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Games Entertainment

Game Designer Makes Case For Used Games 209

Posted by Soulskill
from the two-sides-to-every-story dept.
We've recently had a couple of discussions about the plans of various game developers to fight used game sales — in particular, the idea of a free, one-time download that may be bonus content or may be a vital part of the game. Now, Soren Johnson, a game designer who has worked on Civilization 3, Civilization 4 and Spore, has written an article defending certain aspects of the used game market. Quoting: "By opening up retail sales to a larger segment of the market, used game sales mean that more people are playing our games than would be in a world without them. Beyond the obvious advantages of bigger community sizes and word-of-mouth sales, a larger player base can benefit game developers who are ready to earn secondary income from their games. In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue, but the best scenario is downloadable content. A used copy of Rock Band may go through several owners, but each one of them may give Harmonix money for their own personal rights to 'Baba O'Riley' or 'I Fought the Law.'"
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Game Designer Makes Case For Used Games

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  • Personally I have never bought a computer game in my life (I've only ever copied, without paying the asked for fee, about 4 times). So this isn't coming from my experience. (I have had games bought for me, and I have downloaded and played freeware games.)

    Anyway, why is the used market so good? For people who don't have any money, the used market allows them to get good games cheaply. (I've never had much money either for that matter, but the main reason I don't buy games now is that I don't run MS Windows.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by asuzuki (305049)

      Anyway, why is the used market so good? For people who don't have any money, the used market allows them to get good games cheaply. (I've never had much money either for that matter, but the main reason I don't buy games now is that I don't run MS Windows.)

      Used games are not only good for people who don't have money, but also for the ones who buy a lot of games (usually on the release date), play through them, and then never touch them again. This is of course highly dependent on the game. Some games just l

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Sobrique (543255)
        Quite a lot of the RPGs out there are good to play through a couple of times to 'get' the story, but don't have much replayability beyond that.

        Thus selling them on is the way to go I feel.

        • by Moryath (553296) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:09AM (#25800915)

          In the old days, many games had replayability because that was all they had space for. Early Atari, NES titles were almost universally replayable because they were designed that way.

          These days, game companies seem to think that "replayability" is a buzzword, just like they think that padding "Hours of gameplay" with pointless and boring stuff (think the stupid "sail the world and haul shit up from the ocean for 100 hours" bit before you get to the end of Celda:The Wind Breaker, thank god nintendo finally learned their lesson for Twilight Princess). Or, they make a game that's short, and only kind of fun, but with a number of "unlockable" characters to play through each of which has more absurd unlock requirements tied to the previous (Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, I'm looking at you).

          After finishing these games once, I'm done. I see no reason to "replay" them, and so I sell them off and get new games. If they had been made to be more fun and less aggravating, that wouldn't be the case.

          Here's a hint: if you feel the need to pad your "gameplay hours" or stick extra nonsense-characters in for "replayability", you're doing something wrong and need to fix your game instead.

          • Or, they make a game that's short, and only kind of fun, but with a number of "unlockable" characters to play through each of which has more absurd unlock requirements tied to the previous (Viewtiful Joe, Devil May Cry, I'm looking at you).

            You forgot the most ridiculous example of unlockable characters ever: Resident Evil 2

            When you've reached the point where you are unlocking a chunk of Tofu with a bandanna and a combat knife, you've gone too far.

            Strange that all three of these examples are Capcom... I think someone in there needs to have a good talking to/psych evaluation.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by Moryath (553296)

              Those were just the three examples that came to mind most readily, but there are plenty of others industry-wide.

              Squaresoft and Nintendo alike are both big on "padding the gameplay hours" with meaningless/annoying crap. Activision's put out their fair share of "unlock, unlock, unlock" titles.

              It's an odd industry. We are burdened at once with the following problems:

              - Shovelware (crap games or, worse, crap games based on movie/tv licenses).
              - Endless reiterations of sports titles (Madden 2015, just an updated r

            • I think Dynasty Warriors is worse than RE2. RE2 the characters were honestly just novelty characters, with little 'challenge level' type things to play after you were done.

              But in Dynasty Warriors, there's like 30000000000000000 different characters from the Romance era you can unlock by playing the same 4-6 missions 30 times in musou mode. For example: Lu Bu:

              To unlock Lu Bu you must beat the following character's Musou modes. 1. Liu Bei 2. Cao Cao 3. Sun Jian 4. Diao Chan In order to unlock the first 3 characters you must finish from their respective kingdoms 3 character's Musou modes as well. Diao Chan is unlocked by clearing Musou Mode with 1 character from each kingdom. So in total you will have to finish 13 Musou modes to get to our beloved killing machine. It will be however quite worth the trouble to go through.

