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Video Games


GameStop, the video/computer game retail giant, has contracts with major game companies whose games it distributes.  Often this results in GameStop customers receiving special benefits, such as exclusive content; however, it also appears to restrict game companies from promoting competing companies.  Yet PC versions of Square Enix’s newest release, “Deus Ex: Human Revolution” contained coupons for the online gaming service OnLive.  Since, GameStop is developing its own online service with Spawn Labs Cloud Service, it considered the coupons a breach of that agreeement.

GameStop’s first solution was to open the boxes and pull the coupons, then continue to sell the game.  However, it looks like GameStop has reconsidered that approach and decided to just pull the PC Deus Ex games from the shelves and offer refunds to those that it sold the game to as new sans OnLive coupon.  Yet, Square Enix seems to have admitted that it did not mention the coupons to GameStop and GameStop is entitled to not promote a competing product.

So, if Square has given a mea culpa, why should GameStop stop selling the game?  It might have something to do with some of GameStop’s past legal woes.  The company has been the target of class actions in the past, specifically related to selling used games as old, even those that were ‘used’ for a few days by employees before resale.  Opening the PC Deus Ex to pull the OnLive coupons then selling as new could open the chain to further suit from consumers, so this might be a case of better safe then sorry for GameStop.

About Nerds in Court

John G. Nowakowski, Esq. (LLMT), is a graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, and is licensed to practice law in California and Nevada. Christina R. Evola, Esq. is a recent graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law where her studies focused on intellectual property, antitrust, and media law. She is a lifelong gamer and avid cosplayer. DISCLAIMER: ‘Nerds in Court’ is for entertainment purposes only. Nothing should be construed as legal advice, or any advice for that matter, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading these posts. Do not consider information provided here as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a qualified, licensed attorney in your state.


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