stop $27 used or $30 free and both came with the online pass and dlc, something about a promotion with rocksteady. I wonder how many other dev would offer free dlc with used games.

razer17:
I think this is good. It will push down the price of preowned games, too, since a big warning saying you'll have to pay extra to get everything the game has to offer will make people more likely to buy the full price copy.

Then again, considering that pretty much every game has one time passes or online passes these days, there's almost no point now.

True, although I'll be interested to see whether the price reduction comes in the form of reduced profit margins (highly unlikely) or by simply paying people less when they trade-in the games.

The law firm also went out of its way a bit to characterize GameStop's used game sales practices as more than a little sleazy, alleging that it actually marks them up to maximize its profits. "Utilizing this practice, GameStop makes more than $2 billion a year on used video game sales, without paying any royalties to video game publishers or developers," it noted.

And there, I would not be surprised, is probably the real reason for this lawsuit.

This is kinda good thing. I'm sure plenty of stupid kids have bought used games that required some sort of code, then ended up paying more than a new copy would in the first place because of that.

On the other hand, if a game is $55 used and $60 new.. just buy the new game and support the developer.. unless that developer is owned by EA or Activision.. or is Capcom.. or Ubisoft.. then screw them.

On the third hand, I really dislike laws that protect stupid people from doing stupid things that cause them harm or expense.

I also like that comment about not paying royalties to companies on game sales. Sounds to me like this suit was partially financed by some publishers just so they could get a few jabs in at the used industry.

As much as I don't like Gamestop's practices, this isn't a win for customer rights. This is a win for idiots with James Collins being King Idiot of the day. (Collins is the one who sued over the DLC thing)

aaand this a proper victory for proper retards.......

Honestly the guy got screwed but it's on the box anyway surely the guy can read? I get that it's a bit of a rip off $5 and then $15 for the dlc, but here's an idea; try amazon.com.

SkarKrow:
aaand this a proper victory for proper retards.......

Honestly the guy got screwed but it's on the box anyway surely the guy can read? I get that it's a bit of a rip off $5 and then $15 for the dlc, but here's an idea; try amazon.com.

Or, I don't know, do basic research on the product you might buy? If you are mindlessly throwing down 30-50$ on something, you deserve to have it come back and bite you.

Andy Chalk:

The law firm also went out of its way a bit to characterize GameStop's used game sales practices as more than a little sleazy, alleging that it actually marks them up to maximize its profits. "Utilizing this practice, GameStop makes more than $2 billion a year on used video game sales, without paying any royalties to video game publishers or developers," it noted.

Well, yes. And in other news, used bookstores don't pay royalties to book publishers, used car sales don't benefit car companies, ebay supports only the selling consumer, etc etc... when did people forget what it means to sell used products? When did that become a bad thing, to be shunned?

SkarKrow:
aaand this a proper victory for proper retards.......

Honestly the guy got screwed but it's on the box anyway surely the guy can read? I get that it's a bit of a rip off $5 and then $15 for the dlc, but here's an idea; try amazon.com.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

Or, I don't know, do basic research on the product you might buy? If you are mindlessly throwing down 30-50$ on something, you deserve to have it come back and bite you.

Anything that brings more public awareness to the publisher's war on used game sales is still a win in my book. And I learned a LONG time ago not to trust in the innate intelligence of the masses.

xedobubble:

Well, yes. And in other news, used bookstores don't pay royalties to book publishers, used car sales don't benefit car companies, ebay supports only the selling consumer, etc etc... when did people forget what it means to sell used products? When did that become a bad thing, to be shunned?

Decay of physical material does not affect digital data. I can buy a used book and realise that the last pages are ripped out, it will ruin my enjoyment. A missing handbook or such on a used game doesn't do jack.

Actually, I have yet to see used book sales to be represented on high street. Dedicated gaming stores on whom the developers and publishers rely are basically ripping them off. Name one industry with sole reliance on retail sales and equivalent big used market (cars have parts, movies have cinemas, musicians have concerts).

