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Do Games Industry Folks Buy Games New or Used?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the anonymously dept.

79

Gamasutra has another of its usually-interesting Question of the Week features up, and this one deals with the issue of used games. The question : Do Games Industry Professionals Buy Their Games New or Used? A lot of anonymouse answers this week. From one mouse: "I buy both used and new games, depending upon what the price differential is, and availability (old games are hard to find 'new'). I think the used games market is good for the industry for two reason: * it increases the value of game--people buy games knowing that they can get money when they sell it back, and * the game gets greater exposure--the purchaser of the used game might not otherwise have played it. This does not mean that people have the right to steal our products by copying them, reselling the originals, and playing the copy. But we made a product and sold it to them. It is theirs. They are free to resell it, the same way you're free to resell your car, house, or furniture. - Anonymous, Microsoft"

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fp! (-1, Offtopic)

beneth (591310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517751)

fp!?

Huh? (4, Funny)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517763)

I thought I purchased a license, not a product.

pWN3d!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16517797)

Only losers pay for games.

Neither (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16517813)

We trade games with our friends at other companies.

For those who make games. (5, Insightful)

kinglink (195330) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517831)

First off I work at ONE game development company, we get treated well, but this is not a standard for the industry.

There's the same split in society. People who buy it immediatly, people who wait for reviews, and people who wait for price drops, there's no rule for the industry or for the game. And btw we go "ooh" and "ahhh" to tech demos. We have guys who buy every EA sports game, we have guys who buy none. We have guys who play Smash brothers every day at lunch. We have guys who haven't owned a video game system in years, but plays board games weekly. We have magic fans, we have Warhammer 40000 fans.

However the best thing about my company is we get all that here. We can ask each other what's good or not. If we get sick of a game we sell it to someone else at the company, and there's a whole gamer culture here.

But the simple answer is we do the same in the industry as outside the industry. The only bonus is you work with gamers so instead of having to go to ebay, you can trade internally, get similar prices and get it from reputable sources rather then some guy on ebay, but in the end it's not different then regular society except everyone here is likely a gamer in some way.

Re:For those who make games. (3, Interesting)

LavaDog (120310) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518095)

It's pretty much the same where I work. Since everyone's into video games I find out more about games that I'm interested in more than when I worked outside of the industry. If there's a lot of buzz about a game that I might like then I'll buy it new. Most times people will play through games and you can buy the games off of them really cheap or just borrow it. We have people that don't have some of the consoles, but will buy or borrow games and play them at work.

I don't think we're any different than just a bunch of friends that like games. As far as the article is concerned I don't even know if the people in the industry making purchase decisions are enough to affect the overall economy of the industry.

Re:For those who make games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16518515)

I want to see both you slackers in my office in 5 minutes!

--Your Boss

They left one out. (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517875)

Buy games? I never buy games. It's much easier to hide in the shadows and wait for a passing gamer. Then I sneak up behind him, slit his throat, and shake his lifeless corpse until games and food fall out of his pockets. Afterwards, I sometimes eat the corpse.

Hideo Kojima

Re:They left one out. (4, Funny)

shani (1674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518015)

So you're a Nethack developer then?

Re:They left one out. (1)

GroovyTrucker (917003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518351)

Dear God...who moderated this as a Troll?!? It might be appropriate or it might be humorous, but a Troll???

Re:They left one out. (2, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518767)

Only a troll would steal a game and eat the gamer!

Re:They left one out. (1)

GroovyTrucker (917003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519091)

That's like moderating Sonny Gravano as Informative...

Re:They left one out. (1)

GroovyTrucker (917003) | more than 7 years ago | (#16524269)

Whoops! That's Sammy Gravano.

Re:They left one out. (1)

nelsonal (549144) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519403)

Wouldn't the troll have to do it from under a bridge as a hiding place, or have they branched out a little now?

Re:They left one out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16518389)

Am I the only person who found this terribly funny?

-Disclaimer: I'm a gamer.-

Re:They left one out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16518475)

Not enough metal gear solid players out there, apparently. I had figured it out by the time it got to shaking the lifeless bodies for goodies, eating the corpse was just a bonus ;)

Someone should mod it insightful to counter the troll point.

Re:They left one out. (1)

Knightbane (25941) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518459)

funniest thing i read all day.

Re:They left one out. (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518519)

If only I had mod points. Whoever rated this troll needs to get some Tactical Espionage Action rammed up their ass.

Re:They left one out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16519541)

Karma, answer me. Karma? KARRRRRMAAAAAA!!!!

(continue / quit)

Re:They left one out. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16521439)

Karma, answer me. Karma? KARRRRRMAAAAAA!!!!

(continue / quit)
Revival P.

zhoooop!

