Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

April 10, 2009 -

Kotaku reports that a GameStop corporate policy of selling games played by store employees as brand-new may be a violation of federal law:

GameStop's "check-out" policy, confirmed to Kotaku by a number of the chain's managers and employees, could fall under scrutiny of the Federal Trade Commission.

Kotaku cites GameStop's policy, which it reports that it obtained from several employees of the leading video game retailer:

Associates are allowed to check out one item of store merchandise for personal use for up to four days. Merchandise checkout is a privilege, not a right, and may be revoked at any time...

If the product is returned in unsellable condition, or if anything is missing from the package, or if the product is not returned, the Associate must purchase the product...

When asked by Kotaku, the Federal Trade Commission declined to say whether GameStop's practice of selling employee-played games as new might be considered deceptive. The FTC also declined to say whether it was looking into the practice.


Comments

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

this is just me, but I would only buy a new game if it had never been opened. Now, I don't care about "mint condition" but any game I play has an added 50% chance of breaking. I have awul luck that way. So, I would NOT buy a used game that was being sold for a "NEW" price.

Really, though, what if GameSpot made a distinction between "heavily used" and "lightly used"? lightly used would have no problems seen in playtesting, while heavily used might have been cheated on or something.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

A absolutely can't stand GameStop's practice of opening games.  I refuse to buy unsealed games and I can't get that damn "NEW" sticker off without damaging the case*.

So I don't shop there.  Pretty simple really.

 

Andrew Eisen

*Lately, GameStop seems to be slipping the "NEW" tag in between the cover and the insert instead of gluing it to the case.  A much better solution but I'd still prefer they not open the case.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

And that is a really reasonable action as a consumer. Nothing is forcing anyone here to shop at GS. Don't like their practices, shop somewhere else.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

That's too reasonable.  You should be ashamed of yourself.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

I'm so sick of hearing the "don't like it? Don't shop there, etc." defense. Just because nobody is forced to deal with GameStop's practices, that doesn't make it exempt from criticism.

Sure, I don't like GS's policies (plus those "USED" labels are a bitch to remove, and the tougher labels leave behind a residue) and as such I try to avoid shopping there. But just because I don't have to do business with them (I stick to Amazon and Walmart, thank you very much), that doesn't mean I'm not entitled to express disdain about they do things.

Just saying, is all.

--- I do more than just play games. I draw, too: http://www.silvermelee.deviantart.com

--- I do more than just play games. I draw, too: http://www.silvermelee.deviantart.com

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

It's more about the fact that for some reason customers are bitching about the dumbest shit.  What about the responsibility of the customer?  Of course, what with how responsibility is going out of style in America, I can understand why this would be tough for most people, but still.  I've NEVER had a problem with a game bought either new, used, or display copy from Gamestop.  The few problems I ever had in the long run were caused by my dog, who seems to enjoy knocking into my Xbox when it storms outside.  If you don't want a display copy, don't take the display copy.  If you're worried, check it out before you take it home.  Show some goddamn responsibility and backbone, and most importantly, STAND UP FOR YOURSELF YOU LAZY CUNTS.  Fact is, you don't NEED that new game, and if you don't like the copy they're going to give you, leave.  Goddamnit, is it really that hard to drive 10 minutes to another shop?  

Having said that, I've never seen any of the problems some of the people here are reporting, and some of them sound absolutely made up.  Fact is, you're going to encounter disgruntled and pissed off or lazy employees everywhere.  I went to a Rolls-Royce dealership.  I went wearing what I wear when I work at home; a T-shirt and some jeans, plus my good hat. Instead of serving me, the dealer spent the better part of 10 minutes berating me and mocking me for daring to step in his shop.  So, I took him with me to the bank across the street, had them show him how much money I had in my account with them, and then walked outside, watched his demeanor change, and then told him that because he acted like a cunt, not only would I refuse to buy his product no matter what he would offer me, but I would suggest to others that they refuse to buy there.  Never did get that Rolls-Royce.  Went with a (barely) used Mitsubishi 3000GT I got off a college kid.  The point of the story?  There are other options, so don't take it if you don't like it.  Go shop online if you want to.  But I honestly don't believe some of these stories; I've been shopping at gamestop/EB for years and never had a bad experience other than with the customers there yet.

