I’m in beast mode today. I’m not sure whether it’s because finals are close or because the weather in Michigan sucks. Either way, I’m dropping rage up in the Satyricon.
Electronic Arts Sends Media Illegal Brass Knuckles
As part of their press kit for their newly-released Godfather II game, Electronic Arts shipped brass knuckles to gaming journalists. Problem? They’re illegal in several states. It’s even illegal to ship them in California (where EA is based). In a short interview with Gamepolitics.com, EA confirmed they were recalling the knuckle-dusters as well as crapping their pants:
“EA: I hope you’re enjoying our Godfather II press kit, including the novelty brass knuckles. To help you take proper care to dispose of the item, we’re sending you a pre-paid shipping package.
And I can’t discuss this any further.
GamePolitics.com: Are you doing this with all of the journalists who received the brass knuckles? Or just me because I wrote about them?
EA: I can’t discuss this any further.”
Gamestop sells used games as new.
Apparently, Gamestop has a policy that allows employees to take brand-spanking-new video games home, play them (you know, for review purposes), and then bring them back to the store for resale to consumers as “new.” In an amazing show of stupidity, attorney Mark Methentis doesn’t see what the big fat hairy deal is:
“However, I still think that if the plastic seal is not a major issue, there is no difference in the game experience between a perfect condition new disk and a perfect condition disk played once by an employee, besides the potential public relations issues. Of course, when I say perfect condition, I mean everything: kept in a smoke free environment, free of dirt, not kept in direct sunlight or damaging temperatures, etc. I believe that’s a major factor as to why the GameStop employees I’ve known are far more likely to check out a used title than a new one.”
Let me clue you in, Mark. It is a major issue. Asswipe sixteen-year-old kids working at Gamestop aren’t particularly known for their responsible nature. Anytime I’ve ever bought a used game from Gamestop, it looks like the previous owner played it on their Sandpaper360. So, when I buy a game labeled as “new”, I expect it to not have been used in someone else’s console. I mean the plain language of “new” implies that THE PRODUCT HASN’T BEEN USED. I mean, why are used games cheaper if consumers don’t value a new product? Use your noodle, Mark!
Whatever. I can’t stay mad at you Methentis. I dig your blog. BFFs?
Over at Kotaku, a non-lawyer takes a better stab at it:
The FTC Act Test for false advertising states that there must be a representation, omission or practice that is likely to mislead the consumer. Second, the FTC examines the practice from the standpoint of a reasonable consumer. Finally, the representation, omission, or practice must be a “material” one (whether the act or practice is likely to affect the consumer’s conduct or decision with regard to a product or service). In GameStop’s situation, it sounds like the employees have mislead the customer by representing that the game is new and omitted the fact the game has been used. A reasonable customer would not pay full price for a used game; the representation or omission would affect the customer’s decision; and therefore, the representation or omission is material and would constitute false advertising.
Ah. The sound of sweet sweet common sense.
Time Warner Cable Execs Announce Draconian Bandwidth Caps
Lara Crigger over at Gamerswithjobs and Bill Harris of Dubious Quality both chime in on Time Warner’s plan to roll out a 5GB bandwidth cap in test markets. For those of you not technically inclined, 5GB is less than one hi-def (high def? HD?) movie. Coincidence? I think not. I think this move is obviously designed to bolster on demand video.
Bill Harris writes:
“So if you’re Time Warner, and you can’t stop the bleeding, what do you do? You leverage the monopoly you have inside franchise cities for broadband service. They could never roll out this kind of pricing plan, could never use it to pressure content providers, if there was any real competition. I think this is the line in the sand, though, and they’re going to defend it as fiercely as they can.”
Without competition, this will be an inevitable race to the bottom and ISP’s will see this as just another revenue stream. As much as I despise TWC, I’d like to see them implement caps just to highlight this issue. My mother, 70 years old, watches HD shows on Hulu. I’d bet money she goes over 5GB every other day. When Joe and Sally Consumer start getting overage notices from their “unlimited” broadband provider, they’re going to freak out.
It will be glorious.
I think its interesting how the word new means different things depending on the product. There is a whole class of consumer items we buy that have all been used but are called new. Clothing/furniture/cars etc are all technically used. We would never buy before we had a chance to try them out, consequently they are all slightly used by those who did not choose to buy.
If Gamestop wants to put video games into the same category as these other try before you buy items it would be great news. Of course they probably would be pretty annoyed with you if you open every game and play with it for 15 minutes before you decide which one you want to buy.
Kewl. GameStop thinks I should pay full “new” price for gently used games – they have a deal, just as soon as they pay me full “new” price when they buy a gently used game from me (instead of some pitiful $10 or so).
Thank you for the read. I play a lot of video games and enjoy reading articles about game related things like this! I will probably follow your blog now. It seems like there is a lot of good information on here! Thanks again…