Re:They left one out. (3, Funny)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518829)

Buy games? I never buy games. It's much easier to hide in the shadows and wait for a passing gamer. Then I sneak up behind him, jump on his head, and collect the coins and stuff that bounce away from his flat corpse. Afterwards, I sometimes use their shell to knock over other gamers.

Mario Mario

I buy new (1)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517901)

I am a programmer in the games industry. I buy games new, though I rarely have time to ever play them.

Re:I buy new (2, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518625)

I buy used specifically because I never get around to playing them. There's plenty of old used games that I haven't tried yet. Why would I spend $60 on a new game when I know that there's plenty of games that I haven't played, and want to play just as much for $15? There are a couple that I've bought new, but the vast majority of my games are bought used. And most of them remain unbeaten because I don't have the time to play all the way through.

Re:I buy new (2, Interesting)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519637)

Well...I pretty much have all of those "old" games because I bought them all when they were new... I usually pre-order every game and go get them on the release date. If they have a collectors,limited,or in any other way "special" edition, I get that. Sometimes I even play them within a week of release, but most often I get around to playing them about a year later, if at all. Usually it's when somebody says "hey, you have to try x" that I go home and dig it out and play it.

It's probably some mild form of insanity, but despite the fact that I could just wait until I'm actually going to play a game and then buy it (most likely for a far reduced price) I can't stop myself from going through that pre-order rack and pre-ordering any game (or console) on it, sometimes multiple times (unintentionally, those are the games I'm actually specifically interested in). I also never sell or trade in anything, I still have every game and console I've ever bought.

The only exception I have to this is sports games. I have less than no interest in them. The newest sports game I have is Blades of Steel for the NES. (Although, maybe the Wii will renew my interest in sports games somewhat).

Re:I buy new (1)

blighter (577804) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520197)

It's probably some mild form of insanity

Mild?

Good lord, man, you're every game industry worker's dream!

You have to be kidding. You preorder everything? There's no way...

Re:I buy new (1)

Penguin's Advocate (126803) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520503)

Everything but sports games. To be completely honest though, I don't personally pre-order every game, my fiancee pre-orders at least half of them. Our friends at gamestop are continually reminding us that one or the other of us already has "that game" pre-ordered.

Re:I buy new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16521495)

Same here... Developer in the games industry, I buy new games, rarely have time to play them.

Two caveats though:

1) I rarely buy anything used (except the occasional book or CD). I always buy new cars, new appliances, etc... so I don't know if I'm the best sample space.
2) I do buy the company's games cheap at the company store. Granted, I often play those games less frequently than I do games I spend full price for (For instance, I'm not a big spots fan, but I might pick up a cheap soccer game at the company store, where I wouldn't have spent that money buying it off the rack).
3) I did track down a used copy of X-Com because I lost my old copy and no one's selling new copies of it anymore.

Re:I buy new (1)

Malkin (133793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16522987)

I am likewise a programmer in the industry, and I buy new, as well. I have, on rare occasion, had to buy a game used, because it simply wasn't available new. However, when given the option, I always buy new. I furthermore get pissed off at empty pre-order boxes taking up precious shelf space that could have a real game on it.

the longer you wait, the more you need 'used' (2, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517907)

the percentage of new vs total games is always decreasing, because of the immense amount of games for non-supported consoles, etc. So over time, you have to buy more used games vs. new, assuming any fixed set of consoles.

Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (5, Insightful)

ChaosDiscord (4913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16517979)

There is a lot of very reasonable commentary there. And a few whiners. The whiners are more fun.

From Anonymous at the University of Texas [gamasutra.com] , "Perhaps a moratorium on the sale of used copies of a title within the first month of its release." If you have a serious problem with used sales in the first month of release, your game is probably either too short, or just plain sucks. My friends with tigher budgets note that they typically have to what two or three months before the find used copies of game they want available.

I'm also fond of Pierre-Luc Lachance at Ubisoft's response [gamasutra.com] , "We can only try to sensitize people to the ethical integrity and fairness of buying new, first hand games." Ethical integrity? I'm curious about Pierre-Luc's view of the ethical integrity of purchasing a used car or a used book. Idiot.

This anonymous comment takes the cake: [gamasutra.com]

I NEVER buy used games, nor do I sell my old games. I am continually disappointed by the fact that I cannot convince many gamers to buy new. The age of hard copy is at an end. Digital distribution is coming and will be here to stay. Developers hands have been forced. Soon, small games presented on X Box Live and Nintendo Virtual Console will challenge hard copy games for profits. At this time the age of hard copy will end. Used game stores are pushing themselves out of business with hard handed tactics designed to force players to buy and sell used games.

