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Used Game Market Affecting Price, Quality of New Titles

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the either-that-or-it-doesn't dept.

The Almighty Buck 384

Gamasutra is running a feature discussing the used game market with various developers and analysts. The point has been raised by many members of the industry that used game sales are hurting developers and publishers even more lately, when they're already beleaguered by rising piracy rates and a struggling economy. Atari executives recently commented that used game sales are "extremely painful," while GameStop's CEO unsurprisingly came out in support of resales. We've recently discussed a few of the ways game designers are considering to limit used game sales. David Braben, chairman of UK-based developer Frontier Development had this to say: "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game — which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's."

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Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057233)


Boo f*cking hoo (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057267)

In other news, used car sales are hurting car manufacturers even more lately, when they're already beleaguered by rising petrol prices and a struggling economy. Ford executives recently commented that used car sales are "extremely painful," while eBay's CEO unsurprisingly came out in support of resales. David Braben, chairman of UK-based car manufacturer Frontier Development had this to say: "Five years ago, a great car would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad car â" which was essentially our incentive to make great cars. But no longer. Now manufacturers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the car's quality and then gamers start buying used cars which generates money that goes into eBay's pocket, nobody else's."

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057391)

This analogy might make sense if typical drivers bought 8 cars a year.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (4, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057571)

No, it would make sense if the depreciation of a used car was practically zero. That's obviously not the case.
The "problem" the industry sees with used game sales is that, given enough patience from the gamers, a very limited number of copies could conceivably be passed around the world LEGALLY for everyone to play in turn. Newer games end up on the used shelf in days, so not that much patience is needed.
The proper solution (as mentioned in other posts) would be to make games that take longer than a few days to get bored of. I'm still playing Civ4 regularly.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (3, Insightful)

HungryHobo (1314109) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057607)

Discs get damaged.

Sequels come out in the same way that new models of car come out.

Yet if a manufacturer tried to cripple their cars in such a way that they could only ever be used by one person and never sold on then you can bet people would get pissed of real fast.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057653)

A damaged disk can't be resold as a secondhand game, much like a totalled car can't.
The main depreciation of a used car isn't because newer and cooler cars come out (it only plays a small part), but actual mechanical wear.
But I fully agree that there should not be any restrictions on second-hand sales without commensurate benefits, such as much cheaper prices (1/3rd of now), perpetual support and upgrades to newer OS-es, etc...

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (3, Insightful)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058651)

The main depreciation of a used car isn't because newer and cooler cars come out (it only plays a small part), but actual mechanical wear.

Googling the phrase "drive off the lot" returned the factoid that "With a hybrid car, buyers do not always immediately lose that 30 percent of the value the minute they drive off the lot." People who aren't extolling the virtues of hybrids quote slightly lower numbers, some 10-15%, some 15-20%. Still, do you really think that there is that much mechanical wear associated with driving 500 feet?

Every car I've ever owned was purchased from the used-car department at a local dealer's. My current car was a year old and came with the remainder of the manufacturer's warranty. I saved a lot more than the percentage of its lifetime that had been "used up". My wife is a bit more paranoid, so her cars are purchased at year-end clearance sales. The savings aren't as large, but she gets a car with less than a hundred miles on the odometer.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (-1, Offtopic)

aliquis (678370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057549)

Used alpha males hurting virgin Slashdot users chance to score .. :D

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (2, Informative)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057739)

When I buy a car, I use it for *years* before reselling it. Also, when I resell it, I've put thousands of miles on it and other wear that makes it not very valuable.

When I buy a game, I play it and sometimes beat it the day I bought it. I also have a lot of incentive to sell it back to gamestop that weekend, since they'll often give you $20 back for it, as opposed to the $3 they'll give you in a month.

When I buy a game, I'll often go for the $5 cheaper used copy, even though it's only a 10% discount. Sure, a new copy is uhm... in an annoying plastic wrap I have to take off. There's ZERO incentive to buy new.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058753)

When I buy a game, I play it and sometimes beat it the day I bought it.

Wouldn't you say that's more of a price-value disparity? You paid ~50$ for a game and only got one or two days of enjoyment out of it. That sounds like the game fails to deliver much for its price.

Also, if you beat the games that fast, shouldn't you try renting? That's about 1.50$ per day rather than 30$ per game.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (1)

Amouth (879122) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058855)

on top of that if you look this compared to jsut a few years ago.. the new games prices have gone up so much.. now the price you pay for a used new release is the same as the new new release jsut a few years ago..

we all have our price points.. the amount of $ we are willing to spend on something.. there are extreamly few games i'm willing to spend 50+$ on - and the ones i will.. well they are the ones you can't really finish in a day..

