Gamestop Discovers The Streisand Effect; Gives OnLive Tons Of Free Publicity In Trying To Take Away Coupons

from the epic-failure dept

Last week was an interesting week for Gamestop. As a ton of you sent in, the company decided to require all stores to open up all PC copies of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and discard an included coupon for a free version of the game via the OnLive streaming platform. OnLive and Square Enix had announced the promotion to help both companies, but apparently Gamestop was jealous to be cut out of the mix. Below is an image of the order that GameSpy, who broke that story, received:
From there the story got more bizarre. Gamestop didn't even seem to realize how bad this looked at first, insisting that it just didn't want to help advertise "a competitor." Soon after all of this came out, Gamestop ordered its stores to remove the game from its shelves entirely as part of a "recall" in agreement with Square Enix. The likely implication: Gamestop and Square Enix worked out a deal to offer versions of the game without the coupon, meaning Gamestop employees won't have to destroy the coupons.

However, the real story in all of this should be just how much free publicity Gamestop just gave OnLive in its hamfisted attempt to pretend the company didn't exist. And, of course, now it means that anyone wishing to buy the PC version of the game is probably (assuming that no coupons will be available) better off buying it from someone other than Gamestop. I've defended Gamestop's used game sales practices for years, but I'm amazed the company thought any of this was a good idea.


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  1.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Gamestop is one of the few companies I would like to see wiped off the face of the earth. It is genuinely harmful to consumers, games companies AND its own interests.

    And all for the sake of a fistful of dollars.

     

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  2.  
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    anonymous, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:17am

    the 'olive branch' has been extended. from what i read, owners of the game can get a $50 coupon from store where game was bought (provided the receipt is shown) and 'buy 2, get third free' offer as well

     

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  3.  
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    Overcast (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:24am

    Thanks Gamestop - I'll keep in mind that you may get the package before me and decide what parts of it I'm allowed to have.

    Hey Gamestop; you happen to know if this is out on Amazon now?

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:28am

    Simply put I Will Not Ever Shop At Gamespot !!!

     

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  5.  
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    Scooters (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:30am

    Re:

    You're entitled to your opinion, but you'd be very mistaken to keep it.

    If it wasn't for GameStop, many developers wouldn't be getting my money. If you think I'm spending $60+ on a "chance", you're mistaken.

    A series must now prove itself to me, and then will I support it. I can't stress enough of those who have sold their games making it advantageous to me to try out a title for as little as $4.99.

    Because, and this is going to shock your sensibility, if the game was that good, why would anyone get rid of it?

    No, the industry is hurting itself in manners like this article, where it appears it's about screwing over the competition.

    (on topic)

    I've no idea of all the details, but this does seem like a crap move by SquareEnix, to include coupons for a competitor's product. I don't know if Gamestop was aware of it or not, but if it wasn't, that's just insulting on so many levels.

    While it does benefit the consumer (obviously), I'd be questioning the coupon because I didn't expect to see it offered. Imagine if you opened up a EA game for a coupon for a Ubisoft title. Tell me you'd think it was normal.

    I'm backing Gamestop on this one. It may have been stupid to open the games and remove the coupon (rather than just pull the games), but I've yet to see Gamestop was aware the coupon existed until after the fact.

    Would make sense, then.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I've a $7.99 game of Fallout 3 to play. :)

     

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  6.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    The thing is that OnLive actually sucks. Gamestop was doing a community service.

     

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  7.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:41am

    New or used?

    They couldn't have sold those games as new after doing that, could they?

     

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  8.  
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    Riptow, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:49am

    Re: Scooter

    You do realize, don't ypu, that your $7.99 copy of Fallout 3 provided precisely $0.00 to the makers of the game, right?

    You're defending the "right" of a retailer to open a product, remove items of value it doesn't like, and then sell it as new. New implies 'the way it left the factory', and anything less is fraud.

