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Publishers Frustrated With Second-Hand Sales 113

Posted by Zonk
from the deal-with-it dept.
Via Joystiq, a look at MCV into the increasing frustration publishers have with second-hand game sales. From the article: "As pressure has increased this year on sell-through and pricing of new releases, so games publishers have become more sensitive about the size of the pre-owned market - which is believed to be worth as much as £50m a year to leading chain GAME and possibly £100m across the market as a whole. Publishers have agreed to discuss privately what action may be possible to stop the trend, either under the auspices of trade body ELSPA or simply via legal protection." We've already reported on Epic VP Mark Rein's opinion on reselling games.
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Publishers Frustrated With Second-Hand Sales

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  • Morons. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @05:45PM (#14230053)
    Publishers have agreed to discuss privately what action may be possible to stop the trend, either under the auspices of trade body ELSPA or simply via legal protection.

    "Our business model isn't as profitable as it could be, let's outlaw competing with us!"

    Isn't the point of capitalism that you're supposed to fix that yourself instead of bribing a politician to do it for you? The software industry already has a lot of special rights that should have been taken away long ago (beginning with that "it's not a sale, it's a license" crap), they don't need more.
    • Re:Morons. (Score:3, Informative)

      by ZephyrXero (750822)
      Well if legislators have any sense they'll just laugh at them when they try to take away yet more rights of fair use from the public...but unfortunately, a large portion of Slashdotters (self included) live in America where we aren't so fortunate.
      • ...but unfortunately, a large portion of Slashdotters (self included) live in America where we aren't so fortunate.

        Indeed - but many of the remainder live in countries such as Australia and Britain where the respective administrations are equally content to follow suit. While we continue to vote for politicians who are prepared to soil their noses by bottom-feeding amongst the corporate community, this problem just isn't going to go away.

    • Re:Morons. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tdemark (512406)
      Isn't the point of capitalism that you're supposed to fix that yourself instead of bribing a politician to do it for you? The software industry already has a lot of special rights that should have been taken away long ago (beginning with that "it's not a sale, it's a license" crap), they don't need more.

      Not that I think more laws would actually solve anything, petition the government to add the following to any second-hand sales legislation:

      Employees of any company in an industry whose members restrict seco
  • by dascandy (869781) <dascandy@gmail.com> on Saturday December 10, 2005 @05:48PM (#14230070)
    > frustration publishers have with second-hand game sales.

    If you'd make a DECENT GAME to start with, I wouldn't want to sell it.
    • Exactly. If "publishers" were releasing good games at reasonable prices (more like $20-30 rather than $50-60) then this wouldn't even be an issue.
      • Now, I agree with you that I'd like to see more lower priced games, but that's something the industry would never do.

        Think of it this way:

        If you could sell 100 games at $60 or 150 games at $30, which would you choose?

        Right. People would have to buy twice as many games for that system to work. I don't see that happening, so we have the current system.

        • Re:Hold on! (Score:3, Informative)

          Well Nintendo DS games sell for about that. Soon after Mario Kart came out, I walked into Best Buy and walked out with $35 less and Mario Kart DS. Also, the Revolution's games are supposed to be "affordable" so I wouldn't be surprised if they came in around there.


          But for multi-million dollar budget games, though, do have to recoup the costs somehow, so *those* may not come down in price.

        • That's an interesting point and all, but I could just as easily say would you rather sell 100 copies at $60 or 300 copies at $30 ;)

          Generally in just about any given market you will almost always make more money selling for lower costs. Look at the film industry, they charge an average of $20 per DVD or $10 or less for theatre tickets, but it costs them much much more money to produce their films than it does to create a game.

          With all the big industry people saying we need to expand the industry, this is one
          • That's an interesting point and all, but I could just as easily say would you rather sell 100 copies at $60 or 300 copies at $30 ;)

            The problem is it costs more to sell more copies, shelfspace, shipping, boxing, tracking, marketing.

            Look at the film industry, they charge an average of $20 per DVD or $10 or less for theatre tickets, but it costs them much much more money to produce their films than it does to create a game.