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057955)

A terrible analogy. A used car still requires servicing and parts and this is where car manufacturers traditionally make most of their money. Used games require nothing from the developers and all the income goes into the greedy pockets of the game stores. This is one area I actually agree that there needs to be some changes, even if it is only that places like gamestop need to give a percentage of the games resale profit back to the publisher.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (4, Insightful)

Anenome (1250374) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058139)

These developers, etc, are completely ignorant of economics to even think of making this claim. The fact is that resale value in the mind of the buyer is a major portion of the original purchase price (whether he knows that consciously or not). If you make resale illegal or difficult enough to kill it off what will happen is that gamers will find the same approximately $60/game prices to be even less worth-it than before, since you've destroyed the intrinsic resale value the game had and there's now no way to dump a game that isn't worth keeping to recover a portion of your investment. If the resale value of a game is worth ~$20 then the entire game industry will have to lower their prices by that much on average to see the same buying activity, because a $60 game is now only worth about $40. But they aren't imagining they will have to do that. If the consumer thinks your game is overpriced they will not buy it. And making resale impossible will contribute to that perception. The result of this will be even more conservative behavior when gamers shop for games. Meaning that only triple-A titles will do well, and the A-material games will have fewer buyers and the B-games will probably price themselves out of the market. I'm sure Detroit's auto-industry and many other manufacturers would love to outlaw buying used cars to force you to buy new, but that's not how it works. That would only create a black-market for goods. So, think about this a second time, developers and publishers. You got your cash up-front when you sold that game brand-new and part of the reason buyers paid your price is because of the intrinsic resale value, you have absolute zero claim to second hand sales and the existence and ability to sell game second hand actually results in buyers taking more chances on new games and therefore more people buying new games. In fact, if your game does well second hand it's usually because your game is doing well in any case among first buyers. The answer isn't restricting 2nd hand sales. The answer is to get off your a$$es and make f***in' better games the people want to buy in the first place.

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058561)

In France, a new law is going to come into effect Jan.1 next, which will remove used vehicles from the road if ever they have an accident. Our president decided that forcing people to buy new cars was going to help the car industry... Brilliant, isn't it?

All details here : Le Figaro [] (in French, sorry)

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (2, Funny)

BenoitRen (998927) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058625)

then gamers start buying used cars

Gamers buy cars?

Re:Boo f*cking hoo (1)

tfmachad (1386141) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058763)

...and then drivers start buying used cars...

There, fixed it for ya.

Does this mean? (5, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057273)

We should bail out the game industry?

After all, if it goes under, we'll get a lot of people, who spend hours gaming, not gaming anymore. This means less soda and junk food to snack on, which in turn, means the junk food industry will be hurt, which, in turn, means more layoffs.

Re:Does this mean? (4, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057431)

I'm frequently amazed the games industry doesn't just stand up one day and go "Y'know, we talked it out between us, and we've had enough. We're going to all get jobs with fewer hours and better pay in something dull like spreadsheet programming."

So far, all I'm seeing is that their business model makes neither side happy. Game developers, at least starting out, get insane hours for little pay. Games are released at price points that are uncomfortably expensive for most of the target audience. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, to me.

Re:Does this mean? (4, Informative)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057981)

The new American businessmodel :

1. start a business
2. "almost" go bankrupt
3. get your income from tax dollars instead of, you know, those horrible clients
4. profit !

Re:Does this mean? (5, Funny)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058575)

Oh... My... God... you've solved the next to last step! YOU ARE A GENIUS!

Newsflash (3, Interesting)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057275)

Rubbish games don't sell the first time arround.

Re:Newsflash (4, Insightful)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057447)

Between you, and a game publisher, I think I know whose numbers on sales I'm more likely to believe.

You may not buy crappy games, because you read reviews first, but I think the message here is fairly clearly that there's enough people who buy games based purely on refractive index of the box cover, to make even the worst movie tie-in sell.

Re:Newsflash (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057511)

The PC version of GTA 4 sold very well the first few days.

Re:Newsflash (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058013)

You also got burned, eh? FSM, is that a piece of trash. With that release they destroyed their reputation as a good game developer company. At least for me.

Re:Newsflash (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058787)

No, I read some of the reactions to it and waited for the 1911 release to test it. It's almost unplayable, and full of glitches, so needless to say, I won't buy it either. This is one case for which one download = one lost sale.

Also, it's more littered with nag screens than an unpaid-for shareware release. Log into GTA social club, are you sure you don't want to, etc., it's just too fucking annoying.

Re:Newsflash (1)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058949)

Because GTA3 had some very nice mods, and I assume 4 will as well.

Re:Newsflash (1)

xstonedogx (814876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057551)

EA's Medal of Honor series taught me never to buy a game based on past experiences with the series. (Yes, it took me a long time. I'm an optimist.)

Not everyone has learned that lesson, though. Stinky sequels of great games/franchises often do quite well.

Hmm.. (4, Insightful)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057287)

If making a game is always resulting in a loss, it wouldn't make any sense ( business or otherwise ) to continue making games.

Therefore, I can only conclude that making a game is *still* profitable ( despite everything ) and would just like to say:

Be happy you are making profit and stop whining about how much.

That goes for **AA too!

Re:Hmm.. (-1, Offtopic)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058051)

The same could be said for cars, and yet look what Obama's about to do.

The new American businessmodel : don't sell to clients. Don't even produce and have the government pay your profits.

Clearly Japanese cars are turning a profit (and not a small one, given the office Toyota just erected near the airport).

Therefore the American car firms are clearly doing something horribly wrong. If they go bankrupt their expertise, workers and facilities would go over in hands of people who are more efficient than they are.

That seems to me, a good thing. Keeping the firms artificially alive seems to me a horrible idiocy.

Heh, we all knew Obama was for sale, he accepted more petrodollars in one campaign than Bush did in his entire life. I guess democrats like to be deceived. Same goes for RIAA dollars.

