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Publishers Want a Slice of Used Game Market

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-wanna-piece-a-this? dept.

Businesses 664

grigory writes "GameStop's business model depends on a healthy flow of used games: incredibly '[GameStop] enjoys a 48 percent profit margin on used games.' Game publishers do not see a cut of the secondary sale because it falls under the first sale doctrine. Now, some publishers and manufacturers want a piece of the pie. 'One marketing executive, who did not want to be identified for fear of angering GameStop and other retailers, said the used game sale market is still depriving publishers of money because it gives consumers an all-too-easy alternative to buying a new game.' Interesting picture of companies fighting for your business, and (surprise!) complaining about being left out of the money stream."

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664 comments

anonymous coward wants slice of first post market (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216391)

and gets it!

Re:anonymous coward wants slice of first post mark (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216417)

+----------+
| Gratz |
+----------+
        | |
        | | .\|.||/..

Re:anonymous coward wants slice of first post mark (-1, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216719)

+------------------+
| Burma Shave |
+------------------+
                | |
                | |
  _______\|.||/..____

Re:anonymous coward wants slice of first post mark (4, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216717)

How about they actually make games that have replay value and don't suck so that nobody will want to trade them in?

What used games market? (5, Insightful)

telchine (719345) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216401)

Someone should tell them that, since Steam appeared there is no used games market.

Hell, come to think of it, now Steam's here, very soon there won't be such things as publishers!

Sucks to be them! Maybe someone should tell them?

Re:What used games market? (5, Informative)

Lordfly (590616) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216455)

Steam only works on PC games. If you notice, a Gamestop stocks only the top... 10 or so PC games (in a tiny shelf hidden from everything else). That's because they can't resell them. They have more PS2 games than they do PC.

Seriously, about 60% of the store is resold merchandise. They stopped being a games retailer and became a pawn shop years ago. When will they buy my gold watch?

Gamestop -- pushing used games over new (5, Informative)

thule (9041) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216613)

I hadn't purchased anything from Gamestop until recently. My employer moved offices recently and now we are across the street from a Gamestop. I went over to purchase LIttle Big Planet and they assumed I wanted the used copy. There was only $5 difference between the used and the new and I figured I'd rather get the new. I knew something was up when the guy behind the counter kept telling me I could save a few dollars if I got the used one. Was I really sure I wanted the new one? Are you really sure? I figured they must be doing very will with their used games. Most of the store is full of used games.

What does Gamestop pay for used games? They must have some soft of dynamic system that keeps track of demand and quantity on hand before they quote a price. Is it worthwhile to sell games to Gamestop? They wanted to sell me on a membership card that would give me 15% when I sold a game to them.

The few games that I have bought used were from Gamefly. The nice thing about Gamefly is they at least give you a *new* case (not a beat up and gross one), cover art, and the booklet. I supposed I'm picky though, I don't buy a game unless I know I really want to keep a copy for a long time.

Re:Gamestop -- pushing used games over new (2, Informative)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216733)

What does Gamestop pay for used games?

Shit.
Jack fucking shit.

Buy a $60 game on release day, return it tomorrow and get $40 TOPS, typically $30.
They sell it for $55.

Re:What used games market? (3, Insightful)

solios (53048) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216475)

Maybe someone should tell you Valve fanboys a couple of things:

1. There's no Steam for the Nintendo DS. (as an example)

2. There's a booming used market for handheld and console games. I bought all of my Castlevania GBA games used, for example - along with New Super Mario Bros. and several other titles.

While Sony and Nintendo are slowly moving towards more and more DLC and downloaded games, they don't come with manuals or boxes and they're not portable in the sense that you can pull the cartridge (or optical media or whatever) out of your backpack and toss it to a friend to check out. The "downloadable" option isn't available for older machines - the heart of the used market, and where the "economically disadvantaged" buy their games.

What older machines? (4, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216549)

There's no Steam for the Nintendo DS. (as an example)

The Nintendo DSi has the functionally equivalent DSiWare.

While Sony and Nintendo are slowly moving towards more and more DLC and downloaded games, they don't come with manuals or boxes

You're right that they don't come with boxes, but all WiiWare and Virtual Console games that I've tried have an instruction manual under the Home menu.

The "downloadable" option isn't available for older machines - the heart of the used market

Apart from the Nintendo DS and PlayStation 2, older machines don't have any commercial developers to complain about them. There aren't any new SKUs for the GBA, the original Xbox, the GameCube, or any pre-PS2 system, unless you count the few games sold by homebrewers [retrousb.com] .

Re:What used games market? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216601)

For the DS, you can just download them for free. I generally speak out against piracy, but to the publisher, they see as much money either way.

But what the GP said has truth. The used market is going to die. Yeah, Steam is just for PC. But the future is digital distribution (even for consoles...handhelds or otherwise). What about people without the Internet? Well, they will always have hoop and a stick.