            That's because they have a much larger market to spread their fixed costs across,
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Don't be silly. Certain games can be good and not have any lasting appeal, such as the Resident Evil series. Once you've done all the puzzles and beaten the boss once or twice there's no reason to keep the game, but the amount of entertainment you get justifies the price.
      • The only game I've wanted to buy in the past 3 years was Locomotion, and that went out of sale around here because nobody seemed to agree with me. It dropped from 50 euro to 15 within a few weeks, and then it appears to have just vanished when I tried to buy it. Aside from that, my recent game buys include C&C 2, Red Alert (re-buy, I lost one cd of my original copy (which I've bought for 99 guilders when it was first out, that's like 50 euros)) 1, C&C1, Diablo and Diablo 2. Games I want to buy are L
    • my brother bought a copy of starcraft (new i think) years ago, and we still have it today. i still play it online :)
  • by msuzio (3104) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @05:52PM (#14230081) Homepage
    So... they're frustrated that they can't make more money?

    Well, damn, we have a lot in common.
  • Give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 10, 2005 @05:54PM (#14230086)

    This is ridiculous. You don't see car manufacturers trying to stop people selling second hand cars.

    These people need to get it through their thick heads that once you've sold something to me, it becomes my property. You can't have it both ways. If you offer something for sale, then give it to me in exchange for money, then it's mine. And if it's mine, then it's mine to sell.

    And don't give me any bullshit about "selling me a license". Do you say "buy a license NOW!" in adverts? Does the box say "License to play Gran Turismo" on it, or does it say "Gran Turismo"? You are selling the game, not a license.

    You really want to make people stop selling second hand games? Fine. There's a legal way of doing that. Make them sign a contract when they buy it. That'll stop people selling second-hand. Why? Because they won't buy it in the first place, you eejits!

    • Sadly the automakers are trying to dissuade people from buying used cars too... Haven't you seen all the ads in recent years for licensed/certified resellers?
      • Nothing wrong with using PR for such purposes. If the automakers went to congress to outlaw used car sales, there would be a serious revolt. Unfortunatly game players can't get off their chairs.. :)
    • This is ridiculous. You don't see car manufacturers trying to stop people selling second hand cars.

      It's not about revenue. The point is that when a second sale is made the costs to the publisher go up.

      Publishers have to pay for their 1-800 support lines, multiplayer servers, online community, etc. Have you played a Live! enabled game yet? The goal is to provide value to the player long after the sale of a game is made.

      You are selling the game, not a license.

      No. We are selling an experience, a comm

      • Re:Give me a break (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:32PM (#14230247)
        No. We are selling an experience, a community.

        No, you're selling a box with some optical media in it because that's what I get for my money. I don't buy a good evening from Wolters and I don't buy a vacation in France from Opel.

        The argument about causing more loss is only true if we assume that all copies resold would have gone into the trash instead because otherwise there'd still be a user attached to them causing you that loss. Assuming there's any actual loss caused by people owning the game, of course.
      • > No. We are selling an experience, a community.

        Can I have a hit of whatever you're smoking?
        • sounds like a derivative or cousin of the apple cool-aid powder.

          i think we'll be hearing more of this as businesses go further into providing services.
      • Re:Give me a break (Score:3, Insightful)

        by amarodeeps (541829)

        It's not about revenue. The point is that when a second sale is made the costs to the publisher go up.

        Publishers have to pay for their 1-800 support lines, multiplayer servers, online community, etc. Have you played a Live! enabled game yet? The goal is to provide value to the player long after the sale of a game is made.

        What are you talking about? Please explain to me how one person buying a game off of another one--one cumulative user per copy--is costing the publisher more? Is the first person

        • Most support calls come at install time. If there are multiple installs, support costs increase.

          Games that do not do stat tracking, matchmaking, and auto-update get lambasted in reviews and rightfully so. Multiple installs means multiple accounts even if the original account is not in use there is a maintenance cost.