    So, in short, you're supporting fraud because the guilty party supports your cheap buying habits that don't even support the developers anyway. Classy.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:52am

    Gamestop is the worst

    I know for a fact employees open the games they want and play them at home, and then sell them later as new.

     

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  10.  
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    Andrew (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re:

    So why didn't gamestop pull the game when they found out? If you ask me they should have sold the game as used not new. Since someone had already opened the package and taken something out that the manufacturer put in. That should never happen with anything I buy.

    My point is while I see your point about not promoting a competitor as you see this has driven much more business to their competitors unintentionally and they look bad in the eyes of everyone.

     

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  11.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:05am

    Re: New or used?

    They tried. Therein lay the problem.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:10am

    Re:

    Is buing a used car a fraud upon the production line? Right of First sale says I can sell my used product. Used product markets support new markets. It a part of the product life cycle, not fruad.


    Yes it is true that used sales do not directly benefit the developers. It indirectly benefits the developers because it keeps demand up, only a part of which is used.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:19am

    Re:

    Why should we owe the developers money on a copy of a game that was already paid for by whoever sold us the used copy? That's fucking insane.

     

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  14.  
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    blaktron (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re:

    Im pretty sure he wasn't talking about the used games trade in general, but the hellish company that is gamestop.

     

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  15.  
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    Phillip Vector (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re:

    *sigh*

    If they are marketing said used car as new, yes.

     

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  16.  
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    David Liu (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re:

    Wow, that's a terrible twist of words if I ever saw one. That, or your reading comprehension is downright terrible.

    He's not saying selling something used is fraud. He's saying that selling something not new as new is fraud. Which it is.

     

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  17.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re:

    If it wasn't for GameStop, many developers wouldn't be getting my money. If you think I'm spending $60+ on a "chance", you're mistaken.

    A series must now prove itself to me, and then will I support it. I can't stress enough of those who have sold their games making it advantageous to me to try out a title for as little as $4.99.


    if you buy titles used, the developer doesn't get anything from the sale.

     

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    theangryintern (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:10am

    This is why I just normally stick with Steam. Preordered on Steam and got a bunch of cool Deus Ex related stuff in TF2!

     

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  19.  
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    Arik Jones, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:11am

    Troll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    if you buy titles used, the developer doesn't get anything from the sale.

    If you buy used, 1) you support others buying new and 2) you can cheaply try out series and developers and become a fan who might buy new in the future. The used market can be very helpful to game developers indirectly.

     

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  21.  
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    Lord Binky, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'll buy used games if I can't get new ones (dreamcast games come to mind). And used game sales are great if your finding an eight dollar game you want. Where the developers get screwed badly on sales and can be a poor deal for many consumers, and I do find it a sleezy business practice, is when the new $60 dollar game is undercut by the used game at $5-10 dollars less. If people are "buying" the used game and then selling it back, it is essentially a really expensive rental. At that point, your not getting a $4-8 dollar great buy, so why not just rent the 10 hour game you beat in a weekend instead of "buy" it and sell it back for 10 times the price.

     

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  22.  
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    egghead (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:21am

    A decent comparison?

    So would this be like Ford, or some other car manufacturer, including a free rental program with each new vehicle; yet, when the dealership gets the vehicle, they choose to not include the deal because they plan to offer their own paid car rental service in the future?

    Sounds pretty fishy to me and very harmful to their customers.

    Or maybe, it's like DVD+Blu-Ray titles being stuffed with a free Digital Download of the title. However, Best Buy decides to remove the digital download since they're planning an iTunes-like rental service.

    I'd already sworn-off Gamestop before this loathsome act. I can't imagine any customer that would be endeared by such behavior, let alone become excited to see Gamestop start offering an online rental service for games.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:24am

    Re:

    fuck off and fuck the greedy fuckers i'll buy used every time or not at all

     

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  24.  
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    Rich, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's just shortsightedness. They don't get money directly, but it has been proven over and over that a healthy secondary market helps to support the primary market. Would you buy a new car knowing that you could not resell it and recoup some of your loss? When you do resell it, do you want to have to give the dealer and/or maker a percentage?