Re:What used games market? (5, Insightful)

TorKlingberg (599697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216479)

now Steam's here, very soon there won't be such things as publishers!

Steam is a publisher.

What party games market? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216485)

Someone should tell them that, since Steam appeared there is no used games market.

Steam is for PCs running Windows. Most PC gamers don't think to connect their PC to their TV, despite the VGA input on the majority of HDTVs and the existence of affordable VGA-to-SDTV converters [sewelldirect.com] . Therefore, video game genres designed for same-room multiplayer on a large monitor, like Bomberman series or Super Smash Bros. series, tend to be underrepresented on Steam just as they are in the rest of the PC game market. Not everything is a first-person shooter.

Hell, come to think of it, now Steam's here, very soon there won't be such things as publishers!

Publishers exist to separate the wheat from the chaff. Otherwise, you'd have the situation like on Apple's app store, where you don't know which of the 25,000 apps are worthwhile.

Re:What party games market? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216545)

No, publishers exist to separate the profitable from the merely beautiful. Reviewers exist to separate the wheat from the chaff. The game's metacritic score (and link) is visible in big green numbers on every steam store page and next to every search result and index entry. That's how you separate wheat from chaff.

Re:What party games market? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216593)

Reviewers exist to separate the wheat from the chaff.

In that case, publishers exist to get worthwhile games onto reviewers' desks.

Re:What party games market? (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216725)

If you're going to look at it functionally like that then you also have to look at the effectiveness and cost of publishers to alternative solutions. It's pretty bleak.

Re:What party games market? (2, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216585)

No, publishers exist to provide advance money and get you into brick&mortars.

Reviews, word-of-mouth, and liberal chargeback policies exist to seperate the wheat from the chaff.

Re:What party games market? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216865)

despite the VGA input on the majority of HDTVs and the existence of affordable VGA-to-SDTV converters.

Never mind the existence of HDMI out on laptops now.

Therefore, video game genres designed for same-room multiplayer on a large monitor, like Bomberman series or Super Smash Bros. series, tend to be underrepresented on Steam just as they are in the rest of the PC game market.

Yeah, that does suck. I really wish we saw more of these.

However, splitscreen multiplayer sucks more. That's one advantage of PC, at least -- even if we're playing co-op, I can't see your screen, and we each have a nice, big, high-res, fullscreen picture of whatever we're doing.

Publishers exist to separate the wheat from the chaff. Otherwise, you'd have the situation like on Apple's app store, where you don't know which of the 25,000 apps are worthwhile.

That's not a question of publisher vs no publisher, it's a question of Apple being a shitty publisher.

As an example: How do you separate the wheat from the chaff on blogs? Or webcomics? Or anything on the Internet? Answer: Word of mouth, links (a more direct form of word-of-mouth), and trying it out (which is why they publish demo versions).

Re:What used games market? (1)

Ractive (679038) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216501)

Not only Steam, it's just natural because of the very substance of their product and of course their users, that the whole game industry (and movies and music for that matter) just move their bussiness model altogether to digital distribution, so this is a market that was born dead, no matter ho many of these gamespot is selling right now.

There will still be publishers (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216571)

In the context of a game "publisher" usually means "Guys with the cash." Basically the publisher is the company that ponies up the money to have the game made. That is why you'll see even companies like Epic have publishers. It isn't as though Epic needs someone else's name to sell their game. It is that they don't want to incur all the financial risk. So you get a publisher to pay for it, often a much bigger company.

Gears of War was published by Microsoft, for example. So suppose they spent $20 million on making it. Not an unreasonable amount for a game that quality, maybe they even spent more. Now let's suppose it had bombed for whatever reason. Had Epic incurred that cost, it would be real hard. They are a private company that employs about 75 people. Private means they can't just sell stock to raise money. A $20 million loss would equal over a quarter million dollar loss per employee.

Now MS is a massive public company. They've got the cash sitting around that $20 million is peanuts. What's more they can sell stock if they need to raise money. Thus the risk is something they can afford to take.

More over, many dev studios aren't sitting on much cash at all. So they need money during the development time of the game. After all you have to pay the programmers and artists and such while the game is being written, not after it sells. So even if they were willing to assume the risk, they just can't since they just don't have the money it would take.

You do see some companies that self publish. Stardock has done this. Galactic Civilizations II was written by them and published by them. Means they self financed the game. All the risk and all the rewards are theirs alone. They've now gotten in to publishing other games as well.

So publishers probably aren't going away. Many development studios will want someone to pay for their game, and that is what a publisher does. The publisher won't actually distribute the game, they'll just fund it, and then sign agreements with services like Steam and Impulse to get the game to consumers.

Also, as big as Steam is, you are kidding yourself if you think it is more than a fraction of the market. There are plenty of publishers that don't release games on Steam, and even those that do are often not exclusive. EA sells many of their games on Steam now which gives Steam a huge boost in titles since EA is massive, however EA also sells their games in stores. The store copies don't use Steamworks or anything, they are totally independent of Steam.

