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GameStop Wants To Sell Secondhand Digital Download Video Games

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the secondhand-ones-and-zeroes dept.

Businesses 123

MojoKid writes "GameStop makes a killing selling used videogames, but what happens to that business model when digital distribution platforms run physical media out of town? That's not anything to worry about today, tomorrow, next week, or even next year, but at some point, GameStop will have to deal with the direction the games industry is headed, and it may already have a solution. GameStop CEO Paul Raines recently brought up the possibility of reselling used digital downloads."

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Good Luck (5, Insightful)

NalosLayor (958307) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806075)

Putting an end to Gamestop's business model is exactly what the publishers intended to do when they started moving to digital downloads. Add to that the DMCA which makes it illegal to circumvent such practices and the non-existence of the right of first sale for digital goods and Gamestop is up a creek without a paddle. And as much as I dislike Gamestop, so are we.

Re:Good Luck (1)

ambidextroustech (2597091) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806095)

Yup. GameStop won't be able to do the same thing with digital copies as they could with hard, physical copies; their business model is going down the crap shoot and consumers won't be far behind because you can't resell these digital copies. eBay items will evaporate as will the low prices.

Re:Good Luck (3, Interesting)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806123)

If I were going to attempt this I wouldn't be selling used games, but whole accounts. For example you have a steam account with games x,y, and z and a steam account with just game x. I would pay you more for account 1 than account 2. There's already market places setup for things like wow accounts. A quick google search pulled up something called armorybids. Yeah, it's against their ToS, but it's not illegal yet.

Re:Good Luck (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806441)

Since its against the tos, what's to stop them closing the accounts when they find they've been sold? That'll lower the value and demand for "second hand" accounts bit.

Re:Good Luck (2)

wmbetts (1306001) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806463)

Blizzard does exactly that. I'm sure it stops some people from buying them, but based on the prices I saw on that website it seems some people are willing to pay outrageous amounts for some accounts.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40808915)

I heard something about the European Union saying that here in Europe people were allowed to sell their second hand media so if they used ToS to do something like that here then presumably they would be breaking the law. I am glad about the ruling because if it were only possible to buy new games I would probably just stop buying games.

Re:Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806453)

this system is less than perfect.
Game producers will make smaller prices, but will make fixed chars, when ones was created cannot be deleted, etc. If there is a will - there is a way.

Re:Good Luck (5, Interesting)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806175)

eBay items will evaporate as will the low prices.

Except that's not how it's worked in practice. If you look at Steam all the old titles are still available and for cheap. Brand new and fully patched and cheaper than they sell for used at GameStop. When every player represents a sale and inventory space is unlimited there is a huge incentive for continued support and aggressive price drops.

Last week on the big Steam summer sale I picked up copies of Batman: Arkham Asylum for $4 and KoTOR (I lost my discs years ago and have been wanting another play-through) for $2. The system works. And works far better for every level from the developers to the consumers. The only people is does not serve better are parasitic rent seekers like GameStop.

Re:Good Luck (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806329)

Actually last time I went into Gamestop (a couple of months ago when my nephew wanted to go there as part of his BDay) they were seriously big into gift cards for things like Steam, WoW, and just about every other MMO and game seller you can name. Made it easy for a kid like him to get some extra goodies on his favorite Korean MMO without having to worry about having a CC or trying to get his parents to use theirs which they sure as hell wouldn't on some funky overseas MMO.

But I got to agree about the Steam sales, its great to not only load up on the new stuff but to get the old games you may have missed. I personally got the HL 1 collection (lost my HL 1 disc ages ago and never got around to Blue Shift or Opposing force) for like $5, my oldest got him some TF classic for $2, not to mention the newer games like Bulletstorm, Saints Row 3 (we all got that one, its a hoot in co-op) as well as some indies like Trine 2 and both boys got the dungeon defenders series which they are playing the hell out of.

I just have to wonder how many publishers other than Valve will let you keep playing old games? i mean I fired up HL 1 DM and TF Classic and was blasting in full servers within seconds, but you look at a company like EA and they won't let you run your own servers and pull the plug after like a year and a half for many games. Who is gonna want to buy older games if half the game is broken?

Re:Good Luck (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806423)

TF classic is more of an exception than a rule. Oftentimes with games that have tacked on multiplayer, it becomes a ghost town long before the servers are taken down. GTA IV, I hopped on multiplayer maybe two years after it had come out. Aside from free roam, no one was playing. Doesn't matter if the servers are still up if no one is playing.

Presumably, any games with multiplayer options that are dead, the pricing will have to reflect that.

Re:Good Luck (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806857)

But something like the Steam sales can actually get people to playing the MP again if it exists. For an example I've been racking up some kills in Bioshock II MP and that was pretty lonely before the Steam sale, but since it was put on sale for 75% off there are plenty of fresh splicers for me to do my aerodash into a shotgun blast or rocket to the face bit.