     

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  25.  
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    Steve, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:36am

    Re: Hey Riptow and Scooter

    Riptow,

    It's not the consumer's job to worry about "supporting" the developer. Do you worry about supporting Applebee's every time you eat at Chile's? scooter is exercising his right to buy a good at a price he thinks it's worth. He's also supporting the previous owner's property rights (the previous owner had the right to sell his property to whoever he wanted at whatever price he wanted).

    Scooter,

    In order to get the coupon the GameStop customer would have had to buy the game first. How does it harm GameStop exactly? If the customer and a "friend" decide to pool their money to buy the game so one gets the hard copy and one gets the download, becuase neither of them think it's worth the full price then GameStop just made a sale that they wouldn't have made otherwise. GameStop made their full profit on the sale and it cost the developer and OnLive money. GameStop wins.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    chris (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1) you support others buying new and 2) you can cheaply try out series and developers and become a fan who might buy new in the future.

    awesome. but developers don't get any money directly from the used market.

    the used market is a secondary market that game developers have zero incentive to participate in other than for PR purposes.

    gamestop is basically a pawnshop. once game developers and console manufacturers go to purely digital distribution, gamestop will be an antique store, selling obsolete games and peripherals to collectors.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Re:

    I would not have bought my car if I was not allowed to sell it at a later date. Same as my games, I can recoup some value by reselling it and with the money I get back I can buy more games.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    xs (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    PR is a vital component of sales and marketing effort.

    If a developer is not willing to participate in sales and marketing, then he is not going to be long in the business.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Cry me a river developers. Publishers force the games to behave like a scarce good and then complain about it when it behaves just like that(you can sell scarce goods). If they had their way, we would all buy games that marry my console and are bricked for all others. The day this happens I'll stop being a gamer and go play outside.

     

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  30.  
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    The eejit (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re:

    tl;dr Way to miss the point.

    Gamestop does this really fucking often. The only difference is, that they were caught out this time.

    For example, the employees are consistently permitted to try out games (i.e. opening the packaging), and THEN sell the game as "new". Then, when they get it back, they give you, oh, about $20 bucks, then sell it for $45.

    And yes, I've seen this happen. I worked for a Gamestop store, so I should know.

     

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  31.  
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    Scooters (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    if you buy titles used, the developer doesn't get anything from the sale.
    I don't care. EA and Ubisoft will never see a dime from me again until they change their ways. I'm more than content at playing their games through the purchases at Gamestop.

    Want to know who will get my money soon? 2K studios, for the next installment of Bioshock. The first two games I bought used (just recently bought the 360) and so awesome were the games, they have sold themselves (despite the locale change in the next game). The story and the gameplay were solid to me and that's worth $60.

    I love the Hitman series, and despite the latest coming out around the corner, I'll never buy a Ubisoft game at full retail until they drop their crap.

    It's my money. I decide where to spend it. Not them.

     

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  32.  
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    Scooters (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you ask me they should have sold the game as used not new.
    To reiterate, yes, GS made a bone-headed move here, but for those who see this as "bad" are just finding another excuse to blame this company for something else.

    "But it's not new!" or "Once it's opened, it should sold as used!" - Wrong. The game wasn't touched, making it new.

    "But they buy it for $20 and sell it for $40" - Duh. At least they're buying it back for $20. What do the studios pay? $0. Moreso, there are other places to sell a used game.

    I'm defending GS here despite knowing the issues at hand. GS has been under fire recently for doing a legitimate business. It's another example of people bitching for no reason other than the fact their business is growing while others are failing.

    Perhaps if these asses would spend less time making game purchases a nightmare...

     

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  33.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:48am

    Just one small thing...

    Here's a flying leap in logic...
    If gamestop is selling a game used, SOMEONE bought the game already. It just had to be reiterated that the entire"but developers must be paid" argument is invalid here.

