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Used Game Penalty Escalates With SOCOM 4

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the blood-from-a-stone dept.

Businesses 325

Technologizer reports on this unwelcome development for used game buyers: "SOCOM 4: US Navy Seals charts a new course in punishing used game buyers, and it’s at once better and worse than the status quo of $10 online passes. As described on the official Playstation Blog, SOCOM 4 will let all players access the game’s multiplayer portion — as it should, because online play has always been SOCOM’s main attraction — but used game buyers will miss out on special guns, game types, and other perks to be added later. To get these features with a used copy of the game, you’ll have to buy a $15 activation code. Sony’s spinning this bundle of features, dubbed 'SOCOM Pro,' as an enhancement for new game buyers, rather than a drawback for used copies. It’s semantics, sure, but it’s also the direction in which these used game restrictions should be going."

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325 comments

Good job sony. (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864490)

And they will get exactly 0 of my dollars. I once supported the shit out of sony but as of late they lose it all.

Re:Good job sony. (2)

ArundelCastle (1581543) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865028)

If you support the shit out of a multinational corporation, eventually you'll be covered in it.

So what. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864494)

How is this any different than PC games that have CD keys that you need to install, and that you key in when you register them? How is this any different than me selling my MMO CDs to a friend and then laughing when he can not get online?

The game basically is giving you access to an online profile, that when you sell off the disk, if you want your own new online profile, you have to pay $15 for.

How is this any different than just about every other game with online components? Ten years ago if I wanted to sign into Nova World with a used version of the game, it would have already been registered with that CD key. How is this any different?

Re:So what. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864546)

It's not. As usual people on slashdot will cry over something they'll never intented to play anyway, just because it's DRM and about the used games market. It's like game play for these people is crying about it on slashdot rather than actually even wanting to play the game.

Look, if I want to play the game I can pay the $15 (if I bought a used copy, which I never do).

Re:So what. (2)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864762)

I'm surprised you can still buy used games at all. Considering I only purchase digital copies (perhaps due to my innate fear of leaving my apt, or perhaps the utterly horrible sales associates), I have never partaken in this 'used' video game market.

Used games will surely disappear in our digital age soon enough, so this is sure to be only be a fleeting policy.

On a side note, I actually did go into a Gamestop the other day to see if they had splitter for my Kinect (I got the new one with an xbox), so I could split it into a normal USB and a power supply (like they sell for the old xbox models), the purpose being to be able to 'hack' it on my computer and do something fun. He called me a hacker, told me his store does not support these policies, it's illegal, blah blah please leave.

I countered with MS releasing/soon to release the SDK, so it could be for legitimate purposes; to which he replied "what is an SDK?"

Re:So what. (3, Insightful)

BoberFett (127537) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864782)

If the used game market is eliminated entirely, prices will have to fall accordingly or they will simply sell less units.

Re:So what. (4, Insightful)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864900)

or pirates :-)

Re:So what. (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864930)

So you think the resale value of video games is high enough to prevent people from purchasing them, I have my doubts. I think resale value is not considered in 99% of video game purchases, so therefore prices would not need to move at all.

All that happens is that the people buying used video games can no longer buy them, but that money never went to Sony anyway.

Re:So what. (3, Insightful)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865094)

consider the buyer that currently buys a release date game on the undestanding he can polish it off in 2 weeks and resell for 1/2 value. That guy might buy 1/2 as many games without a used games market and since early adopters are a much touted statistic ("X00,000 copies sold in first 2 weeks" etc). Losing resale guy is not a great idea.

Re:So what. (1)

Vaphell (1489021) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864950)

what?
economics 101 - if there is no competition, prices rise

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864980)

And if prices rise, sales fall. As your parent said.

Reading Rainbow!

Re:So what. (5, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864548)

It's really a fitting analogy, but if only the big game companies (Sony/Microsoft included) weren't so damn pissy about used games in general, this wouldn't be a bother. I cannot stand their tantrums about used sales "killing the industry". As if used car sales kill the automotive industry... or used books/CDs kill their respective markets. It just doesn't happen that way, and their "service without the service" mentality is what is going to cause them to nickel and dime the player until he or she simply tosses the console in the closet and goes back to minesweeper. :)

The First Sale Doctrine really chaps their asses. This is their way of "play ball with me and I promise I won't shove the bat up your ass."

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864576)

"Service without service"? We are talking about a multiplayer game here. It costs money to keep those servers running and providing updates for players. In this case there explicitly is a service that needs to paid. When you sell a car, there won't be any extra costs for the automotive companies. That is not the case here.

Re:So what. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864624)

One player is giving another player his copy of the game. For each copy of the game sold, they can and should expect that there will be that number of clients online. While the client may have changed, the number of clients will not have. Thus, there are no extra costs for server maintenance/load.