If they are honest though and say "MP is dead" upfront so I can get that choice? Not a problem but I think that frankly they should at least release the server code when they are gonna walk away so we can host our own. Sadly more likely they just won't tell us the MP is dead until we've already paid and tried to use it. This is the only industry I know of where they can sell you something that doesn't work and you can't even get your money back, what a rip.

Re:Good Luck (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807251)

Which is why I dont care about MP anymore. I dont even redeem the DLC codes to enable it. There are only TWO I do MP on.

Modern BF3 and Black Ops. and both are to tplay with buddies that were ex seals to just utterly crush the kiddies running around with N00b tubes. it's amazing how you can wax a camper and set up a couple of claymores and watch the fool wax himself by running back to his camping spot.

Re:Good Luck (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40810825)

Those type of game frankly ruin the fun for me. While I'm all for having a little strategy in MP those type of games are strictly "If you sink X number of hours you slaughter, if not you're fucked". Its like TF2, My oldest wins sniper competitions on that thing all the time but God knows how many hours he's sunk into it. I watched him play one time and I had to die laughing because some old Vietnam Vet was on the chat going "Will someone take out that Goddamned VC sniper already?" and I actually had to explain to him what a VC was, although looking at his camo outfit I have to admit...he did dress like a classic VC.

To me a good MP should be "easy to play, hard to master" where noobs aren't instakilled in 3 seconds so the community grows and people are actually friendly when they play. The last MP I really sank any time into was the MechWarriors series (Man am I dating myself with THAT reference!) because if one got some friends around you could actually use WWII battle strategies. We used to rack up crazy numbers using the Pacific War's "big blue blanket" in that me and another guy would be in the center with ultraheavies as your battleships, the mediums would be the destroyers covering our flank and sides, and the cruisers would be farther out and lure the "hot dog" shadowcat players into the kill zone. When we used to run into another group it was like The Battle Of Midway with all the rounds flying in massive waves at each other, now THAT was a battle!

Meh, its a shame your ex seals don't play TF2, I'm sure my oldest would like the challenge. So far he's gone up against Army and Marines and bagged 'em both, he's a deadly little sucker, never see him coming..

Re:Good Luck (1)

Requiem18th (742389) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807829)

There are no gift cards for steam. Are there?

Re:Good Luck (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809185)

Yes [theverge.com] .

Steam gift cards? (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809991)

When did Steam get those? I was looking for them a few years ago. :(

I wished Amazon wouldn't ask for my credit card even though I have gift cards! I hope Steam doesn't do this too with its gift cards!

Re:Good Luck (3, Interesting)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806459)

It also means there's no returning a stinker though. It's rare that I buy a game soon after it comes out. It's also rare that a game I'm counting down the days until release turns out to be bad, but it has happened. Kingdom hearts 2 for example, I bought it new the day after it was released, and sold it back to gamestop about a week later. I really hated it, but ended up spending less than $10 on it because I was able to sell it back.

Not saying it helps overall, but in a few rare cases it does work out better for us.

Re:Good Luck (1)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807893)

Wait, you returned a just-released game to Gamestop and got your money back minus $10? I thought that was unheard of. I thought it was spend $60 on a new game, get $10 back (if that) if/when you traded it in.

Re:Good Luck (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40810995)

Hotly anticipated titles within a week of release get a not-too-bad return, since the demand is so high. Everything else, yeah, you get like a quarter of the price you paid for it new.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808447)

In the case I'm not sure about a game, I wait until it's cheap and get it. At worst, I'm $5-10 down, which is identical to what you had, except I still get to keep the game on top of that.

Re:Good Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806551)

"Except that's not how it's worked in practice. If you look at Steam all the old titles are still available and for cheap. Brand new and fully patched and cheaper than they sell for used at GameStop. When every player represents a sale and inventory space is unlimited there is a huge incentive for continued support and aggressive price drops."

The issue you're not getting is the passage of time. The reason things are like that -right now- is because there's a physical market to compete with. When that market is gone, there will be no competition. And as a result there will be no reason for them to drop prices.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40807853)

No, there still we be - it makes sense to drop prices once the market willing to buy a particular game at e.g. the $50, $40, $30 price point dries up - if you tell them you can keep selling 50 copies a month at $30, but if you drop it to $20 you can get 500 a month, why wouldn't they drop the price? It is the early adopter premium found in every other tech area. Sure, you may have some folks that wait you out, 'knowing' the price will drop, but most people will buy it when they decide it is worth the price to them.

Re:Good Luck (1)

sixsixtysix (1110135) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808613)

it is the same reason that adobe doesn't sell older versions of photoshop for much, much cheaper. they could easily make money by offering the older stuff for 25-50% off, but they know that more and more would just wait it out, so it would end up eating into their current version profits. personally, i think they should've started doing that instead of releasing their 'elements' lines.