Again, I'm curious if anonymous has ever bought or sold a used car, CD, or book. Have the car, book, and music industries been forced to online distribution by resales? ("Now downloading Subaru Impreza 2006. 3% complete. Downloading at 6.02 zeptoatoms/second.") Also, exactly what "hard handed" tactics have used game stores engaged in? How do they force me to buy and sell used games? I've never been "forced" to sell them a game. When I buy a new game, they do sometimes offer me a used game ("You can save five bucks on a used copy"), but that's hardly a hard sell. They've never refused to sell me a new copy when one was available (which I usually do, as it's worth $5 to me to get a shiny new copy).

There is a subset of the video game industry who are giant whiners. This isn't some conspiracy against video games; it's the free market. Resale of copyright protected works existed for hundreds of years before your industry even existed. Expecting to get some special protection makes you piss-poor capitalists.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519421)

Again, I'm curious if anonymous has ever bought or sold a used car, CD, or book. Have the car, book, and music industries been forced to online distribution by resales? ("Now downloading Subaru Impreza 2006. 3% complete. Downloading at 6.02 zeptoatoms/second.")
I understand you're making light of the subject, but really, the car analogy is totally broken in this case.

As to CDs, there's more to it than you make it seem. First, the cost of producing a music CD is far less than the cost of producing a top-tier game. This means that the price point can be lower while profitability is maintained, and also means that the marginal effect of used CD sales is lower. Second, the music distro industry has indeed been "forced" to offer music online, though the impetus has been sharing rather than sale of used goods -- of course, part of that goes back to the price point, as well as ease of distribution. Do you think there would be more of a market for used CDs if they cost $50 new (assuming, of course, that it was difficult to just download a copy)? I sure do.

As to books, there's a big difference between a physical book and a downloaded copy. As for used books, yes there's a market (I frequent the Strand often), but many people don't like used books -- a lot of it has to do with the fact that the condition of a used book is often noticably worse than a new one. A used game? Not so -- though the packaging can be a bit disheveled, the content itself is identical (barring scratches). There's no discernable difference in utility.

I don't want to seem like I'm "siding" with the protectionist game companies, or that I'm "siding" with pure free market idealogues. But:
This isn't some conspiracy against video games; it's the free market.
Sure. But in the interest of wanting to play amazing games, what happens when I and all my fellow bargain-hunters make it unprofitable to develop the massive games that I enjoy? In a very real way, we are removing the incentive to develop large non-cookie-cutter games.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16520007)

"Sure. But in the interest of wanting to play amazing games, what happens when I and all my fellow bargain-hunters make it unprofitable to develop the massive games that I enjoy? In a very real way, we are removing the incentive to develop large non-cookie-cutter games."

Sounds good to me. Oh not because I want that to happen. But because I believe in cause and effect. Action and consequences. If the customer saws off the limb they're sitting on, and they fall? That should be permitted to happen. Humanity can't learn otherwise. Now as far as new and used, I'm no different than anyone else. I will buy a game new or used based on the same criteria most customers used, including if I have time to play. I've already spent about $30 on a mix of new* and used games and will spend more as winter gets closer.(Cabin Fever)

BTW someone complained about Steam and the used market. Well Earth 2160 has online activation BUT it allows me to sell the game to someone else and they can activate the game. So the world of online activation isn't a pure Steam or not.

*One can get NEW games at a lower price point than the mainstream stores. e.g. overstock.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520667)

But because I believe in cause and effect. Action and consequences. If the customer saws off the limb they're sitting on, and they fall? That should be permitted to happen. Humanity can't learn otherwise.
So foresight in avoiding a negative outcome is unwanted? What's the point of critical thinking if we don't use it to improve our situation and/or prevent a decline? Is this the same logic you use in your personal life? If, for example, you're on a mountain bike looking down a cliff, do you ride over the lip, since you won't learn to not ride off cliffs unless you do it once and get hurt?

I think you have a strange take on humanity if you think that

(1) Humanity only learns lessons from painful experience and
(2) Humanity will indeed learn from painful experience.

I think history has shown us again and again that humanity is quick to forget lessons of the past, even when they do learn the lesson in the first place.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522127)

"I think history has shown us again and again that humanity is quick to forget lessons of the past, even when they do learn the lesson in the first place."

Sounds like they repeatedly forget that "foresight" part too. As far as one and two, well history amply answers those questions. It's the "getting the lesson to stick" over generations* that's the hard part. Maybe a couple more "millions of years" will do the trick.

*Note the problem isn't with individuals learning their lessons.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16521109)

Why is it always the fault of the consumer that an industry is unprofitable? When the HELL did that become our fault?

