("From the Editor's Desk" is a new video series where the Editor-in-Chief, O.G., sounds off on a news story of the week.)
The big news the other day, that wasn't related to Capcom's Captivate event, was the Gamestop settlement in California. Gamestop was sued in California for selling used games that are missing the DLC that you get when you purchase them new. Examples of this kind of DLC are online passes, DLC campaigns, and essentially anything that publishers add to give a new game more value than a used game. Gamestop settled on the lawsuit and will have to do two things for the next two years. First, stores in California must have signage stating that used games may have additional DLC to purchase, and they will also have to reimburse customers for DLC that they are missing out on by buying used.
Now on the surface, this appears to be a big win for consumers, but I'm left with a lot of questions about what's going to happen in the future. First off, how is Gamestop going to react towards their customers? Gamestop has already dropped the trade-in value of games with new game DLC, but thanks to this settlement, they may just say ‘screw it’ and start dropping trade-in credit across the board. California has a ton of gamers that could have a lot of money coming back to them causing Gamestop to lose a lot of money. The amount of losses if customers in other states file similar lawsuits could be enough to cripple the company.
Another problem is that this will create a precedent that will affect other retailers. Amazon sells tons of used games, what if they become the target of a similar lawsuit. Best Buy, Walmart and mom and pop shops could also be sued for the same issue, even if they all begin warning customers about the missing DLC.
Finally, and this is probably a bit of a stretch, will this cause a problem with publishers? A big company like Gamestop is not going to take this huge hit on their own. I wonder if maybe they'll demand some sort of return from publishers since it was the publisher's decision to attach new purchase DLC to their games.
Who knows what will happen, but this lawsuit could have ramifications that can change the business of video games. This also could be the beginning of the downfall of Gamestop if the “next generation consoles are going to prevent the playing of used games” rumor proves to be true.
Let me know what you think in the comments.