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GameStop Makes Pirating Look a Whole Lot Better

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DOWNLOAD INSURANCE?!
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OK, GameStop clearly wants us to pirate video games. It has to. There's no other explanation.

It wants to fail.

In a screenshot posted to Reddit, a customer is purchasing the Windows action-adventure video game Magicka from GameStop's online digital store. Below the $4.99 purchase price, there's another charge for $3.95. And what exactly is that for?

Download Insurance.

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Yes, GameStop has implemented an extra charge of nearly four bucks in case your download fails. If the Download Insurance wasn't purchased, well, then you're out of luck. GameStop keeps your $4.99 and the other half of your useless game.

And taking a look at the comments on Reddit, no one seems particularly pleased with the practice.

The retailer explains the benefits of Download Insurance:

"Download Insurance is a service that provides for a back up copy of the Digital Good(s) in your shopping cart to be stored for a future download. A back up copy of these Digital Good(s) will be available to you for download for up to eighteen (18) months from the date of purchase. Now there's no need to worry should your computer fail. Just login to your account to download the Digital Good(s) again."

This, rather than setting up an account which tracks which games a user has purchased and allow them to be available to download anyway. You know, kind of like the system that Steam and Amazon have set up.

Similar arguments have been made about iTunes which -- although having removed DRM from songs in 2009 -- won't allow users to re-download their purchased tracks in case of a computer crash. While they won't be cleared from active downloads until the files are completed, after that, only a kindly worded email could potentially save you from buying your songs again.

Oddly enough, when it comes to apps, the App Store -- and the Android Market -- recognizes the user and keeps the apps available for download as many times as needed. Apparently, the record labels don't have much interest in making things convenient.

But it's not like the music industry is in much trouble, right?

(See also: iPad 2 Not Worth a Kidney, Says Chinese Boy and HTC Knows What Android Stands for Better Than Google, Motorola)

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