          Years after a game is sold there is still a team in place for play balance updates and patches whenever a new video card or set of drivers is released. If people are not buying the game fir

          • Re:Give me a break (Score:2, Insightful)

            by KDR_11k (778916)
            This entire argument falls flat on its face if we look at console software which has no installation, post-release support or (in many cases) online accounts.

            Besides, users will install a piece of software more than once unless it sucks so bad they'll never dig it out again.
          • Re:Give me a break (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Lonewolf666 (259450)
            Games that do not do stat tracking, matchmaking, and auto-update get lambasted in reviews and rightfully so. Multiple installs means multiple accounts even if the original account is not in use there is a maintenance cost.
            Considering the (old, inactive) accounts itself, we are talking about a few records in a database. That means some cost but in the age of multi-gigabyte drives it should be small enough to be no trouble to the publisher.
            Matchmaking happens at runtime and is no issue at all for inactive acc
      • Publishers have to pay for their 1-800 support lines, multiplayer servers, online community, etc. Have you played a Live! enabled game yet? The goal is to provide value to the player long after the sale of a game is made.

        1) I can call an EA support line without owning any EA game.

        2) Any hint lines are almost always 900-type numbers.

        3) Any promised multiplayer support would have to be promised to the original owner anyway, whether or not they are using it.

        4) I can join the BioWare forums (to pick a name at r
      • >It's not about revenue. The point is that when a second sale is made the
        >costs to the publisher go up.

        So, the same applies to the car manufacturers too for example.

        >Publishers have to pay for their 1-800 support lines, multiplayer
        >servers, online community, etc. Have you played a Live! enabled game yet?
        >The goal is to provide value to the player long after the sale of a game
        >is made.

        Most of these costs applies no matter if you resell the game or not. If there is a goal to provide a long t
    • Re:Give me a break (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Yeah, and if you're selling me a license, then you have an obligation to replace the damn game for the cost of the media when the disc gets scratched or otherwise becomes unplayable. How the heck can they claim to be selling you a license, and then turn around and sell you a replacement for $30 when your first one (that you paid $50 for) gets scratched?
      • Hey, if they're selling you a license and someone steals your game, that would mean that the manufacturer is legally obliged to replace the media. After all, you didn't buy the game, you bought the license. If the license is somehow attached to the media, then they have no argument in the first place, but if, as they argue, the license is some intangible blessing placed upon the person who made the purchase, then you still have the right to play the game even if someone steals your media. I think if they
    • You don't see car manufacturers trying to stop people selling second hand cars.

      Actually, you do. It's called American cars that crap out after ~100K miles.
    • "This is ridiculous. You don't see car manufacturers trying to stop people selling second hand cars."

      You're right, but that's because cars deteriorate pretty quickly. Games do not; a used copy provides the same game experience as a new copy.
      • a used copy provides the same game experience as a new copy.

        So long as the game does not modify its original media through the course of play. The game Wizardry came on magnetic media and required that media not to be write protected in order to play. Certain monsters once killed remained dead forever.

        Games today could require the use of a propretarized USB thumb drive dongle, ostensibly for gamesaves but actually containing essential game data that is modified through play, making the game single-play on
        • That's a pretty intriguing idea, especially for games with unique/very rare items and an online marketplace. I wonder how expensive implementation would be, and if it would be possible to make it hack-proof.

          And by hack-proof, I mean not worthwhile for someone to hack it.
  • I'm not surprised. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Trelane (16124) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:04PM (#14230129) Journal
    There have been many games I've passed up in my Windows-using past because they were simply Too Danged Expensive. Look, if I go to a used book store because I can buy a lot more books there than new ($3 instead of $8, for instance, for a paperback) how much more am I gonna buy used games that run $40-50 new?!

    Now I'm a Linux user and much more willing to shell out that kind of money if the game is good and has native Linux support, so there's one angle you could persue. ;) [thank you for UT2004, NWN, Doom3, and Quake4, amongst others!]

