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Game Designer Makes Case For Used Games

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the two-sides-to-every-story dept.

Games 209

We've recently had a couple of discussions about the plans of various game developers to fight used game sales — in particular, the idea of a free, one-time download that may be bonus content or may be a vital part of the game. Now, Soren Johnson, a game designer who has worked on Civilization 3, Civilization 4 and Spore, has written an article defending certain aspects of the used game market. Quoting: "By opening up retail sales to a larger segment of the market, used game sales mean that more people are playing our games than would be in a world without them. Beyond the obvious advantages of bigger community sizes and word-of-mouth sales, a larger player base can benefit game developers who are ready to earn secondary income from their games. In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue, but the best scenario is downloadable content. A used copy of Rock Band may go through several owners, but each one of them may give Harmonix money for their own personal rights to 'Baba O'Riley' or 'I Fought the Law.'"

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Teenagers, poor people and used games. (2, Interesting)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799219)

Personally I have never bought a computer game in my life (I've only ever copied, without paying the asked for fee, about 4 times). So this isn't coming from my experience. (I have had games bought for me, and I have downloaded and played freeware games.)

Anyway, why is the used market so good? For people who don't have any money, the used market allows them to get good games cheaply. (I've never had much money either for that matter, but the main reason I don't buy games now is that I don't run MS Windows.)

They get hooked on the game, on the company, on the designer, and then, when they have money (after (if) they get a job), they can go and buy the games for the full price.

Used games are advertising for the company. Take Civilisation, I would happily buy Civilisation Four (or whatever number it is up to now), because I really enjoyed Civilisation Two (I don't, because I don't run MS Windows, and I don't like Digital Restrictions Management). Or Sim City or Command and Conquer, or a number of similar games, I have an older game, and would like to play the newer game.

That's what the used market can do.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (3, Insightful)

asuzuki (305049) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799361)

Anyway, why is the used market so good? For people who don't have any money, the used market allows them to get good games cheaply. (I've never had much money either for that matter, but the main reason I don't buy games now is that I don't run MS Windows.)

Used games are not only good for people who don't have money, but also for the ones who buy a lot of games (usually on the release date), play through them, and then never touch them again. This is of course highly dependent on the game. Some games just lose their appeal once you've defeated the final stage (or whatever). It happens to me a lot, so I decided to sell them again, preferring a couple of bucks in my hand (to buy beer, for instance) instead of a gazillion of games gathering dust somewhere in a drawer.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (2, Insightful)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800747)

Quite a lot of the RPGs out there are good to play through a couple of times to 'get' the story, but don't have much replayability beyond that.

Thus selling them on is the way to go I feel.

Non-replayability is amazing (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800915)

In the old days, many games had replayability because that was all they had space for. Early Atari, NES titles were almost universally replayable because they were designed that way.

These days, game companies seem to think that "replayability" is a buzzword, just like they think that padding "Hours of gameplay" with pointless and boring stuff (think the stupid "sail the world and haul shit up from the ocean for 100 hours" bit before you get to the end of Celda:The Wind Breaker, thank god nintendo finally learned their lesson for Twilight Princess). Or, they make a game that's short, and only kind of fun, but with a number of "unlockable" characters to play through each of which has more absurd unlock requirements tied to the previous (Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, I'm looking at you).

After finishing these games once, I'm done. I see no reason to "replay" them, and so I sell them off and get new games. If they had been made to be more fun and less aggravating, that wouldn't be the case.

Here's a hint: if you feel the need to pad your "gameplay hours" or stick extra nonsense-characters in for "replayability", you're doing something wrong and need to fix your game instead.

Re:Non-replayability is amazing (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802173)

Or, they make a game that's short, and only kind of fun, but with a number of "unlockable" characters to play through each of which has more absurd unlock requirements tied to the previous (Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, I'm looking at you).

You forgot the most ridiculous example of unlockable characters ever: Resident Evil 2

When you've reached the point where you are unlocking a chunk of Tofu with a bandanna and a combat knife, you've gone too far.

Strange that all three of these examples are Capcom... I think someone in there needs to have a good talking to/psych evaluation.

Re:Non-replayability is amazing (2, Insightful)

Skreems (598317) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802181)

My question is, would you be as likely to buy a game such as that if you knew it would be difficult to resell? I'm guessing that there's a decent portion of the customer base for "new games" whose habit is financed through reselling their old titles.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (2, Insightful)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802889)

Since you know you can sell your old games, you don't mind paying a few bucks more with the knowledge you'll get some money back. Since you'll pay a few bucks more, the publisher can get a few extra bucks, indirectly, from the used game buyer.

You know, this is sounding like market segmentation. Marketing companies pay millions to figure out how to sell the same product at different price points to different people, extracting the max cash each segment is willing to pay. And here the used game market is doing that for software publishers. Publishers would be silly to try to outright kill the used market.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (1)

Hasney (980180) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799441)

Yeah, Sports Interactive have said that their new Football Manager game can be sold second hand, because the activation code can be unlicensed and re-used.

They make a new iteration every year so they probably have the same idea of getting people hooked on the game

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799447)

civ iv runs with standard wine on x86 ... (no special patch needed, just the official stuff)

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799911)

Don't you need a Windows silence, or bootleg copy though?

I just checked through the AppDB and it appears to still be the case.

I would love to be corrected.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801167)

Probably you do need a Windows license to emulate Windows legally.
But I never needed the actual OS to use Wine for anything. Sometimes some DLLs are required, but those are easy to find.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799599)

They get hooked on the game, on the company, on the designer, and then, when they have money (after (if) they get a job), they can go and buy the games for the full price.

The problem being that currently games retailers don't want to sell anyone the game at full price - they would rather their competitors (supermarkets) sell the new copy and they buy and sell it in one weeks time, making more money. The end result being you can only buy a new game in the first couple of weeks of release - all "catalog" sales are of used games.

Re:Teenagers, poor people and used games. (1)

apathy maybe (922212) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800461)

Oh that's nice. First post and it's redundant.

It's Absurd! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799271)

Maybe the used game markey exists because a lot of older games are still fun, despite being old? Age has nothing to do with enjoyability -- just because it doesn't look like a nature park and cost three hundred dollars doesn't mean it can't do that.

"Bookstores ban used books to encourage new-book sales and interest"

"Toyota combats used car market to promote new 2009 line of vehicles"

"Microsoft restricts sale of XP to encourage Vista sales"

Well, okay, you can't win 'em all.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799311)

By what methods are they trying to fight used sales? Whatever happened to the doctrine of first sale?

Re:It's Absurd! (2, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799517)

By what methods are they trying to fight used sales? Whatever happened to the doctrine of first sale?

It's not a product, it's a license. That is, until you need to take advantage of one of the legal benefits of being a licensee... then it's product.

Re:It's Absurd! (2, Insightful)

SlashBugs (1339813) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800467)

Show me where it's written on the side of the game box that I'm buying a non-transferrsble license, not a copy of the game.

