Used game sales "deceptively misleading" at GameStop, claims lawsuit

Project Ten Dollar at root of complaint over second hand game content

US retail giant GameStop has been accused of "deceptively misleading" customers over access to free downloadable content offered as part of EA's Project Ten Dollar initiative.

First reported by website IGN, the lawsuit claims that GameStop has failed to warn customers that used games do not allow access to downloadable content intended only for the original purchasers.

The original plaintiff in the case is James Collins, who purchased a used copy of Dragon Age: Origins but could not access the additional free downlodable content, which requires a one-time use access code.

A similar system is used in Mass Effect 2, also by developer BioWare, with replacement codes costing around $10.

Collins claims that advertisements for the downloadable content on the box cover implies that it is still available for free and that "GameStop tricks consumers into paying more for a used game than they would if they purchased the same game and content new."

GameStop initially refused him a refunded as he had not returned the game within seven days.

Project Ten Dollar was specifically designed by EA to combat second-hand sales, but the retail world has so far been critical of the move. Chipsworld MD Don McCabe in UK suggested that the scheme would alienate customers.

GameStop's response has been more diplomatic, suggesting that publishers should activate participate in the pre-owned business, by releasing more downloadable content, rather than trying to discourage it.

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Latest comments (6)

David Braben Chairman, Frontier Developments7 years ago
And so it starts...

Gamestop should allow the industry to participate in pre-owned (ie get a slice of the revenue). Then there would be no problem.
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Ian Bell Head of Studio, Slightly Mad Studios7 years ago
Indeed, industry participation in the revenue generated would remove the incentive for publishers to package games with 'free downloadable DLC', in order to attempt to block this 'lost revenue' channel.

I suspect we'll see blank boxes in the to and fro before the retailers give in though.
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Stefan Pettersson Specialist Consultant, Fat Tuna7 years ago
If publishers are so mad at Gamestop for their used game sales. Then why do they grant Gamestop exclusive promotion deals where their customers get bonus content? Wouldn't it be a better idea to grant these promotion deals to stores that doesn't sell used games?
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David Amirian Writer 7 years ago
there are two sides of the coin when you're talking about promo deals. Promo deals for NEW games have nothing to do with used game sales. It wouldn't be a better idea at all because you would be ostracizing the biggest game seller for the sake of "not supporting" GameStop's sale of used games. That's not going to stop people from selling their games back to GameStop.

The best way to "combat" used game sales is do what EA is doing. It is up to GameStop now to change their policy in used game sales to disclaim that any additional "free downloadable content" may not be free when they purchase the used game. It was GameStop's fault for not correctly disclaiming that fact when they put it up on the shelf. It's GameStop's problem at this point.
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Ben Furneaux Principal Designer 7 years ago
Why not make it an option at the till to add on the extra $10 DLC as part of the initial transaction, thereby increasing the chance of cutting in the developer.
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Aidan Minter Marketing Manager, Tradewest Games Ltd7 years ago
primarily because if like in the UK the retailer will put up a used game price for as much as 42.99 ( yes used!) so adding another cost to that wouldn't work. Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 is currently on sale pre-owned for 42.99 at Game ltd.
Premium releases like Battlefield and AAA releases will still have a higher price pre owned than most titles, you'll be lucky to get a sub 29.95 for Battlefield 2 pre owned.

You're better off buying a new copy with the content already in it.
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