DVS BSTrD:
Anything that brings more public awareness to the publisher's war on used game sales is still a win in my book. And I learned a LONG time ago not to trust in the innate intelligence of the masses.

Trust me, I get that, I'm all for used games and I really don't like having to buy new over old to get some DLC or whatever. But none the less to a degree people need to take responsibility for their own financial decisions and look into it a bit, there are plenty of places he could have checked before GameStop and likely could have found it significantly cheaper new.

I bought the complete version of DA:O last year from Amazon.co.uk for 15 new. It was still 40 in Game.

Publishers do some evil shit against used games and they really shouldn't, for reasons that have been better explained on this very site by Jim Sterling and many others elsewhere. but in this situation it's the consumers fault for not exercising his brain.

[Edit] Maybe my original post was worded harshly and bluntly, I really should have explained myself better.

I do support used games, I rely on them heavily these days due to being a student and broke. I always have supported them. They introduce franchises and have in the past made me buy games new the next installment and so on.

I do not support consumers spending money without doing a bit of research then blaming the company and suing them for not putting enormous stickers on the cover stating that a pre-owned EA game is not likely to actually have everything it says on the front cover of the box.

RedEyesBlackGamer:

SkarKrow:
aaand this a proper victory for proper retards.......

Honestly the guy got screwed but it's on the box anyway surely the guy can read? I get that it's a bit of a rip off $5 and then $15 for the dlc, but here's an idea; try amazon.com.

Or, I don't know, do basic research on the product you might buy? If you are mindlessly throwing down 30-50$ on something, you deserve to have it come back and bite you.

Yup pretty much, how hard is it to click around 4 or 5 websites to check prices or drop into a few different stores to compare prices? Or look it up to see if the DLC is worth paying extra for or not?

I'm sorry to the people who disagree but if the stupid shout "take my money" at a company and don't put thought into their purchase they deserve to be fleeced.

SkarKrow:

Yup pretty much, how hard is it to click around 4 or 5 websites to check prices or drop into a few different stores to compare prices? Or look it up to see if the DLC is worth paying extra for or not?

I'm sorry to the people who disagree but if the stupid shout "take my money" at a company and don't put thought into their purchase they deserve to be fleeced.

Isn't the big argument for brick&mortar stores that you can casually browse in them, especially since they have those sweet used games? Shouldn't they, based on this assumption and argument, have support that reminds you of this / provides you at least with basic facts like "first sale only DLC"?

Why the fuck should I go to a shitstore like GameStop or GAME after I spend time in the internet to research the product? I could simply order it online. Doesn't it render those stores utterly useless if I have to fear for a scam if I don't inform myself before purchasing anything there? And it is basically a scam. They promise a cheaper product, bully you in sparing 5$ so that you get assfucked (and they KNOW IT) with the only hopes on cashing in on used games.

Right for the wrong reasons, really.

If Gamestop was a nicer place, you would all be defending it to the death against folks like this.

TheKasp:

Isn't the big argument for brick&mortar stores that you can casually browse in them, especially since they have those sweet used games? Shouldn't they, based on this assumption and argument, have support that reminds you of this / provides you at least with basic facts like "first sale only DLC"?

Why the fuck should I go to a shitstore like GameStop or GAME after I spend time in the internet to research the product? I could simply order it online.

Maybe they should have support and if I recall from my last trip to that shit hole Game they do have stickers on the boxes saying to ask if about the availability of features.

My main point is that sueing the company because the guy couldnt be bothered to find the bit on the back fo the box that outright states it's only available with a full retail purchase is stupid. The support should be there but it shouldn't have needed a moron sueing a big company for his own shortsightedness

In that case, why don't you order it online? I haven't bought a game in a physical outlet in 3 years, the last time I went to game is to see if I could pick the carcass a couple of weeks back for any piss cheap deals; I couldn't, even with a massive clearance of all the games I could get everything cheaper online still. I see no reason to ever bother with a physical store; Games website costs less than in store every time, and always costs more than amazon or play.com.

weirdguy:
Right for the wrong reasons, really.