IANAL but I'd bet good money that I can't be held to the terms of a license that wasn't even mentioned to me until after I'd handed over my cash.

Re:It's Absurd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25800523)

It's a product with certain additional legal protections.

Why do people on Slashdot insist on pidgeonholing the issue into "must be A or B"? The world is more complicated than that and I think that's something we should be intelligent enough to understand.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800643)

It's a product with certain additional legal protections. Why do people on Slashdot insist on pidgeonholing the issue into "must be A or B"? The world is more complicated than that and I think that's something we should be intelligent enough to understand.

I take offense to that. Products and licenses are two different things. You cannot sell something which is both, without selling two things. It is not right, fair, or reasonable for companies which sell games to take the best qualities of both for themselves, and leave their customers in the lurch. Furthermore, it is perfectly reasonable to ask whether what you are purchasing is one, or the other.

You yourself go on to define games software as one of these things, rather than the other, assuming a selection of special 'legal protections', but don't go on to question what these are, or whether they are properties that can rightly be applied to something which is only a product. In fact, you paint a picture which is much more black and white than I do, you don't go on to question the status quo - even though I've opened that court - and then you accuse OTHER slashdotters of polarisation.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801241)

the legal protections are standard form, just like a book. For all practical purposes console games are products.. you pay for a shiny disc all other options of normal software are technologically banned...and companies brag about it. The disc is required for play. An average user cannot copy the games, or run them on anything other than the console sold for. Consoles are "welded shut", if you tamper with them they will kick you off-line. So yes, a console game is a product, put a shiny disc in, pay a game. One disc = one play. Even downloaded content is tied to one piece of hardware you can't modify.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

traycerb (728174) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800455)

Valve's Steam, for one. It's a nice service, but, as near as I can tell, it's impossible to transfer games from one account to another.

It's too bad, as I think allowing resale would create a thriving market and bring life back into games that people don't want to shell the retail price for. Of course, that's the goal: to eliminate the natural market price for the game.

Re:It's Absurd! (4, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799695)

It's definitely absurd, it's absurd that they don't feel absolutely disgusted with themselves for trying to fight people's right to re-sell content.

And FUCK YOU with your downloadable content. If I've bought that then I should have the right to sell it alongside the game, no?

Downloadable content and in box "bonuses" are a horrible way to squeeze customers ever more. The bonus should just be part of the game, not a one-time thing. And so should most downloadable content. A hell of a lot of it is just a trasnparent attempt to part people from even more cash to get the game they wanted.

As for in-game advertising being a continuing source of revenue from the used game market.... so... angry... hard... to... speak... must... kill...

It's my RIGHT to buy and sell used games. It's not your right to continue to make a profit for a single copy of a game, or a single license or whatever the hell it is after you've already sold it to me.

Die in a fire.

Re:It's Absurd! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799941)

When did it become the gamestore's right to profit more than the developer?

If used is virtually equal in value to new, and used is slightly cheaper - then many people will choose used - particularly if it is pushed strongly by the seller right alongside the new product
"Why buy GTA4 for £50, when you can buy it for £45!"
The problem is that of the £50, probably most of that goes back to the game industry that creates these games.
Of the £45, probably £10-15 goes to the game store, and £30 or so goes back to the consumer (and often a lot more unfair ratio than that) but £0 goes to the game industry.

And as a poster above said, this is a pretty good deal for the game industries target audience, the gamer who buys lots of games.

So the industry gets fucked, the gamer gets a free game once out of every 5 or 10 games, and the industry has to make up for it by making no-risk factory produced crap.

I blame the used game market, and people who buy it for ... pretty much EA's whole market. The Sims X: Expansions A Lot, FIFA 'ogodwhenwillitend, and all the other reproduced dross that comes out year after year to guarantee profits.

Re:It's Absurd! (3, Interesting)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800093)

"When did it become the gamestore's right to profit more than the developer?"

Where does the gamestore come into this? I'm talking about my rights as an individual to resell what I have bought.

"If used is virtually equal in value to new, and used is slightly cheaper - then many people will choose used"

Absolutely they will, like people do with all sorts of other things in life.

"The problem is that of the £50, probably most of that goes back to the game industry that creates these games.
Of the £45, probably £10-15 goes to the game store, and £30 or so goes back to the consumer (and often a lot more unfair ratio than that) but £0 goes to the game industry."

So fucking what? The games industry does not have a right to profit. I have a right to resell things I have paid for. End of story.
If you want to talk about lacklustre video or GAME or anyone else gouging kids on the used market and making obscene markups then I'm with you all the way.

"So the industry gets fucked"

No, it doesn't. It gets to sell games, people buy them, sell them, rent them, whatever. Just like every other type of product out there. The industry makes massive profits and is supposed to overtake Hollywood in terms of revenue pretty soon. That's not "fucked".

"the industry has to make up for it by making no-risk factory produced crap."

That's what sells. You can't blame the second hand market for the industry producing endless repeats of lowest common denominator bullcrap. What, you think if they got a new sale for each of the used ones they'd roll over and say "We've made enough money this year, lets not put out FIFA 2025:Drunk Edition after all". LOL.

No, they put out that crap because it's profitable. And they won't stop. And if they can squeeze more profit out by selling crippled games with "downloadable extras" or in-game advertising for perpetual revenue, they will, regardless of second hand sales.

Repeat after me - the games industry's interest in profit does not trump my right to resell what I own. And that includes downloadable extras in my opinion.

If you want to do poor wittle old EA a favour and not buy used or resell yours to protect their profits, then go ahead. I'll be sat over here in consumer rights corner.

Re:It's Absurd! (3, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800187)

The game industry should definitely take a look at the music industry. The music industry pimps music videos, radio spots, live performances and other loss leaders, just to push more CDs. Does the game industry bother? I mean, they hardly release demos, because people might steal some fun, or something.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

FictionPimp (712802) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800307)

I buy new video games. I do not like used because I have had a few problems with gamestop and their return policy (I don't always play the games I buy within a month or two and they wont take a return on a used game a few months later.)

When I am done with the game I sell it and then use that money to help offset the cost of my new game. If you kill the used gaming market I will buy less games because I simply will not put out that much money as frequently.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

techess (1322623) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802037)

I actually love Gamestop's policy. The trick is to only buy a used game when you know you are going to have time to play it heavy in the 7 days you have for a no question return. I've always been hesitant to buy used games, but their policy converted me. I recently bought Baroque used and I couldn't stand the fact they don't give you time to explore (your vitality constantly decreases over time). I took it back after 6 days. I had the option to get my money back or pick out a new game. I picked out a pinball game which was *terrible*. I've seen more imagination and options in real pinball machines. I took that game back after another 6 days and got The Force Unleashed which I beat in about 10 hours. Returned that one and got Marvel Alliance which I really enjoy and I'm going to keep.