I don't get democratic slashdotters. It was beyond obvious that Obama wasn't our friend before the election. How exactly do you guys think ? "Ooh, shiny website !" ?

Re:Hmm.. (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058633)

While I appreciate your belittling the government (as they need as much as we can dish out), bailouts are hardly a partisan issue. Bush had no problem signing it into law, and republican politicians voted in favor in huge numbers (which is why Saxby Chambliss' was forced into a runoff in the first place... backlash against that one action).

Well... (2, Interesting)

michael021689 (791941) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057293)

If it makes them feel any better...I have never bought or sold a used game. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of my purchases in the past year have been digital. That does come at the cost that I only buy good games from companies that treat me properly.

Beyond that..of course it effects prices. That being said, you can't do anything about it. Once purchased, the game is mine to sell. The best (for them, that is) thing to do is to abandon singleplayer and focus on subscription and account based games. I'd be devastated though. You already took away KOTOR 3, don't take away ME2 and whatever else you can think of.

Re:Well... (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058023)

Beyond that..of course it effects prices.

No, it "affects prices" or "has an effect on prices". It's not that hard people!

Greed (2)

Twiceblessedman (590621) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057295)

That's what this is. They want a piece of the pie. Anyone who buys into this idea is an idiot. No one is going to pay $60 for a shitty game.

When I read... (5, Insightful)

liegeofmelkor (978577) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057309)

that the used game market is affecting price and quality, my first response is GREAT! Market forces at work are driving new game prices down and quality up as developers are forced to compete with a robust substitute good: the used game.

Then I realize its more of the same FUD campaign put on by the mega-corporations to prep us for invasive mechanisms inserted into games with the end goal of bilking us for more $$$. I think I'll avoid supporting this industry and stick to indie games until they have an attitude shift.

Re:When I read... (1)

Darundal (891860) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058179)

Yeah, well, between the smart/reasonable move of lowering prices and maybe spending less on developing games, and the idiotic "let's rant like all hell about how unfair it is that people resell used copies of our product," which did you actually expect to happen?

Uhuh... (5, Insightful)

FinchWorld (845331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057311)

...yes yes, its all ther nasty consumers fault! You bundle crapware drm and we don't buy it, uhuh, thats my fault. You release the game for £50-60 quid, and somehow, especially in the current economic crisis, I find that I'd rather pay for food and shelter over GENERICFIFASPORTGAME-2009. Im even more evil for thinking that second hand at £20-30, I might just be able to afford it without sending you more money after its first sale.

Oh, I also apologize when i decide not to buy your £50 game, because you decided you could, infact, split it into 3 seperate games and sell it that way for more than £100, for pure greed (Hi Starcraft2!). Im so very sorry. Also, do forgive me when i refuse to buy your game at all, because you decided that buying the game second hand means im njot entitled to the full game, because I also decided you weren't worthy to survive as a games company anymore (GOW2).

And "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game-- which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's."

No Im sorry, games just aren't as good as they were, because I recall buying and trading in games for second hand games more than 5 years ago. So that hasn't changed, must be the games eh?

Re:Uhuh... (1)

Xugumad (39311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057411)

> You release the game for £50-60 quid,

Where on earth are you finding £60 games? Even at RRP, they're £50 at most, and if you go to Amazon £30-40 is normal for console games.

Re:Uhuh... (5, Insightful)

NexusTw1n (580394) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057561)

Games with replay value don't get sold, gamers want to keep them to play again later. With no second hand copies available, people will have to buy new.

Games that are good enough get relaunched at half price as Platinum Games, which will see another boost in revenue as 20 quid is a price point where most gamers are prepared to buy new.

Games that have a long completion time - eg 30+ hours, or excellent online gameplay, result in gamers keeping them for quite some time before being sold back to game stores, which keeps that initial sales stream lasting longer than normal.

Games that have a short single player experience, or turn out to be not as good as the paid for review claimed, get sold back to the store as quickly as possible, and the publisher's revenue stream dies.

Gamers sell games to buy more games, they know you always get a better store credit price than cash price.

Gamers who buy second hand games, can't afford to drop 50-60 notes on the latest games. If these poorer gamers weren't keeping the second hand market strong, the price the richer gamers would be getting when they sell their games, would drop. This would mean they'd have less money to buy new titles.

50 - 60 notes is a lot of money to most people, even those that can afford it, can only justify it, because the game retains value and some of the cost can be reclaimed by selling it.

The market is working correctly, and any attempt to try and grab more market share by the publishers will back fire.

Yep (2, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058879)

I have a large collection of games that I'm never selling. I love them and periodically replay them, just like favorite movies. Baldur's gate 2 would be one. Ya it's an old game but I still like it. I replay it maybe once a year or every other year. I probably will for a long time too. You could compare it to the Princess Bride. Ya I saw that movie when I was 10. Guess what? I own the DVD. I like it. I don't watch it every day or anything but I watch it now and again. I'm not selling either game or DVD because I want to have them to replay.

Funny thing is truly good games DO seem to sell well for a long time. An example would be Oblivion. It took forever for that game to go under it's $50 opening price, and it is STILL on some shelves as a standard box title at $20-30, not in the budget isle. Reason is it is an excellent game and sales remained strong enough enough to justify the higher price. They drop the price when sales start dropping below a certain point.