If Gamestop was a nicer place, you would all be defending it to the death against folks like this.

Thank the Gods somebody on here gets it.

Information for purchase = good.
Idiots sueing companies because they didn't read the back of the box to acheive this = bad.

It's a recurring thing on here for the majority to just hate something and pick a side against it without actually looking at the facts or reading the full article.

Hypothetically what if Steam lost everybodies data and was down for a month? It'd get nowhere near the hate Sony got over the PSN stuff last year. IT'd all be "Oh Valve how can we help you, poor Valve!".

Put yourselves outside your personal ideas about it and then analyze the issue objectively and weigh up the facts.

SkarKrow:
snip

Sueing after being scammed is not stupid. And he did win. Because havin such business practices is not a good thing and defending them by saying that they should not be called out on that (what here basically happened) is fucking stupid.

And sorry but why do you assume I buy my physical copies in stores? I can get games up to 20€ cheaper if I order it from your island :P. I can live with waiting up to three days.

SkarKrow:
snip

Actually, they have a solution for that... They deactivate any requests Steam needs from their servers. In most cases all people would notive is that they can't dl games.

TheKasp:

Sueing after being scammed is not stupid. And he did win. Because havin such business practices is not a good thing and defending them by saying that they should not be called out on that (what here basically happened) is fucking stupid.

And sorry but why do you assume I buy my physical copies in stores? I can get games up to 20€ cheaper if I order it from your island :P. I can live with waiting up to three days.

He wasn't really scammed, it does say that the DLC is only available as a one time download with a full retail purchase on the back of the box.

Let me summarise:

More information more obviously for the consumer = Good, very good indeed.
Sueing a company beause you didn't read the back of the box or predict that EA conduct unpleasant business practices = Not so good.

The guy who bought the game should have looked at the part mentioned here:

Andy Chalk:

What it didn't note is that Dragon Age: Origins already has a label warning that The Stone Prisoner, Shale and Blood Dragon Armor DLC require a "one time use code available with full retail purchase." That's admittedly a bit mealy-mouthed but it's there nonetheless, right beside the PC system requirements and in larger, boxed text, too. I'm all for protecting consumers from predatory business practices, but just how much hand-holding do we need before someone finally says "enough?"

TheKasp:

Why the fuck should I go to a shitstore like GameStop or GAME after I spend time in the internet to research the product? I could simply order it online. Doesn't it render those stores utterly useless if I have to fear for a scam if I don't inform myself before purchasing anything there?

As for my assumption, misinterpretation of this. I apologise.

Anyway, there should be more information more readily available but it's sad and pathetic that it took consumer ignorance to get it done.

TheKasp:

Isn't the big argument for brick&mortar stores that you can casually browse in them, especially since they have those sweet used games? Shouldn't they, based on this assumption and argument, have support that reminds you of this / provides you at least with basic facts like "first sale only DLC"?

Why the fuck should I go to a shitstore like GameStop or GAME after I spend time in the internet to research the product? I could simply order it online. Doesn't it render those stores utterly useless if I have to fear for a scam if I don't inform myself before purchasing anything there?

That's why the stores have employees, so if you're buying a used game you can go, "Hey does this game have some kind of online pass bullshit if I buy it used?" In my experience they'll most likely know or at least be able to find out.

KeyMaster45:

TheKasp:

Isn't the big argument for brick&mortar stores that you can casually browse in them, especially since they have those sweet used games? Shouldn't they, based on this assumption and argument, have support that reminds you of this / provides you at least with basic facts like "first sale only DLC"?

Why the fuck should I go to a shitstore like GameStop or GAME after I spend time in the internet to research the product? I could simply order it online. Doesn't it render those stores utterly useless if I have to fear for a scam if I don't inform myself before purchasing anything there?

