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$.


Copyright infringement is nothing more than civil disobedience to a bad set of laws. Let's renegotiate them.

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Andrew EisenThe humor reminds me a lot of Axe Cop.05/29/2015 - 1:37am
WymorenceOh sweet god, Kung Fury is freaking awesome...05/28/2015 - 10:03pm
E. Zachary KnightWonder, I know you can revise content and resubmit it, but I can't findany information about a formal appeals process.05/28/2015 - 7:27pm
Wonderkarpever wonder if there's an appeals process for AO?05/28/2015 - 6:55pm
Matthew WilsonDanny and Andy play the first couple of levels of the upcoming Hatred http://www.gamespot.com/videos/hatred-gamespot-plays/2300-6425016/ imho it does not look like it should be AO.05/28/2015 - 5:57pm
Andrew EisenHey, remember Kung Fury? That short film that was funded via Kickstarter a few years ago? You can watch it now. I suggest you do. It's fun! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bS5P_LAqiVg05/28/2015 - 5:14pm
Goth_SkunkOriginally, yes. Some content was cut out in order to reduce its ratign from AO down to M, but PC users could work around that an unlock the full content by means of a patch. Which is what I did. :D05/28/2015 - 3:56pm
Andrew EisenKarp - Yes, for strong sexual content. Although the recent remaster contains all that content and was rated M.05/28/2015 - 3:54pm
Andrew EisenDepends on if you consider Hatred misrated. I haven't played the game or seen the ESRB's rating summary so I'm undecided.05/28/2015 - 3:53pm
WonderkarpDidnt Fahrenheit have an AO?05/28/2015 - 3:52pm
Matthew Wilson@AE that is why I said it seems more moral panic to me.05/28/2015 - 3:51pm
Andrew EisenMatthew - From what I've seen (just the trailers) the game is nowhere near as gory as many, many other games. But again, I'm guessing the AO rating comes from theme and tone rather than outright gore.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Andrew EisenKarp - It didn't show penetration or nudity.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
WonderkarpI'd say Mortal Kombat X has more Gore and Violence than Hatred.05/28/2015 - 3:50pm
Matthew Wilsonwhat I mean by worse in this case its not more gory/violent than others.05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
WonderkarpI forget....did Hot Coffee actually show Penetration?05/28/2015 - 3:48pm
Andrew EisenKarp - The Skyrim mods are external mods. The Hot Coffee mod unlocked content on the disc. Big difference. Still, the content that was unlocked was still perfectly in line with an M rating in my opinion.05/28/2015 - 3:47pm
Andrew EisenThemes are factored into ratings, not just mechanics. Still waiting for ESRB's rating summary. Very curious to see what it has to say.05/28/2015 - 3:46pm
Matthew WilsonHatred is a top down shooter though, and isnt any worse than other top down shooters?05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
Wonderkarpyeah, San Andreases rerating was ridiculous. Why not rerate Skyrim with all its crazy sex mods out there? But yeah, ESRB is good as policing itself. 05/28/2015 - 3:45pm
 

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