     

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  34.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    I would not have bought my car if I was not allowed to sell it at a later date. Same as my games, I can recoup some value by reselling it and with the money I get back I can buy more games.

    This point has been brought up by Mike before.

    A healthy resale market actually increases primary market sales by making the primary sale more valuable.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

    Re:

    Way to boycott the wrong company!

    ;)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Jay (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ""But it's not new!" or "Once it's opened, it should sold as used!" - Wrong. The game wasn't touched, making it new."


    No, even the coupon was part of the package. It would have been great if Square gave them a heads up about this, instead offering a "no coupon" for one of its vendors. Taking out the coupon and not giving that option to consumers after learning of the coupons, is not something a legitimate business should do.

     

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  37.  
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    kamikyo, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Providing value

    By buying and selling used games, consumers (and Gamestop or it's competitors) are supporting the developer'a ability to charge an insane rate of $60 per new title - I know that I can only justify purchasing a new title if I have the ability to resell that same game back to a Gamestop or similar. Part of the value I get from the new title is in the value I can recoup at a later date from the used games. If there were no used games market, I would buy far fewer (if any) games at the $60 price point.

    I think how Gamestop handled this issue initially was hamfisted, and unintentionally put the consumer in the middle of their fight with a competitor. I think they could have been much smarter about it, and offered a better deal to folks as a trade-in for the coupon and come off looking like the good guys. Alas, that didn't think that far ahead and are paying for it. But to say that their business model of buying back and selling games used somehow defrauds developers is the most egregious hyperbole and misunderstanding of economics, the law, and how value is actually created and defined.

     

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  38.  
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    JMT (profile), Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "but developers don't get any money directly from the used market."

    No, they get money indirectly because of the used market.

    "the used market is a secondary market that game developers have zero incentive to participate in other than for PR purposes."

    This is completely wrong. More games are sold new because the secondary market exists. That should be a significant incentive to any developer. This is very basic economics that should not be hard to understand, and applies to most long-life things we buy. Cars and houses are two obvious other examples of strong secondary markets.

    Personally I think games are overpriced, and I would buy fewer of them if I didn't have a way to get some of that cost back.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So if I open the package when I take it home, but I assure them that 'the game wasn't touched' when I bring it back, I can return the opened but 'untouched' game for a full refund?

    Yeah, I didn't think so...

    If your logic can't apply both ways (if the game is 'untouched' then I can return it as new for full refund, correct?), then you are perpetuating the 'do as we say not as we do' mentality that seems to be so common in industry these days by companies who are so full of themselves (aka 'too big to fail') so you are basically a corporate shill (hope you're getting paid for your services, and not supporting them for free... that would make you a freeshilltard)...

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 29th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

    Very true article. I had NO IDEA what onlive was. Now I know all about it.

    Although I will never support it or any other service that doesn't allow me to buy my games on a physical disc or cartridge and allow me to REALLY own what I buy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
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    Togashi (profile), Aug 31st, 2011 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    awesome. but developers don't get any money directly from the used market.

    the used market is a secondary market that game developers have zero incentive to participate in other than for PR purposes.


    And authors don't get any money directly from the used book market, but I don't see any big push to try to get rid of used book stores.

    Developers don't need to participate in the secondary market, they can just stop actively trying to destroy it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
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    ThatAVGuy (profile), Aug 31st, 2011 @ 5:11am

    Re:

    why be worried about having the physical disc to hold the digital product.... why not just buy digital and burn your own disc so you can wave it around to show people what you buy?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
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    Someone Somewhere, Aug 31st, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Having the Factory made disc proves that you have a legitimate copy of the game. With a download, if their service goes down and they lose your records you will have no recourse if your download is bad. If your records are lost you will then have an "illegal copy" for which you can be arrested, fined and jailed, since there is no longer any proof of purchase. Sometimes when your credit card is charged it is billed through a third company and may not say on your credit card statement what title was purchased.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    nasch (profile), Aug 31st, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think it's possible (yet) to be jailed for possession of one unauthorized copy of a copyrighted work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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