I'm a gamer, I've been gaming since pong, and I still buy tons of games. And I sell some back to the store, so I can buy more games. You know which ones I sell back? The ones that SUCK.

If it's got no replay value, if it's got a crappy story, or a crappy interface, I sell it back. Why not? They don't care enough to make it fun, I don't care if they lose money on a new user.

On the other hand, I have computers and game systems that I painstakingly maintain so I can keep playing the older games that I love. And I buy new copies when the media dies, or when they release an "updated" version that's compatible with newer hardware and drivers.

So here's your wake up. Good products make good money. Good books are profitable, even when tons of used copies end up in the used bookstores, even though one person may buy the book and loan it to ten other people. That's what it means to be a good product.

The same goes for games; one guy buys a copy and loans it to ten friends. If it sucks, those friends give it the hell back, and he trades it for a new game. But if it's good, they go get their own copy, and if it's really good, there AREN'T any used copies. That's the way it works.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522289)

"So here's your wake up. Good products make good money."*

Do you really want to drag out the list of games that had "gameplay" (you know? The thing that slashdot always whines about), but the consumer didn't buy enough of? It's easy as a CONSUMER to pull mantras out of a hat and say "make it so". It's harder on the other end when you take their advice and get burned in the marketplace because of it. So yes, one can blame the consumer for the present state of affairs, because the CONSUMER only knows one side of everything. And contrary to rumours, the consumer isn't always right.

*Oh and since you brought it up, your mantra must be why the commercial Linux game market didn't take off. All those bad products like Quake III.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16525533)

Anonymous Coward, eh? I'll bite.

So, your argument is that games that fail because NO ONE BUYS them, are the fault of stupid consumers rather than poor design? I know it goes against your indie l33tness, but just because you think it's cool, doesn't mean it somehow "deserves" to be a best seller. Quality niche games are often quite sucessful. But if you don't play to the consumer, then who the hell are you making the game for?

And I know people keep revisiting linux gaming. I just put my job on the line recommending a multimillion dollar application at work because it was one of the only ones we got a quote on that ran linux instead of Windows or closed Unix. I love linux. But I have no desire to game on any of my linux machines...I buy microsoft for games; that's what it's for.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#16547558)

Why is it always the fault of the consumer that an industry is unprofitable? When the HELL did that become our fault?
It's not a question of fault, it's a question of pragmatism. The laws of the market (such as they are) are no more the consumer's fault than they are the fault of the producer.

he same goes for games; one guy buys a copy and loans it to ten friends. If it sucks, those friends give it the hell back, and he trades it for a new game. But if it's good, they go get their own copy, and if it's really good, there AREN'T any used copies. That's the way it works.
Hm. That's odd, I see used copies of new, insanely popular games for sale all the time. Maybe you don't see them because they aren't stuck in inventory as long as less-popular games, but I'd bet that the volume on used copies of a popular game is much higher than the sales volume of used copies of an old, or less popular, game.

So here's your wake up: take a couple economics classes. Study the case of the video game market. Learn as much as you can, and realize that in the long run, unless we all end up paying subscription fees for games like WoW, we'll be without high-cost new games -- unless the game industry gets as much on the *AA wagon as the music and movie industries are.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16581234)

Whatever. Why is it with games and games alone, people are terrified of the idea that games are resellable? This fantasy that, because you can't force every consumer to buy a new product, and every unsatisfied consumer to keep a crap product, that nothing good will ever come from the industry again.

Economics, which you don't seem to know anything about, states that demand and supply are intimately connected, and that, and this is important, demand will create supply. If people want it, someone will find a way to provide it, and they won't be selling at a loss either. Games are a profitable industry, and if margins are getting too close to profits, the solution is not to say, "Hey consumers are screwing us because they won't pay whatever we think is fair" but to streamline production costs to put them more in line with what people are willing to pay.

Lots of games are like hollywood movies. They throw tons of money at an inferior product, and then cry when it doesn't sell. Some half-assed poorly executed concept, which completely flops. You talk about WoW as a subscription service...It is, and one of the most expensive ones out there, and you have to buy the product, which initially retailed at $50+, which is high for a PC game. Think they skimped on development? Think they lost money? How about Guild Wars? They don't even HAVE a subscription fee, and they're making excellent money off expansion packs. Oblivion? Galactic Civ II? Eve Online, which is a niche success story for MMO's.