The problem is for companies that make games that have no depth, no replay value. They may be entertaining, but only for a very short while. So someone will play them and go "Huh ok, done with that," and then get rid of it. Well sorry guys, but that's life. Don't like it? Spend time making sure your game has lasting appeal.

Same deal with movies. There are plenty of movies that I've watched rental or from a friend that I've said "Ya ok that's entertaining," but had no interest at all in owning. Once was enough. I'm sure those movie companies would really like more money but too bad, I'm not interested in it. You want me to pay the higher price to own it? It's got to be good enough I want to rewatch it.

Re:Uhuh... (4, Interesting)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#26059015)

I find it rather strange that numerous $randomSlashDotPosters can figure this out and that almost none of the game companies can.

Don't they hire, like, market dudes or something ? Or are we specially gifted around here ?

What's wrong with all those companies that keep on acting like divas all the time... "waaah, I've been obnoxious and painted myself in a corner, it's all the fault of my nasty customers, of p2p, of unmetered access, of sunspots, of the falling market, of terrorism..."


Re:Uhuh... (1)

MetaPhyzx (212830) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058421)

In reading the article, this is concerning console games, and is interesting to me for two reasons:

1. This is primarily a discussion about consoles, not PC gaming (there's not much market for used PC games in the last few years).

2. Piracy isn't rampant on the new Next Gen consoles, or am I just out of the loop?

It sounds like publishers want to go down the same road they did with PC gaming (and probably marginalize it as well), and GameStop and others are helping them provide an excuse. Admittedly, GameStop's used pricing model is... ridiculously priced. Yes, I know they have overhead, but selling at just below the price point of the new does sound like undercutting. Buybacks does this too.

I don't think console gamers particularly 14...15 year olds who spend part of their allowance coupled with the trade in to get the next big games are ready for what we have, with key authentication, and birth to death resale ability at all...

One of the things that has bothered me with services such as Steam (even though I am accepting of it) is the birth to death piece. If I get tired of a game and wish to resell it, there should be a mechanism by which I revoke my key and the new owner of the media gets a new one. Of course, Valve makes no money on a second hand sale and doesn't want to deal with the headache.

Can you imagine that playing out on consoles? Not too long ago game developers were lauding consoles for being a place that is preferable to the PC...

Re:Uhuh... (1)

khakipuce (625944) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058799)

I often think I must be the only geek that never plays computer games so I generally have no opinion on the subject. But recently my son has got interested - he's 7 years old - and wants a Play Station for Christmas.

My issue is the cost of the games, things like Lego Indiana Jones if about £20-£30 depending on where you buy it. Now he is pretty good a gaming, and surely the Lego series are aimed at his age group, but at that age they get bored fairly quickly (he completed the Indiana Jones demo in less than a week (about 5 hours actual time). So he is going to need a pretty constant supply of games to keep him going.

There is no way I am paying £20-£30 per month to keep him in new games, in fact my initial response was to not get him a console at all - there are plenty of free games for the PC. Trouble is at 7 years old waiting for a PC to boot and solving basic issues with games failing to start etc is well beyond him, a console is much easier.

This is entertainment and we all have a budget (implicit or explicit). The games industry needs to realise that it is in the same market - in terms of house-hold budget - as Cinema, Subscrition TV, trips, toys, may be holidays. They may get a slice of that budget but it is only a slice and the more they push, the less I am inclined to give them.

Make 7-year-old priced games for 7-year-olds not adult quality, adult priced games!

shut the fuck up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057331)

i use the money i get from selling my used games to... omg, your not ganna believe this...
buy new games!
holy shit on stick!
slap me thrice and hand me to me mamma!

here's an idea (2, Insightful)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057333)

the technology that we use to play these games has improved greatly over the past 5 years. so why aren't the games that are played on this hardware getting any better?

rather than bitch about how no one is buying your new games, start making good games that get me excited, so I want to go and buy them right away.

when you make a game that most likely sucks, i can't return, and infects my computer with another one of your DRM viruses, im not going to get all excited about it.

i still play red alert 2, unreal trournament, doom, a link to the past, etc, because those are great games that i enjoy playing.

start making games that are fun, and i will start buying. Or, you can recycle the crappy games from last year, throw in a few more polygons to make things pretty and go out of business.

No excuse limit used game sales (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057337)

Gamers don't give up copies of good games to used game stores. See how many copies of Goldeneye you will find. Additionally, if a game is great, people buy the game new so they can have it right away. Thus there is a small used game market for copies of that game.

The answer is simple (2, Insightful)

One Monkey (1364919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057347)

I gave up on console games after I read an article about how 80% of computer games bought are never finished. I don't really have much time to spare on games any more and find my gaming needs are more than catered for by browser based flash games. (Then again my idea of the perfect gaming experience is an entertaining and only mildly taxing point and click adventure.)

Anyway, seems to me that spending so much time and energy on flare effects and 3D physics and primo voice talent and cinematic effects is draining the industry of money. But nobody can ever get enough of things like Tetris, sure you might get sick of it for a bit but one day... one day... you are looking at those old falling blocks and you can't resist one more rotate and slot.