I still buy new games but I'm very cautious about those purchases. At twice the price I spend a lot of time researching game play & bugs before I shell out the dough. Used games are my "impulse" purchases and it does help me find games I'd never try otherwise.

FictionPimp also makes an excellent point that the money we get for turning in our used games helps us buy more new games. If a company makes a really good game with re-playability I eat the cost and keep the game. Most games though go right back to the store to feed my habit.

Re:It's Absurd! (2, Insightful)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802419)

"When did it become the car lot's right to profit more than the manufacturer?"

"If used is virtually equal in value to new, and used is slightly cheaper - then many people will choose used - particularly if it is pushed strongly by the seller right alongside the new product"

My car and my house are both second-hand. I don't feel the least bit of remorse for either's builders who failed to earn a penny on the second transaction. They made their profit on the first sale, so why should they continue to get money down the line?

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801711)

The problem is, this is an issue with far reaching consequences. Under the first sale doctrine ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org] ), it is perfectly legal and fair to re-sell games, but the aspect of how software sales fall into the category of first sale doctrine is still fuzzy. However, the counter point being if this is not the case, then large resellers such as best buy or office depot are all operating illegally. With the legality aside, There is really nothing stopping the developers from offering content to the first owner. However the ability to advertise those content in general should be under question. They have to specifically state that on the first owner has the rights to these content or else it would be a clear case of false advertisement. In that case, if you buy from best buy or gamestop, you can potentially be screwed because these companies would then have the rights to these first owner content.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801953)

"There is really nothing stopping the developers from offering content to the first owner"

Morality. It's part of the value of the product and should be available to the user to resell. Downloadable extras too.

False advertising or no, it's a question of consumer rights.

Re:It's Absurd! (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802393)

And they have a right to charge money for downloadable content that can't be sold with the game. And if you don't like it, don't buy it. You have some strange anger issues if you care about this so much. Games aren't food. No one is going to die if they don't buy the latest game. You can still go to the used game store and buy games and your friend can still give you theirs once they are done.

Mistaken reasoning. (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799289)

He's talking about getting benefits from more people having the base game and relates that to second hand market.

However, in that marketing structure, second hand market is worse than simply free distribution of the base game. The money for the extra copies isn't going to the creators and the distribution is much lower.

It's sad to see someone watching so intently at the future and yet not seeing it.

Re:Mistaken reasoning. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25801639)

There is a reason the 'used' game market thrives. When games were about 40 I usually bought new and would buy used only if there was no other way. Now that they are about 60. I *LOOK* for used first. As in my opinion most games are crap. They are not fun. There are a good amount out there that are fun too. But you have to TROLL thru mounds of crap to find the good ones. Used also is a good indicator of what is good and bad. The higher priced used ones are usually the better ones.

They have also crossed my 'utility' inflection point. For example Little Big Planet came out what a week ago? I bought it used for 55 instead of 60 new. THEY ALREADY MADE their money on that copy. Someone tried it and did not like it. I stepped in and bought it. The company is in an EQUAL position. They did not loose a sale but got to keep the one instead of gamestop just shipping the disc back to them. Now gamestop made a killing on that (i figure about 20 dollars).

Kill the used market at your own peril game industry. People are using it to make 'low risk' purchases. As most games are crap or just are not fun. They will only buy games they 'know' they like. They will not 'try' other interesting games. You will instead have to hit it out of the park every time. As games will sit on shelves and gamestop (and others) will not want to take as much risk to hold an inventory of games. It doesnt sell instead of just folding it into the used game market stream they will just ship it back to you. You will also end up with a inventory backlog of crap games you will not be able to sell as the used game market will be destroyed.

Now another reason I like the used game market. I can find games that I skipped buying the first time around. For example I recently bought Iron Tank for the NES. I had rented the game eons ago. I wanted to play it again. Do you think SNK would still have servers running from say 1988 for this game for that downloadable content 20 years later? That they LONG ago forgot about?

This reeks of when cable started putting commercials on the pay channels (and im not talking hbo or cinimax). You know the cable bill you get where *YOU* pay for the right to watch the show. They want to 'monetize' the 'extra'. Eventually people get tired of it and cut the cord and find something else to do. I could see a little 'add on' working. But if most of the game is that way (i am looking at you katamari) people will give it a skip and not get it in the first place.

Authors Make Case for Used Books (4, Insightful)

Rie Beam (632299) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799321)

As gamers age, they begin to seek out copies of games they played as kids. I know I have and I promise I'm not alone.

If you want to make more money, fighting the used game market isn't the way to go. Release a system for $100, make the games $10, and then we'll talk.

Maybe paying $50-$100 for a single game tends to turn some people off.

Re:Authors Make Case for Used Books (2, Interesting)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799643)

Maybe paying $50-$100 for a single game tends to turn some people off.

It's worse than that. Parents are under so much pressure from their kids to get them these games constantly. Either the parents finally cave and find a "friend of a friend" that can hook them with a modded XBOX preloaded with a 1TB HD full of games, or the kids themselves are forced to find out how to do it themselves and start torrenting the games directly. To parents that are already under enormous stresses these days, a quiet and happy (even if it is just distracted) child is worth quite a bit. It is no surprise they take the financial path of least resistance when found.

You have a huge demand at unreasonable prices and whether or not is immoral and unethical you will see piracy rates climb though the roof.

Then we get to your point about gamers buying the games they loved as kids later on in life. You ARE NOT ALONE. I did the exact same thing. Some of those games I purchased 10 years after I had pirated them before.

Re:Authors Make Case for Used Books (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800709)

a quiet and happy (even if it is just distracted) child is worth quite a bit.

You do realise that this is an extremely worrying statement, don't you?

Re:Authors Make Case for Used Books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25801523)

repeat with me: reality is not fair, real world is not nice.

Re:Authors Make Case for Used Books (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801729)

I never assumed so, my dear AC... I never assumed so. That doesn't stop me from pointing out things I find worrysome.

Re:Authors Make Case for Used Books (1)

artificialj (873081) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802137)

a quiet and happy (even if it is just distracted) child is worth quite a bit.

You do realise that this is an extremely worrying statement, don't you?

you have obviously never had a kid.

Re:Authors Make Case for Used Books (1)

John_Sauter (595980) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799831)

As gamers age, they begin to seek out copies of games they played as kids. I know I have and I promise I'm not alone.

Amen, brother! My first computer game was Spacewar [wikipedia.org] , a video game for the DEC PDP-1. PDP-1s are hard to find today, so I taught myself Java, bought a couple of joysticks, and coded my own implementation [systemeyes...rstore.com] .

Digital Games Theory (-1, Offtopic)

cynthia387 (1409791) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799343)

The relevant expertise and teaching and learning environment to support students critical and creative engagement with issues at the cutting edge of analysing and designing digital games; to enable students to contribute to the process of defining âgame studiesâ(TM) as a new academic discipline. ----------- cynthia jacquline Social Bookmarking Platform [widecircles.com]

Fail! SEO dork, your link gets a "nofollow"! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799839)

Crash and die --- somewhere else....