Games that a large number of consumers find to be enjoyable are profitable, regardless of used sales. Conversely, crap games have crap sales...You can't blame that on the resale industry. Blame it on an industry that throws tons of money at flashy games that suck. Games are high ticket items, and the target market isn't one that's overflowing with money. If you're not going to make quality products at acceptable prices, there isn't even a need for a resale bin, because your product will end up on the remaindered rack for 5.99 a copy, and the guy behind the counter will laugh in your face when you try to trade in a copy of it.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (5, Insightful)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519991)

Stores do try to get people to buy used instead of new but that's mostly because they can't subsist on the profit margins new games have.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16527247)

The wholesale price for video games is roughly half of the RRP. The margins aren't thin at all.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16527973)

I think we'd see more stores do special offers (x% off or take two get one for free) if that was true but I've never seen stores drop prices on (console) games by more than 10% when it wasn't a pricedrop set by the manufacturer or the store really wanted to get rid of that shelf space waster. But then again it may be different in the US, I hear they do get price drops there.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16534182)

Actually, I'm talking about the U.K.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16520501)

Have you ever bought a used movie ticket?

I don't think we'll be *asking* for any special protection. We'll just implement DRM all by ourselves, thanks.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

MaineCoon (12585) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520731)

When I buy a new game, they do sometimes offer me a used game ("You can save five bucks on a used copy"), but that's hardly a hard sell. They've never refused to sell me a new copy when one was available (which I usually do, as it's worth $5 to me to get a shiny new copy).


At GameStop, as well, if you buy a used game, you can return it for a full refund within 7 days if you don't like it. So not only is it $5 off, you actually get an opportunity to get your money back if you don't like it. If I'm still uncertain as to what Im buying, I'll get used, and make sure everything is in good condition. As long as its in like-new condition, I dont care too much that I dont get to pull off shrinkwrap or those stickers. It's cheaper than renting it to try, too.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16523279)

A very balanced view. Thank you. It's always refreshing to be reminded that if one does not understand or appreciate someone else's point of view, that means they're an idiot.

I always find it amusing that so many otherwise intelligent people in this industry are "concerned" about where the whole industry is headed when it's just so obvious and can be explained with a few well-chosen platitudes about the free market.

Re:Lots of reasonable people, a few whiners (1)

xero314 (722674) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523903)

I'm curious about Pierre-Luc's view of the ethical integrity of purchasing a used car or a used book.
You are comparing two different things. Cars are not the same as books and video games or other media. Automobiles, and all machinery for that mater, have a limit life span and they cannot be copied for less than the original manufacturing cost. Purchasing a used car is purchasing something that has already had a portion of it's possible usage already expended, this is not true of used media. The contents of media will never degrade, and even if the physical storage of the media where to degrade it would be very inexpensive (possibly free) to maintain back up copies. Plus only one owner will ever get the full maximum use out of machinery ( or a group of people each getting a fraction of the maximum use), where as with media every person on the planet could, in theory, get the maximum usage out of a single copy (I could pass a CD or a Game around to millions and we could each play it all the way through).
How do they force me to buy and sell used games?
I wouldn't say that video game stores force anyone to buy used games but they certainly try to. Often times video games stores will not order a new copy of a game if they have used copies in stock. This happens for two reasons, the fact that they do not want to waste shelf space when they do technically have a copy already, and used merchandise has a MUCH higher mark up and there for higher profits.
Resale of copyright protected works existed for hundreds of years before your industry even existed.
It is important to remember that most of those hundred years were before extremely low cost replication service. Prior to the past 50-100 years all media had a maximum life and were at best expensive and time consuming to reproduce. You would be hard pressed to find numerous examples of someone buying a book in the 1800s, making a copy and the selling the original used, but this happens regularly with todays media.

I'm not trying to prove one way or another in this argument. I'm just trying to point out a few things that may need some deeper though. Personally I only by used when there is no other chose and even then I have sent payment to the original artist when I have been able to.

Ye olde good software (1)

robcfg (1005359) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518099)

I usually like to play the games and, if they were good, I buy them XD I also like to go from time to time to flea markets, you can get some bargains there. And I also buy old machines (starting from Atari 2600) and some software for them.

eBay (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16518143)

What's odd to me is that they all talk like buying used games only happens at GameStop. Places like that are a huge ripoff. Almost all the games I buy are used and there are only two places that I really look:

1) eBay gives you essentially the "real" value of the game.
2) Amazon used&new will (rarely) give you a better deal than eBay and (usually) give you a higher confidence in not getting screwed over.

I've found that eBay and Amazon used&new will typically have used stuff at similar prices. And always* significantly lower than going to a physical store.

*Unless the game JUST came out.

Always new for me (4, Insightful)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518201)

I'm a game programmer and I always buy games new, unless it's an older game and I can only find it used. The money difference just isn't worth it for me to justify when it means not only getting a used product but also that I'm sending my money towards Gamestop/EB instead of a fellow developer.

I am often surprised at how many of my co-workers buy games used.