That's why the stores have employees, so if your buying a used game you can go, "Hey does this game have some kind of online pass bullshit if I buy it used?" In my experience they'll most likely know or at least be able to find out.

What about all the people who don't normally play video games? It's easy for us to sit here as gamers and go lol everybody knows about dlc but what about some young kid or parents buying games for their kids? Is it really fair to expect someone who knows next to nothing about our medium to walk up to the counter and say "hey so if I buy this game do I have to pay more money to unlock features after I take it home"?

SkarKrow:

Anyway, there should be more information more readily available but it's sad and pathetic that it took consumer ignorance to get it done.

On this one I can agree. It is sad that it took this to bring it to people.

No need to apologise on the false assumtion.

KeyMaster45:

That's why the stores have employees, so if your buying a used game you can go, "Hey does this game have some kind of online pass bullshit if I buy it used?" In my experience they'll most likely know or at least be able to find out.

Well, my towns GameStops (2 of them) are both full of assholes. The three times I cared to go into them out of curiosity they behaved like those guys you hear in xbox live, were unfriendly and uncaring of their customers (empty shop, I walk in, no one gives a shit. I thought the appeal of specialised retailers is the personal expirience). And after I saw their prices I could not stop laughing about people who buy in this stores. They want literally 10€ more for games I can get on the other side of the street in Saturn.

Also, we talk about the same specialised stores that opened copies of games to take out codes just to sell them as "new". Do you really expect support there?

Musicfreak:

KeyMaster45:

TheKasp:

Isn't the big argument for brick&mortar stores that you can casually browse in them, especially since they have those sweet used games? Shouldn't they, based on this assumption and argument, have support that reminds you of this / provides you at least with basic facts like "first sale only DLC"?

Why the fuck should I go to a shitstore like GameStop or GAME after I spend time in the internet to research the product? I could simply order it online. Doesn't it render those stores utterly useless if I have to fear for a scam if I don't inform myself before purchasing anything there?

That's why the stores have employees, so if your buying a used game you can go, "Hey does this game have some kind of online pass bullshit if I buy it used?" In my experience they'll most likely know or at least be able to find out.

What about all the people who don't normally play video games? It's easy for us to sit here as gamers and go lol everybody knows about dlc but what about some young kid or parents buying games for their kids? Is it really far to expect someone who knows next to nothing about our medium to walk up to the counter and say "hey so if I buy this game do I have to pay more money to unlock features after I take it home"?

It really shouldn't be GameStop's responsibility to convey that information at all. The companies that make the games should make it clear on the box from the get go that the DLC is sold separately. I'm surprised they don't already do that since their mission is to put used games on the same level as illegal downloads.

TheKasp:
Also, we talk about the same specialised stores that opened copies of games to take out codes just to sell them as "new". Do you really expect support there?

You'll have to elaborate on that as I'm not sure what incident you're referring to. I'm sorry to hear you've had crappy experiences with the stores but we have great service in my town. The staff that works the stores cares about video games, and actually cares about their reputation. I've been buying from them since the days of the N64 and if I didn't live away at school I'd probably still be driving down to the store to buy new games for my library. Maybe I'm just lucky, I don't know, but in my 15+ years of buying from them both online and in the store I've yet to have a bad experience.

KeyMaster45:

Musicfreak:

KeyMaster45:

That's why the stores have employees, so if your buying a used game you can go, "Hey does this game have some kind of online pass bullshit if I buy it used?" In my experience they'll most likely know or at least be able to find out.

What about all the people who don't normally play video games? It's easy for us to sit here as gamers and go lol everybody knows about dlc but what about some young kid or parents buying games for their kids? Is it really far to expect someone who knows next to nothing about our medium to walk up to the counter and say "hey so if I buy this game do I have to pay more money to unlock features after I take it home"?