On a sidenote, if you want to talk about bad business practices, let's talk about Target.  Makes gamestop look perfect.  Employees will open those games, reshrinkwrap them, and put them back in the display.  Or they'll outright steal 4 or 5 copies of new (popular) games.  One of the reasons that Target has the highest crime rate of any big-box store.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

The only problem is that because they do not disclose this practice, and someone who is uninformed about this practice has no reason to believe this is going on, that there are people who buy a "new" game that has been previously played without being informed.  The reason that one can say it is fraud is because Gamestop will sell these opened games without disclosing their policies.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Ding!

"Life sucks, get a fuckin helmet" - Denis Leary

"Life sucks, get a fuckin helmet" - Denis Leary

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

I usually window shop at Gamestop anyway, I had an edge card with a subscription to their magazine but it doesn't really seem worth it when the magazine stops showing up half way through.

Honestly, the biggest issue I have with this is that they are setting the terms of whats new and whats not. I don't shop there, I don't give a shit at their prices, they can dig themselves into a hole for all I care. Their company, their rules. They are serving the customer and voilating them at the same time. Pretty games are pretty games. When some place or someone is practicing unfair policies the solution in the 'perfect world' would be to deny them your money until they wither and die. The world certainly isn't fair.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Another quick thought, what about Piracy? What happens if an unscrupulous employee decides to go home and make copies of the disc they have just borrowed? Now, I'll admit, that's not going to happen all that often, but, are there checks and balances in place for that?

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

How would a person checking out a game honestly cause, stop, or change this?  If they want so badly to copy a game, they can simply steal it like so many other people do at so many other stores, make the copy, and either quitly return it, or just keep it to make more copies.  I would see to it that somebody got fired and prosecuted if I caught them doing it, but checking out a game isn't going to stop somebody.

Hell even games that are download only are stolen and copied somehow...so that only those of us that pay for the game and don't even get to own or display it are screwed over by DRM and such.  I remember the day before Spore came out one of the guys at the shop (he's no longer there...every store has bad apples to weed out...it's human nature) had a copy of Spore that he downloaded online that was DRM free and was playing it on his PC and his wifes laptop.  I bought the game the day it came out new, even bought the guide and the DS version, and ended up having to redo my entire freaking OS on my computer because of how messed up the DRM was.  At least my DS version worked lol. 

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
www.ZensPath.com/WordPress
Xbox Live Gamertag: "Zen of the Dark"
PSN Gamertag: "Zenspath"
Wii System Code: "4919 8280 4221 9114"

Zen aka Jeremy Powers
Editor and Host of the Zenspath Podcast (now on iTunes)
www.ZensPath.com
XBL: "PsychoticZen" PSN: "Zenspath"
Nintendo Network: "Psychoticzen", 3DS: "0860-3238-7260

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

The only thing they can do is fire the guy when they found out. If they never found out, there is not much they can do. But if something stupid happens like what was described two points up, it would be very easy to fire the person. But if it never makes it back to the store, there is nothing they can do.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

That is an excellent point.  

 

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

That IS a concern. Actually, we fired an employee (and pretty sure GS sued him) for takign games home that way and ripping them to his home system (not really sure HOW). He then proceded to start selling burned copies right outside the store like an idiot on his breaks. THat was about 4 months before I got fired and after that we were unable to take games out.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

For all the people bitching that this is "making a mountain out of a molehill"...

It's just a matter of honesty?  Is the game being played for 15 minutes before you get it THAT big a deal?  No, not for most of us, anyway.

But if it's not such a big deal, why does GS not just call the game "used"?  Or specifically denote that this is "the store copy"?  Why not just reduce the price by $5 and be honest about it?

I would think the value in customer trust is worth it.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

++ This.

If this is a non-issue, why does GS hide this information from its customers? This is where the whole "fraud" part comes in.