Re:Always new for me (1)

GWBasic (900357) | more than 7 years ago | (#16533878)

I am often surprised at how many of my co-workers buy games used.

I'm a professional programmer too, (although I work in factory automation.) Let's face it, the product that our industry produces is, when you get down to the bits and bytes, information. Ultimatly, information has value and a shelf life. I get bothered when my peer information workers, wether they are programers, writers, musicians, screenwriters, actors, ect, insist that the general public pays inflated values for information.

Not every kid can afford to pay big bucks for every game he owns. With the exception of rich children, most gamers have a relativly limited amount of funds that they can afford to spend on games. Without the used game market, kids would either buy less games, or get board and not buy games at all.

When it comes to games, albums, and movies on consumable media, the information is significantly less valuable then the physical media. It also looses value as time passes. You might see a child scrimping his allowance to buy a used version of your game as a theif, but I see him as a consumer trying to get the best value. If you want to recover money from used games, it is up to you to seek new ways of distribution and monetization that place a larger percentage of a kid's limited allowance in your pocket. Currently, the trend is towards subscription services.

Either works. (2, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518379)

I work for a small game dev studio. I almost always by used, partly because I browse the used rack and go 'oh! I remember that game I never played! 10 bucks, sure, I'll give it a try'. If I am really interseted in a game I'll buy it new but that is pretty rare (GalCiv 2 would be such an example). I never sell my old games though.

Re:Either works. (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520793)

But what if all your customers done the same? Particularly small developers need every sale they can get, because it doesn't help them if they made "the great game that nobody bought" (Beyond good and Evil anyone?)

Re:Either works. (2, Informative)

jythie (914043) | more than 7 years ago | (#16521489)

Our customers do and we know it. Thier upgrade cycle is built into our planning and cost structure, so it works out. I think the number I tend to hear is for any given year, about two thirds of our software is used copies being reused rather then new.

Re:Either works. (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16521791)

If all your customers did then where are the used games coming from? Or did one person buy it new and that one copy keeps getting circulated?

I am a programmer at a Major game dev house (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16518599)

and as a member of the Free Open Source Software Revolution
I hereby state that games are naught but encoded binary information and
Information Wants To Be Free

Therefore I see it as MY DUTY to pirate software.

Pirate is a misnomer. I prefer FREEdomize.

I distribute freedomized software to all my friends.

Before I was a game programmer (1)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518707)

..I almost never bought any games. Now I buy more frequently, but more out of game-play mechanics curiosity than to actually enjoy the game itself.

I quit recently though. I just can't get past the feeling that the once thriving wealth of audacious ideas and awe has become a barren wasteland of production devices and factory mass-marketism. Yes yes I know, don't worry. I'll do one better *myself*, even if it takes me a 100 years. I'll enjoy working on that, at least..

Re:Before I was a game programmer (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16521879)

Let me get this straight. You bought games solely due to game-play mechanics curiosity, and then want to create a game with totally new and audacious ideas and awe?

I can see why you would want to see what others have done, to see what works and what doesn't. But how does that give you brand new ideas. At worst you would create something that followed what not to do, at best you would create something that took all the good ideas and combined them into something really cool. But in neither of those cases would you be creating something new. Totally the opposite. You would create something that would be perfect for factory mass-marketism.

Re:Before I was a game programmer (1)

andr0meda (167375) | more than 7 years ago | (#16526797)


Boy, aren't we critical today :)

To be innovative isn't all that difficult, but what makes it hard to put it in a fun game is wrapping it up in game play mechanics that work for the player. Hence my interest. If you think out of the box (experience and books aside), fantasy and innovation (and fun) come easy. Then you take it step by step, and try to see how to make it possible technically. If you start with the premise that everything is here already, you might just as well close the industry down and give up. But I was born with the feeling that I want to make computer games, so there.

It is ok to think I won't succeed, it's the very challenge I'm taking up, so it is to be expected that people are sceptical. It will be rewarding when I can finally prove my point. I've been head to head with nearly every technical aspect that exists in a game. I know how to build one, how big it is and what issues come into play. Games I worked on scored an *average* of 7/10 in magazines.

I've taken some time to take a step back and design the framework in which I can work, technically and organisatory. And I have one key advantage. I don't have hard deadlines or marketing involvement. My only commitment is to give you a fun game. Of course I can't cover every hole in the plan, especially the art holes, but I can do a lot without that. There are 2 concepts key in my project: creativity (let the players create) and scalability (let the game grow). It will stay this way for as long as it needs to stay this way, because that will be the healthy way, and -imho- there is no other way.