It really shouldn't be GameStop's responsibility to convey that information at all. The companies that make the games should make it clear on the box from the get go that the DLC is sold separately. I'm surprised they don't already do that since their mission is to put used games on the same level as illegal downloads.

TheKasp:
Also, we talk about the same specialised stores that opened copies of games to take out codes just to sell them as "new". Do you really expect support there?

You'll have to elaborate on that as I'm not sure what incident you're referring to. I'm sorry to hear you've had crappy experiences with the stores but we have great service in my town. The staff that works the stores cares about video games, and actually cares about their reputation. I've been buying from them since the days of the N64 and if I didn't live away at school I'd probably still be driving down to the store to buy new games for my library. Maybe I'm just lucky, I don't know, but in my 15+ years of buying from them both online and in the store I've yet to have a bad experience.

But in some cases the dlc isn't sold separately unless you buy used. Why would A game company waste money putting a warning on the box that only applies to sales they see no profit from?

Can always count on The Escapist to stand up for big business and against consumers/gamers in these issues xD
It's a pretty clear cut case of grievance over the dealings of a company on a consumers part, that consumer taking it to a court of law, the company mentioned losing said lawsuit and having to implement more consumer-friendly ways of making their practices more obvious.
There shouldn't be any discussion of whether this is a good thing at all, it's a win/win for gamers/consumers.

As to all the people defending GameStop in this, I want you all to remember that you're at fault that games will be locked to single accounts or similar come next Console Cycle and you can't share them with friends anymore, because instead of hitting up Amazon or other Online Retailers and getting the games even cheaper than their "Used" prices brand new you decided to constantly give them your money instead of the people that made the game.

Musicfreak:
But in some cases the dlc isn't sold separately unless you buy used. Why would A game company waste money putting a warning on the box that only applies to sales they see no profit from?

Because when people see it on a used game they'll be more inclined to buy new. Sounds like a solid marketing strategy in my opinion. Least that's how I assume the logic would work in an executive's mind. It's the equivalent of the "some assembly" required message on legos. (by which I mean if you're buying a lego set used then the "some assembly" should inform you pieces may be missing from said used lego set.)

KeyMaster45:

Musicfreak:
But in some cases the dlc isn't sold separately unless you buy used. Why would A game company waste money putting a warning on the box that only applies to sales they see no profit from?

Because when people see it on a used game they'll be more inclined to buy new. Sounds like a solid marketing strategy in my opinion. Least that's how I assume the logic would work in an executive's mind. It's the equivalent of the "some assembly" required message on legos. (by which I mean if you're buying a lego set used then the "some assembly" should inform you pieces may be missing from said used lego set.)

I highly doubt the amount of people turned off from these warning labels is going to offset the cost of printing them. Especially when the combined cost is generally less than buying the game new anyway and there are store clerks who are no doubt going to be told to tell customers just that.

Considering it has always mentioned it on the box, that's pretty ridiculous. But nope, gamestop iz teh evilz! Sueeeeeee

What really sucks is now there is going to be another sticker ruining the box art, they already had way too many.

TheKasp:

Well, my towns GameStops (2 of them) are both full of assholes.

Indeed, and this I can agree on. Our local store is staffed by fanboys and arseholes.

I think this is good. It will bring attention to the sleaziness of publishers who try to punish customers that buy used. It is sleazy and the more people that know about it (via big ugly stickers) the faster it will go away.

You guys really don't want Gamestop to pay royalties because that muddies the water for ALL used goods, even those sold at garage sales. Don't think no one will come after garage sales, greedy business' who see the potential for money will go for it. For example, I'd say an extra $1 million per year by collecting royalties from garage sales isn't out of the question.

Also, I used to buy new first and used only if I had to, I have done a 180 and now look for used first. Why? Online passes and the general hatred of consumer rights from publishers.

Fucking gamestop, but still, the new way of doing business is what caused the rip-off suit anyway, so fuck the big publishers even more.

 

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