              It's a horrible timesink for a hack and slash game.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Skreems (598317)
            My question is, would you be as likely to buy a game such as that if you knew it would be difficult to resell? I'm guessing that there's a decent portion of the customer base for "new games" whose habit is financed through reselling their old titles.
          • by LordVader717 (888547) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @03:18PM (#25806285)

            The old games weren't any more replayable as new games, it's just that gamers attitudes and preferences have evolved with time.
            Gamers today would find it hard to understand how you could pay 60 dollars for Nintendo Tennis on the NES, and wouldn't be able to entertain themselves with it for longer than 5 minutes, never mind 20+ hours.
            By giving the games unlockables and slowly advancing to a climax, the games become more interesting.
            Gamers would be pretty angry if the developers were to go back to only making sports games, racing games, and short-lived games of skill.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jbeaupre (752124)

        Since you know you can sell your old games, you don't mind paying a few bucks more with the knowledge you'll get some money back. Since you'll pay a few bucks more, the publisher can get a few extra bucks, indirectly, from the used game buyer.

        You know, this is sounding like market segmentation. Marketing companies pay millions to figure out how to sell the same product at different price points to different people, extracting the max cash each segment is willing to pay. And here the used game market is d

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Walpurgiss (723989)
          Problem with that though, is that while the used game market allows the game to be sold at a lower price point some guy is willing to pay, the game publisher gets only a 0% cut of that sale, having gotten their only cut from the new retail purchase.

          That is their problem with used game sales. If the publishers had their own channel to sell the games used, where they got the profit from the used sale, I'm sure they would be exploiting it directly.
          • If the publishers had their own channel to sell the games used, where they got the profit from the used sale, I'm sure they would be exploiting it directly.

            Maybe they should buy shares in EB Games, then. I can't see any publisher putting much effort into selling used games when many can't even be bothered to provide follow-up and technical support to the retail products they do sell. Investing or partnering with an existing outlet might be the way to go - "Bring in three used EA titles and get 25 per cent off a new EA title" or something like that.

            The following quote from TFA kind of irritated me, but I think he's right:

            A used copy of Rock Band may go through several owners, but each one of them may give Harmonix money for their own personal rights to 'Baba O'Riley' or 'I Fought the Law.'

            That's probably a good idea. Downloadab

          • by jbeaupre (752124)
            But the new retail purchase price is higher due to the potential of the game being resold. The publisher gets a cut of the used sale before it even occurs. Haven't you ever seen car ads touting "highest resale value in class?" They are trying to boost sales and prices of new cars by letting potential buyers know that this car is "cheaper" than just the sticker price because you can get some of that money back some day.
  • It's Absurd! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe the used game markey exists because a lot of older games are still fun, despite being old? Age has nothing to do with enjoyability -- just because it doesn't look like a nature park and cost three hundred dollars doesn't mean it can't do that.

    "Bookstores ban used books to encourage new-book sales and interest"

    "Toyota combats used car market to promote new 2009 line of vehicles"

    "Microsoft restricts sale of XP to encourage Vista sales"

    Well, okay, you can't win 'em all.

    • By what methods are they trying to fight used sales? Whatever happened to the doctrine of first sale?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wild_quinine (998562)

        By what methods are they trying to fight used sales? Whatever happened to the doctrine of first sale?

        It's not a product, it's a license. That is, until you need to take advantage of one of the legal benefits of being a licensee... then it's product.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by SlashBugs (1339813)

          Show me where it's written on the side of the game box that I'm buying a non-transferrsble license, not a copy of the game.

          IANAL but I'd bet good money that I can't be held to the terms of a license that wasn't even mentioned to me until after I'd handed over my cash.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mrchaotica (681592) *

          They can claim that (and idiots might believe them), but that doesn't make it true!

    • Re:It's Absurd! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nursie (632944) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @07:10AM (#25799695)

      It's definitely absurd, it's absurd that they don't feel absolutely disgusted with themselves for trying to fight people's right to re-sell content.

      And FUCK YOU with your downloadable content. If I've bought that then I should have the right to sell it alongside the game, no?

      Downloadable content and in box "bonuses" are a horrible way to squeeze customers ever more. The bonus should just be part of the game, not a one-time thing. And so should most downloadable content. A hell of a lot of it is just a trasnparent attempt to part people from even more cash to get the game they wanted.

      As for in-game advertising being a continuing source of revenue from the used game market.... so... angry... hard... to... speak... must... kill...

      It's my RIGHT to buy and sell used games. It's not your right to continue to make a profit for a single copy of a game, or a single license or whatever the hell it is after you've already sold it to me.

      Die in a fire.

      • by brkello (642429)
        And they have a right to charge money for downloadable content that can't be sold with the game. And if you don't like it, don't buy it. You have some strange anger issues if you care about this so much. Games aren't food. No one is going to die if they don't buy the latest game. You can still go to the used game store and buy games and your friend can still give you theirs once they are done.
        • by Nursie (632944)

          "And they have a right to charge money for downloadable content that can't be sold with the game."

          I'd like to see that tested in law actually.

          "And if you don't like it, don't buy it."

          I don't sell my games anyway. I care about consumer rights.

          "You have some strange anger issues if you care about this so much."

          And you're complacent at the ever-extending abuse of consumers if you don't care at all.

          "Games aren't food. No one is going to die if they don't buy the latest game."

