California GameStops Must Post Warnings For Used Games
Don't worry; the boxes won't lie to you anymore. Well, at least not in California.
The latest news involves a settlement Baron and Budd reached with GameStop in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
According to the report, the settlement concerns used video games sold by the retailer to consumers who are unable to access downloadable content and online features unless they pay an additional $15. The problem with this is that the packaging of the games always say the DLC is available for free with purchase of the game. Now, GameStop must (for the next two years), post signs on used game shelves and online, "warning consumers that certain downloadable content may require an additional purchase." Seems like a reasonable solution.
Furthermore, consumers will get the chance to recover the $15 they would've had to pay for access to that DLC: Those who purchased "qualifying used games" and are part of the PowerUp Rewards program can receive a $10 check and a $5 coupon. If you purchased a qualifying title but aren't a PowerUp member, you'll receive a $5 check and a $10 coupon. Said Mark Pifko, Baron and Budd attorney and counsel in the lawsuit:
"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. 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 lawsuit mentions that GameStop purchases used games from consumers "for only a fraction of the original price, and then sells them to other consumers at a marked-up price, usually around $5 less than the price of a new game, to maximize their profits." This results in over $2 billion/year in used game sales, and they still don't have to pay royalties to game publishers or developers. Yeah, that's still a problem.
4/10/2012 8:51:42 PM Ben Dutka