Re:Good Luck (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809263)

There's no physical market for a great many of the titles Steam puts on sale. Especially the indie titles.

Re:Good Luck (3, Insightful)

gallondr00nk (868673) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806853)

Last week on the big Steam summer sale I picked up copies of Batman: Arkham Asylum for $4 and KoTOR (I lost my discs years ago and have been wanting another play-through) for $2. The system works. And works far better for every level from the developers to the consumers. The only people is does not serve better are parasitic rent seekers like GameStop.

I take exception to the idea that Steam is better for consumers. WIth physical media, I buy the game, I own the disk, and then I'm responsible for what I do with it. I've got originals of games from 1995 on CD.

With Steam, I give up:
          - Physical ownership of the game medium.
          - The ability just to install it standalone w/o client software.
          - Control of patches and updates.*
          - The ability to resell or transfer ownership.
          - Guaranteed access to the game.

Valve might seem all nice now, but what if in 5 years time they go the Origin route and start ditching game support? Or jacking prices because they own a virtual monopoly on game distribution? I can see both happening one day. Dominent market positions get abused.

Steam might grant a little convenience, but takes a lot of control. Is it worth it? Hardly.

Older Steam games are cheap only because Valve decide they are. In the second hand market, it's because the market values it at that price. At the risk of sounding like a wanky free-marketeer, I'd rather have the latter. Yes Valve set prices based on demand, but with Steam the ball is entirely in their court.

* I own Saints Row 2 on Steam. Every time it updates to current, the game becomes hideously unstable on my machine. Stopping it from patching is nigh on impossible.

Re:Good Luck (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806879)

* I own Saints Row 2 on Steam. Every time it updates to current, the game becomes hideously unstable on my machine. Stopping it from patching is nigh on impossible.

Changing from "Always keep this game up to date" to "Do not automatically update this game" doesn't work?

Re:Good Luck (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807019)

I believe that setting is not for the running game but for background updates. Steam will always attempt to update the game on game start regardless of this flag.

Re:Good Luck (2)

Robadob (1800074) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808883)

Only way to play games without them needing to be updated is by running in offline mode, but the game must be 100% upto date when you log into offline mode the first time else it will refuse to run as far as i know.

Re:Good Luck (2)

Barefoot Monkey (1657313) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808209)

Nope. Unfortunately, Steam doesn't have any mechanism for controlling whether or not it updates games. The setting that you describe merely exposes a flag (that frequently gets set and unset automatically) for whether the game should be updated in the background. Steam often either disregards that or silently sets it back to "Always keep this game up to date" at odd times. Also, whenever you run a game Steam tends to do an update regardless and switches the setting back to "Always keep this game up to date" for you.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806877)

Two things -

1) No returns
2) No ability to sell games and use the money to buy more

Now, point 2 has been degrading for a long time anyway, Gamestop and their ilk have been paying next to nothing for used games for a long time. BUT there is a large market segment who do this to stretch their money a little further.

Re:Good Luck (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806983)

How on earth are GameStop "parasitic rent seekers"? They buy used games, that people don't want any more, and sell them to other people for a markup. Or to put it another way, they match up people who want to sell games with people who want to buy games, in exchange for a commission. That's a useful service, not parasitism. And interaction with them is purely voluntary - you always have the option of buying the game new - so they're not seeking rent on existing transactions.

You can argue that their markup is too high for the service they provide, and there's some validity to that. But there's nothing stopping anything else from entering the used-games market and undercutting them if they can - and the fact that no one else really does indicates that they're charging a fair price for their services.

The real oddity is that they're competing in a market where the marginal cost of new product is close to zero (say, 10c per downloaded game to run the file server). There's nothing stopping the game publishers from selling their games so low that GameStop can't possible complete, as in the examples you gave. But that cuts into their profits - they maximise their profits when they set a somewhat higher price. In fact, if it weren't for the need to compete with second-hand games from GameStop, the price of new games would probably be significantly higher.

Re:Good Luck (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806237)

Won't happen until you can get the ISPs to quit overselling the living hell out of their networks and then slapping nasty caps just to make sure you don't use what you pay for!

Don't you just love when irony is so moist and delicious? On the one hand you have a set of greedy publishing bastards that want to take away first sale, but to do so they have to get around the greedy ISP bastards that want to oversell and cap the shit out of their networks.

Kinda sad when there isn't anyone to actually root for, Gamestop charging crazy prices while giving jack shit for trade ins, the ISPs capping your asses, or the media corps wanting to take away first sale and nickel and dime you with DLC so that a $60 game actually costs $130 just to get what you would have gotten before in the box...wow what a carnival of sucktitude!

Re:Good Luck (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806689)

Won't happen until you can get the ISPs to quit overselling the living hell out of their networks and then slapping nasty caps just to make sure you don't use what you pay for!