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864694)

++

Re:So what. (1, Informative)

517714 (762276) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864760)

A player is expected to have a finite life as an active user, probably less than two years. The price of the game is set based on assumptions about the attrition rate. Giving the game to another user extends the length of time the server load exists for that copy of the software.

Re:So what. (4, Insightful)

ragethehotey (1304253) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864792)

A player is expected to have a finite life as an active user, probably less than two years. The price of the game is set based on assumptions about the attrition rate. Giving the game to another user extends the length of time the server load exists for that copy of the software.

Tough shit for the developers, accept it as a cost of business and move on. The nanosecond that someone figures a way to play with a private server, they lose a paying customer forever when someones friend of a friend shows him how to play online for free and becomes a pirate in the process. EA Sports and such can get away with this because of the nature of their business, because that copy of Madden 12 is really only played online for 18 months tops before it becomes obsolete anyway.

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864784)

Maybe the number of clients doesn't change, but the total amount of server usage per copy sold increases. Imagine you buy a game, play it 'til you get bored, and sell it to me. I play it 'til I get bored and sell it to my cousin who plays it 'til he gets bored.

Assuming we all played about the same amount until we got bored, their servers have now handled three times the total traffic as they would have if the game wasn't resold. Those are extra costs stemming from the resale.

Re:So what. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864892)

Nice try, but this is wrong thinking. There is no 'obligation' for the publisher to provide online functionality or to host online servers, that is a choice they made, as it is a choice that they do not require a subscription to play. I don't like the idea of all of these games becoming pay to play via subscriptions, but it's the only honest way to do what they are doing. Removing features which shipped with the game is blackmail. Requiring a subscription to play extended content (content not included on the retail disk) is a service.

Not unlike PlaystationNetwork being provided with the purchase of your PS3. Playstation+ (I know somebody will make a comment about it) has nothing to do with the PlaystationNetwork, it's just a subscription service that get's you basically nothing but early access to game demo's and beta invites.

Re:So what. (3, Insightful)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864936)

is that sarcasm ???
Extra cost they imposed on themselves. At some point in time (PC mostely) there was the possibility to have private dedicated servers (the osftware came with the games : Unreal, Unreal Tournament Quack ... etc) for anyone who wished to host one ... and there were no extra cost for anyone except may be for those who chose to host the servers.

Re:So what. (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864818)

Well I'll hand them one difference and that is that generally when you purchase a used something that something is inferior.

If I could buy a 'brand new' 2008 car whose owner's manual was wrinkled at 2008 car prices I would happily do it.

The gaming experience of a used title is identical as a new one the only difference being that Gamestop gets $20 in revenue and the developers get nothing.

I doubt the developers would be unhappy if gamers sold their games back to the developers for 20% of their purchase price and then were able to resell it again at a discount price.

The real problem with the used games market is that it's worse than piracy.

Let's take the typical life cycle of a used game:

Owner 1 Purchase $60
Owner 1 Resale $20
Cost $40

Owner 2 Purchase $40
Owner 2 Resale $15
Cost $25

Gamestore through reselling probably made far more in profit from selling used than new copies.

But one of the customers spent $40 on a product none of which went to the developers. And the first customer probably only saved $20.

So let's say the transactions end there and that game is never resold. The argument goes that the first purchaser only bought the game at $60 because he knew it actually would end up costing $40. But if he bought 2 games and pirated one game then he would still only spend $120 for 3 games and the developers missed out on $60. So if it stops here then the developers lose from piracy and they should encouraged used games sales since they make the full $180.

But now you have to look at the used games market. If our 2nd tier used games buyers buy each of the games at $40 instead of $60 (and assume they can sell it at let's say $15 back to the game stores) then their per game cost is $25. If they buy the 3 games (from buyer 1) it'll cost them $75. But that's $75 that doesn't go to the developers. If though the person instead pirated those 3 games instead of buying used and bought one full price $60 game with the money saved then that would pay for the original piracy in the case of Buyer 1 not reselling 3 games at $20 each. In fact if Buyer 2 who is now spending $75 on new games instead of $75 on used games is actually putting *more* money into the developers' hands by reducing their per game cost by means of piracy.

Now these numbers are made up... but I think I'm being pretty generous on the resale values that Gamestop charges and my point is that through the used market money is being diverted from the developers to the resellers. If in the above example Buyer 1 never put his games up for sale and instead minimized his per unit cost through piracy then Buyer 2 would have no market and again through piracy reducing his per-unit expenses to be the same as buying used if he still spent the same amount except on new games the developers would do better through piracy than used.

Re:So what. (0)

LocalH (28506) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864882)

But one of the customers spent $40 on a product none of which went to the developers.

News flash - when you pay $40 for a game, none of that $40 goes to the developers either. The whole $40 goes to the retailer.