You want to absorb the costs of the used games market? Or damage it? Stop making vapid eye candy people bore of in seconds. With all the spare budget you have finance the production of your new more playable, less sugar frosting games.

Pretty impresses for ten minutes. Substance makes something a keeper.

Re:The answer is simple (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057689)

Thats pretty interesting.

Last year my (then) girlfriend was in the states and she brought me back a Nintendo DS, along with a couple of games.

We played with it almost constantly thereafter, but we did decide we'd never buy another game until we'd completed one of the ones we already had.

We spent a good few months slowly playing games until we completed them, and each time we did we'd celebrate by going to a game shop and choosing a replacement game (used).

In the past I've had lots of games I'd never managed to complete, and usually that due to lack of time. These days I do like to get my moneys worth out of purchases, so unless a game is vile I'll always play it through to completion.

Re:The answer is simple (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058991)

There's apparently millions thinking the way you do, at least Nintendo is making big dough from trying to appeal to the so-called lapsed gamers.

works both ways (4, Insightful)

samjam (256347) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057357)

Two facts:

* The high price of game creates the 2nd hand market.

* The high price 2nd hand market helps people afford new games, by selling their old games.

Putting up the price of new games isn't going to change those facts, in fact it will raise the price of 2nd hand games making the market more lucrative and increasing the amount of trade in 2nd hand games.

Preventing games from being sold 2nd hand will reduce what buyers can afford for new games.

Folk only have so much money to spend on games, after all!

I used to regularly spend about 1 GBP ($2) a week at charity shops buying books at 10-20 pence each. (They'd go back to charity shops to be re-sold when I'd finished with them)

Then the shops went "up market" and started selling at 50p - 1 pound each and now they don't get any of my money at all.

Games industry is going the same way.


Re:works both ways (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057725)

Funny you should make that comment about charity shops - I'm exactly the same.

I do still buy books in charity shops, but not as often as I used to when their prices were lower.

Now we have charity shops combing through their donations looking for "rare" books, albums, and films to sell at even higher prices I've kinda lost interest even more. There are only a couple of local shops that I regularly visit. All the major charities such as Oxfam, Barnados, and similar have just priced themselves out of the market.

There are too many charities in the world to give to all of them - so I don't feel bad that I no longer frequent their shops. Instead I pick a couple of charities and donate to them directly, the only reason I visit charity shops is because I expect their books/stock to be cheap, and that is no longer as true as it used to be.

Re:works both ways (1)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058225)

Wouldn't it make more sense to use your local library and just donate directly to the charity rather than using the charity shop as a pay-for-loan library ? ;-)

Re:works both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058605)

The exchange rate is around $1.47 per quid these days and still falling. The value of the pound has been taking a real hammering over the last few months.

Pedant (1)

mk2mark (1144731) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058705)

1 GBP doesn't equal $2, it's not even as valuable as $1.5 at the minute.

yup (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057381)

I agree with the poster above... If you can't make a game with replay value don't complain your game gets resold.

Make a game that people want to keep (3, Insightful)

mmcguigan (677816) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057387)

and you won't have this problem affecting your revenue stream.

I think one should be asking what makes people want to trade in a game after just one week of ownership.

Re:Make a game that people want to keep (2, Insightful)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057479)

Exactly what I was thinking. If these games were so "great" as they assume, people would want to keep them for longer periods of time due to their replay value.

These "great games" that they speak so highly of, are usually nothing but sequels to games, where the ideas were already done. They're not really that original and maybe just add one or two new features. The annual sports games come to mind. Most people won't keep those forever. A lot of people trade them in pretty fast when they've realized it's just like last years game.

Instead of rehashing the same ideas so quickly, come out with new IP's. Part of the problem isn't even the gameplay or even bad plot where applicable, it's just saturation in the market. Make less shovelware and concentrate on making better games.

Also, stop paying reviewers for high scores. It's such fucking bullshit when a reviewer calls a game "mediocre" and gives it a 7 out of 10. I would think a mediocre game would get a 5, as a 5 would indicate the halfway point. People have to rely on these reviews for the console side to try and make an informed purchasing decision. And guess what? With these skewed reviews, it's often hard to make the informed decision. If I was heavy into consoles like I was when I was younger, I'd probably be trading in games all the time too because of this bullshit.

Gamestop only helps the industry by having a one stop shop for a console gamer needs, so to speak. Biting the hand that helps feed you, a lot, isn't a wise move. It's not hard to dream of ways that would net you a little slice of their uses sales pie while benefiting Gamestop in other ways.

License to print boxes. (1)

Ostracus (1354233) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057397)

"Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game â" which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's.""

And what do you do when the supply of used games runs out?

Marketing lies (3, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057435)

"That's in addition to the fact that we don't see anything from the used-game sales, which is one reason why the price of new games throughout the industry remains artificially high," he says. "I mean, the industry has to make all its money from the first sale since we don't get a penny from the subsequent dozen or so sales of that same game."

Competition drives prices up!? Don't treat us like morons. If used sales went down why would they reduce the price? To make less money? I can see that being a great business strategy.

Why are resales so popular in the first place? Because games are really expensive and have a short life.

I'd also like to point out that while the observation that 80% of money from trade ins is spent on games is interesting, the car resale analogy is a little misleading. Cars are assets. They're purchased with the expectation of a certain level of depreciation. Games are to an extent but it's not nearly as big a factor in the purchase.