You want a good analogy, EZK? One that's far more relevant than your ridiculous new car? Go to Best Buy. Look around the electronics areas until you find a box that has a fat yellow label that says "OPEN BOX ITEM". The item is not pre-owned (no money exchanged hands, as you used as a defense in your car analogy), yet it's also not brand new, it's somewhere in-between, and they reduce the price because of it.

If Best Buy can do it, so can GS. They don't, because their corporate attitude is classic douchebag.

"Life sucks, get a fuckin helmet" - Denis Leary

"Life sucks, get a fuckin helmet" - Denis Leary

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

I can second this. The shop I used to work in would offer a price reduction for Display Items.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

From what I understand it has to do with what they paid for the new copy. Yeah it's a dumb reason, but that's what they have. I think reducing the floor disc's price by 5 bucks would be fine and is a good solution.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

There is an added complication of things like Spore, what happens if an employee borrows it, plays it, and creates an account, and then it is sold on?

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Employees are only allowed to check out console (including handhelds) titles. No computer stuff, for just that reason.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Ah right, thanks for clarifying that :)

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

No worries. All console discs are reviewed by one of the three managers (whoever happens to be on duty) when the employee signs the game back in in the managment book (which is this enourmous thing used for trackign all sorts fo store info). SO the quality of these returned discs is based on those managers. Some can be "whatever I don't care", and some can be "if there's ANY visible mark, regardless how small you just bought it". THAT I think is where there's a problem. THe consistancy of how the management handles this is all over the place. If they're going to keep doing it (which I don't care one way or the other) they need to get a handle on that.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

I suppose I don't really have a problem with the concept of it, I've worked in retail, and anyone who has to deal with the public deserves every perk of the job they can get ;)

As I posted a few minutes ago, the only other concern is Piracy, but as long as I get a game that works and has everything it should have, it's not really a problem for me.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Considering the disc in is MINT condition, it doesn't matter. This is not a car. It doesn't accumulate miles or become worse over time played (for the amount of time that it is in the store). You guys are blowing this WAY out of proportion. Honestly, our checked out/gutted copies are kept in much better condition than the display copies of pretty much any other product from any other store.

Does having the experience with a virgin disc really mean that much to you? No scratches, no cuffs, no marks. You would never even know unless we told you. For your information by the way, I had a couple people ask me about in while I was working there and straight up told them that we loan it out to employees and I explained the whole thing to them just as I have here. They would look at the disc, see that it was fine and buy it anyway. So your implication that I am a horrible person for 'lying' to my customers is insulting and idiotic. The ONLY thing they are missing out on is having to remove the plastic wrap and little annoying factory seal sticker on the top of the case.

Edit: Damn it, meant to hit reply. Refers to above statement that I am a liar.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

"You would never even know unless we told you."

I rather think that's his point.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Most people I see in a GS that buy the out of box new game, get told that the copy has been opened (yada yada yada). Most people don't have a problem with it, I might see one or two blow a gasket but alot just don't care, just as long as it works and there is no scratchs on it.

 

This thread is making a mountain out of a mole hill, and honestly if it was that HUGE of a problem, I HIGHLY doubt that it would still be going on after being around for well over a decade.

 

Seriously, stop nitpicking guys

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Actually, it seems more like it's taken a decade for people to finally wise up and start questioning the business practices of these game retailers.

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

This reminds me of something....Coporate corruption! After all, nothing ever really changes until the shit hits the industrial sized fan.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

So the point is that the amount of difference it makes upon your gaming experience is so minescule that you would never even know about it unless someone told you? THis may be a terrible analogy, but to me that's like:

I hate mustard. Hate it. With a passion. Generally the smell will make me feel sick. I got married, and have had my mother in law's ham for several years now, only to have found out recently that she uses a very heavily mustard based coating for it. Did I ever notice? Hell no. THey told me because they thought it was funny. AM I goign to keep eating it? Hell yes, because it's still just as good.