Re:So what. (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864992)

most of go to the publisher. and most the money that went to the Dev company will go in the pocket of CEO and stuff the devs have a salary and that's that.
the problem with every market is middle men. It's either too much or too hungry/greedy. The numbers crunched in the parent aren;'t that off.

nonsense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865060)

If there's a healthy second hand market, I'd be prepared to pay more for a new game, knowing that I can get some of it back selling it on later.

If there's no second hand market, I'm less happy to shell out €€€ for a game.

So in that sense, the developer does benefit from a second hand market.

Re:So what. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865126)

BS you buy something, you should be able to resell it end of point there's no difference between a game and a used book.

Re:So what. (3, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864826)

>>The First Sale Doctrine really chaps their asses

We really need Congress to step up enforcement of the First Sale Doctrine.

Perhaps a Constitutional Amendment, even.

Re:So what. (2)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864830)

So by not catering to the market that gives them NO money makes them lose money? Used books/CDs cut into sales, of course, how could they not?

Comparing physical commodities, like cars, where resale value is a huge buying point, to these digital arts, where resale value is never considered, is nonsensical.

Perhaps used stereos would be a better comparison, but still, Sony doesn't have to do anything at all if I sell my stereo to someone else. In this case, when I sell my video game to someone else, they need to create a new login and provide me with service I have NOT paid for.

Perhaps the price is too high, but considering it's the same for just 1 month of WOW, it seems pretty cheap to me.

Re:So what. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865098)

Now wait a moment. Where the XBox360 is concerned, users pay for access to the multiplayer network. I don't use anything Sony but I think PSN is free though... free to people who own a PS3 or whatever. In either case, the access has been paid for. The game has been paid for. Providing lesser service until an additional cost is paid is a tax.

While we are at it, let's do the same thing for people who received their game consoles and games as a gift! After all, they didn't pay for them either right?

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865128)

Perhaps the price is too high, but considering it's the same for just 1 month of WOW, it seems pretty cheap to me.

Who said that WOW is cheap? It's just more money that you lose that you could have spent elsewhere. All of these "cheap" things add up.

Re:So what. (0)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864918)

Funny they are complaining about "killing" and "industry" since the video game industry has largely to do with death and destruction in games. The $1 billion COD Modern Warfare generated alone I think says enough. It would be nice if a portion of the funds raised from the games to Veterans' groups. Just sayin'

Re:So what. (1)

DFurno2003 (739807) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864768)

I think the difference is that the CD is required to play these games, and if you are not the original owner then you would face drawbacks and have to fork over $15 to get the full content.

Re:So what. (5, Interesting)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864842)

How is this any different than PC games that have CD keys that you need to install, and that you key in when you register them?

When it was just that, it wasn't a problem. Most of my old games would happily install on your machine if I sold you the disc and you typed in the key. The keys were stickers on the jewel cases, and there was none of this draconian "You can only install this game 5 times, and only on Tuesdays"

How is this any different than me selling my MMO CDs to a friend and then laughing when he can not get online?

Because it's not a subscription service that you could download the client for free anyway unless someone scammed you as in your example? You're comparing apples and steaks here.

The game basically is giving you access to an online profile, that when you sell off the disk, if you want your own new online profile, you have to pay $15 for.

How do I access that profile once I sell the game? I bought it, right?

How is this any different than just about every other game with online components?

It's not *now*. And therein lies the problem. It's an end run around the first sale doctrine by basically saying, "We didn't sell you that, we "licensed" it to you". Imagine if you couldn't buy a used car without paying Ford a "transfer fee" for the keys.

Personally ... I've never sold a game in my life, or bought one used for that matter ... the few bucks just isn't worth the hassle. But many, many people do - because they can't afford to buy everything they want new. There is a fairly huge secondary market with console games, and the game companies want to eliminate it because they somehow think people will magically have more money to spend.

Re:So what. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864986)

What you don't seem to understand is that it is not the norm for a multiplayer game to be tied to one user.

You speak only of MMOs, which is different.

Re:So what. (1)

Degro (989442) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865078)

Not being able to resell such software is bullshit though. They only get away with it on PCs because you've always had to install it. Console discs are no different than a movie or music disc or even a book. Blocking resale of this stuff should be criminal.

Yaaay! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864514)

It's Portal 2 time everybody!

Hmmm, well better than alternatives... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864518)

I'm still not quite sure why a used game buyer shouldn't
be allowed the same benefits as a new game buyer,
but in order to come to a resolution a suggestion has
to eventually be accepted. This is a descent step to
something that is acceptable.

-AI

Re:Hmmm, well better than alternatives... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864728)

It's a compromise*. The problem is that we just want our way, we don't want to compromise.

* - I didn't say it was a good one...

