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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Adam802http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ex-Sen-Leland-Yee-may-be-headed-for-a-plea-deal-6358941.php07/01/2015 - 7:12am
Adam802Possible plea deal in Yee case: http://www.mercurynews.com/crime-courts/ci_28408532/leland-yee-case-plea-deal-appears-likely07/01/2015 - 7:11am
MattsworknameInfo, Im with goth on this, the moment people start saying "You can but you shouldnt" thats a slow slide into censorship07/01/2015 - 6:05am
InfophileIn other words, you stopped when you found out it was arguing for a position you disagreed with, but before you found out why.07/01/2015 - 5:29am
Goth_Skunk"In short, anyone can write a rape scene—but should they? Chances are, the answer is no." And that's where I stopped reading.07/01/2015 - 5:11am
InfophileRelevant to our discussion of rape in fiction yesterday: http://www.wired.com/2015/06/rape-scenes/07/01/2015 - 4:58am
Mattsworknameof players, over and over for the last seveal years. Among non RPG games, which make up the vast majority of current games, I think that you still see a large scale disparity between male and female in the AAA industry.07/01/2015 - 1:36am
Mattsworknamewilson. Out of RPG players yes, thats true, and in pc ciricles im not suprised, but RPGS make a small fraction of Console games these days and while pc gaming is seeing a resurgance, MMOs are actually retracting in size , as shown by WOW losing millions07/01/2015 - 1:33am
Matthew Wilsonhere is the study to prove it. http://www.pcgamer.com/researchers-find-that-female-pc-gamers-outnumber-males/07/01/2015 - 1:17am
Matthew Wilson@matt wrong over half of rpg players, both singleplayer and mmos, are female.07/01/2015 - 1:15am
MechaCrashRight, women don't usually play AAA games because none are aimed at them because they don't play them because none are aimed at them because okay you see where I'm going with this.07/01/2015 - 1:11am
MattsworknameI think the better path is this, more games built to give you the Choice of playing as male or female, and give the females good voice actors07/01/2015 - 1:08am
Mattsworknameup more then a fraction of the AAA games industry, but they make up a much larger part of the moble market.07/01/2015 - 1:04am
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Matthew Wilsonits unfortunate that the dataset is so tiny for female leads, and is a mixed bag, so money people get the wrong idea.06/30/2015 - 11:54pm
Andrew Eisen"Duke Nukem Forever sold poorly. See? Games staring white guys don't sell!" Pretty silly thing to say.06/30/2015 - 11:50pm
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Matthew Wilsonyou would think games like metriod, portal and tomb raider would show that it work, but hopefuly those knew ones will.06/30/2015 - 11:47pm
 

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