GameStop has settled with law firm Baron and Budd over a Californian class action lawsuit regarding, wait for it, used games and downloadable content. The case discusses DLC or online features that are advertised on game packaging, but not included with used purchases. It argues that GameStop is taking advantage of consumers who are unaware of these extra costs.
Specifically, the settlement results in two result: firstly, if you've purchases a used game like I've described above, you may be able to recover $15 in cash and coupons for restitution; secondly, GameStop will be required to label and advertise the extra DLC costs of purchasing such a game in the future.
Attorney for Baron and Budd, Park Pifko, had this to say on the settlement:
“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.”
Claim forms will be available on the the lawsuit's Facebook page soon, and keep in mind this is a California lawsuit, so if you're not from Cali you're out of luck.
It's tough to imagine what sort of widespread effect this lawsuit will have. At face value it seems like a win for used game purchasers, as GameStop will begin appropriately pricing games with extra costs for DLC and online passes.
Still, it's hard not to be disappointed that the scope of this case was whether GameStop was taking advantage of consumers, and not that publishers are taking advantage of GameStop and consumers. Advertising multiplayer on a box, but what's actually being sold is an account-tied license that provides access to multiplayer seems a bit exploitative. That's probably a bit too much to hope for, though.