So how much... (4, Insightful)

Leslie43 (1592315) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864520)

"it’s also the direction in which these used game restrictions should be going."

So how much will you pay for the used game knowing you still have to pay another $15 for the content? Not much.
How about when they decide it isn't enough and want $20?

It effectively destroys the second hand value and they know it.

DLC is symptomatic of a larger problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864524)

I've been watching the cost of videogame development over the past ten years, and the simple fact is that videogames cost much, much more to develop this generation than they did in the previous. Whereas a top-tier game in the previous generation may have cost $10 million, their costs for this generation can go as far as $100 million (see: Grand Theft Auto IV). Not only that, but we are missing a PS2 analogue in terms of market dominance this generation, with the overall market fragmented between the Wii (which third parties refused to devote any serious attention to), and the PS3/360. So when you have a pie that's smaller than it's been in the past, and it costs a lot more to get a slice of that pie, the only remaining solution is to raise prices, one way or another. Game prices already rose $10 a copy at the beginning of the generation, and DLC is just another way to recoup costs.

We are facing a generation where the majority of game developers are facing record losses in the face of record revenues, and a single bomb can spell the end of a company. This is not a climate to take risks in, and unfortunately, without risk taking and innovation, the overall market will only continue to shrink. Unfortunately, there seems to be no easy way to address the underlying problem, so I predict we will see more and more of these cases as time goes on, and the march of progress brings with it ever costlier development bills.

Re:DLC is symptomatic of a larger problem (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864706)

If it costs $100 million to make a shitty game like GTA IV, the game industry needs a reality check. That is some serious coin just to display cartoon figures on a TV screen. How much of that budget is being funneled to non-production assets (i.e. profiteering suits) ?

Re:DLC is symptomatic of a larger problem (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864868)

How much of that budget is being funneled to non-production assets (i.e. profiteering suits) ?

Or hiring celebrity voice actors just so I can turn on subtitles and skip over all the audio anyway because I hate cutscenes and read twice as fast as they speak?

Re:DLC is symptomatic of a larger problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865010)

The cartoon nature to the graphics is the render and shader engine, but all those graphics need to be created, and that takes a lot of time and it isn't cheap.

The problem is that the current generation of systems placed graphics before everything, to the point where the game suffers playwise.

As a 3D artist myself for games and cinema I can attest to this. I also tend to go for the games with crappier graphics because they are more fun to play.

Re:DLC is symptomatic of a larger problem (3, Interesting)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864816)

Game prices may be rising, but only in "developed" markets.

In the emerging markets, game prices are actually falling

My PS3... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864528)

...stupidly bought given Sony's track record, has been for some time relegated to an overpriced BluRay and DVD player.

And I still kick myself for buying it even for the BluRay part.

Damn Sony. Your consoles are overpriced. You've reduced their features of the new ones. You've even reduced the features of older models after purchase. And now you're screwing over gamers who buy legitimate but used games? What do you think is going to happen? People are going to hack their PS3s, pirate games, or, most importantly, go elsewhere. $15 is $15 I can spend buying a Wii game or on Xbox Live.

The SOCOM developers, publishers, and you all already received their cut fairly and fully on the FIRST sale of the game. Now you want to double dip? There's no difference between a buyer who bought the game legit the first round and plays it for one year, and someone who plays it for 6 months, sells it to another person, who plays it for another 6 months. What gives.

Maybe I should buy an ipad. Hate Apple too, but at least they don't seem to be screwing customers over wholeheartedly.

Re:My PS3... (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864704)

They still let you buy used games, I see that as something that will soon disappear in our digital age.

Re:My PS3... (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864848)

There's no difference between a buyer who bought the game legit the first round and plays it for one year, and someone who plays it for 6 months, sells it to another person, who plays it for another 6 months. What gives.

The second person didn't purchase another game. That's $50 lost, or if you wanted to spend $15 on an arcade game, but bought a used game instead, that's $15 lost.

Wny isn't console multiplayer a lost sale? (0)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864878)

If resale of a used game disc is a "lost sale" because more than one person gets to play the game, then why isn't it considered a "lost sale" when two to four people play a console game in split screen (such as a first-person shooter) or non-split shared screen (such as a fighting game)?

Re:Wny isn't console multiplayer a lost sale? (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864964)

Perhaps that's why is split screen, not dual screen.

It gives you a shittier experience than you would get if you did actually go buy your own copy. You watch the owner play fullscreen and wish you could do that. You play split screen and immediately notice the lack of FOV and resolution, and it makes you only want the full screen version (purchase your own copy) more.

Also, I don't need to own a ps3 to go play split screen at my friends house, but I do need one to purchase used games. Sony doesn't sell ps3 to be used without video games, they would lose money that way. Well, they tried it with their otherOS and it turned into a horrible fiasco, even the military figured it out and started buying subsidized products from Sony.

