Game Over for Software Store’s Re-Selling

A professional headshot

It appears that a popular video game retailer is playing some games of their own.  GameStop (NYSE: GME), whose headquarters is in Grapevine TX, has been named in a class-action lawsuit in regards to the selling of used video games without including all of the downloadable content, or DLC.  When purchasing a new video game, a special unique keycode is included that allows the purchaser access to new features, such as new weapons, enhanced features, or updated rosters.  The class-action states that since anyone who buys a used game does not have access to the keycode, and GameStop does not strictly state this, they are in violation of the Consumer Fraud Act. The suit was filed in New Jersey as each plaintiff is seeking about $10-$15 per game in locations across the state from Fall 2010 to Summer 2012.

In short, plaintiffs feel that they were buying a “used” product for less money, when it reality they were buying a “lesser” product for less money.  GameStop was denied a request to have the case dismissed by a judge in New Jersey.  The key here is the software retailing giant’s failure to notify their consumers that the DLC code would not be included when a game is resold.  Furthermore, the class-action also states that GameStop duped consumers by tallying the dollar value of re-sold games on receipts.  The counter-argument is that in-store advertisements, as well as stickers on the game cases themselves, strictly implies that some extra purchases may be required.

Contrary to the popular belief that “video games are for kids”, the industry currently makes more money per year than the film industry and continues to grow.  Experts suggest that they will reach the $80 billion revenue mark in this year alone.  With the Playstation 4 and Xbox One slated for release this fall, GameStop should certainly be be able to afford giving $10 to each person in this lawsuit.  The unfortunate part of the gaming industry, as it is with everything else, is that brand new products immediately depreciate as soon as you leave the store.  Although GameStop had found a nice way to solve that problem and turn it into a positive using their re-selling of used games, it appears they’re going to need an extra life. Game over!