Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

August 24, 2011 -

Wired's Game | Life taps into the legal expertise of attorney Mark Methenitis to determine if GameStop might face legal action for removing OnLive coupons from PC retail boxed copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution.

Naturally there may be some unforeseen issues at play here that could affect whether Square Enix could sue the top games retailer - like if both companies have an existing agreement or contract that bars Square Enix from including deals from GameStop's direct competitors. That's doubtful considering that GameStop allows games that include Steamworks or the Steam Client on disc.  Steam is clearly a direct competitor to GameStop's Impulse digital distribution platform. Here's what Methenitis thinks about that:

"Existing contracts between GameStop and Square may have barred this kind of promotion, and so GameStop may actually be justified in their action if Square is in breach of some promotion/marketing agreement."

Methenitis also said that GameStop's actions related to OnLive probably did not violate consumers' rights, and even though consumers could sue the company for "deceptive trade practices or fraudulent advertising," they wouldn't have much of a case because the coupon wasn't advertised on the game's packaging.

Methenitis closes by saying that some of GameStop’s policies might have violated Federal Trade Commission policy. One in particular is an employee "rental plan" that lets employees rent brand new games. The problem is that these "rented titles" are brought back to the store and sold as "new" products for full price. This practice has been going on for several years and was the subject of a class action lawsuit against the company which inevitably failed.

Game|Life contacted the Federal Trade Commission for comment and got the following response:

"The FTC Act prohibits unfair and deceptive business practices," an FTC representative told Wired.com. "So if a company misrepresents that a product is new and doesn’t make adequate disclosures that it has been open or used, then that could be considered deceptive."

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Comments

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

so its perfectly legal for them to sell opened, altered, and possibly damaged products at full price?

or did he skip that part?

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

I guess as long as they are not altering known/advertised features, it is probably legal.

Though now I am wondering what kind of case would exist if GameStop had altered something deeper then a cupon... say, the game itself.. remove a few levels and require you to buy alternate versions from their content group.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

Yes. It is perfectly legal. "New" does not necessarily constitute "sealed". And what the article doesn't mention is that Gamestop does not permit employees from checking out PC titles, due to DRM concerns.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

What about DRM concerns on console games? Rarer (for now), but still there. See: Borderlands GotY edition.

 

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

If you were talking about the OLD version of the GOTY, then Gamestop employees simply don't use the code. The new versions of GOTY either have the DLC built into the game disc (PS3) or on a seperate disc (Xbox 360).

If you knew how crappy Gamestop treats all their employees that are below an ASM, you probably wouldn't complain about the check-out program. Here's a few fun facts to help.

Fun fact #1: The single most common question asked of any Gamestop employee is "Is (insert game name here) any good? Gamestop employees are obviously expected to own every single game ever released.

Fun fact #2: Despite popular opinion, Gamestop employees do NOT get to play games before their street date. The exception to this, obviously, are the stupid-ass managers who break street date simply because they think they can and that nobody will find out.

Fun fact #2.5: They always find out, sooner or later, and are subsequently fired.

Fun fact #3 (More of a suggestion): If you're really that concerned about getting a sealed copy of a game, then ask for one. If they don't have one, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. I used to be one of those of the mind that a game is somehow tainted if someone else had played it before me. It wasn't until AFTER I had worked for Gamestop that I realized how much of a pretentious douchebag I was.

Fun fact #4 (As stated in the shoutbox): Many Gamestop stores have shrink wrap machines. If all it took to get you to shut up about it is shrink wrap the game before it's sold to you, you'd be none the wiser.

Re: Attorney Mark Methenitis on GameStop-OnLive Fiasco

All the more reason not to buy new or used above 30$.


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Matthew Wilsonmy god....... people need to play life is strange. its a very very dark version of twin peaks08/01/2015 - 12:56pm
DocMelonheadLook, I know that you guys wanted to study Gamergate; hell, one of your writers were Interviewing KiA on the subject (He's been banned from GamerGhazi). Sadly, the minorities veiwed Gamergate the same way as WBC at best, and Nazis at worst.08/01/2015 - 12:31pm
DocMelonheadIP wanted you to know that GamerGate is about Harassing minorities into submission, not "Ethnics in Journalism". It been a year since the Zoe Post was published and sparked a hate mob on Zoe Quinn.08/01/2015 - 12:28pm
DocMelonheadThat what's IP's goal is here in regard to gamergate: to get you guys to disassociate yourselves from the harassers that made all those claims up to threaten the advocates of social justice for minorities.08/01/2015 - 12:24pm
DocMelonheadIP tries to demonize all of GamerGate and it's supporters, along with those who didn't outright condemn it as a cover for a hate mob full of bigots.08/01/2015 - 12:20pm
MechaCrashNo, IP is trying to dehumanize you, I'm just pointing out that you're a hypocrit who makes bad faith arguments.08/01/2015 - 11:56am
Andrew EisenAnd I'm off too. Play nice, y'all!08/01/2015 - 11:33am
Andrew EisenIn short, discussions of ethics in journalism? Totally fine. Said indie dev's sex life? Not okay.08/01/2015 - 11:31am
james_fudgeTry talking when you have hundreds of people tweeting at you at the same time :)08/01/2015 - 11:30am
Andrew EisenAnd yet, when 30-seconds of research showed that there was no relevance to said indie dev's sex life, many people kept talking about. Hell, still do to this day. I had a guy on Twitter pester me about this nonsense for an entire day last weekend.08/01/2015 - 11:30am
james_fudgeWhatever dude, you're here posting. No one's stopping you.08/01/2015 - 11:30am
Goth_SkunkBe advised: In approximately 30 minutes I'm heading out of town for an obligatory family reunion. This is being stated so that none can interpret my upcoming 24 hour hiatus as a tail-tucking turn from discussion.08/01/2015 - 11:28am
Goth_SkunkEven now, IronPatriot, MechaCrash, and Craig R. continue to attempt to shout me down and dehumanize me.08/01/2015 - 11:25am
Goth_SkunkWhat transpired afterwards was a concerted effort to shout down and dehumanize those trying to bring these matters out into the open. I remain utterly convinced of this to this day.08/01/2015 - 11:24am
Goth_SkunkAnd yet the sex life of this indie developer tied right into the matter of journalistic ethics, as investigations uncovered a great number of breaches of ethical conduct, both related & not. That scandal is the orifice from which the balloon is inflated.08/01/2015 - 11:20am
MechaCrashI am reminded of the saying about playing chess with a pigeon.08/01/2015 - 11:13am
Andrew EisenThis is supported by, well, what actually happened, but also the text of the actual leaks. That was Tito's question and what he and a few (four total, I think) were discussing.08/01/2015 - 11:11am
Andrew EisenNo, it's not. What was generally prohibited was not discussion of journalistic ethics or other GamerGate topics, but threads that were, for example, discussing the sex life of an indie developer. THOSE are what were locked and removed.08/01/2015 - 11:10am
Goth_SkunkI don't believe you. Not for a second. Every major site with the exception of the Escapist prohibited discussion of GamerGate in its early stages. That is a fact.08/01/2015 - 11:04am
Andrew EisenNo, that's a fact. Don't believe me, read 'em yourself. No one was trying to censor discussion of GamerGate.08/01/2015 - 11:02am
 

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