Who cares about the customer? (5, Interesting)

J-1000 (869558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799355)

Here's a case for used games: We don't hate your company for trying to railroad us into a new copy. These companies are pissed that Gamestop makes money doing something they don't. If they are so jealous of Gamestop, why not sell used copies from their own website? Instead of modifying their business strategy to meet market demand (or better yet, ignoring it altogether since the industry continues to grow in spite of used game sales being around since inception), they would rather try to alter the market itself by brute force. Nice.

They are welcome to do as they please, just as we are welcome to play other games. There's a chance it will work exactly like they want it to, I guess. Time will tell. One thing is for sure: It adds no value to the customer, and in fact *removes* value since they no longer have the option to sell or trade their own stuff.

I'd like to see a car company try something like this.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799407)

Stop giving them ideas, please.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (2, Insightful)

wild_berry (448019) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799509)

If they are so jealous of Gamestop, why not sell used copies from their own website?

And offer a discount on upcoming titles, entry into beta testing rounds or early access to the full game. It's a business no-brainer but is hamstrung by the industry habit splitting production from distribution.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800779)

I doubt that the games industry has much against second-hand games in general. However big-name game retailers have turned second-hand sales into a hideous profit engine. The big ones in the UK, Game and Gamestation (now one corporate entity), buy preowned titles from gamers for about 25% of the retail price, then resell them at about 75% of the retail price. The margins are so much higher on pre-owned stock that they really push it, offering bundles of pre-owned rather than new software with consoles, staff try to sell you a used rather than new copy when you enquire about a new game, etc. etc. and that cash goes straight into Game Group's pockets. None of it reaches the publisher or the developer, and gamers are given a shitty deal whether they're trading in or buying pre-owned titles, so they don't see the benefit either. I mean, £30 for a dog-eared, scratched, second-hand copy of MGS4? Seriously? Retail is the one part of gaming that pulls a profit in good times and bad. Do yourself, and gaming, a favour: buy your second-hand software anywhere but the big chains.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (2, Insightful)

Prehensile Interacti (742615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800797)

These companies are pissed that Gamestop makes money doing something they don't.

Close. The publishing companies are pissed at how Gamestop prioritizes new vs. second hand games in the stores. More shelf space is devoted to second hand games, rather than new games. Additionally sales assistants are trained to offer up the second-hand version if the consumer takes a new version to the counter, as there is more mark-up for Gamestop on the second-hand title.

I'm not going to comment on who is right or wrong here, but I am going to note that pusblishers do not like it. Once Gamestop / EB were their presence on the high street, now their exclusivity has gone, they feel their sales are being diluted. Both companies need business models that work for them, and this is what we are witnessing; the tuning of the parameters to maximize returns. The ones that work out will stay.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25801349)

OK, as an actual employee of Gamestop I feel like I've got to say something on this whole subject.

I'm not the hugest fan of my company, and we do a LOT of stupid things. However, there's a reason for the high margins, and that's the customers.

1, Those used games are warrantied for 30 days by default. If a customer buys a used copy of, say, Fallout 3, takes it home, and decides that shaking the 360 like an etch-a-sketch while the game's still running will make the graphics better, they can come back with their irreparably damaged game and give it to us for a replacement. And then rinse and repeat.
2. Those used games are also warrantied for a full refund within 7 days. So, if someone can beat the game in under a week, they can simply return it without having paid a penny, making us a sort of rental station with a higher initial investment, but ultimately free. Also, if they manage to damage the game, we still have to completely refund within said 7 days. This goes for used consoles as well.
3. We HAVE to buy your used games if they're in good enough condition and for a console we still sell. It's just that simple. This isn't e-bay, or a garage sale, or a swap meet, you're guaranteed a sale of every game you bring in. Hell, if it's a good enough or simply recent enough game, we'll take it back if the bottom's completely scratched. So we also pay for the shipping and repairs of consoles and games.

Also, of course we dedicate more shelf space to used games. There are more used games! Believe it or not, EA doesn't keep producing copies of Madden 05, but we still have to take them in as trades. Almost every game stops production after a while, but there are still millions of copies in circulation. And with each subsequent release in a sports-based franchise, the previous iteration becomes instantly worthless to the customer and is thus sold to us, resulting in an ever-expanding spot in the racks occupied by the creatively titled (Sports Franchise) 03. Following that, few people buy those copies but rather wait for the new copies of the newest version to be traded in.

Also, we actually offer a year warranty for our games. I don't know about you, but until I started working at Gamestop, I'd never heard of extended warranties for games. Given the average lifespan of the average used game in the hands of the average used game customer, those are fairly often returned. And should it be something like Electroplankton or Marvel vs Capcom 2, and we simply cannot secure another copy in the district, we pretty much have little recourse beyond a refund.

Yeah, there's a large margin between sale price and buying price. It's a company, it has to make a profit. However, given the sheer volume of theft, incompetence, and simple loudness(it's amazing how often a customer will win not by being right, but by complaining to customer service until they get their way) from Gamestop's customers, there also has to be a buffer zone for all the things that will inevitably go wrong with sales.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801881)

I dunno near where I live we have an independent game shop and they are even more into the buisness of selling secondhand games than the big chains. I suspect they have similar margins on the secondhand games too (though i've only bought secondhand, I don't sell secondhand)

Re:Who cares about the customer? (1)

Trojan35 (910785) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802033)

Seriously, if I couldn't buy used games, I probably wouldn't have a system.

Since owning an xbox ($600 after peripherals/2yrs Live etc), the only games I've found worth the initial cost and no re-sale were Gears of War ($60) and Rock Band ($170). That's $830 for two games.

If I was unable to re-sell the other 20 some games I'd bought, there's no way I would even own this system.

Re:Who cares about the customer? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25802211)

If they are so jealous of Gamestop, why not sell used copies from their own website?

Because they don't want anyone to sell used copies.

Gaming is trying to move toward the model the RIAA has been working toward for a while now -- that they sell a disposable good. Electronic Arts would be just as happy if you broke the disc in half and threw it it the gutter as you were leaving Gamestop. They have your money and the transaction is done. If you want more entertainment, buy another new game.

Think about it this way: the "old paradigm" was books. You bought a book, it was yours. Lend it out, give it away, borrow one from the library -- the publisher didn't really care because more people reading means more books sold, one way or another.

The new paradigm is an amusement park. You can go and have fun, but once you leave, all you have is memories. You can tell someone else about how fun it was, but they'll have to pay for their own ticket to experience it themselves. You can't re-sell your old ticket to get in the park, and you can't go back in yourself with it. You have to pay all over again. That's what the entertainment industry wants because they decided it's just easier to get your money and be done with it.