I call BS! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864532)

Come on. Who would pay GM to 'unlock' a car stereo system when you just purchased a pre-owned car? Nobody should be putting up with this shit!

Re:I call BS! (1, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864550)

Come on. Who would pay GM to 'unlock' a car stereo system when you just purchased a pre-owned car?

No, but you'll pay somebody for a new warranty since the original is probably non-transferable.

Re:I call BS! (2)

xehonk (930376) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864608)

> No, but you'll pay somebody for a new warranty since the original is probably non-transferable.
If that's the case where you live, you should try to get that fixed instead of using it as an argument for disencouraging sales of used goods.

Re:I call BS! (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864890)

No, but you'll pay somebody for a new warranty since the original is probably non-transferable

If that's the case where you live, you should try to get that fixed

How can a customer get that fixed when all sellers have decided to make warranties non-transferable? Are you talking about starting your own car company, running for federal office, or something I haven't thought of? If the last, please provide details.

Re:I call BS! (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865042)

lobby state legislators, something like that would be a state law not federal

Re:I call BS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864626)

maybe, but only if somebody will sell you one and it's a good deal financially I'm not sure what your point is actually; I've never seen a warranty offered for a PS3 game but like a stereo system in a car these 'extra items' shipped with the product and unlike buying this game used, a car stereo will work for anybody who owns/drives the used car.

Re:I call BS! (1)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864640)

What? Original warranties (actually, even extended warranties) for cars follow the car, not the owner. Bad example.

of course, no problems if you don't buy sony (1)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864538)

and with all the crap sony is pulling suing people and hobbling the ps3 why would you?

Re:of course, no problems if you don't buy sony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864896)

Yeah, you WHINE and WHINE and keep forking the cash over to Sony. What a hypocritical momma's boy you are.

Re:of course, no problems if you don't buy sony (1)

Amarantine (1100187) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865088)

It's not just Sony doing this. EA sells these "online passes" for $10 too, for example to 2nd hand buyers of Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. It is not just annoying for the used game market, but it also makes it harder to return a new game to the store if you don't like it. I have the luck that the people in my local game shop know me and trust me when i say i didn't enter the key of the supplied online pass, but i might not be so lucky if i buy it at another store. EA could have used a layer of that silver scratch-off stuff, but they don't. It makes me more careful when buying games, which in the end results in me buying less games.

A bad approach (2)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864540)

This sort of thing was discussed recently in the Extra credits (a weekly publication? on The escapist). They purposed that instead of trying to punish used game purchasers while trying to cut out game stop they should encourage them. Sell the game new for twenty bucks, with multi player on the disk but not accessible because hey it's just convenient. Then Sell the multiplayer as an optional online purcahse via xbox live or steam or what ever for twenty bucks. Total game cost for a few game 40 bucks, but the next profit for the game publisher/developer is more because they can charge twenty bucks for multi player and cut out the retailer on new and later used games.

Re:A bad approach (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864552)

Damn it's late and I'm tired, lets try again.

This sort of thing was discussed recently in the Extra credits (a weekly publication? on The escapist). They purposed that instead of trying to punish used game purchasers while trying to cut out game stop they should encourage them. Sell the game new for twenty bucks, with multi player on the disk but not accessible because hey it's just convenient. Then Sell the multiplayer as an optional online purcahse via xbox live or steam or what ever for twenty bucks. Total game cost for a new game 40 bucks, but the net profit for the game publisher/developer is more because they can charge twenty bucks for multi player and cut out the retailer on new and later used games.

Plus with a lower price on a new game, they are more likely to get exposure to a wider audience, with the possibility for more twenty dollar multi player purchases than if they simply did it to used game owners.

Re:A bad approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864616)

You must be new to Slashdot or something. What you (and the Escapist) are suggesting will be met by the Slashdot crowd with accusations of "selling crippleware", "selling trial versions", or "not letting me own the content that's already on disk".

Re:A bad approach (1)

Dyinobal (1427207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864632)

They can be irrational if they want, bottom line the company wants to cut out game stop. If they do it in a way that makes it cheaper for me the gamer to buy their games brand new with all the content then I'm happy. Cash is king baby. So long as it's clear you're buying only single player content with the option to buy multi player later. I see no harm in it.

Re:A bad approach (4, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864744)

Dude, if it were just about cutting out gamestop, I'd be all for it. There are few things I find more ridiculous in this world than the practice of selling a used title for $5.00 less than the new one, except perhaps the witless sycophants who actually buy them. The 3-for-1 trade-in deal is also pretty freakin' atrocious.

But the reality is that the game industry is adopting Sony's movie and music industry practices. More money, more profiteering parasites at the executive level, and more customer abuse and FUD to justify the egregious corruption.

