A settlement in a lawsuit from lawfirm Baron and Budd will force GameStop to label its used games for sale in California with a sticker warning consumers that they will have to pay for access to “free” DLCs that ordinarily come with the purchase of a new version of the game. Additionally, GameStop will have to put up stands or posters to warn consumers about the practice, as well as refunding buyers who were previously unaware that their used copy would require further purchase of the DLCs.
In a statement regarding the outcome of the settlement, Baron and Budd stated:
“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,” said Mark Pifko, Baron and Budd attorney and counsel in the lawsuit. “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.”
Indeed, it seems that the end is nigh for used game sales as we know them. GameStop will have to dramatically lower their prices of used copies of games now that consumers are overtly aware of the fact that they are missing content otherwise deemed “free” by the publishers. As a consumer, and one living in California, I have high hopes for the repercussions that might stem from this settlement. Although the concept of “free” DLCs upon first release of a game seems like money-grubbing, GameStop’s prices on used games is often ludicrous, especially when compared to the money that they pay consumers who sell them their copies. Hopefully this will mean that consumers can buy used games at a price they are actually worth.