What right do they have to prohibit this? (3, Insightful)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799387)

That's the question that comes to me ... I mean, they sell me a copy of the game, right? Since when do they have a legal right to prohibit me from reselling it? I can't think of another type of product where this can be done legally ...

Re:What right do they have to prohibit this? (1)

explodymatt (1408163) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800465)

There are laws against reselling certain adult products in some areas. Perhaps if they can prove the recipient's health is at risk they'd be able to slip it past ^_^

Re:What right do they have to prohibit this? (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800765)

Seriously I agree, what the hell ...does the music industry want to stop you from reselling some cds you don't like...even as stupid as they are, THEY know not to try such BS.

The gaming industry has become this big greedy machine that just can't get enough of itself.
I find the gaming industry (especially blizzard) just too successful for their own good.

The latest WoW expansion proves it....i call it "the 5 billion dollars in the bank is not enough" expansion...instills more game play...but does not make long time players level up any easier.

Unfortunately for me I am a WoW addict already...but try to limit myself to just that ONE game, and only 2 months at a time, the next 2 months are without play....the only way I can still get stuff done around the house.

Re:What right do they have to prohibit this? (1)

FishAdmin (1288708) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801113)

That's the question that comes to me ... I mean, they sell me a copy of the game, right? Since when do they have a legal right to prohibit me from reselling it? I can't think of another type of product where this can be done legally ...

How about designer handbags et al? http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/07/01/154231 [slashdot.org]

Re:What right do they have to prohibit this? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801721)

Afaict they can't prohibit resale of the game CD/DVD/Blueray itself.

What they can do is make users tie thier copy of the game to an online account. Then have the terms and conditions of that account say non-transferable and/or strongly encourage people to tie all thier games from the publisher to the same account (the steam method)

They can also require online activation and limit the number of activations (the spore/ra3 method). This means a secondhand buyer may not be able to activate the game at all and certainly not the full number of times.

They can also limit each CD key to one login at a time to the multiplayer system (the starcraft method). This will mean that anyone buying a secondhand copy risks being unable to play online when they want to since they can't know for sure that the previous owner destroyed all copies of the CD key.

Of course not all theese methods will work for all games. Some games don't have significant multiplayer content. Console games tend not to have CD keys and console players are unlikely to put up with activation.

Re:What right do they have to prohibit this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25803213)

Presuming your question was serious and not a rhetorical tool... here are a few of the ways they have the right to use to accomplish this:

  • Copyright: not so applicable, since the original physical disc does not nead to be copied, and copies that are a part of installation and usage are implicitly and (in some cases) explicitly allowed by fair-use and other copyright law. Nonetheless, the ease of copying has caused most stores to not trade in PC games.
  • Technical measures: Securerom, et. al. There is no law explicitly requiring companies to ensure that resold products work. Maybe you could argue it in a court case, but I personally am not interested in a court case. Bottom line is there may be technical means to prevent multiple installs.
  • Services: Companies are under no obligation to provide services, including downloadable content, for free to anyone who asks. They may establish an implicit contractual arrangement with the first owner, the digital results of which are protected under copyright law and thus are non-transferable. In fact it may be arguable that purchases through Steam, et al, are services outright and not products in the first place.

In short, doctrine of first sale says you are not legally prohibited from reselling. It does not say that the company has to make this easy or even possible.

Is it just me or... (1)

ConallB (876297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799397)

Are game developers developing a distinctly MAFIAA type whiff about them?

Re:Is it just me or... (1)

theilliterate (1381151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800895)

It's developed. Google starforce. Or look into ea's shenanigans with spore's DRM.

Liquidity (1)

Trevelyan (535381) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799399)

Isn't one of the most obvious arguments, that being able to sell your games frees up money to spend on new games?

I know in the UK parents would make their kid sell games they are no longer playing in order pay for the latest must have game (The parents then pay for any shortfall).

I would say this whole anti-secondary sale issue is another example of the blind greed that is currently taring down the banks.

Re:Liquidity (4, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799583)

I would say this whole anti-secondary sale issue is another example of the blind greed that is currently taring down the banks.

The gaming industry is starting to eat itself.

It's something else to watch these gigantic corporate entities try to turn sharing, borrowing, and reselling into the next big evil. You'd think they'd stand no chance of getting the popular vote on this, but everywhere now you start to see ordinary regular people asking the question: What can be done about the second hand market?

The more pertinent question is: What the fuck? followed by You are kidding, right?

No other industry enjoys this priviledge. Not even the RIAA is seriously trying to argue that you can't sell a used CD, and they've argued that ripping to MP3s is stealing, and that you need to buy a new copy every time you listen on a new device.

The part I find the most ignorant and self-serving is the part where people talk about the damage it is doing to the industry. The industry is not an end in itself. It adapts to market pressures, or it doesn't. As an ordinary, rational consumer there's nothing that I need or want to do for the industry. They produce games at affordable prices, and just suck up the fact that I am not going to buy all of them as first sales, or they don't.

Something everybody seems to forget in the talk about the evil of second hand sales, is that every one of them, no matter how dilute from reselling, must have been a first sale at some point.

And for crying out loud - what happened to just being thrilled that someone wanted to play your shitty game at all?

"Game Designer Makes Case For Used Games" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799417)

I also have a case for my used games. I made it in woodwork class in ninth grade. In the case I keep my "Monkey Island 2" and "Police Quest 3". I didn't need a fancy "Game Designer" title to be able to make the case, that's how good I am.

Surely it's as simple as... (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799471)

If I sell my games, I have money to buy more games!

I can't buy games with money I don't have.

Re:Surely it's as simple as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799991)

But you'll probably buy used games with your profits.
So that's a lose-lose deal for the developer.

Re:Surely it's as simple as... (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800411)

ah, but eventually I will have played all possible second-hand games and will have to buy a new game ;-)

Re:Surely it's as simple as... (1)

SQLGuru (980662) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800421)

Well, if they want my game $$'s, they have to price it appropriately. I'm a 2nd wave gamer. Most games that I buy new, I wait until the initial price drop before I buy it if I really *must* have it ($50 --> $40). Some games, I can be a little more patient with and wait for the second price drop ($40 --> $30). Others, I wait until it's a bargain ($20).

There have been times when games took too long to make their price drop that they became irrelevant. For example, I've never played Myst. I wanted to, but I didn't feel like it was worth $35 three years after it was released. Had the PC market had a better used game market at the time, I might have considered getting it. Had I played Myst at any point, I'm sure I would have been more likely to purchase the sequels -- even at the $40 price, but when I was ready to pay $20-$25 for Myst, it was still $35. A used copy would have matched my price target better and lead to a future sale of a new copy of Riven.

In general, I don't support used PC games because I do think they are a big component of pirated games (buy, copy, resell, keep playing) and I don't really condone that activity. With console games, however, duplication is not as rampant (generally harder due to proprietary formats and all), so I've bought used console games.....but I also buy new.