Re:What used games market? (4, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216617)

Steam used games, no problem, sell your account with all your games. Next person can then change all the details on the account to make it accurate for them. No if steam was really nice it would allow you to transfer game access rights for a minimal fee to other account holders.

Re:What used games market? (5, Funny)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216751)

I think that person should be you. I think that you should call GameStop up and inform them that there is actually no used games market and that the revenue they bring in from selling used games actually does not exist. I'm sure they would be grateful to be informed of that so that they can adjust their business model from the insight that you can provide. I would offer to do this myself, but clearly I do not possess the same insight as you.

WTF? (3, Insightful)

Score Whore (32328) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216403)

I wonder if these game publishers (and music, movie and book publishers) ever stop to think about what they are saying. If the logic is that they have some ongoing interest in the product they sell us, then doesn't that imply that as a purchaser we have an ongoing interest in the money we give them? So when GPG takes the money I spent and buys new equipment for their offices, shouldn't I be getting a new monitor out of the transaction as well?

Or do they figure that this only goes one way?

Re:WTF? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216457)

Even better analogy: You sell your apartment, then when the buyer sells you claim half the profit.

Re:WTF? (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216867)

Even better analogy: You sell your apartment, then when the buyer sells you claim half the profit.

Well duh, of course I should. After all, if I hadn't sold it to him, he wouldn't have made the money selling it to someone else.

It's no different than SBC crying about people making money over their internet connections and not cutting them in, or the guy who invented the diode used in cdplayers getting paid a few bucks salary while his employer rakes in the billions.

Re:WTF? (1)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216755)

They are spot on. Used games do cut into their business. There needs to be a stop to this. No more used items!

Heck, if people stopped buying used cars GM and Chrysler and the american economy would not be challenged. And I'm sick of living in my 'used' house. I want a new one.

Re:WTF? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216769)

A modern game cost what? 15 millions on average? When was the last time you paid 15 millions for a game you played?

The thing is you don't buy a game. You can view the right to play the game as a reward for you giving money to a game developer. It's more of an indirect participation to a project than anything else. In that sense, when you resell a game you already played, it is like you are acting like a game developer yourself. The problem is you never created anything. You just use the work of someone else to make money. To me, the best word this behavior is parasitism.

If a used bookstore can sell used books... (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216405)

If a bookstore can sell used books without giving any money to the publisher, I fail to see why a game store can't sell used games. For that matter, are we going to insist that everytime a geekstore resells pokemon, magic cards, miniature collectibles or other similar items that they need to pay the publisher a fee? Or the same thing for baseball cards. And if the stores need to, why not the individuals? (Maybe I shouldn't be too loud about this but I'm sure the Post Office would love to get money from stamp collectors buying and selling their stamps. Or the Treasure Department and coins...)

If your idea sounds ridiculous when the product is replaced by a functionally identical product, the idea is probably ridiculous.

Well of course not (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216517)

If a bookstore can sell used books without giving any money to the publisher, I fail to see why a game store can't sell used games.

That's because you're rational, and understand the first sale doctrine.

Remember - these companies that are all in the selling entertainment business hold up the Holy Grail of money streams as their ideal. The RIAA. Make an item once, and every single time it changes hands, media - whatever - make a buck on it.

It's insane, but there's also a metric ton of cash involved, so of course the more unscrupulous types are going to gravitate towards that. Notice how the source who said the gaming companies "want in" on that revenue stream to which they are not entitled, refused to come forward and name himself/herself.

Any shakedown racket in its infancy would behave the same.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (3, Insightful)

Threni (635302) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216605)

> If a bookstore can sell used books without giving any money to the publisher, I fail to see why a game store can't sell used games.

I think the argument is that bookstores sell a product, whereas when you 'buy' software you're actually entering into a licencing agreement to use the software but you don't have the right to sell/give it to anyone else. Sort of a little like when you buy travelcards (ticket in London which lets you travel an unlimited number of times in a given time period, ie day/week) you can't give/lend them to your partner - you're both supposed to buy one even if you always travel on alternate days.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (5, Informative)

jrronimo (978486) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216827)

Courts here in the US have already affirmed the rights of a user to re-sell software, despite licensing agreements. See Autodesk: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2008/05/court-smacks-autodesk-affirms-right-to-sell-used-software.ars [arstechnica.com] I can't find any follow-up, but I like to think that the decision stuck. I understand their *wanting* more money, but yeah: First Sale Doctrine. I think a MUCH 'better' way for them to deal with this is through first-sale exclusives. i.e., "Buy Gears of War 2 and get a multiplayer map pack code." That way, anyone that buys a new copy, gets the code. I would also recommend that they ALSO offer the same map packs online for, say, $10, so that even if a person buys the game secondarily, if they want the "full" multiplayer experience, they can still get it. I guess they could 'force' users towards brand new retail copies by not offering the map pack except as redeemable by a code, but that just seems like lost sales to me. I really think that game publishers need to stop being crybabies about secondhand games and find a way to make their product more valuable to the consumers. Or make the games cheaper: I'd certainly rather spend $40 on a new game than $60. (Although that's being generous: Gamestop's policy seems to be the Wal*Mart approach "New = $60, used = $57.99"). Ideally, though, games (both new and used) would be cheaper.

devil's advocate (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216611)

I completely agree with you but their argument is simple: people are buying games new, installing it on their computer, installing any cracks necessary to make it play without the CD, then selling the game second hand (and then the cycle continues).