The Psychological Value of "New" (4, Insightful)

miyako (632510) | more than 7 years ago | (#16518937)

Just like most other people here, I buy games both new and used. When I was younger and on a budget I would often sell games in order to get new games- now that I have a job I tend to hang on to my older games (especially since I realized how much I've spent re-buying games for the sake of nostalgia).
I generally don't buy games when the first come out- simply because I already have a backlog of games that I need to get through as it is- so when I do go to buy a game there are generally used copies available. Most of the time though, if there is a new copy I'll buy it.
I think that there is some psychological value of having a new game- from peeling off the cellophane and cursing for hours as you try to get those stickers off the edge so you can actually open the case to the smell of freshly stamped pastic and toner from the instruction manual.

Systems like Valve's Steam make "used" obsolete (2, Insightful)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519245)

There is no such thing as a "used" game on Steam or other license/DRM management content systems. If someone sells you a "used" original CD of a game that's already been registered on Steam (for example), it's a fair bet that the CD key was already tied to a Steam account and it won't work for you.

Re:Systems like Valve's Steam make "used" obsolete (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519857)

"There is no such thing as a "used" game on Steam or other license/DRM management content systems."

Well if you wanted to be able to sell your games that you bought on steam all you would need to do is register one account per game, then sell the account. It IS possible, as well it should be, i wouldn't be surprised to see this type of feature in the future on these new distro platforms.

If I could "unsubscribe" a game from my steam (using your steam example) subscription and then sell it to another steam user for a negotiated price, then receive that price as a credit towards new steam games everyone would win, steam gets the overall money used, someone gets an older game for a lower price and I get to buy that money towards a new game.

Forcing users to buy new everytime seems to only lose money for distibuters/publishers/creators as there seems to be a large segment of gamers who avoid the 60 dollar intial price and wait 6 months for the 40 or lower typical price reduction.

Re:Systems like Valve's Steam make "used" obsolete (3, Informative)

Pvt_Waldo (459439) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520881)

The catch is, you can't sell your Steam account - it's not allowed by the license. Here is part of the Subscriber Agreement [steampowered.com]

When you complete Steam's registration process, you create a Steam account ("Account"). Your Account may also include billing information you provide to us for the purchase of Subscriptions. You are solely responsible for all activity on your Account and for the security of your computer system. You may not reveal, share or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account. You agree that you are personally responsible for the use of your password and Account and for all of the communication and activity on Steam that results from use of your login name and password. You may not sell or charge others for the right to use your Account, or otherwise transfer your Account.

In other words, once you get the game, it's yours. You can't sell it used. And the more games that move to this kind of system (or to Steam itself) the fewer used games there will be in existance.

Re:Systems like Valve's Steam make "used" obsolete (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16522563)

But I have sold my steam account. And I didn't even know it was illegal. I'm sure many other have done the same. The steam EULA is pretty irrelevant.

Re:Systems like Valve's Steam make "used" obsolete (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523057)

exactly, how will they "enforce" this EULA when they can't even stop people stealing accounts as it is...

Re:Systems like Valve's Steam make "used" obsolete (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520071)

Um, you realize you can sell those Steam games used if you pay Valve 10$ to unregister your key?

No (1)

peterpi (585134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519289)

No, we don't buy new or used. We're all far too busy to play games :(

Always buy new (2, Informative)

fahrvergnugen (228539) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519519)

I always buy new. Not because I like the publishers, but because I fucking hate EB Games.

Re:Always buy new (1)

Night Goat (18437) | more than 7 years ago | (#16541658)

I agree. I'll buy a used game if it is a deal and it's being sold at EB, but lately every time I go in there, the used games are going for $5 less than new games! Gee, thanks for the incentive to buy used. Forget it. And selling games back is the worst, it is a worse deal than selling books back to the university bookstore. Nowadays I just buy new games and keep my old ones.

Diddo (1)

Crypticdust (925578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16519571)

FTA:
I always go for the new games. New as in "factory sealed". I take great care of my games and buying something that was tossed, dropped or sat on, no matter at how low a price, is simply disgusting to me. -Pierre-Luc Lachance, Ubisoft

I whole-heartedly agree with this comment.

Almost every single time I go to buy a "used" copy of a game, usually because a new copy is not available, the game is in terrible condition. I wonder if the common game stores even bother checking these things, or just accept them and go. The same is to be true for renting games as well, I wonder to myself out loud sometimes "where can I get the machine they made to make the * marks across the surface of this disc?"

As a small hobbyist game developer, I try to buy new games first when it is possible. But I also realize that $60 for a game is incredible, and better damn well be worth it.

As for the cost factor: I remember having a friend that could buy battlefield 2 when it was brand new for $5 because he could buy it at cost. If distributors would stop the gouging mark-up, I believe more new games would be sold, and almost everyone would benefit.