Don't you just love when irony is so moist and delicious? On the one hand you have a set of greedy publishing bastards that want to take away first sale, but to do so they have to get around the greedy ISP bastards that want to oversell and cap the shit out of their networks.

Kinda sad when there isn't anyone to actually root for, Gamestop charging crazy prices while giving jack shit for trade ins, the ISPs capping your asses, or the media corps wanting to take away first sale and nickel and dime you with DLC so that a $60 game actually costs $130 just to get what you would have gotten before in the box...wow what a carnival of sucktitude!

Agreed.

I've pretty much given up on the whole industry. There are some older games I like that have good replay value that I run on an offline XP box and a PS2 that's also offline. Mostly flight sims and some classic FPSs. I was never much for online multiplayer modes anyway. Too many young children and assholes.

They simply won't get any more of my money. Same with movies. I've also dropped cable TV, and only have lowest-speed-tier internet service. It didn't make a bit of difference in my actual speeds switching from Charter's highest bandwidth/speed plan to their lowest-tier service. Neither one has ever approached even the lowest-tier advertised speed/bandwidth.

Complaints to Charter always get the "our TOS says 'best effort' sir" response. If it gets much worse, I'll cancel all service, build a high-gain antenna, and connect through nearby public wifi nodes and available wireless routers in the area when I simply must get online for email, etc. And no, there are no other options. DSL isn't available and satellite/mobile-carrier services are a non-starter for performance and cost.

I suppose I'll be offline once bandwidth caps and metered bandwidth become universal and the obligatory laws against unsecured wireless/wifi connections (to secure their business model) are passed/implemented.

At least I'm old enough to remember how to live without internet, cable TV, or cellphones.

Strat

Re:Good Luck (1)

thaylin (555395) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806973)

Why wont they? They own a distribution platform now. If they sell the games through that platform what is to stop a user from selling back their rights to the game and GS sells it to another player.The only thing to stop that would be in game accounts tied to a CD key, which most games still dont have.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806103)

Although, this doesn't come too long after Gamestop started selling Steam gift cards.
 
I don't see large publishers allowing resale of their games, but an indie developer might opt in to the program if it meant a bigger cut of the initial purchase (say, 80% instead of 60%), and a 5% cut of each resale. How the owner, publisher and Valve/Steam would split the remaining 95% is down to closed door discussions. There's no reason why Valve couldn't allow this sort of thing; it's just an additional revenue stream for them, and it's an added feature for all parties involved, if they decide to opt in. Valve likes making people happy - it's what drives people to their service, and keeps them coming back. This sort of thing appeals to certain bargain hunters and entrepreneurs.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806155)

The developers, indie or otherwise, will see a cut of GameStop's resale when hell is cold and frozen. If GameStop was the least bit inclined to make that sort of deal the publishers and developers would have never felt the need to cut them off at the knees in the first place. GameStop has a business model that is entirely legal and sometimes advantageous for some consumers. At the same time it is incredibly destructive and long-term death spiral for the industry and consumers as a whole. They have refused to play nice and so the nuclear option is getting deployed. Steam-style game sales on PC and console and the end of the resale market.

And you know what? It works out really well for developers and consumers. Look at Steam. When every player represents a sale and inventory space is unlimited there is incentive for long term support and lower prices. It works. You can buy titles, both AAA and super indie, on Steam for less than their used resale prices and the money actually goes to the developers both big and small.

Re:Good Luck (2, Insightful)

Lisias (447563) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806435)

At the same time it is incredibly destructive and long-term death spiral for the industry and consumers as a whole.

Please elaborate.

As far as I'm concerned, selling used goods drives a industry into a spiral death only when the industry itself is already stagnated and obsolete.

When people refuses to buy new things from, sticking with the old ones, the problem is YOU.

Re:Good Luck (2)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808457)

The most destructive aspect has nothing to do with the 'old' games. The stuff that people pay $5-$15 for after it's been out for a couple years is a natural secondary market. It wold exist with or without GameStop and no one cares very much, one way or another, about these sales. The problem is with GameStop's approach ot new games.

Brand new game comes out for $50. Even for the biggest titles GamStop only brings a couple copies outside of pre-orders. This is deliberate. Game is bought on release day and played for a week. Then it is sold back to GameStop for $25. GameStop then sells it used for $45. They can do that because they deliberately underdstock titles. Often it is used or nothing. This will hapen a couple times the first month of release before the demand dies down. After that the sell back price drops to almost nothing. And the developer sees only the cut of the initial sale.

Yes, this is legal. It even saves a few dollars for the first couple customers. But it means that the developers only make money out of one in three PAYING customers. The people who are willing and able to pay full price on launch day. It is not an issue of people choosing old goods due to a stagnant industry. It's a problem of the new money being diverted before it can reward new development.

Re:Good Luck (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809337)

GameStop is hardly the only retailer of new video games. Someone who wants a game on release day can just stop in at any big box store and pick it up.