They can't stop the NOCD cracks. They've tried. They can't run the game from CD, the performance is lousy. So all they can do is whine and lobby.

Re:devil's advocate (2, Interesting)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216739)

In my experience PC games make up a small percentage of the resale market due to all the DRM they tend to come with. Many big chains simply refuse to take a lot of PC games now because of things like limited reinstallations. I'm guessing that if the shops were forced to stop reselling PC games altogether they wouldn't kick up too much of a fuss.

The argument that you posit that the publishers are using does not in any way, however, apply to console games and yet they're still trying to bully the resellers on that issue too.

Re:devil's advocate (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216791)

The argument that you posit that the publishers are using does not in any way, however, apply to console games and yet they're still trying to bully the resellers on that issue too.

Give it time. Sony and Microsoft will no doubt provide them with some DRM.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216627)

Also, the assertion that GameStop is enjoying a 48% profit margin is a bit disingenuous.

GameStop has employees and stores located in high-priced malls. That cost money. And if that so-called supposed "48% profit margin" is enough to go after them, then they should go after Walmart, Barnes & Nobles, and Borders for buying new books and new DVDs at 40% of their actual retail prices -- and therefore making a supposed profit of 60% each time.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (5, Interesting)

e9th (652576) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216635)

Over the years, paperback publishers have attempted to cut into the used market simply by narrowing the inside margins of their books. This forces you to spread the book open farther, leading to increased deterioration of the spine. Combine that with crappy glue, and you have a book that will fall apart after just a few readings.

I have paperbacks from the 60s that are holding up better than ones from the 90s.

17 USC 109 distinguishes among formats (3, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216647)

If a bookstore can sell used books without giving any money to the publisher, I fail to see why a game store can't sell used games.

First sale laws already distinguish among formats of works. In the United States, for instance, you can't rent phonorecords (copies of sound recordings) or copies of PC games without the copyright owner's consent (17 USC 109).

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (4, Informative)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216699)

USC Title 17 Chapter 1 Section 109(a) [copyright.gov] (phonorecord = album, software, game, etc)

Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord. ...

That section also specifically exempts console games from the law prohibiting the rental of phonorecords without the copyright holder's permission:

blah blah rental blah This section does not apply to a computer program embodied in or used in conjunction with a limited purpose computer that is designed for playing video games and may be designed for other purposes.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216767)

Careful. What sounds ridiculous to you and me sounds perfectly reasonable to an executive who's got more money than brains. I've been around a few of those types, and the way they measure their worth, their family's worth and their contributions to society is by how big their bank account is.

To them, first-sale doctrine is nothing but a hippy ideology that needs to be stamped out post-haste.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216785)

If a bookstore can sell used books without giving any money to the publisher, I fail to see why a game store can't sell used games.

Which might just be why one particular (online) bookstore would like you to use an e-reader that can prevent you selling on the (e)books that you buy.

Re:If a used bookstore can sell used books... (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216805)

Who all has missed out on a cut of the action from me...

Ford
Maytag
Chinon
Argus
Koden (sic?)
Kodak
HP
Eldon
Compaq
Lionel
Okidata
Opel
Schwinn
Craftsman
Virtually every record label (1000 used CDs/records/cass/8tracks)
Virtually all book publishers (1000 used books)

oh, and

Microprose and Activision(i think)

If a publisher wishes to sell me some suitable new games on 5-1/4" floppies i am willing......

If someone publishes a quadraphonic 8-track of the right bands, you might actually profit. The holes in my collection are $25-$75 on ebay and risky :( My copy of Tommy was bad for almost $50. Never seen a 4-channel torrent so i can't even fix it.....

I wonder if those are viable niches in any way?

To carry on...

WAAAAA...wake up and join the rest of the world guys. You aren't that special.

What's Next? (5, Insightful)

nate_in_ME (1281156) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216407)

If they are actually successful in doing anything about this, what next? Car manufacturers complaining because they don't get a "cut" of used car sales, because used car dealers are providing an "easy alternative" to buying new?

Either that, or game publishers will be the next on the bailout list...

Anonymous Coward (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216409)

Executives at G.M. are wondering why they never thought of this one.....could've saved them from bankruptcy.

Re:Anonymous Coward (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216619)

Nah... The Unions would have demanded too large of a margin there too.