Re:Diddo (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520117)

I wonder if the common game stores even bother checking these things, or just accept them and go.

I've seen a clerk reject every single game a customer brought in because the disc was scratched so they do check but I guess they have varying standards so some will accept a disc in a condition that's unacceptable to you.

Re:Diddo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16520125)

You do realize it is 'Ditto'...or did you mean 'Dildo'?

Re:Diddo (1)

Crypticdust (925578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16520803)

Said because that's how I wanted to say it, not to be grammatically correct.

Diddo-Shakespheare: Kill all the middlemen. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16520137)

"As for the cost factor: I remember having a friend that could buy battlefield 2 when it was brand new for $5 because he could buy it at cost. If distributors would stop the gouging mark-up, I believe more new games would be sold, and almost everyone would benefit."

Well I guess that regardless of the product someone will always complain about the "markup". From food to gas to games. If you believe that everyone between point A and B are unnecessary? Then I recommend you become the new middleman that'll take the "hit" so your fellow men will think the world of you. I cheerfully await your entry.

An interesting member of the panel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16519871)

Yes I buy used games from time to time older titles primarily. You have to ask though who is making out in this situation, the individual selling the game is making very little, and so what are the incentives for trading in a game(s). For instance a game that retails for 49.95 can be traded in at perhaps a used bookstore and the individual is paid $10.00 and then the game is resold for 19.95. So what is the motivation to sell, or perhaps you trade three games in for one new game. I guess the question should be what is the incentive to sell, since everyone looses except for the reseller and secondary buyer. Just some things to ponder.

Rick Binkley, Jewelry TV


How does a guy from Jewelry TV have a relevent opinion on the video game industry?

Both (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16520809)

I'm an employee for a big name in the industry and there are 4 ways I get games.

1- Free or at very low prices from the company. They sometimes go to friends.

2- Bought new. When it's really worth it and for games like GuildWars, a new box is the only way to go.

3- Bought used. For old games, there's nothing like playing them on the original machines.

4- Downloaded or copied...

New games? Not likely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16521801)

I almost never buy a game new any more.
There's no reason for them to be priced at 50+ dollars. Video games are not a niche market any more... there is a mass market for them, and as such prices should be dropping to make them more accessible to even more users.

When publishers see that they can create a much larger customer base by providing reasonable pricing, then I'll start buying new.

And yes, I work at a development company.

Get out more demos (2, Interesting)

RyoShin (610051) | more than 7 years ago | (#16523297)

Incidentally, I've been part of a debate on 4chan (ZOMG) over the past day or two about the comparison between piracy and used games. Someone mentioned that they would be more interested in buying games new if they could get a demo for the game.

Frankly, I agree. These days, especially as a college student, I'm hard pressed to shell out for a $50 that got so-so reviews, only to be able to get 60% (if that) of my initial purchase by selling it used if I think it sucks. A lot of the people I know who pirate games say they do so to give it a "test drive". While they certainly could be trying to clear their conscience, I think this makes sense. The problem is that for those who do it, they usually finish the base game and have no real reason to go out and pick up the real copy at that point.

What game companies (and I mean ALL game companies) need to do is put out more demo discs. Yes, they cost money, but that would likely be offset by more new sales.

Hell, they might not even have to take a loss on it. I would gladly pay a small monthly fee (~$5) to receive a demo disc each month for games coming out in the next month or three. A level here, a video collage there, and it would really help with my decisions and picking where to spend my money. Not a small picking, either; even if all I get is a movie, I want at least 10 previews on each disc. Even a full battle from an RPG would work, as I could gauge the battle system.

The Big Three already do this, but the discs are only available for retailers and generally are only updated four times a year (if that!). A few PC Game Magazines also have this, but I've seen none for the XBox or PS2 (and I don't actively look, so I could have missed them).

With all three consoles coming online, hopefully demos will increase. I believe XBox Live already has free downloadable demos, while Nintendo (and possibly Sony) have hinted at a similar thing, which will also work with their handhelds.

People buy used because they're worried about the financial hit. As the prices of games increase (might we see $80 for MGS4?), the demand for used games will only increase.

As a developer, I buy both. (1)

EnglishTim (9662) | more than 7 years ago | (#16527235)

I work in the games industry, and whether I buy new or used depends a lot on how much I want the game and how highly I value it. I consider many new games as overpriced and will very rarely buy a game for more than £30; up until recently that meant that I rarely bought new console games, but as the PS2 and Xbox games now tend to be £29.95 new, I'm more likely to buy new.

Certainly so-called 'ethics' doesn't come into it; I have no objection at all to people buying and selling secondhand copies of my games - that's just the market - there's no use railing against it.

Besides, people often sell their old games to help them buy new ones. I think it's all good.
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