    Unfortunately, I suspect "prevention" has much more to do with screwing the customers over (Even Better CD Checks and Licensing! Whoo! Just what I wanted--new ways for things to break so that I can't play the games I purchased from you [the CD check has to be the #1 reason I cannot play a game]!) than listening to the customers.

    • I've noticed charity shops (thrift stores) in the UK making similar mistakes and most are now charging quite a high price for their stuff, with books going for up to 2 pounds (4 dollars) instead of 20p (~50 cents).

      I've only got so much money in my pocket to spend when I pop into a charity shop, I don't magically get more money because the prices have gone up. Instead I start to compare prices with publishers outlets and things and end up spending less money in the charity shop - I don't know whether or not
  • Idiots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samjam (256347) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:04PM (#14230131) Homepage Journal
    Through the sale of their second hand games fans can afford to buy new games.

    If you stifle second hand game sales you also stifle new game sales with the same stroke.

    Sam
    • This is not the issue is the gamer selling the game. It's the retail outlets pushing sales on used games instead of new games. This means when a customer comes into the store, the store will push them to buy a used copy of Gran Turismo 4, instead of the new copy (which is nearly always only a fraction of savings for the customer anyhow, but almost 100% profit for the store).

      This causes the publisher to lose out on a sale for every used copy of the game sold. The game could be the best one made ever, with
      • Yeah and when someone steals your entire library, forget about getting help from them in getting it all replaced. In fact, there are a number of titles in my library that got stolen that aren't available new anymore, and some on top of that are rare in the secondhand library... the two Playstation Lunar games, for example
      • This causes the publisher to lose out on a sale for every used copy of the game sold.

        Note please that not every user who bought a game used would have bought the game new at full price had they not had the used option. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it, and this presents itself as illegal copying games as well as buying used games and buying games later on down the road when they're cheaper.

        Additionally, for a game to be a used copy, it must necessarily have previously been sold and then re-s

      • Don't the retailers buy the games up front from the publisher?, in which case the game creator has already 'sold' the game regardless of whether it leaves the retailor shelf or not...

            Or is it a "let me put my game in your store and if you sell it you get a piece of the action"?
      • If they are pushing the used games so hard, why the fuck do they charge less than 10% less for a used copy than a new one? If I am paying $60 for a game, you really think I am going to pay $55 for a used one? So I can get a manual with some kids buggers stuck in it, a case that is so dirty, that I don't want to know what is on it, and a disc that looks like they let their 2 year old gnaw on it?
    • The value to the consumer of the option to resell the game in the future is included in the price. Imagine you could buy cars under 2 arrangements: (i) you can resell the car, or (ii) you cant resell the car. Wouldnt you be less willing to pay the same $$$ for option (ii)? Note to game publishers, research economists dropped the assumption "All else being equal" sometime in the 1980s.

      • Aye; the trouble is haing the game publishers recognize the difference between a second hand sale and the kid buying his own new shiney computer when he leaves home.

        Sam
  • As I see it, they have two viable solutions to their "problem" 1.) Make games that are good enough that people will want to hang on to them or 2.) Keep putting out new material so you don't have to rely on the sales of old titles. If you put out half-assed attempts at games, people are going to resell them. If the game isn't worth the $50 they bought it for, they are going to try to recoup their losses by making some of that money back.
  • by rsilvergun (571051) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:19PM (#14230196)
    for under $20 total off ebay (shipped). Onimusha, Auto modellista, Tekken Tag Tournament and Omega Boost. Sure, they're a little long in the tooth, but they're still great games.

    The real problem as I see it is the console manufactures (Sony et al) have been dragging their feet too long on this generation. The latest stuff just isn't that much better then the backlog of games. It doesn't help when big name titles like Soul Calibur III aren't any better than their predessesors.
    • The real problem as I see it is the console manufactures (Sony et al) have been dragging their feet too long on this generation. The latest stuff just isn't that much better then the backlog of games. It doesn't help when big name titles like Soul Calibur III aren't any better than their predessesors.

      -----

      Do you really expect anything new from the so-called next-gen consoles?, Hrmm..? Hrmm?!?!