Maybe more people sitting in the break rooms doing nothing for 8 hours a day because hiring seasonal labor is just not acceptable to GM's union and they have to be full time even if there is no work for them. All that would have been different is that they would have tanked sooner then they already have.

dear publishers: don't like it? fight back! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216431)

Sell us "second run" games for $20 or less as new/unopened products a few months after release, and we'll cut out the middleman (gamestop).

I don't buy $60 games unless I *really* want them -- badly. Otherwise I wait until I can get them for under $20 -- any way possible.

What if auto makers ... (4, Insightful)

JustNilt (984644) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216447)

had done this also? Would they have managed to get their way, one is forced to wonder? Would GM be thriving if they had a cut of every used car sale? Who the F--- do these publishers think they are anyway?! If this happens will I have to pay Dell every time my business sells a refurbished Dell PC? Hell, the pawnbrokers alone will never allow such a thing to go through.

These are somewhat rhetorical questions and the slippery slope fallacy applies a bit. Still, the principle is sound as a reason why the publishers shouldn't get a cut of used game sales, in my opinion.

Just like.... (4, Insightful)

SirLoadALot (991302) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216449)

This is just like with a car, or some other item, where the original manufacturer gets a kickback every time it is resold because -- hey, wait, they don't get anything from it because that's a stupid idea! The original manufacturer has already sold it and given up any future interest in it for a fair price! Why the hell would the maker of a bad video game get more money every time EB manages to fob it off again on an unsuspecting customer?

Re:Just like.... (1)

labnet (457441) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216829)

Car analogies are poor for IP examples because is not easily possible to duplicate physical items.
The analogy holds if by handing the original CD's, the game becomes non functional to the original purchaser, but often this is not the case.

they already have a slice (5, Insightful)

Punto (100573) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216451)

it's the original sale, that's their slice.

Their slice is THICK. (4, Insightful)

solios (53048) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216583)

Ask a manager or employee of a gamestore what their markup is on new games - what they actually make as profit. If they're not complete assholes, they'll tell you - a games store makes only a couple of bucks off of the new stuff, if that - the publisher keeps the remainder. Pay 65$ for a new game, the publisher gets at least $60 of that.

Pay $20 for a used game, the games store gets around 15-19$ of that, depending on the condition of and demand for the game. The markup may seem a bit ridiculous, but independent games stores would be out of business if it wasn't for the used market - the margins on new games are so thin that they'd have to move an enormous volume of product to make up for the difference they see in returns on used games.

I'm all for the used market, even though I buy most of my games new - it keeps the stores in business, even with dozens (hundreds?) of copies of crap and not-as-popular-as-they-thought-they-would-be (Nintendogs, anyone?) games sitting on the shelves.

Re:Their slice is THICK. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216789)

How much is left over from that $60 after all the labor charges used in developing the game, paying license fees for all the development software and game engines, marketing the game and manufacture? I suspect publishers are not making as much as you think.

Wow this idea could have saved GM. (0, Redundant)

DigitalReverend (901909) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216459)

I Imagine GM and all the other car makers would be flush with cash if they could have gotten a cut of the sales from the used car market.

Cry me a goddamn river (2, Interesting)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216463)

So they want to sell only a LICENSE for a game, which is not transferrable? Screw them! We're not talking about a $10,000USD business software package here, we're talking about a fuckin' GAME. Greedy fucks.

Re:Cry me a goddamn river (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216663)

How is the price relevant?

*Sigh* (1)

theTerribleRobbo (661592) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216465)

Just like cutlery manufacturers want to charge people who resell their knives and forks at garage sales.
Or couch manufacturers who take a cut when their chairs get resold on ebay. ... Right.

Re:*Sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216629)

Or an Oxygen manufacturer who wants a cut every time you breathe.

They already got their cut (1, Redundant)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216489)

...the first time the game was sold.

Clearly the reason there's a huge profit margin in used games is that new games are priced way too high.

Stop whining, you greedy arseholes!

Re:They already got their cut (4, Insightful)

Bobfrankly1 (1043848) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216631)

Clearly the reason there's a huge profit margin in used games is that new games are priced way too high.

I was thinking along the same lines. If they don't like the used games market, then either make games that are too much fun to part with (I almost giggled typing that one) or adjust prices according to how old the game is, and price used games off the market. You want brand new game X? Pay 59.99 for it. You want 6 month old game X? Pay 35.99 for it. 12 month old ...you get the idea. Use the Wal-Mart philosophy and undercut as you go, if a used copy is 18.99 and the new game is $20, I'll pay the little more for the brand new, even if the used copy looks spotless. But if the used copy is 35.99 and the brand new copy is 59.99, the game makers themselves would save the 25 bux without hesitation.

Bullshit (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216497)

One marketing executive, who did not want to be identified for fear of angering GameStop and other retailers, said the used game sale market is still depriving publishers of money because it gives consumers an all-too-easy alternative to buying a new game.