Re:Good Luck (1)

bhcompy (1877290) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806343)

You're forgetting that GameStop now owns Impulse. Game trading, temporary licenses, etc, are entirely possible. Impulse is the #2 or #3 download marketplace(competing with D2D.. don't count GOG considering what they sell)

Re:Good Luck (1)

damiangerous (218679) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809345)

It's not possible if the game publishers don't allow it, and they have no incentive to.

Re:Good Luck (1)

hlavac (914630) | more than 2 years ago | (#40812901)

And rightly so. They are being robbed of their fair share of profit.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806107)

Depends on the alternatives, but at this point I would expect most major releases to be done primarily through XBL/PSN store fronts, and on PC through the Windows App store and Steam. (On the Xbox 3/PS4/Windows etc.) There's no room in this market for gamestop, and there's no way publishers are going to agree to a service that has used game sales the way gamestop does going forward. Hell, the publishers told gamestop about this years ago, but they didn't listen.

Gamestop owning impulse does give them a bit of a leg up that they can use, but impulse is nothing compared to steam, and the PC market if you exclude MMO's is basically nothing compared to the console market anyway. (I'd exclude MMO's because they can have completely different business models which are primarily driven by a direct consumer-developer relationship).

And yes, the EU has ruled in favour of used game sales. Don't expect anyone not based in Europe to actually go along with it.

At one point gamestop was the place to be to sell your game. They had (and still do have) about 25% of the game market, walmart another 25%. But now no one really wants their titles in gamestop because a day after release there will be used copies for sale for 5 bucks less than new. So it's become an adversarial relationship (the same problem MS has with surface basically), it's one of those things where if you make console games it's a necessary evil for now, but if you make PC games you're happy to never have to deal with them again.

Re:Good Luck (1)

Grayhand (2610049) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806131)

They've been living on borrowed time. It's likely that the next gen game boxes will drop physical media either way so they are just plain out of luck. The user agreements don't allow for a transfer of rights on a download so unless the courts weigh in, don't hold your breath, they are out of luck.

Re:Good Luck (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806807)

In the US that may be the case because your government doesn't want to help its citizens but the EU says we can re-sell out digital content so the idea isn't out of the question in countries that care about their citizens.

That could work in EU (0)

aepervius (535155) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809683)

The judgement from a few weeks ago seems to idnicate game could be resold. Thus making such business model of a market place of used digital download valid for EU. The US is not the only market palce you know.

GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (5, Informative)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806101)

It's called GameStop PC Downloads [impulsedriven.com] - aka Impulse [wikipedia.org] , bought from Stardock last year.

GameStop has also been getting into the refurbished iDevice market [gamestop.com] . There will always be hardware of some kind to (re)sell.

Re:GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (1)

ebeckers (2695971) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806215)

physical media will never stop Just like Radio did not replace TV and internet did not replace the newspapers..

Re:GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806245)

The mobile market is proof that devices can thrive without physical media. Devices like the iPhone don't even have a place to insert physical media. Technology in the future will make it easier for larger devices with larger data consumption to forgo physical media entirely as well.

Re:GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806813)

The mobile market is also perhaps the shittiest market to be in.

Re:GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806961)

I've already reduced the amount of physical media I buy. My movie and music collection stop growing a couple of years ago. Mobile media downloading is definitely the gateway drug to other media downloading.

  I just hope gaming console makers are prepared. I would hate for all the digital downloaded games I have on my Xbox account to not transfer to their next gen console.

Re:GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806483)

I worked at a gamestop for a summer. If that store was representative of gamestops elsewhere, they make their money on 12 to 18 year olds guys who have nothing but disposable income, buy electronic toys when they first come out at high prices, then get tired of them and would rather get a fraction of the price back than let the thing rot in their closet. They buy that stuff and sell to other 12 to 18 year olds at a markup.

That group isn't going anywhere anytime soon, sure, iphones might be the next thing, but I'm skeptical that they can make the same profit margin or sales volumes as they did with used games. I'm sure people are buying used iDevices at gamestop, but I can't see it ever eclipsing new sales, authorized refurbishers, or direct from apple. Gamestop is going to shrink as a result of this no matter how much they diversify.

Re:GameStop *has* a digital distribution platform (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40807735)

Impulse, like all Stardock products, is garbage.

Interesting, but it wont help Gamestop (1)

Mistakill (965922) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806113)

I doubt they'll be able to see Steam downloads secondhand, nor EA's games that use Origin, and nor Blizzard's games that use battlenet. Doesnt leave alot else, then they have to get the DRM issues sorted with publishers.... GL with that Gamestop

Re:Interesting, but it wont help Gamestop (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806129)

On countries where there theres the right to resell and the right to reverse engenieer to get compatibility, they could do something like Garena + hacking the executables to make them work without steam. Provided that each game sold is backed by a license, it would be legal in my country.