Re:Marketing lies (4, Insightful)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057533)

It's exactly the same BS the various recording industry associations are trying to feed us. They want to be liberated from the shackles of the free market, so that the extremely elastic demand and highly competitive market for games (music, movies) is turned into an inelastic demand government-sanctioned oligolopy.

To which I'd say "buzz off and go into a different business if you don't like it.". Note: I am a musician and a software developer. I still don't think the market should be controlled.

duh (1)

crhylove (205956) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057441)

Excuse me, but I still prefer Mario Kart 64 to any title I've played on a newer console.

I mean DRM is killing the game industry, high prices are killing the industry, and crappy sequels are killing the game industry, but really most of the new games suck.

I still play Urban Terror (free), and Civilization 2, as well, because the newer versions suck and aren't fun.

I love how these megacorporations are killing innovation in every sector and then demanding government bailouts. WTF is going on here? Sell a decent product idiots!!!

Games have been getting crappier. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057445)

Games have been getting crappier, so I won't buy them in the first place.

How is this different than any other media? (3, Interesting)

Gerad (86818) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057449)

Books, CDs, movies... these are all forms of entertainment that lose a lot of their value once they've been viewed once. If game companies don't want people reselling games, they need to make some kind of incentive for people to hold onto their games, and make the gameplay actually enjoyable so that people keep the game to enjoy, rather than just to finish the single-player content once. Great examples of this are the Smash Bros. series and the Halo series. Both are enjoyable to play with friends (or online) after you've finished the single-player campaign. Things like XBox achievements do a lot to add replayability to games, but if the games aren't inherently fun, then even they can't save a game.

A load of bollocks (5, Insightful)

gurkmannen (643368) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057451)

This is just plain fud. Being able to sell a game once you've played it increases the reason to buy it. Especially when the game is short, possibly bad or has no replayability value.

What a load. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057461)

The used market helps sell new games.

Some subset of early-adopter gamers are not going to buy new games at brand new prices unless they know they can turn around and sell the game to get back some of that value. This is especially true since early-adopter gamers are the ones taking the risk on the games. In this capacity, the used market actually helps you.

The used market is not the money factory you claim.

If there was truly so much money to be had in the used market you would drop your prices without hesitation in order to compete. If there was that much money you should have no problem making up for lowered prices with increased sales. The fact that you do not do this illustrates very clearly that there is not that much money being 'lost'.

David Braben, you are a remarkable idiot.

Not only have you stated that money is your "essential" motivation for creating great games - which leads me to wonder if your firm is capable of making a great game - but you have made it very clear that your firm has no incentive (read: plan) to create great games in the future.

Re:What a load. (1)

Goaway (82658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058527)

which leads me to wonder if your firm is capable of making a great game

LostWinds was a pretty good game.

Bail out are unnecessary without a 2ndary martet (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057467)

Used car resales are also hurting the Big Three auto manufacturers. I'm waiting for them to lobby government to ban the resale of used cars in order to save the industry.

Sell good games? (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057477)

I for one never resell a game I really enjoy ... even if it's a play through game (e.g. Half Life 2) I'd still keep it around in case I want to replay it some day.

Sounds like the game industry's found another bogeyman to blame their problems on.

Hell I go the extra mile (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057489)

I just stopped buying new games. I remember when I couldnt afford games, I would still try to get them new, used tended to be scratched or missing things. Oh and there was almost always a game I wanted.

In recent years, I've found very few games I actually want to buy. So I haven't bought them.

I only buy them used if I cant get them new because the GAME DEVELOPER has decided to stop selling them new. Oh but wait, that's their "right" that I can no longer buy their game, if they decide no one should play it any longer.

I must be a dirty pirate.

Thankfully there's not much out there worth buying and playing anymore. I have a wii that is collecting dust, and I play lots of tf2 and the other games in the orange box, and that has tided me over.
I wonder when they will start penalizing players for "overplaying" a game and cutting off access if they feel we have outplayed the value of the game.
That will be the next "crime" they will find the consumer committing.

Welcome to the gaming world according to Microsoft and EA.

the real reason why.. (1)

powerspike (729889) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057495)

OMG where losing so much money because of .

we need to do something to fix it now.

Pride? (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057505)

"David Braben, chairman of UK-based developer Frontier Development had this to say: "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game â" which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer."

So, David, you're essentially stating that you don't care if the games you make are good or bad ... just as long as you get the greenbacks for them?

Shame on you. Have you no pride in making good games?

Re:Pride? (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058213)

Is selective quoting somehow the norm with some people? Try finishing Brabens quote, if you will:

Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's.

He isnt 'stating that you don't care if the games you make are good or bad', he's saying that it doesn't matter now because the second hand market has grown to the extent where it is reducing sales of new games. Good games no longer have a longer new sales period than bad games. The market has changed, and Braben is highlighting that fact.

Re:Pride? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058245)

Pride doesn't keep businesses afloat.

I think this points to (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057521)

-low replay value
-short games

Many RPG games, I was not able to finish in a few weeks. The first Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation I never gave away, not because of the game, but after I beat that, I kept at the training exercises.

Although I cannot account for console games today, I play mostly flash games. Even pay for a few.