Yeah, I bet the name of this marketing executive was "Mr Strawman".

OMG Constitution (1)

Approaching236 (945188) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216503)

This would be blatently in violation of the first sale doctrine, not just the gray file sharing "i bought it, and now am selling it for zero dollars to a stranger" argument. Good luck getting that done. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

Start selling new games at new movie prices, DUH! (2, Insightful)

PrescriptionWarning (932687) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216507)

and then see how many people buy a used game when its a measly few bucks cheaper instead of $10-15 off. New games should follow these pricing guidelines in my opinion to reach a critical mass of sales success:

$10 - bargain bin chumps
$20 - standard rate new game
$30 - AAA rated new game (think like the extra 10 bucks you pay for BluRay discs over DVD)
$40 - AAA rated special edition bundle mumbo jumbo (i won't buy em, but some people like the extras I guess)

Re:Start selling new games at new movie prices, DU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216713)

I totally agree with you about prices. I'd even agree if the ones past bargain bin were bumped up 5 or 10 dollars.

Right now the prices they expect are at the point where buying a game is a gamble. Shelling out 50 bucks and then finding you got sold a piece of crap posing as a game sucks since there's basically no way in hell you're getting a refund if it's a PC game.

20 or 30 bucks would mean I'd be a bit freer in choosing to try out a game. 50 bucks though? I'm gonna think long and hard before buying it. And if I get burned do you think I'm gonna buy another one from you? Don't count on it.

This is the fault of the game companies. (5, Insightful)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216519)

People don't decide "Hey, I want to buy a used game."

Instead people say "Hey, I want to buy a CHEAP game, and don't care if it is not the newest thing out there."

So if you are a game company wanting to get into the 'cheap, not recently released game' market, it is easy. Simply cut your prices for the stuff you brought out last year by 30% and for two years by 50%.

You are not going to be cutting into your 'new releases' money, and you will be giving the people what they want.

Why the bad blood? (2, Insightful)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216527)

I really don't understand the perceived conflict between retailers and game publishers. Retailers like GameStop pimp new releases just as much as they do used games. And anyway, if no one bought the game new, then GameStop wouldn't have any used games to sell! So if anything, GameStop needs more people to buy new games so they have more used copies to buy and sell at their huge profit margins. Unfortunately, game makers just don't seem to comprehend this relationship - so they're edging closer to a download-only model. Just look at this useless new doorstop PSP that Sony is releasing.

Open your own damn stores! (5, Insightful)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216529)

If they want a piece of the used game market, they can open their own stores and compete against GameStop just like everyone else.

One marketing executive... (1)

taucross (1330311) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216535)

One marketing executive, who did not want to be identified for fear of angering GameStop and other retailers

He must be a good one to get such an undeserved soapbox for a foolish idea.

That, or this story is bogus.

They need to bring some value to the table (5, Insightful)

hidden (135234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216539)

In the rest of the world, the only time the original Vendor/Distributor/Manufacturer/Whoever gets a cut of a second sale is when they're adding some value, by doing a factory refurbishment, or inspection, so why should the game publishers be any different?

They can "refurbish" the game: Reset any DRM installation restrictions, clear out the multi-player accounts, check the disk for scratches, and replace any missing bits of paper in the box.

Then they can have a cut.

Until then, welcome to second hand sales.

Re:They need to bring some value to the table (1)

bigdavex (155746) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216639)

It's not like any of the physical artifacts in the box have any value. If they want to compete against other people selling in the cheap game market, they can lower their prices on older games.

slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216557)

wtf is up with /.?

as I scroll down the page sometimes the text is all white and the slider on the left disapears, I have to select the text to read.

People in hell want ice water. (0)

jcr (53032) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216567)

First sale doctrine. They can want it all they want, there's no reason why they should get it.

-jcr

Why I buy used games (2, Insightful)

Pitr (33016) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216569)

Some games are good, just not so good I need them ASAP, and not so good that they're worth ~$70. (CAD, as I'm in Canada, don't know exactly how much less they are in the US, and don't feel like looking it up) If all games were $50 or less new, I'd probably buy a lot more new games. Most games I buy for $30 or less used. %50 off is nice, $70 for 10 hours of gameplay isn't.

It's also worth noting that some games don't get cheap even when used until months after they've been released. Fallout 3 is currently only $5-10 less for a used copy, so I may as well buy it in the shrink wrap.

The only thing I can see game publishers doing to try to sell as many first hand copies as possible is have a grace period of a month or two from the publishing date when you can't sell used copies, but they'd probably have to pay off stores to honour such a deal. Expecting a cut of re-sale of your product is just silly.

Re:Why I buy used games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216709)

and when storeXYZ decides to not follow along with the publisher and sells the used games anyway, what do you think will happen?