Re:Interesting, but it wont help Gamestop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806687)

the recent ruling against Oracle in EU would give you reason (not to the hacking part, tho) but the cloud is making the whole question moot as when a program is running on the cloud you are just renting something that somebody else is executing, not buying it for your use, ther's no first sale.

lockdown (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806145)

Its amazing, all of this lockdown in the gaming industry has completely put me off buying new video games. The last game I bought was Minecraft and I had pirated that for a month before I bought it.

BS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806153)

U should be able to resell digital media. What happened to the good old days of selling my music and games, or better yet buying used media at low cost. I don't see how this is different then EBay, used books, and craigslist, all selling used items.. Just another way to screw the consumer for an extra buck.

Re:BS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806211)

"Screwing the consumer"? If you refuse to pay the asking price to the companies producing these goods you're not a consumer. You provide nothing to the industry supplying you with these games so why should they care?

Re:BS... (1)

Chrontius (654879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806719)

He provides the ecosystem that keeps people interested in what the producers are selling.

Re:BS... (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807221)

Of course you're a consumer, and you're being screwed because the publishers are trying to force a model where you don't actually own anything. If you owned it you could resell it.

If I buy a car, I can sell it to someone else. Ford don't get a look in. Both myself and the other purchaser are consumers, though. Whether ford give a crap about the on-sale is irrelevant, but they sure as hell don't get to prevent it.

Re:BS... (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808515)

Why do you hate the first sale doctrine?

Re:BS... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806767)

"different THAN", you American idiot...

Why are Americans now confusing the three simple words 'then', 'than' and 'that' all of a sudden?

probably DOA in the US short legislation (1)

ffflala (793437) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806173)

The only way this could happen is if Game Stop is able to further limit the terms of the licenses of their download sales to give them an exclusive right to license buy-back. Without that, if Game Stop can buy back a license you purchased and resell it to someone else, that would mean that consumers have to have the same right to resell their software licenses and keys. There's a sound basis for businesses having the ability to restrict types of sales to distribution outlets that contract with them, but once a sales transaction to a customer has been completed, you cannot similarly restrict purchases of the same good or license purchased to specific outlets without either regulatory backing or specific license terms. IOW, if you can sell Game Stop a license for software that you purchased, you should be able to directly sell it to anyone else.

I'm all for the idea, personally; I'd love to see Craigslist filled with software resales. TFA article notes that a court in the EU has identified a right to sell secondhand software. However, I think this will undercut so many profit models of US businesses that, even if there were a similar court ruling (itself unlikely), it would face a lot of money being thrown in the direction of Congress to ensure that secondhand software sales remain impermissible. At best, US consumers will probably just even more restricted software licenses.

Re:probably DOA in the US short legislation (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807151)

The only way this could happen is if Game Stop is able to further limit the terms of the licenses of their download sales to give them an exclusive right to license buy-back.

Well, not necessarily. You allude to the solution:

that would mean that consumers have to have the same right to resell their software licenses and keys.

That is a right we all should have. If gamestop can find sufficient allies they can float this idea in court, and try to get the right for everyone which will include them. At this point they have really two logical choices: they can either fight (and it will be a fight) to have First Sale extended to digital downloads, as it should be (putting "on a computer" on an idea does not change it, only modernizes it) or they can get ready to pack up their toys and go home.

, if you can sell Game Stop a license for software that you purchased, you should be able to directly sell it to anyone else.

Sure, but you can already do that with physical games, and yet most people sell games below the gamestop price at yard sales and the like. Only dealers at flea markets expect to get gamestop-like prices. (The only one I buy from is at the Santa Cruz market and he has one of the really fancy refinishing machines... he does a better job than those cocks at gamestop.)

Am I the only one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806177)

... who sees the absolute ridiculousness of a used digital download? What exactly is "used"? Are the bits wrong? Why would I buy a "used" digital game if I can buy an unused one? Cheaper you say? Why is it cheaper? The jpeg image looks scratched? Is it not shiny? Or is does it have the "risk" of a banned id or pirating? Does that make it cheaper? (That would be just wrong btw)

I thought for a second if i had a "sellback" button in my steam library. I would use it perhaps, but what would Steam and publishers gain from it? Nothing.

I don't see this happening. A game is now like a movie going experience. You buy it, you consume it, you enjoy the experience and you're done. You cannot "pass it on". I accept this model, and it has my blessing. Gamestop can have a slow and painful death.

But why would we still need gamestop (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806187)

Gamestop has some usefulness with used physical games, but I don't think that translates to downloads. Digital files can't be scratched, and they don't have any real storage costs. At the very least, they are going to have to go with MUCH smaller margins

Re:But why would we still need gamestop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806977)

Many people use Gamestop, very many indeed. That means they are serving a real demand. It is clear a vast number of people get the latest title and play through once, then trade it in. Gamestop facilitates this, and it's easier to do it with them than selling on ebay, craigslist and amazon, who take a decent cut of your sales.