      Besides the new gameplay format on the revolution, nothing new is headed our way. Gameplay has reached its
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:24PM (#14230219) Homepage
    Game makers need to understand that they themselves are to blame for the impact of used games on their sales. It's the same situation as with music and film: Overpriced shitty product. Bottom line: They need to lower the prices.
    • Lower prices, yes, or make the new games so much better than the previous ones that gamers will have no choice (so to speak) but buy the latest. Or create a culture in which playing old games is seen as lame. (Sadly for them, the culture's common-sense wisdom is that old, retro games are still more fun to play than new games -- that's gonna make it difficult.) Whether there's a secondary market or not, their sales are driven by our desire to have their new products. Suggestion: make new products more appeal
    • Amen brother!

      This is the first Christmas since '79-80 that I haven't wanted at least one game or a new console for a gift. Last year I only bought two new games. However, I have started filling in my collection of old games and systems that I couldn't afford or didn't have the time for in the past.

      Same goes for music. I swore off buying CDs about eight or nine years ago. That was the first time I bought a CD ($18) that had only one good song on it. The remainder of tracks were worthless crap, and, of co

  • by Yonder Way (603108) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:25PM (#14230224)
    I am not a hardcore gamer. Two or three times a month I'll fire up the X Box and play for a few hours. I enjoy games like the Call To Duty series, or Ghost Recon 2. Buying these games new at $50-$60 doesn't make sense to me. I'm more than happy to pay $15-$20 at the mall for a used game. The few times I have paid the $50-$60 cost of a new game, I've deeply regretted it and won't let it happen again.

    If new games were in the $20-$25 range, I'd have a lot more games (and probably play more often).

    Now the real question is, are there enough guys like me out there to justify charging half as much for the game to make the profit on volume?

    And how much less will resellers have to charge for a used game at that point? Is it even worth it for them to sell used games at $10?
    • Now the real question is, are there enough guys like me out there to justify charging half as much for the game to make the profit on volume?

      Yes. And they do: when console games hit a certain rate of penetration, the Big Three turn them over to "Platinum" status, slash the System Licensing cost to a few bucks, and let the publisher re-release the game at that magic price-point of 20-25 bucks.

      Is it worth it for them to do this with new games? Hell no. Market research demonstrates that casual gamers such

    • one point i haven't seen noted is that if new games cost $25-30 bucks, then trade in value on them would be minimal, and used cost would probably not be a whole lot lower than new, if the difference between a used and new copy of the game is $5 wouldn't you just grab the new one? also, if games were at a lower price-> trade in value is lower -> it might be more worthwhile for gamers to hold on to that game for the few times they'll fire it up to play than to take a $3 trade value for it.
    • I hope this isn't too redundant:
      In other words, would dcutting the price a product in half cause the said product to sell more than twice as much?

      It sounds similar to this problem:
      One time an accountant was complaining that he had too many customers and couldn't do all their work in time. It was then suggested that he double his rates, so he did and lost half his clients, yet somehow not any money.

      The moral is that pricing is dependant on the supply and demand. The accountant's supply is his time, and the
  • It's a service. As long as game producers continue to think of games as products they will continue to be befuddled by a market that wont pay the rates that they feel they must charge to keep up. Get people involved and paying for your game developement early, and continue having them pay while they play it. It wont take a large amount of money and updates wont feel like wasted time. Bug fixes will be expected and there never will be a "gold" version... you'll just keep making it better.
    • Uh... I wouldn't pay for something like that. But then that's why I play console games, I guess. I can buy a nice title, bring it home, and get a good many hours of enjoyment out of it, no updating/upgrading/bug-fixing necessary.
      • Uh... I wouldn't pay for something like that. But then that's why I play console games, I guess. I can buy a nice title, bring it home, and get a good many hours of enjoyment out of it, no updating/upgrading/bug-fixing necessary.