Re:Why I buy used games (2)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216711)

I buy used PC games because the "minimum requirements" written on the box are 1) bullshit and 2) more than any machine I will own for the next 2 years.

Other quotes (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216581)

Quoting every Scooby-Doo episode ever made, the game marketing executives were also heard to say "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Sure... (2, Insightful)

SIR_Taco (467460) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216589)

And while we're at it, how about I get a cut of the resale each time a house I've built changes hands?

Maybe when you buy a used car you should send a percentage to the original manufacturer....

Or maybe all that Lego I get for my nephews at yard sales for 25cents/bucket, the guys throwing the yard sale should mail a penny back to the company.

Does this not all seem just a tad crazy?

It's no different than what they're asking.

Oh com'on! (4, Insightful)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216597)

I've been a gamer for over a decade now. The fact of the matter is the market is diluted with crap, and even a lot of the "hits" are a lot less fun/shorter than the games from last decade. I mean, sure, Gears of War is fun for a time, but how does it even compare to Deus Ex or Jedi Knight? I mean, you can even see how video games have progressed in the sequels of some titles. For example, compare Deus Ex 1 & 2, or Thief 2 & 3. Mario Party 2 and Mario Party 8.

Then there's the sheer amount of crap, even from "trusted" and "quality" companies. Like Soulcalibur Legends. My friend is a big fighter game fan and bought that game. Usually Soulcalibur is a "quality" title, but that game was so shitty! It seemed like a demo it was so short and lacking features.

You raised the prices of games by $10 and eroded their value. People aren't paying for new games because the price of a "new game" isn't worth it to them anymore. And it shows. It used to be that a New game would cost $50 and GS would be selling it used for $35. That means there's a lot of people buying the new game and few buying the used game (high supply of used games, low demand.) Now, the games costs $60 new and $55 used. Which means the exact opposite (low supply of used games, high demand.)

If I was a game publisher and I wanted to kill the market for used video games, I'd lower my prices to $30 and probably sell more than twice as many copies, making it up in volume. I mean, if you want the new Gears of War, you'll try and save $5 off of it because it already costs so much. But the difference between $25 and $30? Not many people care. In addition, when I get sick of GoW and return it, I'm getting $30 bucks back. That's like a tank of gas. What would you get back for a $30 game, $15 bucks? That's not enough motivation.

I want my pie and eat it! (5, Insightful)

Diddlbiker (1022703) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216633)

So, copying software is theft, "just like stealing an apple, or stealing a car. There is no difference; you're stealing a product". And yet, when it comes to reselling those products, different rules apply? Once I've bought my apple, or car, or furbie, I can sell it to whoever I want for whatever price I want. Why would software be different if you want it to be treated as a tangible object?

What are these guys on? (4, Insightful)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216665)

Sony and Panasonic aren't complaining about used TV sales, Toyota isn't complaining about used car sales, and Dell isn't complaining about people reselling their computers. In what world is someone reselling the game considered taking away money from the publishers? Lets set aside the fact that some people will pay full price for a game because they know that they can resell it later and recoup some of the cost...

Its not like people are going out to buy used games. They want cheap games. If they kept publishing their old games, and dropped the prices as the games got older, I'm sure they could take a huge chunk out of used game sales. Its not like I'm falling all over myself to save $5 off of a new game at GameStop. Seriously, every time I buy a recently released game, they offer me a used copy for $5 less. Oh boy, sign me up!

It looks like that, instead of thinking about the problem and adjusting their business strategy, they've chosen to whine like petulant children about something that every other industry in the world (well, at least those based on real physical objects) doesn't have a problem with. Or maybe my brain just isn't sophisticated enough to understand their business genius. Either way, their little rant makes me feel like I'm taking crazy pills.

Property rights are now a "loophole" (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216669)

"It's a real problem right now and it's a loophole that people are using, and we're getting cut out of that model," Denis Dyack, president of developer Silicon Knights, said at a gaming conference in the spring.

Just wow.

Not to suggest the obvious, but (2, Insightful)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216689)

Not to suggest the obvious, but the publishers seriously want to sell used games then they could take the games that aren't sold after a period of time and sell the at half the price of new games.

    It's just software. And with software you have relatively high fixed costs for development and then you have practically no marginal costs for selling the product. Suppose for the first year, you sell X number of games of a title at $69, .3X at $69 the second year, and .1X units at $69 in the third year. Used games are selling .4X units at $30 in the third year. 0.4X times $30 brings more revenue than 0.1X times $69.

    So just price the unsold new games of that title at slightly less than the used games of that title are selling for. Since you have no marginal costs on your sales product, you will be profitable. But no, you're a fucking marketing major and math is hard, so you want to pass a law to prohibit any 'advanced' business model that your little brain doesn't understand.