 

I am in no way a fan of Game Stop. In fact, I refuse to purchase ANYTHING from them or their connected companies ever since I was fired for *gasp* TELLING THE TRUTH TO MY CUSTOMERS. Yeah. I got fired for telling customers about this specific practice. Did the customer care? No. DId the GM who happened to overhear me care? You bet your ass he did. When I checked games out, I would bring them home for a single evening, play it for 15 minutes and put it right back in the jewel case. Why only play it for 15 minutes or so? Because I wanted to at least have a general idea of how the game works in case a customer asked me. You know, so I wouldn't be one of the many many many complete idiots that works there and can never answer a question.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Hey, remember when they told you you couldn't tell a customer if you thought a game was bad?

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

So you refuse to buy anything from GS but everyone else shoud continue to because you don't think what they are doing is so bad?

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I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

I really don't give a shit where other people buy their stuff. I don't buy from them because of my experiences while working there. Was this the onlyissue I had while working there? No. I was always in arguements with the corporate office about their handlign of my store, the assigned goal numbers, how they treated my employees, etc. I think they are a garbage company, but not because they let their employees check games out. To hate a company for that would be retarded.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

How about hating them for that on top of all those other things? Or is that only allowed for former employees?

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Again, you can hate them for whatever you want, I don't care. You could hate them because they use alot of red for as much as I give a shit. You are taking personal insult where there is none. I am stating why I personally don't purchase from them. Whatever reasons you have are none of my business at all.

What did you think I was saying? "I used to work there so you don't understand my hatred and misery!!!111 *slashwristsemo*" ? I am trying to provide my insight on this having worked there in the past so taht more information is available to you guys (like a few of the other former employees I have seen in this thread).

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

No, I see you saying 'We didn;t do this, therefore nobody does this, so stop whinging'

--------------------------------------------------

I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

-------------------------------------------------- I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

I never siad NO ONE did it. Thanks for putting the words in my mouth though. Tasted like candy.

What I AM saying is that not EVERYONE is like that. You are grouping ALL GS employees of every location together and makign them seem like evil thieves the same way JT throws all gamers in with child pornographers. ( there needs to be a Godwin term for pulling out JT as an example btw)

But also yes, I reall think everyone is overreacting. If it's THAT big of an issue for you, that's your right. So stop (if you haven't already) buying from them. Take your business elsewhere. Hit them where it hurts: their numbers. To prempt the 'one person not buying isn't going to effect them at all' argument; you're right. But if all those single people do it anyway, that leads to a group of people, which can become a large group of people, etc.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Having been a 3rd Key Manager for a Game Stop location, here's what was going down while I was there:

All games were kept in their original packaging, plastic wrap and all, with the exception of a single copy. That copy was 'gutted' and the box placed on the wall for display (the disc placed immediately into a jewelcase and placed in the cabinets behind the counter with the unopened copies). Unopened copies were sold first before all others (no stickers on them btw), when the last copy was the opened one, we told the customer that it was the display model and showed them the disc.

As far as checking games out, we would check out the gutted copies. As far as my store was concerned, I was a total hard ass about how games came back. If they had the slightest scratch on them, the employee just bought it.

 

This is not as bad as everyone is making it out to be. Quite honestly, I worked there about 5 years ago so I am suprised people are just now hearing about this.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Did you explain that the gutted out copy had been taken home by employees and wasn't just a "display" copy?  That's fraud.  You lied to your customers.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

No, it's not fraud. In the U.S., fraud requires a false statement of a material fact, knowledge by defendant that the statement is untrue, intent by defendant to deceive the alleged victim,  justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement, and injury to the alleged victim as a result. All of these elements must be shown to prove fraud.

 

-- Dan "SWATJester" Rosenthal; Executive Director, http://www.gameslaw.net

-- Dan Rosenthal

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

In other words a fraud statment would be this is a new game that was only open for display purposes when in fact the game is not new because it has been used by your store employees.

Its like your girlfriend saying she is a virgin but then you find out that everyone in the company has taken her home but it was only for a "few days" you still feel betrayed and your trust in her has been diminished (for women or homosexuals insert boyfriend instead of girlfriend in the above statement thank you)


 

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

did...did you REALLY just compare a game's use to a woman/man's virginity? Really? That is..just...*head explodes*

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

 No I compared fraud to a women/men's virginity since that was how the line of talk had gone.  What is and what is not fraud.  You can claim the above statement is then right on track ...