Physical media isn't the issue, it's just a game to those mentioned above. It is now legal in the EU to sell your software regardless of the BS in the EULA. Not so in the US, so it'll be interesting how this pans out. If it works, it in a win for the consumer by giving us more choices.

Personally, I can't stand the stores, but they're popping up all over the place, showing I'm probably in the minority.

How? (1)

flimflammer (956759) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806205)

As far as I know there is currently no means to transfer a license between the seller and the buyer on any current digital distribution platform. if they attempt to start their own competing digital download service where people can sell their games back then more power to them. However I think GMG already does this to some extent?

I think Gamestop is just dreaming.

you know why they make a "killing"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806213)

Because they give you like 5 bucks for a used game and then sell it for 30 or whatever. why anybody would trade their games in to those douches instead of selling them on ebay ill never know...it's the same scam of used textbooks. you buy for 125 new, they buy it back for 5 bucks and then sell it for 80.

Inadvisable (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806219)

It is inadvisable to use this model of selling any games for a rather esoteric reason. I recommend giving historical away the games for free for emulator websites and selling NEW games on CD in shopping malls. I also strongly suggest not using copy protection, licensing, forced online registration or any other ulterior practice that might damage the new products owner. Play it straight this time!

Let's look at their options (1)

rebelwarlock (1319465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806249)

I think it's safe to assume that Steam isn't going to allow them to ride on their systems for this, and neither is Origin. You also have the issue of games that have one time use serial numbers (most notably, MMOs) and day one DLC content. For them to be able to do this at all, they would have to come up with their own distribution system.

Since IP owners have more rights than anyone else in the US, there's no way they'd be able to put games in their system without the permission of said owners. But how do you get someone's permission to make money off of their product, while giving them nothing? They would have to pay royalties to the studios/producers (let's not start nitpicking terminology here - you know where I'm going with this), which is precisely what they're currently avoiding with physical media in order to make money hand over fist with used games.

Of course they -want- to sell secondhand digital downloads; I just don't see it working out for them.

FIRST POST (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806271)

Watershed essay, as poSsible? How

What they propose is effectively what Steam does. (1)

jmerlin (1010641) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806289)

When it comes to you and me buying a game digitally directly from a game vendor, we typically get a license to that game. It's OUR license. Sometimes we even own a copy (rare, and becoming even more rare every year, until we make licenses == legal copy in terms of copyright law, like the EU is doing right now). We usually don't have the right to resell our license, but if we own a copy, then we do.

Now steam doesn't let you RESELL your digital copies to other players. But they don't sell licenses, nor copies. They sell a subscription to their license of the game, which means they're selling a refurbished digital game to you, except not at the same time, because they bind ALL of your rights, leaving you completely and utterly fucked.

IMHO, licenses should be seen as equivalent to copies, legally. And Steam's model of selling a "subscription" should be seen as a sub-license, and also be legally upheld as a copy. This combination would permit us to re-sell purchased digital games, and either force Steam to enable us to remove games and give them to others, or be hit with massive lawsuits. And then Steam would become Gamestop's digital counterpart, as it would be in their best interest to implement an Amazon-style used market. Though that might be horribly scary for Steam, because the only reason they can offer massive sales is because you don't have any rights at all over the content you "buy" from them. Such a legal ruling would probably invalidate most of their licensing rights to games and turn them into yet another MSRP vendor, lining them up to be defeated by Amazon at their own game.

from the not-getting-digital dept. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806295)

So, ignoring the part where getting rid of used game sales is generally considered a feature not a bug by game publishers, doing things on the internet is well known for eliminating middlemen. If people are going to resell their digital downloads (which they should be able to do), then it is unlikely a third-party like GameStop is going to be able make any money off of being a middleman.

Think of the environment! (1)

w0mprat (1317953) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806489)

I'll be supporting used downloads. It's about time someone started recycling electrons. They are a non renewable resource and clearly this one-use culture has to end. The universe only has 15 747 724 136 275 002 577 605 653 961 181 555 468 044 717 914 527 116 709 366 231 425 076 185 631 031 296 electrons to begin with!

Captain Obvious to the rescue! (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806509)

what happens to that business model when digital distribution platforms run physical media out of town?

An extensive web search, comparison with analogous disruptive changes in the past and discussions with MBA colleagues lead me to the conclusion that it's utterly fucked.

Sued (1)

gaelfx (1111115) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806523)

I hope they get sued by ReDigi, because that would be hilarious.

In other words.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806603)

If you have any stock in the company left, you'd better sell it now.

Ladies and gentlemen (1)

Anon8---) (1981904) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806787)

Once again a wonderful example of FARTS [urbandictionary.com] .

Already Done (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806793)

Green Man Gaming already are addressing this - well, they allow you to trade in old titles you don't want to play anymore to contribute to newer titles...