    I'm surprised that with so many game companies in New England, no one seems to have adopted the sales model of Filene's basement.

alternatives = competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216705)

the used game sale market is still depriving publishers of money because it gives consumers an all-too-easy alternative to buying a new game

Good. All-too-easy alternatives are usually called "competition" where I come from, and competition is generally considered a good thing in a capitalistic economy. This bozo is essentially claiming that it's unethical for someone to choose a different product over his.

some publishers and manufacturers want a piece of the pie

I have no problem with them getting a piece of the pie, if they add some kind of value to the piece. Set up a used game market, for instance, and take a cut of the transactions that utilize it. But if someone bypasses it and sells direct, they have no right to complain.

They got their cut at time of first sale (5, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216715)

The game companies get their cut at the time of first sale. The selling cost of the game already includes in the price the value to the customer of the ability to resell the product. The assumption the game companies are making is that if they lock this out, they can sell more product at the current prices, but instead what will happen is that they will be have to drop their prices some amount to account for the fact that it is less valuable to the purchasers.

This is a fairly standard element of elementary economics; for instance, see this chapter of Price Theory [daviddfriedman.com] , where virtually this exact problem is problem number 12 in chapter two of the book.

Which just goes to show that for all the supposed value of an MBA, people in business still routinely fail to apply even the simplest economics to their own worlds.

Ahahahaha... (1)

kitsunewarlock (971818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216779)

They can get a cut from my sales of used games when I get a cut from their sale of non-used games.
Yeah, I understand this is more focused towards large B&M places. But honestly the logic behind this is as unreasonable as the idea that Wizards of the Coast should be able to tax trades/sales of single Magic the Gathering cards. Or that Ikea should get a share of the profit when you sell their old furniture away at a garage sale. How far back can one go on this, though? Can the publisher ask for extra money? The people who made the physical units? The people who shipped the units? The voice actors?

Same is true! (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216793)

"because it gives consumers an all-too-easy alternative to buying a new "

For the used car industry, used firearms, used washers and dryers.

OMG

Can we say screw you publishers.

The Underlying Scaryness is they'll Figure out how (1)

thinktech (1278026) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216799)

On the face of this, the game companies realize that the idea is crazy as is. But seriously, the un-voiced issue here is that if this is on their mind, they're going to figure out a way to make it happen. Rather than reply with other wacky examples of why this is a stupid Idea, I think people should be focused on what this story really means. It means that game companies are going to figure out a way to keep their hands on your game. PC publishers have already done this to the point where Gamestop can't resell PC games. Now the publishers are eying the console market. Within a year, I'd wager they'll have some system in place that makes reselling console games nearly impossible.

It's a basic principle (5, Insightful)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216809)

"the used sale market is still depriving of money because it gives consumers an all-too-easy alternative to buying a new "

This is the precise concept that motivates the First Sale Doctrine. You only get paid for selling something yourself. Why should you get paid when someone sells something that used to be yours? When you sell your used car, do you have to give a kickback to the person you bought it from? It makes no sense at all given the set of commerce rules that we have come to accept over the centuries.

Really there is no end of the negative consequences that result if you decide that First Sale is not a valid concept. You have to question the entire meaning of the word "sale" if you do this.

Here's an idea.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216817)

Make a good game that people will want to play over and over and ,*gasp*, keep!!!!

What we want (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216823)

"Publishers Want a Slice of Used Game Market". And I want a torrid night of passion with Keira Knightley. I'm expecting to be disappointed. I hope the publishers are, too.

ebay unite! (1)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216831)

screw them let us unite against game publishers by selling it at a price whatever we want. i am willing to trade my resident evil 5 with anyone who has Fable2.

replay value... (1)

smash (1351) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216835)

... hell, first time playability. concentrate on that rather than eking out 2 more fps or one more coloured lighting effect, and I'll keep your fucking game and replay it, rather than consigning it to the secondhand shop after 12 hours trying to get some of my money back.

Used games market supports high game prices (2, Insightful)

Cashlock (588292) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216841)

Games that you can't resell are worth less. How could anyone think this will lead to more revenue for publishers? People won't be willing to pay as high of prices for new games as they do today if there is no resale value. For example, the market for used cars supports high new car prices. You're less hesitant to spend $30k on a new car if you can sell the car after a few years and recoup some of your investment.

They are entitled to a second slice of the pie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28216853)

They are certainly welcome to a second slice of the pie... All they need to do is create a buy-back program, and re-market the game.

Problem solved! (Without employing rocket science - I think)

Bonkers are Publishers (1)

stoutpuppy (889407) | more than 4 years ago | (#28216883)

All I can say are publishers (games, dvd, cd, etc) are all losing the plot on reality. I have to say they have the most warped views on ownership, piracy and the internet. Trade of used goods has ALWAYS been around, and frankly they didn't make it twice so they should only get the cut once. It's like they think "f*** the customers, this is an opportunity for revenue, or this is costing us, so lets slap it as unethical and wage war." Get out of the office for a second and realize how the world works. If you want more primary sales, lower the damn prices. Deal with it. Piracy != theft != resale
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