Oh and thank for the return on the douchebaggery.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Hey, we are all one here. Just keepin' it lively.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

My question would be:  If GameStop allows the employees to play a game and then sell the game as "new", what happens when someone comes into the store to sell a game and the disc, manual, etc. are still in new condition?  Would they sell that as new?

Sortableturnip's Law: As an online discussion of video game violence grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Jack Thompson approaches 1

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

I received a game as a gift that I did not want without a receipt. When taking it into GameStop, they will only offer you the same as they give you for a used game even if it is fully sealed (Shrink wrap and all) and then they will resell it as new.

~Weatherlight~

~Weatherlight~

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

Really?  Why would they sell a game as new when they make much more on used?  I call BS on that.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

First off let me say in advance, and I will say it again when I am done, What I am about to say is in no way a defense of the practice of selling a loaned out copy of a new game as new.

If a car dealer borrows a car for the weekend (we all know they do it) can he still sell it as new? Yes. Why? Because no one has actually bought it.

If a customer buys a car, drives it just for a weekend and decides he doesn't like it and wants to sell it, can it be sold as new? No. Why? because someone has actually bought it.

Even if ther is no physical difference between the cars in both examples, the differnece is that money has been exchanged for the car in the second example. But the second car will be sold for quite a bit more than the same car if it had been driven for a year or more. Also, if a new car has considerably more miles than what would be considered average for a new car to have, it can be discounted if the customer asks for it.

How does this relate to games? If I buy a new game, play it for a day and decide I don't like it, I cannot sell it as new. Gamestop cannot sell it as new. Why? Because it has been sold and the seal broken.

If a new copy has been opened and the disk never played, it can still be sold as new as long as a new seal is placed on the game. Why? Because it was never sold nor played.

But a game that has never been sold but has been played is another beast entirely. And I don't support that practice.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them as New

To suggest that a consumer cannot break the seal and call the product new but the seller can is absurd. 

 

By your analogy, a seller could drive a car on the lot for 5 years and then sell it as 'new' because money never changed hands - no dealer would do such a thing.  When I test drove a Prius a couple months back, they tried to sell me the test drive model at a discount because it was - shock - the test drive car.  They did not try to sell it as "new" because no one had owned it, that's just stupid.  It had obviously been used.

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

There's a difference between test driving a $15,000+ purchase around the lot for a few miles to make sure you like how it feels.  Every "new" car I bought had less than 50 miles on it.

If you're in a "new" car and the odometer reads over 1000, you're an idiot for paying full price for it.  The difference here is the consumer HAS FULL INFORMATION as to how much a car was actually driven before purchase.

And it's a far cry different than paying for a $60 game that they're advertising as new.  Should a "new" game have fingerprints on it?  An open game is NOT NEW.  It's not "mint."  Period.  End of story.

Any more straw man arguments to defend Gamestop?

Re: Report: GameStop Loans Games to Employees, Sells Them ...

What about new books ? I went to the local bookstore a few months ago to pick up a book as a gift for my mom, there was only one copy left and a young girl picked it up and began reading the first few pages ten or so pages before putting it back; I picked the book up and purchased it . The book was technically used because the girl had indeed read some of the book and had left fingerprints on the dust jacket . The book store sold it to me as new at full price . Did they commit fraud by selling me a book that had been slightly read ? Absolutly not . Is it fraud that gamestop does the same ? I certainly don't think so .

 

 
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Papa MidnightI kind of liked the movement to have Terry Crews play him instead, but this will do.12/22/2014 - 3:40pm
MaskedPixelantehttp://marvel.com/news/tv/23866/mike_colter_to_star_as_luke_cage_in_marvels_aka_jessica_jones#ixzz3MeuUl63P Mike Colter is Luke Cage.12/22/2014 - 3:23pm
IanCBecause that isn't Max Payne 3. It might have the name, but it isn't an entry in the series.12/22/2014 - 12:48pm
IanCOh theres a Max Payne 3? A proper one, or are we referring to that abomination that Rockstar crapped out a few years ago12/22/2014 - 12:48pm
 

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