        And if it's broken.... then what do you do?
        • Then you either unload it and take the loss(good luck, or you could have done your research/rented first so you would have know before hand. Console game maker have learnt over the years broken games don't sell as well.
          • Then you either unload it and take the loss(good luck, or you could have done your research/rented first so you would have know before hand. Console game maker have learnt over the years broken games don't sell as well.

            And computer game makers have learned that if they continue to evolve a game after launch, it's audience grows. Allow the audience to affect the game, and it fan base grows even faster.

            Patronage. Pay for the right to have the game you really want.
        • >And if it's broken.... then what do you do?

          Return it to the store for a refund? Like with everything else I buy that is broken. Of course, the store can decide to fix it for me instead, either way works for me.
  • The obvious answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by xenocide2 (231786) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @06:41PM (#14230278) Homepage
    Is to make games people want to keep. Nintendo's publicly discussed this for a while now, so I can't help but wonder why these other companies haven't picked up on it. Are they worried that they don't know how to do that?

    Or maybe EA's just wants their practice of dumping yearly sports franchise revisions to be supported by retailers, despite the obvious used game trend it creates.
    • Does anybody ever buy Madden (year-1)?

      I mean, why should you? If you are into that kind opf shit, you want the latest one, or you are happy with the one you have.
  • by kmahan (80459) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @07:04PM (#14230385)
    Game manufacturers stop selling older titles. If I want to purchase one how am I supposed to do that without buying a used title from someone else?

    If they want these new laws maybe there should be some more laws created that force them to keep every title they've ever produced available for purchase.

    If they claim to be "licensing" the games instead of "selling" them won't there be consequences? The tax laws are different since the company still "owns" the product. Also there should be more warranty -- if the media (cd/dvd/whatever) gets scratched the company should have to replace it (since I've purchased the right to use the product).
    • Interesting point on taxes. If you are "licensing" something, then there should be no sales tax. I can't see any municipality giving up that tax revenue.
    • Game manufacturers stop selling older titles. If I want to purchase one how am I supposed to do that without buying a used title from someone else?


      I think the issue is when you walk into the store and see Madden2006 brand new. You pick it up to buy it and the guy at the sales counter says "You know, we have a used copy of Madden2006 right here for $20 less." The manufacturers feel they are getting cheated when the stores try to push the used copy (obviously because there is more profit for the store in th
  • by porcupine8 (816071) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @08:30PM (#14230783) Journal
    I cannot imagine spending $50 on one video game. I just can't. $20-25 seems reasonable to me, over $30 is just not worth it. If I can't buy secondhand games, I'd probably just not buy games at all and rent everything except *maybe* my favorite couple of games. (Of course, I also can't imagine spending $10 on one freaking viewing of a movie, so maybe I'm not the norm.)

    And even for people who are willing to spend $50 on a game, not everyone is able to spend that much at once all the time. If someone was going to buy a $25 used game, they now have to wait until they've got another $25... And in that time, they might decide they are just better off borrowing it from a friend or renting it.

    Of course, I have no idea how I'd get SNES games, seeing as how no one rents them anymore, and you can't even get them used except on eBay.

  • Here's a wacky idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by oahazmatt (868057) on Saturday December 10, 2005 @08:49PM (#14230865) Journal
    1) Make a better game that someone is proud to keep in their library, either to loan to a friend for a weekend or to replay at a later time, perhaps on a more difficult setting.