Whether this is fair or not... (3, Interesting)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864560)

Used games exist. This means they were sold by someone, at some point, who owned it first hand. I'm curious how many first-hand buyers would be less likely to buy a game that has a largely diminished resell value?

Re:Whether this is fair or not... (2)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864686)

Or how many less new games those people will buy because they're getting less income from selling their used games?

All they have to do is wait. (4, Insightful)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864592)

Hard media is slowly going away. Like it or not, one day, games will be all downloaded. For better or worse, it's just more efficient. I don't know when, but that's just the way it will be. I like my hard copies, and you'll pry them from my crusty gout-ridden hands, but I'll be the exception.

Sadly, "used games" will likely be a nostalgia. Why do they have to fight so hard against the used market. Let us enjoy our bargain bin rummaging.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

Hahnsoo (976162) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864740)

Nah, downloading will be the new standard, but for folks who don't like to wait and want to buy a physical copy, they'll have USB drives that are read-only which you can buy at your local WalGameStopBestMart. They'll call them "cartridges". Oh. Wait. Dammit.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

Damase (951471) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864742)

"I like my hard copies, and you'll pry them from my crusty gout-ridden hands"

Amen.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (2)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864828)

No, hard media is not going away.

Only in markets like US and EU, where broadband is mature will download media take over.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865006)

What part of the US do you live in where broadband is mature?

I keep seeing this bullshit comment in this thread that downloading will replace hard copies. Before or after the ISPs impose more and more draconian data caps (relative to the increasing amount of data needed to play each game)?

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865142)

For now. But, over time even to the last mile, it will be more economical to transmit media rather than haul it.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (2)

BrianRoach (614397) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864850)

I buy everything on Steam, and only when it's on sale. I haven't paid full retail for a game in years. Most of the time I buy it at 50% off.

Does Steam have solid games in all genres? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864924)

I buy everything on Steam, and only when it's on sale.

Does Steam have solid games in all genres, even those not traditionally associated with PCs? Would you be willing to make Steam game suggestions for fans of games like Animal Crossing, Super Mario Galaxy, and Super Smash Bros., who are trying to convert from Wii to PC?

Re:Does Steam have solid games in all genres? (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865004)

I know you can get world of goo. Bejeweled. plants vs zombies. I'm sure it has a load of 2-d adventure games akin to mario as well.

Dude. Just get the steam client on your PC. Its free and you can uninstall it. I think its www.steampowered.com Yeah, just checked.

You can see all that they have in the store, check out screenpics and videos, see ratings, etc. Also, it auto-updates all your games that are on steam, via steam, at your max bandwidth, and stands as a game launcher.

It used to be lightly significant on resources, but its insignificant in 2011.

Re:Does Steam have solid games in all genres? (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865008)

Steam has a lot of games, just download the client and look for yourself, it's free.

Re:Does Steam have solid games in all genres? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865036)

Does Steam have solid games in all genres, even those not traditionally associated with PCs?

You know you could just go to the online store [steampowered.com] and take a look, just use the Genres drop down.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864856)

I also don't understand how it is 'used', it's digital. The 0's and 1's should be the same as the original, and if they aren't, it's not 'used', it's corrupt.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

nickmalthus (972450) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864858)

I look at DLC from a macroeconomic perspective which is why I never purchase any. With physical disks game producers create property that can be individually owned and resold thus creating tangible wealth. With DLC no property changes hands and thus the consumer is at the complete mercy of some third party as to what they are allowed to do with their fiat license. Certainly suppliers such as sony lust after such an arrangement since they can resell access to the same content over and over to the same consumer when the next generation of hardware is put on the market with zero competition from and reseller market. However, this runs completely contrary to the intent of intellectual property laws whose sole purpose is to advance the creation of NEW sciences and arts. Perhaps spending five dollars here and there for one time use licenses like a movie ticket makes sense but to spend hundreds of dollars on worthless content (DLC is usually locked to a single piece of hardware) is foolish in my opinion.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864912)

I loath my hard copies, perhaps it has something to do with my xbox360 and my laziness. I just don't see the appeal to getting up, finding the right cd, hoping it's not scratched, then putting it in, waiting for it to load, and that's not even the worst part, the xbox's DVD drive spins so fast my floor shakes.

Almost none of the games for my old systems work anymore. The cds for ps1 are past their lifetimes, and my NES games have no hope in ever working again. Please, let me have some legitimate digital copies that I can backup. Key them to me so only I can make copies, whatever. Apparently the file-sharing community has no problem making digital copies, and hell, they are easier to find than legitimate paid downloads.