Layne

Re:Surely it's as simple as... (1)

pdusen (1146399) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800919)

no, that's a "breaking even". They're essentially just trading games they both already own at that point.

Game companies hate used games (1)

DirtyFly (765689) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799473)

I've been in the process of trying to open a game store in Portugal, after several contacts with major labels, i've decided that IO do not want to be a sony employee, the margins are to low, game selling legislation i Portugal is ridiculous, the used game market could be a way out of it , but sony kills the market with their platinum series, what you thought the platinum was there so you could play cheap ? no its there to kill the used game market.
As for the copy protection mechanisms I see on PCs, they are plainly ridiculous, boycot all games that are drmed .

Jorge

Re:Game companies hate used games (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799739)

Platinum is not that cheap. Used games are usually overpriced. For instance, most of the places in the UK will buy your game from you for less than £10 and then try to sell it to the public at just a couple of pounds less than the new price - £30-40. That's not only a massive profiteering exercise by the company, but both seller and buyer feel ripped off.

What Platinum should be doing is setting the price cap for used games. If you're gonna pay the seller peanuts and charge the buyer a huge margin then you should expect to be undercut.

Especially when it costs Sony $0 to shove out more copies...

Re:Game companies hate used games (1)

MrAngryForNoReason (711935) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800081)

but sony kills the market with their platinum series

I for one would much rather buy a brand new copy of a game on Sony platinum or Xbox360 classics for £15 instead of paying a comparable price for a used copy. The risk of problems with scratched discs and missing manuals is not worth the hassle in my opinion. Even if you visually inspect the discs before leaving the shop there is no guarantee that they will work flawlessly.

This is especially important for games that require a large time investment. Playing a game like GTAIV for weeks only to find that there is a scratch on the disc that stops the last mission from loading properly would be incredibly frustrating.

Re:Game companies hate used games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25800817)

Or, say, Tales of the Abyss, which took me nearly 70 hours to complete. I'd be pretty angry if I got to hour 65 only to find that one of the last dungeons won't load.

Re:Game companies hate used games (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801357)

I don't know if it's still the case on current generation consoles, but the discs of PS2 Platinum edition games were of lower quality than the ones from the original release.
Also, the originals came in prettier cases, often included things like better manuals, posters, and other goodies.

abandonia.com & gog.com (1)

RichiH (749257) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799591)

So the guy thinks that selling add-on content that is not tied to the game but the user of the game is a great way to make money? Nice bloke, that. Now, head to abandonia.com & gog.com and bask in their glory. North and South, Master of Orion and Syndicate for free? Fallout for $5? You will find it there.

Ads? (3, Insightful)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799601)

In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue

Someone needs to kill these stupid fuckers like *right now*. I'm Serious.

Advertising ruins everything. I don't want to immerse myself in a game and have to put up with some bullshit about what drink is better, and that I need to buy this widget cuz the cool kids got it.

There is a cold war going on right now with advertisers and consumers and advertisers love using stupid bullshit arguments with ignorant judges like, "Not watching commercials is just like stealing content". That's why TIVO is going to cave soon under enormous pressure to thwart people from bypassing advertising and why the old company that made that DVR with the automatic commercial skip got sued into oblivion. They resurrected themselves as ReplayTV, but sans commercial skip.

We fight it everywhere in our lives right now. From blocking pop-ups, pixels, Ad Block Plus, the 30-second skip button on the DVR, etc.

How the fuck can you advertise a contemporary product for today's culture in a game like NeverWinter nights anyways? I would love to go down the local tavern to find my +5 Broadsword only to be faced with a "Do the Dew" logo on the front of it. Sheesh.

We all have to put our foot down now and REFUSE to participate in this else the games will be ruined. If you think I'm going overboard here, then present me a situation in which an advertisement actually adds real entertainment value?

Re:Ads? (1)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#25799807)

I have no problem with the subtle little brain washing things like product placement done well.
As long as it blends in I'd be perfectly happy with billboards in GTA advertising real products.
Seeing junked coke machines in a post apocalyptic setting would be only fitting.
But advertisers don't like subtle. That billboard can't be a washed out piece of the background, no it would have to be primary colours jumping out of the screen at me.

They could put ads on the loading screen but then the pressure is on the devs to prolong the loading screens rather than shorten them.

And because of that I will not accept adverising in pay games.

On the other hand if I get a game for free I'm not going to complain about the developer putting in ads.

Re:Ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25800205)

http://news.softpedia.com/news/In-game-Advertising-Coming-for-City-of-Heroes-82663.shtml

Re:Ads? (4, Interesting)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800131)

How the fuck can you advertise a contemporary product for today's culture in a game like NeverWinter nights anyways?

On the loading screens. As for which products, know your target market. Source books, dice, miniatures, XXXL T-shirts, pizza delivery, and fizzy drinks. And expansion modules for the game itself, of course.

Re:Ads? (1)

sam0737 (648914) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800617)

Oh shoot.

This reminds me that, when I was teen, I made a VB program with a splash screen + progress bar and sleep the thread for a few seconds because I thought progress bar was cool!

Re:Ads? (1)

theilliterate (1381151) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800949)

If an online game were *free*. No cost to download, no cost to play, I'd put up with a watermarked coca-cola logo that followed my character around.

Re:Ads? (1)

J-1000 (869558) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801589)

How the fuck can you advertise a contemporary product for today's culture in a game like NeverWinter nights anyways?
On the loading screens.

One thing we do not need is incentive for longer loading screens.

Re:Ads? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801663)

You know. I could live with that in some cases. Battle.net, for example, has a few banner ads here and there, and stuff that pops up during load-screens.

As long as their not actually offsetting the gameplay (increasing load-times, sticking shitty banners in places they don't realistically belong), it's actually not that bad. Sometimes it's even humorous.

Banners while waiting for the game to find opponents in an online RTS, no prob (heck, it probably helps pay for the server bandwidth).

Billboards for Pepsi in GTA. Why not? a real city would have them.

Adds for a Pepsi in WoW. No fucking way. It ruins the meme. However, I seem to remember hearing about some ads that were recognizable, but adapted to fit the game. For a similar situation, how about the "Burger King" medieval meals, or Starbucks in the second Shrek movie, par example. I thought those added to the humor of the movie.

Re:Ads? (1)

neumayr (819083) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801579)

Not that I'd enjoy getting spammed in a game I paid for, but there are products that would fit the NWN world good enough. Certain brands of beer (not American beer, obviously), fantasy fairs, LARPs, P&P games (I probably wouldn't have tried D&D if it weren't for Baldur's Gate and NWN)..
Could work, wouldn't neccessarily destroy the mood.
Of course, this assumes some sense on side of those making the ads, and the publisher - could fail on those grounds, admittedly.
But you have to appreciate the extreme costs of making a modern day game, and compare its price to how much you paid for, say, an N64 game. Where I'm from, the price is pretty much equal, even though the same kind of money is worth less nowadays than back then.