Remarkable timing on this article (1)

swordgeek (112599) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057535)

Just a little while ago, there was a /. article with the headline:
"Atari Purchases Cryptic Studios For $26.7 Million"

Now we hear:

"Atari executives recently commented that used game sales are "extremely painful"

Boo. Hoo.

Seriously, computers must be the only market where anyone pays attention to execs whining about used sales.
(Oh, wait--except for music and movies. Can we just blame Sony for all of this?)

Regardless of quality? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057539)

ow publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies

And where do those used games come from? Those high quality games, that people are going to keep playing for years, how did they get into the used game store a few weeks after release?

Maybe this is not really "regardless of the game's quality", but rather that NONE of the games you make have a replay value of more than a few weeks.

This won't last. (1)

contra_mundi (1362297) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057541)

I've seen this trend and I'm getting sick of it. The market is getting flooded with poorer (if prettier) games that are most of the time with crippling DRM and incomplete and bug-ridden. I don't believe a for a second that the used games market is to blame for anything, it's the publishers and/or big companies. They start this frantic lockdown battle against a natural part of economy while truying to outmuscle consumer rights straight out of the window. They actually think something good will come out of just releasing crappy games in quick succession, just to grab the money they have never been getting. It's (almost) like saying that boat sales are killing the auto industry. No, this will lead to people abondoning the industry and its products completely. If only consoles were a solution.

yeah, but used games exist... (2)

nEoN nOoDlE (27594) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057587)

Used games exist so deal with it. There are a lot of things that would affect how many people bought your games. If used games were outlawed then more people might buy games. If computers had hardware DRM that prevented any game from being played unless it phoned home to the game manufacturer, people might buy more games. If the government mandated that people buy at least 2 games a week, people would buy more games. That's not the world we're living in, so I guess the games industry has to do what everyone else has to do and cater to their existing customers. They're not entitled to protection for their business plans, and them saying that it's used games that's causing decrease in quality and affecting price is bullshit. When the demand for new games drops because there are used games, the rules of the market dictate that the companies have to LOWER their prices to compensate. Not raise them. People aren't buying them already! Why would they buy them at a higher cost? And, in turn, if the market forces you to lower your price, then you have to spend less making games. This doesn't necessarily dictate a decrease in quality. Look at World of Goo, Penny Arcade Adventures, Enigmo, Field Runners, Castle Crashers or Braid. Those games are dirt cheap to make, and are fun and original. This means that there might not be a Gears of War 3 or a Call of Duty 5, but you could make 10 Portals for the price of 1 Gears of War. I've been playing more games than ever before, and they haven't been AAA titles. They've been $20 games that I buy off XBox Live Arcade or the iPhone App Store, or from indie developers. I also bought The Force Unleashed, a highly anticipated AAA title, and it's been sitting on my shelf collecting dust. From my perspective it's never been better to be a gamer. There are so many choices for distribution and the barrier to entry has never been lower so there are a lot of inexpensive, entertaining games out. That's the biggest danger to the mainstream game market. And next time I think about putting up $60 for a supposed AAA title, I'll hold out a week and get it used.

Is it 1st of April already? (1)

evanh (627108) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057589)

Ah, nope! Must be those bastard marketriods again.

Whiny publishing bastards - the solutio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057599)

Ok. Seeing as you're bitching about how much it's hurting you, here is the solution:

1. Make games that people DO NOT WANT TO SELL after a few months. Ie, make something that you can play on, and on, and on. David Braben knows something about this - he should be spending more time teaching his developers and designers what makes a good game rather than being in management and moaning about everything.

2. When sales start to fall below acceptable levels slash the price of your game. Re-release it as a budget/classic/cheapo title, that'll encourage more people to buy from you rather than a 2nd hand copy. Better to have 1/3 of the original sale price than none at all.

3. Sell downloads rather than physical media, where possible.

Ok, that's my management consultancy over. Anonymous Coward out.

I am just going to be.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057617)

the idiot barbarian here and say what the rest of you are too intellectually inane to say "Bull-fucking-shit! Put some vagisil on it and quit your god-damn crying!"

Confuzzled (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057635)

Am I supposed to be angry at the evil GameStop for ruining the gaming market or am I supposed to be angry at the Game developers for their lack of understanding how free market works?

Money back in GameStop's pockets? (1)

Rurik (113882) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057677)

"gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket"

This sounds more like a tirade against GameStop than anything else, mostly because they're an upscale video game pawn shop.

For most people, games are sold used on normal channels such as eBay and Craigslist. That puts money back into the gamer's pocket so that they can buy more games.

ding dong, you're wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26057707)

Really great games continue to sell for up to 2 years after release and are commonly re-released at half-price or with an expansion bundle, and they don't get traded or sold at game stop. Of course if you are in the business of producing and selling generic shit you aren't going to continue to attract buyers once GS 2 comes out in 6 months, so yeah, your shelf life is limited - but who's fault is that. You think your customers should have some sort of brand loyalty to the DRM laden shit you sold them when the next new shiny comes along?

Publishers and used games. (1)

Narpak (961733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26057793)

How about if the Publishers themselves began buying back used copies of their games and resold them for a lower price, perhaps with some extra goodies thrown in to draw customers away from places like GameStop.

To me this basically sounds like more greedy bitching and whining from an industry that still produces mostly crap (with a few notable exceptions here and there).