I only purchase games I can dl straight to the HD, but for some weird reason, they are always slow to release digital copies. I suppose all that extra revenue from not paying for brick and mortar stores clogs their brain, or more likely, they deem it necessary to employ these incompetent people at Gamestops all around the nation (who create the very used game market I thought they so disliked). Perhaps the fear of those video game nerds/sale associates going into IT is too much to look past.

Caps (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864914)

Like it or not, one day, games will be all downloaded.

"One day" probably isn't within this console generation, due in part to download caps. In some places, the average residential Internet access plan is satellite with a 10 GB/mo or smaller cap, which isn't enough to download disc-sized games along with the rest of home Internet use.

Re:Caps (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865020)

Doh! Just bought Wipeout HD on a PS Store special for $15, then I blew my download cap and got $40 added to the internet bill! What gives?!?!

One more reason to protest caps, throttling, and anything but 24/7 bandwidth at the advertised rate. Just do easy honest business: that is all we really need.

Re:All they have to do is wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864970)

Let us enjoy our bargain bin rummaging.

Which we still do when after 1 year, or less depending on suckability of the game or greedness of the huge publisher, the game hits the Steam/Impulse/Direct2Drive/etc. Holiday/PleaseBuyMeCauseINeedCash sale and it's $10, $5, $2.50 each..

Re:All they have to do is wait. (1)

Rizimar (1986164) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865018)

I don't know how soon that day will be coming. There are plenty of budget developers who make games and sell them for cheap at retail stores (things I've never heard of being sold at Target, Best Buy, Office Max, Half-Price Books brand new, etc).

This kind of availability is advantageous to these publishers mainly for visibility. Products that exist in a brick-and-mortar building will be seen by anyone who shops in that section of the store. Someone with a couple of bucks might pick up a budget title for the hell of it. Or they might be buying it for someone as a gift. Or they're not avid gamers who don't own consoles and don't keep up with the latest games. Whatever the reason, the option is there, and some people will choose to go with it.

If every existing publisher, major or minor, simultaneously decided to release games online only one day, someone else would come along to take advantage of that empty shelf space in the video game sections of every store that had them.

Hmm ... (1)

lennier1 (264730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864620)

Let's hope other areas won't adapt that idea.
If you buy a used car you'll only be able to use 70% of its features while the other perfectly fine working ones are artificially locked, unless you pay a ransom to the car manufacturer.

Re:Hmm ... (1)

ijakings (982830) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864682)

Its a nice little analogy, however as far as I am aware there arent laws prohibiting me from popping the hood of car and re-enabling these features.

Software companies have gotten this anti-circumvention BS in, and its only (As was always predicted) being used to shaft consumers at large, not the pirates who surprise surprise dont have to deal with it.

Re:Hmm ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864770)

This is exactly the analogy to use, but the wrong conclusion.

In the primary market, Sony is selling 2 products, a single player game plus a perpetual subscription to the person who buys the game from them.

Secondary market dynamics change as a result: people will buy secondhand games for $15 less than they would otherwise and it should go a long way to stiffling this market. As a result, Sony is going to face the fact that new buyers might be a bit more reluctant to pay their initial price knowing they won't be able to sell it in the secondary market as easily - the primary market is also stiffled as a result.

Guaranteed, this will have an impact on primary market sales. Sony are probably experimenting on this aspect to see if the loss here is going to make up for it in extra secondary market sales. Otherwise, they fail and face a re-structure of the game pricing in the next generation.

Re:Hmm ... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864790)

Hey there, consumer, I'm afraid that the ECU firmware is licensed, not sold, and licenses are not transferable. Can I sign you up for a new support agreement?

I suspect that it would be a riskier move, since it would leave a much larger population feeling alienated; but it isn't obviously the case that contemporary cars would be any more immune to software-licensing related bullshit than would other firmware-dependent hardware devices(the ones with OnStar or equivalent can even phone home...)

Sony. The "I've lost my mind" option! (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864690)

Seriously. While I can understand Sony's position of "used games = no money" for them, their repeated attempts to stifle user choice pretty much means that unless Sony is THE only option left on earth, you shouldn't be buying from them.

If someone demanded $300 and then kicked you in the nuts, would you give them more money when they demanded another $50? And then again when they demanded another $10-15? And then again when they insist you re-pay for everything you've bought because they've decided to shitcan support for all of it and convert to a new, incompatible format?

Or will it sink in when they devolve to charging pay-per-play? What? You paid your $5 for a single play and then our servers crashed? Sorry! Pay another $5 for the privilege of getting back on!

Re:Sony. The "I've lost my mind" option! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35864778)

Pay per play used to be the dominant business model. Game arcades. Still happens today for games which have expensive hardware, think of a billiards table at the local pub. Just wait, they'll bring back arcades virtually. Rather than buying a cheap old game for 500 wii points, they'll let you play it for 25 points per go.