    2) Offer trade-ins: EB, Gamestop, Rhino, et al employ a large number of people and they make a good deal of money off second-hand games. Also, other establishments make an extra $10 or so taking games as trade for other merchandise and then reselling them later.
    Institute some sort of voucher system. Let's use Nintendo as a hypothetical. Say for example a customer purchased Pikmin 2, beat the game fairly quickly, and had no desire to keep it in his collection any longer. If Nintendo had a system where the purchaser could send the game back to Nintendo for coupon for any future Nintendo media purchase. Nintendo could then evaluate the state of the game, repackage it (if the package has been stained, or damaged) and then resolicit it at a discounter price to a specialty electronics vendor with a seal saying it has passed inspection.
    The game looks new, plays as well as a new one (not having scratches, smudges, etc.) and is certified by the company.
    • i like your first point, although i'd rather see huge 20 hour games sold in four episodes of 5 hours each, maybe for $15 a piece Imagine a truly Episodic version of something along the lines of Halo3, episode 1 has the first 3 levels, each one taking 10-30 minutes depending on exploration, difficulty etc etc... plus you throw in multiplayer functionality with a basic map selection, episode two, has the second batch of campaign, picking up the obvious cliffhanger from episode 1, release them maybe 6-8 weeks
  • you'll have to pry my copy of Valkyrie Profile out of my Cold, Dead Hands. But the next Tekken? I'll pick it up for $5 bucks off ebay.
  • For this Joe Consumer, it's just money. I just don't see the value of a 50-60 dollar game. Don't get me wrong, I've done it, and games are my number one past time. However, I'd rather buy five year-old games at $15 a pop then one game (that may or may or may not be good) at $49.99.

    Give me a 15 hour game at twenty bucks and I'm good. If you gain a good rep with me, I'll buy your 40 hour 49.99 game (Looking at you, my delicious PSP GTA:LCS).
  • A company's response to this issue could make or break a console. We already know Sony's stance [slashdot.org].
    Some solutions?
    • Charge a monthly fee. Everyone's doing it.
    • Trade-ins. Mail your discs back to the publisher and get $10 off the next installment. If the disc works, sell it as a Greatest Hit. If it doesn't, toss it in the dump.
    • Sony-style DRM. This will lead to wide-spread modding (like this isn't already the case with Xbox and PS2), or instant console death.
    • Make games that people want to keep, and don't sweat it w
    • Hmm...

      So under the scenario you describe, you get Resident Evil 4 and Double Dash, and your friend gets Mario Strikers and Viewtiful Joe?

      Your friend is getting gyped!

      END COMMUNICATION
  • I see no way that the publishers can get around this.

    At the exteme end of it, they wont stop garage sales, or me selling a used game to a friend.

    Also, Electronics Boutique (or whatever they are called since the merger with Gamestop) makes money off of this. And EB is a key retailer for games.

    The only long term viable way for the publishers to stop this is to stop selling physical media versions of their games, and require that the console be connected to centrally located servers and stream the games. Whi
  • by Pendersempai (625351) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @01:17AM (#14231780)
    With the typical assumptions, part of the value of a game is the ability to resell it. A rational consumer may only be willing to buy a $60 game knowing that he can sell it back for the equivalent of $20. Otherwise his initial price point might only be $40.

    Similarly the publisher might only be willing to sell a game for $40 if it knows that the game will not be resold in a way that will stifle an average of $20 of original sales. Otherwise it might only be willing to sell the game for $60.

    So it's not entirely clear to me what advantage publishers think they will get from banning resales. If they think customers are willing to pay the same amount for less benefit -- that is, a game with no resale value -- why don't they just increase the price of the game instead of lobbying for legislation?

    Sounds to me like this guy doesn't know what he's talking about.
  • Does anyone else think it's a little ironic for someone who built a game company on the shareware model to years later be the one of the most outspoken partisans against game consumer rights?
  • By locking my copy of HL2 to me and only me (my steam account), I now have to pay TEN DOLLARS for the privelege of reselling the game to someone else (the cost of re-registering the game to another account, assuming of course some buyer on Ebay would want to /know how to do this). Of course, I didn't know this when I shelled out 55 bucks for the game.

    I won't ever buy a Steam game again. UNLESS I'm absolutely sure I'd never want to sell it, or it's so cheap I wouldn't bother reselling it.

    Needless to say, I

    • Heh. Fortunately I've known about this before buying HL2.
      My reaction is what Pendersempai suggested two posts above yours:
      I will simply pay less in the first place, so I have a sort of "compensation in advance" for the hassle. Considering HL2 in particular, my idea of an acceptable price is 20 Euros. Right now, discount offers seem to start at 25 Euros. Well, Valve, maybe in 2006 ;-)
    • >or it's so cheap I wouldn't bother reselling it.