Re:Ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25801859)

In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue

Someone needs to kill these stupid fuckers like *right now*. How the fuck can you advertise a contemporary product for today's culture in a game like NeverWinter nights anyways? I would love to go down the local tavern to find my +5 Broadsword only to be faced with a "Do the Dew" logo on the front of it. Sheesh.

How about a nice tankard of MountainGiant Dew? I happen to like MD so I'd find that cool. Have a dwarf doing extreme giant knee-capping or something :)

I'm against the idea in general, but I will say that, at least in the first month, the Hellgate advertising wasn't too bad - basically clan recruitment posters - in game ads for in game items (guild membership) really.

Besiudes, coke wouldn't want the bombed out machien in Fallout. They'd want the working one of +1 energy or whatever. They'd want the bomber out ones to be Pepsi...

Cheating the Game (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25799919)

Here's my case for used game sales.

By making it so I can't resell the entirety of my game by giving me a nontransferable license for a portion of the game's content, the publisher is stealing from me. Specifically, they're taking away the resale value of the goods I purchased from them by attempting to treat them as a privileged service instead. This emerging trend of nontransferable content licensing as rights management represents a profoundly backward view of commerce that attempts to justify undermining competition from resale companies by attacking the customer.

Everyone knows that this has nothing to do with eBay or old fashioned brick and mortar video stores. It has everything to do with Gamestop and the like. Publishers realize that when many gamers purchase a game they don't hold onto it long, and the major chain resellers can buy it back and put it on the market again for a profit, theoretically causing the publisher to lose sales.

Well, guess what? That's life. That's how virtually every good in the history of man has been treated. We buy something, we retain it while it has value to us, and we either dispose of it or give it away when we're done. It's not the resale company's fault that your products aren't valuable enough for the customer to want to keep them even though most major resale companies rip them off for a fraction of what the customer paid you for the game, and just because you brats think you're entitled to those sales doesn't mean you can take away one of my basic rights to product ownership. Maybe you should have capitalized on the booming resale market while you had the chance instead of complaining that Gamestop has its fork on your already overloaded plate.

This isn't just about maintaining robust game communities (which aren't profitable) or watering down Gamestop's bread and butter. This is my yard sale. This is eBay. This is my right to resale. Nontransferable content licensing as rights management is nothing but anti-competition against resellers and renters, and a scary and completely unnecessary trend that attacks consumer rights in order to cause the market to function in a way that unfairly favors the publisher. It should be considered criminal.

Maybe before people like Mike Capps and the bigwigs at Nintendo start considering making boneheaded moves like this, they should bone up on economics! Oh, what's that? Marketplace dynamics don't apply to software because it's not a tangible good? Baloney!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Market_saturation [wikipedia.org]

How About Something Stupidly Obvoius? (2, Interesting)

AnswerIs42 (622520) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800289)

Used Game Market Helps Keep Landfills From Filling Up With Plastic

I have a game I don't play anymore, what sounds better? "Trade it to a store for $10" or "Toss it into the garbage where it will break down in 1000 years"?

I only buy used... (2, Insightful)

bbroerman (715822) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800397)

As a parent of three boys, I only buy used. I'm not fuc#en rich, and games are absurdly priced. I have other bills to take care of first, like mortgage, car, gas, food, etc. If they stop selling used older games, I'll stop buying. End of story.

Used games are not substantially cheaper... (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801667)

I very rarely (almost never) buy used games in a game store, because honestly I just don't think they offer a very good price on them. It'll be like new copy: $60, used copy: $55. Or if it's an older game it might be new copy: $30, used copy $25.

Now from a practical standpoint I don't care at all whether it's a new or used copy. There hasn't been a significant difference in quality in my experience. Plus I own a smallish house, I really can't take more accumulation of "stuff" - so in many cases I don't even keep things like the DVD case or manual. But if the price difference is so minor, it becomes a matter of principle: I don't want to pay new game prices for used games. The previous owner of the game got something out of the deal, the game store gets something out of the deal, I want something out of the deal, too. Like a real non-trivial savings.

A better trick is to ditch retailers entirely. (1)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 5 years ago | (#25800981)

In the future many games will be distributed electronically on a pay-to-play service model requiring a unique serial number, verified online, that is valid for a limited period of time. Even if you make a copy, it'll be worthless after the serial number expires.

There won't be such a thing as a "used game." Or indeed a game that you "buy" at all.

A win win situation (1)

TheLuggage2008 (1199251) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801015)

It seems to me that there is a simple enough solution available here.

If the games companies want to profit from a second hand games market (that they simply will not be able to shut down) they could actually get involved.

It has already been commented here that we sell our used titles to places like Gamestop for maybe $5 - $10, only to see staff tag it for $30 - $40 in some cases before we even walk out of the store.

Let the games publishers establish a game trading site where they can facilitate exchanges between gamers that benefits everyone; the original owner can get more than $10, the new owner can pay less than $40 and the games company can charge a few dollars per transaction.

Getting $3 per transaction on what could be hundreds of thousands or millions of transactions per year adds up to a whole lot more money than $0 of the same transactions; that's how math works, I just checked with a calculator.

Hell, they could even host one 20 second add while the transaction was completing, giving them add revenue as well. We can all survive a 20 second commercial if it's saving us a bunch on our next game, right?

Games are Unique (1)

Prehensile Interacti (742615) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801075)

I'm sat here racking my brain for any other product that is readily available 2nd hand on the high street. Besides the ex-rental in Blockbuster, which is a tiny part of their trade, the best I got is a car analogy (this is Slashdot).

Car dealerships do more trade in 2nd hand cars, than new. However if they are a dealership, then the car manufacturers do make money on the transaction. I believe they all have some sort of 'Approved Used' 2nd hand product, and these funnel money back to the original creator. This is why it costs you a lot more to buy the same 2nd hand car at the dealership, than from the classifieds.

I believe this does make the second hand trade in games unique, and does put the publisher in a uniquely bad position in the world of retail.

There is a place in the world for second-hand stuff, and that place is eBay. Curse however much you like about our economy, but it is built on rampant consumerism. If other industries start finding their new product in direct competition with 2nd hand on the high street, then they will collapse. Games is currently uniquely strong, as the average age keeps getting older each year as Gen X ages.

Of course the best way to tackle the 'issue' of 2nd hand gaming is to bring the price down of new games. If there are more customers (there are), then there is more room to bring the price down. I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Games are Unique (1)

Grym (725290) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802939)

Of course the best way to tackle the 'issue' of 2nd hand gaming is to bring the price down of new games. If there are more customers (there are), then there is more room to bring the price down. I'm not holding my breath.

Exactly. The gaming industry's greed created this monster. By insisting on agranular pricing, so that nearly all games are MSRP priced at $50-60, regardless of production costs and actual value, they virtually ensured the gamestop niche. As a consumer, if you only had $30 to spend and wanted a new game, until very recently (via XBLA and steam), you were basically out of luck.