Re:Sony. The "I've lost my mind" option! (1)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864832)

Or will it sink in when they devolve to charging pay-per-play? What? You paid your $5 for a single play and then our servers crashed? Sorry! Pay another $5 for the privilege of getting back on!

Isnt that how arcades work?

Why cant the same apply to multiplayer games if the servers are provided by sony?

Re:Sony. The "I've lost my mind" option! (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864956)

The fundamental difference is that I didn't outlay $600 for the console then another $100 for a game when I was playing in the arcade. I just shoveled "quarters" into the machine.

The WoW model works well - you buy the game disc (albeit at a fairly discounted rate) or download for free and then pay a monthly subscription to play. Seems a lot of people shovel money at that model. I don't get why the /. community is up in arms about what is essentially a variant on the WoW model, but with the "subscription" included in the original disc purchase and available for a one-time fee for non-original purchasers.

Re:Sony. The "I've lost my mind" option! (1)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865056)

the servers are indeed provided by sony and you have absolutely no say in it (only other choice is don;t buy the game of the console for that matter)....

Sony has a monopoly on Rickrolling (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864940)

unless Sony is THE only option left on earth

Sony Music has a monopoly on Rickrolling, for one thing.

IT ONLY DEMANDS ALL YOUR MONEY (1)

Nihn (1863500) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864916)

You know if ANY other industry tried this crap they would be sued and bankrupt in no time. If you bought a used car and had to pay a "used car fee" just to activate things like..the radio...emergency brakes...the air bag...would you or would you not punch the seller in the jewels or taco respectively. First the gaming industry was about the gamers...now it has taken the approach of the record industry in which THEY know better than you when it comes to YOU being entertained. This kind of thing has given excuse to anyone smart enough to hack a console and download games so they can "stick it to the man". Companies keep jacking the price up for worthless DLC the more people download or rip rented games for cheap, it off sets the actual worth of games who's only premise is "this game is awesome but with DLC it can cure cancer".....regardless of anyone's feelings I support the devs working on homebrew and jailbreaking systems, at least THEY have a heart and TRY to make fellow gamers happy...something companies have long forgotten.

Just played the SOCOM 4 MP beta... (0)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 3 years ago | (#35864988)

... its sick. Hated it for the first couple hours, then fell in love hard. Just like MAG.

This game is worth your original $60. Support good games by sending your cash to those who made it. I'm not saying I don't buy used, I just don't buy used and don't seek discounts on games I know that I want to see more of.

Re:Just played the SOCOM 4 MP beta... (1)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865034)

Oh poor, sad, misguided joocemann...

If only you understood exactly what an abysmal portion of the proceeds actually make it to the developers...it's really not profitable unless you're one of the big mind-/face-less corporations. Even with the big guys, the money doesn't go to the programmers or the designers, it goes to executives and management.

Re:Just played the SOCOM 4 MP beta... (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865096)

I won't buy it new, i won't buy it used, i will NEVER buy a PS3 or any future sony hardware if this is their business model

FYI Sony owns Zipper interactive so it's a first party game.

Not new... Possible Anti-Piracy measure? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35865024)

Seems a tad bit more likely that this is to target Piracy rather than the resale of a used game. Sony started doing this thing a couple months ago with Medal of Honor; it's not new with SOCOM.

And the cycle of greed continues (1)

Kaleidomorph (2007278) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865052)

Just another greedy company trying to squeeze every last drop of blood out of their customers because they seem to think that all the money we have is theirs. Have they forgotten that we need money to buy food and pay for a roof over our heads? I'm not surprised though. They're just responding to their environment. The whole system is corrupt from the ground up and needs to be replaced. But I doubt you'll be able to convince 6 million people to do away with the current socio-economic system. The current market/monetary system is more of an anti-economy. Profit first. Everything else comes second. This is just another symptom of a broken system. I forgot where I was going with this. Oh, look! Shiny! :D

SOCOM will be the next Madden current year minus 1 (1)

Zero_Independent (664974) | more than 3 years ago | (#35865062)

Nobody buys on release date anyway. Everybody knows you can buy the same product for less money a month later. Everybody will also know that Gamestop sells incomplete games in their used section, so they'll have to discount them even more. Everyone will also know that you won't be able to trade in those games with the code for very much money. It'll be like with the obsolete sports games now.

I like how everyone is expecting online distribution is going to save the developers. Have you seen the prices on Steam? All I ever see is 7 games for the price of 1! Cool sleeper hit game discounted to $9.99! Damn, the retailers must be taking quite a big bite out of the pie, if they can sell on Steam for $10 and think they're making outrageous sums of money. So that's the future I guess. Me buying SOCOM 4 via digital distribution in 2 years for $15 in a bundle that includes SOCOM 4 5 and 6 with the beta for SOCOM 7.

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