Posted by Chuck Corbin on Apr 11, 2012

GameStop Reaches Settlement Regarding Used Games And DLC

GameStop has reached a settlement with the group Baron and Budd, who had sued GameStop in a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit alleged that certain games being sold by GameStop were advertised on the box to contain free downloadable content and other features, but it was then found out that those particular games required the user to pay an additional 15 dollar fee to access the content.

GameStop is known for making most of its money from used game sales, as it doesn’t have to give a cut to the publishers. They do this by buying a game for a fraction of its full price, and then marking the game up so that it’s around 5 dollars less than the new copy. Since most people are not picky about whether a game is used or not, many people, including myself from time to time, will buy the used copy.

It looks like EA has caught GameStop napping on the job, however. Over the last couple of year, EA has been including Online Passes with their new copies of games, so that the buyer can access all the online features for free without having to pay an extra dime. However, once that pass has been used, if the game changes hands to another person, that person can’t access many of the online features without paying for the Online Pass. This was implemented in part so that EA could make some money off of used game sales. My guess is that GameStop didn’t think through the implications that a person could potentially pay more for a used copy of a game compared to a new copy of the same game, and didn’t price accordingly.

As it is, GameStop will now have to pay the price. In California, where the lawsuit originated, GameStop will have to place signs on the shelves in the stores and online to warn customers that the used games they are buying may be required to pay an extra fee to access online features. GameStop will also be required to allow consumers to recover the $15 they had to spend to enable the online features, with a $10 check and $5 coupon for PowerUp Rewards customers, or a $5 check and $10 coupon for non-Rewards customers.


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