The secondhand market filled that gap. Plus, it also allowed a way for consumers to recoup some of the cost of bad games which publishers insist on pricing the same as triple-A titles.

-Grym

Game Industry's Worst Nightmare (2, Insightful)

Beyond Opinion (959609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801283)

I recently graduated college and got a job. Now that I have a source of income, I started to look at getting a current-gen game system. But after doing the math ($250-$400 console + $50-60 x number of games) I decided that since I still have my GameCube, and there were plenty of games for it that I would like to play and didn't already own, I would fall into the used games market. So I have been playing lots more games lately, but the game industry hasn't seen a dime from me. And you know what? Tony Hawk 4 is just as fun now as it was then, and it cost less than 6 bucks including shipping (just as one example). By the way, don't shop for used games at GameStop, you can get them brand new online for cheaper.

Electronic is special? (2, Insightful)

Galen Wolffit (188146) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801439)

And if I buy 'Baba O'Riley' or 'I Fought the Law,' then give it to whoever I sell Rock Band to?

With physical property, it is clear that as a consumer, I have the right to do with that physical property as I see fit, including transferring ownership in full to another individual. For example, if I buy a book, I can give the book to someone, I can sell it to them, etc.

I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why the same should not be true of electronic content. Certainly, if I buy a game I should not be able to give or sell someone else a copy of that game while retaining a copy for my own use. However, there should be no restriction on me giving it or selling it to another person, including any additional content I've purchased.

Book authors derive no revenue from the secondary market. Musicians derive no revenue from the secondary market (though there are multiple primary markets, including radio play, licensing songs for use in movies, games, etc.) Why do game designers feel they have the inalienable right to derive revenue from the secondary market?

Re:Electronic is special? (1)

burris (122191) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802603)

So called "electronic" copies are physical. There is a physical embodiment of the work in the pattern of magnetic particles on the disk. Without being fixed in a tangible medium, the work would not be subject to Copyright!

If this copy of the work was authorized by the exclusive rights holders, such as having downloaded it from their site, then you are free to sell that physical copy it along with the HD. However, Copyright law doesn't allow you to make a new copy on another hard drive and sell that after deleting the original.

When you purchased and downloaded something, you may have separately agreed to not resell the work in a contract with the publisher. That is an issue wholly independent of Copyright. However, such a contract is usually a contract of adhesion. Since the Doctrine of First Sale, prior to being included in the statute, was first articulated in a case where books had contracts printed in the covers forbidding secondary sales, these antireselling provisions might not withstand legal challenge. Is an end run around the first sale provisions of Copyright law "unconsciable?"

There's Only So Much (1)

jonesy16 (595988) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801531)

First off let me say that absolutely despise them for trying to stop the used game market. On the other hand, I understand how that does eat into profit. I won't pretend like we all wouldn't mind some extra cash, deserved or not. So what's the answer? They've made a few suggestions that I'll address.

1) In game advertising - doesn't really bother me at all. I could really care less if I'm driving down the street in GTA and I pass a billboard for CocaCola, whoopdi-do. If done in that way then it's non-invasive. Now if you paused the game every 12 minutes to show me a 30 second ad like television you better believe your game is getting burned / hacked / whatever.
2) Downloadable content - again, this can be done tastefully or as an insult to your customer. Almost all games currently sell additional content on the Xbox 360 Marketplace and I've gotta say that I love that. New maps for Halo every 6 months? Sweet. A new 30 minute mission for Mass Effect to tide me over til the next part of the trilogy comes out? Sweet. On the other hand, if you remove crucial elements of the game and make me pay additional for those, then your game is not going to be bought by me.

A suggestion that I'd throw out there is making Gamestop, etc pay royalties for used game sales. I do think it is a RIPOFF that Gamestop gives me $12 for a used game, turns around and sells it for $40, and all they had to do was put a sticker on it. I mean, their used game sell for $5 less than their new games, how absurd. Obviously I'm still gonna pay it cause it's less than the new game and there's no risk for me cause I can return it if it doesn't work, but still, what a ripoff. Make Gamestop pay a couple of bucks from their profit to the game studio.

just more propaganda from big biz (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25801739)

Piracy is taking over ships at sea, it is not sharing. Sharing what you own or create with others is both ethical and productive. Those who oppose sharing do so strictly out of a sense of greed. The public domain is where works of mind are inspired and needs to be replenished by the fruits of our thoughts. If we let the incompetent chain our creativity to their wagon, we'll simply keep pulling their load for them. We need to stop seeing exploitation as business and realize market corruption and creative theft are the real crimes going on here. Games and games would be much better served by affordable and wide-spread community development rather than the current platforms owned by monopolistic control minded multinational corporations.

Please, stop supporting evil by buying it's products.

It's not entertainment anymore ... (1)

GunDawg (1365295) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801749)

When I see an ad for a product inside a game it becomes a marketing.

This whole subject is stupid. Stick to entertaining and keep the marketing out. If you (game designer) don't want to follow the suggestions of your customers, I hope the next time you make it with your partner, they have the words, "Condom Depot.com" tatooed across their chest. Just so you know what it tastes like to have advertising mixed in with your entertainment. Chump.

Overpriced. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#25801775)

My personal issue with used games is that they cost only $5, at most $10, less than a new copy and what I'm getting out of the deal is questionable. Most of the time the instruction manual is missing, sometimes the package in damaged, and in some cases the CD has seen too much wear. And yet the condition of the package seems to have no bearing whatsoever on the cost of the game.

My thinking is, if the game isn't worth the money new then it's not worth buying period. Maybe I'll reconsider when the game is going for $20, which is an even better deal than getting one used. I've seen quite a few cases where discounted games were going for the same price or cheaper than used.

I've always felt that what retailers ask for used games is a blatant money grab, especially since they know that too many gamers lack the patience to wait for prices to drop.

That said, I have no problem whatsoever with the used game market. I can buy and sell used cars, furniture and electronics, why can't I do the same with games?

Used games market boosts the new games market (1)

ElGanzoLoco (642888) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802281)

Judging from how my little brothers manage their game collection (Wii, DS, PSP) I am pretty convinced that the ability to sell their old games (to a game store) is what allows them to buy the newer ones, usually first-hand.

Otherwise they wouldn't have nearly enough pocket money to buy them.

Restrictions on the second-hand market are silly. It will just push more people on Piratebay, since that other silly restriction pushed by the industry, DRM, has also failed spectacularly.

Bringing in new people (2, Interesting)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 5 years ago | (#25802637)

If it weren't for the used game business, my aunt and uncle, both retired, probably wouldn't play video games.

As it is, they now have 3 PS2s (2 for home, 1 for when they head to Florida for the winter) and 1 Gamecube (which I gave to them when I purchased a Wii).

They buy a lot of used games. My cousins buy them new games for various holidays and birthdays, but whenever they buy games for themselves, it's always used.

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