Can't stop reselling in the EU (3, Informative)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806907)

I note that recently the Court of Justice of the European Union rejected an attempt by Oracle to stop the sale of secondhand licences on software downloaded over the internet. [theregister.co.uk] It seems to me that reselling of games software should also be allowed under the same ruling.

Re:Can't stop reselling in the EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806979)

I agree. I do not see a difference between games and software in that perceptive.

Re:Can't stop reselling in the EU (3, Interesting)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40809167)

Tell that to the lawyers; most politicians are lawyers. They love to create issues out of nothing, it boosts their business.

Sometimes I wonder if politicians are trying to be programmers and make Judges into computers; except they have zero software engineering skills and their profession (and their own law firms they have a vested interest in) greatly benefits from "bugs" in their legal code.

"Digital" (2)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40806943)

Why does everyone have to call it "digital" (digital copies, etc)? Software is digital by definition, including that on CDs and floppies. And if you say it's short for "digital downloads", that doesn't make sense either, as "digital" is a useless qualifier (all downloads are digital).

Re:"Digital" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40806971)

I hear ya.

Re:"Digital" (1)

alexbgreat (1422591) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807215)

My computer stores bits as arbitrary analog charges inside the floating gate of a floating gate transistor, you insensitive clod!

Re:"Digital" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40808909)

Software is not digital by definition. It CAN be digital, but its not a requirement.

Wait... Let me get this straight... (2)

retroworks (652802) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807011)

You mean, if I bought it, I own it? I can resell it? I remember that battle, way back when, and we recorded our LPs onto cassette tapes.

Digital downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40807349)

The fact that people often like to play games directly when they see them, and dont want to wait for them speaks for itself.
I predict that within 3 years 80% of the games will be downloaded.
I personally think it is beter this way, if you want to play or buy a game you can just go to steam or origin and download immediately.
http://www.rtsgames.nl

Virus? (1)

WhackAttack (2672021) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807545)

I guess they have never heard of viruses....

this is FUD and BS (1, Insightful)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40807685)

Not 1 single gamer I know wants a digital-only copy of anything ever. Unless it's half the price or the only option, they want a physical copy so if anything happens to the company, their account, their computer, etc they can still play the game. For the tiny amount of people who prefer digital, it's like iTunes. You only need to get burned by losing everything once before you decide that's not a good idea.

Re:this is FUD and BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40809909)

Steam's terms of service and license agreement guarantee that they will remove all DRM and allow you to download everything you buy from them if they ever go under.

Re:this is FUD and BS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40810691)

I think maybe you haven't purchased too many games in the recent past. I was like you say, strong preference for physical media. Until my latest round of game purchases. I got 4 new games in their shiny boxes. ALL of them required STEAM. What the hell was the point of getting the disc then? I could have SAVED MONEY and purchased them on steam instead. And from now on, I will.
 
Steam is going to run away with the gaming industry if someone doesn't stop them. But you know what? I can't think of a good reason why they shouldn't be allowed to. So far, they are the ONLY ones doing it even remotely correctly.

Can we stop saying "Digital Downloads" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40808467)

...and just say "Downloads"? It's awfully redundant.

The Main Problem With Downloads (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808477)

My main issue, and in fact, THE main issue with downloads is that they take up a tremendous amount of space on your hard drive. Most consoles and that upcoming SteamBox have pathetically tiny hard drives such that a dozen games that you've downloaded pretty much stuff it full, while a physical disc just has game data on it. If you've tried to download a full game from most online services for a console, it's an all-evening scenario as well.

Re:The Main Problem With Downloads (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 2 years ago | (#40808745)

That's a defect of the console deployment scheme, not the fact that it has to download something really big. Have a choice to pre-order X, or buy it immediately. The downloads start in the background. If you turn off the console, it continues in low power mode to keep a CPU core, ram, hard-drive, and network interface (maybe USB) alive in order to facilitate the transfer. When its done, console goes into full suspend.

This will take a long time (maybe a whole night), but the alternative is to drive to the store, store wasting gas, time, all the fixed costs of producing the box, the gas wasted shipping that box to the store, the sales guy's wages, the store's rental fee, the mall AC, etc... on something that you could spend a few more hours and get for a substantially more efficient net energy transfer mechanism.

The best of this situation is that you pre-ordered a game and it just works a few seconds after its release date using some fun decryption like how steam rolls out pre-orders.

Re:The Main Problem With Downloads (1)

Plekto (1018050) | more than 2 years ago | (#40813477)

So given your rather pathetically limited storage on most consoles (when I can but a 1TB drive for well under $75 now), what happens when you have to un-install a game to make room from a new one? Right - if you want the original; game back, well, get ready to spend all night downloading it again. A physical copy would be a 1-2 minute install and you're done. And 1/10th or less of the drive space required.

Blame Diablo 3 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40812487)

There must be a glut of people trying to unload their copies.

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