Easy fix - Subscriptions (0, Flamebait)

mfh (56) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058169)

Charge a monthly subscription fee and force all content to be hosted on servers with client connection programs that cover non-specifics -- problem solved. When was the last time you heard of Blizzard complaining about how many ppl pirate World of Warcraft?

What makes the game industry more important? (1)

Madsy (1049678) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058223)

Cry me a river..

quitraisingprices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058243)

Slightly off-topic, but hey.

In the comments I see a lot of people complaining about video game prices. The story is now even tagged "quitraisingprices".

I have been playing video games since the days of the NES and SNES... and video game prices have barely changed. A new game usually costs sixty euros over here in the Netherlands. That's pretty much the same as the prices for new games about fifteen years ago (130 guilders back then).

In fact, many top notch Nintendo games, such as Mario Galaxy and Smash Bros. Brawl, are actually cheaper (50 euros) than previous entries in the series.

Personally I would EXPECT prices to go up, considering inflation. But prices have more or less stayed the same. I really don't understand what people are complaining about here.

Is this a difference between America and Europe?

(On-topic: I agree that there is nothing wrong with second-hand sales and game developers and publishers should quit their moaning.)

I seem to remember (3, Interesting)

stimpy (11763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058247)

the movie industry saying the same thing about rental shops when they first came out. They ended up dropping the price of videotapes (Yes, I'm old. Deal.) from $50 to $19.95. They don't seem to complain about that any more. Maybe if the game companies dropped the prices to begin with, more people would buy them when they first come out.

Destroy the competition (3, Insightful)

clickety6 (141178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058275)

If you want me to buy "Megagame 2" but don't want me to sell my copy of "Megagame 1" in case it creates competition for your Megagame 2 sales, then offer me a voucher for my copy of Megagame 1 (you only need to match or slightly better the price places like Gamestop would pay me). Said voucher to to be used when purchasing Megagame 2 )or another of your product line).

Then when you have my copy of Megagame 1, you can destroy it so it never threatens your future sales again.

really? painful? (4, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058337)

first, I've been playing PC games for over 2 decades.

Quality has dropped drastically. Technology increased which gave the illusion of high quality. Games today are a horrendous value compared to just ten years ago. Content has dropped from an observed average of 25 hours of gameplay to around 6 hours. Half the budget is blown by publishers on marketing. Publishers have also gotten quite complacent about their position in the industry. When you have more than 3 sequels, it's easy to forget about innovation.

Since games are so short these days, people go through them faster. Thus they go to the retailers what sell used games.

so? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058375)

Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies

Maybe that's because the replay value of your titles has dropped? All those cutscenes, interactive-movie "games" where there's exactly one plot to follow on exactly one road, you know? Few people see a movie twice, even a good one. So in becoming more like a movie, that's one of the consequences for your games.

Meanwhile, I still dig up games like Crusader Kings occasionally.

then make GOOD GAMES dammit (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058389)

for the last 10 years, you have been rehashing and selling old game concepts, hell, even old games themselves. Final Supremacy XVII. Blowing Tittage MCLMXXIV .....

you've made a mass production industry out of gaming. some generated graphics, some makeshift storyline, whoops, $60 bucks a pop.

take a lesson from wii's success. they went back to basics ; FUN. instead of shoving rehashed, mass produced CRAP like the other game/console providers do, they went to primal basics, and met the need for fun in people.

look back into 1992-1995 period. those were the days each and every new game was a fresh breath, and you people were creative individuals rather than bosses of a shitty industry's companies then.

2nd hand Alien Items (1)

Pond823 (643768) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058395)

David, sames is true for 2nd hand Alien Items mate.

Oh, BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058515)

What do these buffoons think people do when they sell their old games to GameStop? My guess, which is just as good as theirs, is that they turn around and BUY MORE GAMES.

replay value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058673)

Imagine that, you make something with no replay value and I up and sell it after I've finished...Shocking.

That's because you suck (2)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 5 years ago | (#26058699)

Oh, really? Great games don't sell beyond the first weeks? Leaving aside that the only recent Frontier Development title I know about is Lost Winds, a download-only game that obviously can't be resold, many games are selling for a long time. Nintendo manages to make games that keep selling a lot for months or even years (a quick check on Amazon shows Mario Kart DS at the top of the DS charts, a game that came out some time last year IIRC). Perhaps the games Braben observed just weren't that great and didn't really deserve long sales?

Besides, used game sales aren't a new thing, many of my SNES and Game Boy games came from fleamarkets.

GOOD games sell BAD games don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058723)

Maybe if the industry wouldn't put out crap (Like the latest Mortal Kombat) and which contains no Rootkits (Spore), People would actually buy the game instead of renting/downloading it.

I've been playing WoW since Nov 2003, what keeps me paying Blizzard? Quality and extra crap they sneak in.

Here's an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058975)

If it is taking that much money from the devs, why don't the devs buy it back from me at a higher price than the shops and then resale it a price lower than the shops?

I wouldn't by 2nd games from anywhere else if devs started doing this.

Basic Economics... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26058999)

Lower the price of the games to a point where demand intersects used pricing. Game spot goes out of business or diversifies to other markets and marginal long term revenues are retained.

Duh! :)

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