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.