      Indeed. In my case, it was a voucher with my Radeon 9800 Pro (which I bought after my ti4400 died a horrible death). Otherwise, the chances of me buying such game would be infinitesimal.
    • ... because thanks to a german consumer association [golem.de], if you have bought a retail box of HL2, you no more [steampowered.com] have to pay Valve the infamous "$10 resell tax". Strangely, this move from Valve has made little publicity.

      But if you only have a Steam version of HL2, well you are out of luck. You need to realise you haven't bought any game, but merely pay some subscription fees to access an overhyped content on some buggy and restrictive online service. So technically, you have pretty much nothing to resell. Did you
  • I've been personally boycotting EB/Gamestop. While I do think it is unfair to the publishers that they sell used games, that's not the reason. My reason is that it is nearly impossible to find a new copy of the game you're looking for. I shouldn't need a store employee, a map, and a member of the K-9 unit to find a new copy of a game released three weeks ago.
  • Games aren't like most consumer goods that are sold.
    If you have a car, you use it for as long as you need it. You will want to have access to it permanently. The same is true with furnature.

    I can't imagine someone saying "hey, this chair, do you wan't to buy it off me? I've been sitting exclusively on this one chair for weeks, and am a bit bored of it. But think I can safely say I got my money's worth"

    But with games, it's commonplace. They offer fun for a limited amount of time, and many people are ready to
    • No they are not. They are like books or dvd's. Mostly used once and then sold, but if enjoyed on the first 'usage' then re-used and lent to friends. And this leads to the 'shared' experience that gets people talking about them.

      Also the argument of selling an experience or service is a strange way of looking at games in my opinion. As I own the hardware that the game is run on, I pay for the electricity used to run said hardware, and I have to pay for the game. Thus I want to play as many times as I lik
      • No they are not. They are like books or dvd's. Mostly used once and then sold, but if enjoyed on the first 'usage' then re-used and lent to friends. And this leads to the 'shared' experience that gets people talking about them.

        Did I say anything against re-using games or lending them to freinds? The biggest problem is the kind of mass-throughput and organised cycling of games like we know from ebay and EB-games.

        The only examples you give are books and DVDs.
        Books are cheap as shit, so most people
  • by Myria (562655) on Sunday December 11, 2005 @09:05PM (#14235745)
    Up until a few years ago, it was illegal to sell used games in Japan. If you have an imported game from this period it's likely it will have a NO RESALE icon on the back. A Japanese court decided it was illegal to do this, but it took an act of Parliament to actually reverse it (their legal system does not have precedent).

    The system failed in Japan because it was against consumer rights.

    Melissa
  • What these people are talking about is fucking with the Free Market and Property Rights. They might as well be communists and treated accordingly.

    I usually go into EB looking for something cheap in the bargain bin, but while I'm there I'll scan the racks of new games and occasionally purchase one, thinking I'd rather be playing one good new game I know I'll like rather than getting 2-3 old games that might be not very fun and waiting months and months for that new game to get cheaper.

    I'm thinking about buy
  • We don't buy Game X based on whether or not it's used, we buy it because we want to play Game X! If it's not in the New Releases section anymore, not produced, not shipping, and not sold new, how the heck else are we to acquire it?
  • ... Came from a reseller. Some 30 games all AAA titles didn't pay more than 10 bucks for one of them.

    If I had to pay 50 bucks a copy, there'd be 5 games on the shelf.

    Mark me down as a resale advocate then. (Even though I have NEVER Sold a game.)

  • If they want to make money from re-sales, they should set up the stores themselves. Square-Enix Used Games. That sort of thing.
  • At least at stores like EB and gamestop the new release second hand games sell for a whole $5 off the price of new. And for that $5 off you get inevitably the worlds most scratched up games. I have bought about a total of 6 used games and 3 of them did not work and I had to take them back. My time of dealing with the hastle is worth more to me than the $5 savings. For older games the price difference is a bit more, but then the games are more likely to be destroyed. I will never know how people get ther

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