          Irrelevant.

          "You can still go to the

      • by hiryuu (125210)

        Frankly, this is one of those posts that merit a "+1, Righteous Vitriol" mod or something along those lines.

  • He's talking about getting benefits from more people having the base game and relates that to second hand market.

    However, in that marketing structure, second hand market is worse than simply free distribution of the base game. The money for the extra copies isn't going to the creators and the distribution is much lower.

    It's sad to see someone watching so intently at the future and yet not seeing it.

  • by Rie Beam (632299) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @05:46AM (#25799321) Journal

    As gamers age, they begin to seek out copies of games they played as kids. I know I have and I promise I'm not alone.

    If you want to make more money, fighting the used game market isn't the way to go. Release a system for $100, make the games $10, and then we'll talk.

    Maybe paying $50-$100 for a single game tends to turn some people off.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by EdIII (1114411) *

      Maybe paying $50-$100 for a single game tends to turn some people off.

      It's worse than that. Parents are under so much pressure from their kids to get them these games constantly. Either the parents finally cave and find a "friend of a friend" that can hook them with a modded XBOX preloaded with a 1TB HD full of games, or the kids themselves are forced to find out how to do it themselves and start torrenting the games directly. To parents that are already under enormous stresses these days, a quiet and hap

    • As gamers age, they begin to seek out copies of games they played as kids. I know I have and I promise I'm not alone.

      Amen, brother! My first computer game was Spacewar [wikipedia.org], a video game for the DEC PDP-1. PDP-1s are hard to find today, so I taught myself Java, bought a couple of joysticks, and coded my own implementation [systemeyes...rstore.com].

  • by J-1000 (869558) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @05:51AM (#25799355)
    Here's a case for used games: We don't hate your company for trying to railroad us into a new copy. These companies are pissed that Gamestop makes money doing something they don't. If they are so jealous of Gamestop, why not sell used copies from their own website? Instead of modifying their business strategy to meet market demand (or better yet, ignoring it altogether since the industry continues to grow in spite of used game sales being around since inception), they would rather try to alter the market itself by brute force. Nice.

    They are welcome to do as they please, just as we are welcome to play other games. There's a chance it will work exactly like they want it to, I guess. Time will tell. One thing is for sure: It adds no value to the customer, and in fact *removes* value since they no longer have the option to sell or trade their own stuff.

    I'd like to see a car company try something like this.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wild_berry (448019)

      If they are so jealous of Gamestop, why not sell used copies from their own website?

      And offer a discount on upcoming titles, entry into beta testing rounds or early access to the full game. It's a business no-brainer but is hamstrung by the industry habit splitting production from distribution.

    • by Sockatume (732728)
      I doubt that the games industry has much against second-hand games in general. However big-name game retailers have turned second-hand sales into a hideous profit engine. The big ones in the UK, Game and Gamestation (now one corporate entity), buy preowned titles from gamers for about 25% of the retail price, then resell them at about 75% of the retail price. The margins are so much higher on pre-owned stock that they really push it, offering bundles of pre-owned rather than new software with consoles, staf
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      These companies are pissed that Gamestop makes money doing something they don't.

      Close. The publishing companies are pissed at how Gamestop prioritizes new vs. second hand games in the stores. More shelf space is devoted to second hand games, rather than new games. Additionally sales assistants are trained to offer up the second-hand version if the consumer takes a new version to the counter, as there is more mark-up for Gamestop on the second-hand title.

      I'm not going to comment on who is right or wro

      • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @10:46AM (#25801349)

        OK, as an actual employee of Gamestop I feel like I've got to say something on this whole subject.

        I'm not the hugest fan of my company, and we do a LOT of stupid things. However, there's a reason for the high margins, and that's the customers.

        1, Those used games are warrantied for 30 days by default. If a customer buys a used copy of, say, Fallout 3, takes it home, and decides that shaking the 360 like an etch-a-sketch while the game's still running will make the graphics better, they can come back with their irreparably damaged game and give it to us for a replacement. And then rinse and repeat.
        2. Those used games are also warrantied for a full refund within 7 days. So, if someone can beat the game in under a week, they can simply return it without having paid a penny, making us a sort of rental station with a higher initial investment, but ultimately free. Also, if they manage to damage the game, we still have to completely refund within said 7 days. This goes for used consoles as well.
        3. We HAVE to buy your used games if they're in good enough condition and for a console we still sell. It's just that simple. This isn't e-bay, or a garage sale, or a swap meet, you're guaranteed a sale of every game you bring in. Hell, if it's a good enough or simply recent enough game, we'll take it back if the bottom's completely scratched. So we also pay for the shipping and repairs of consoles and games.

        Also, of course we dedicate more shelf space to used games. There are more used games! Believe it or not, EA doesn't keep producing copies of Madden 05, but we still have to take them in as trades. Almost every game stops production after a while, but there are still millions of copies in circulation. And with each subsequent release in a sports-based franchise, the previous iteration becomes instantly worthless to the customer and is thus sold to us, resulting in an ever-expanding spot in the racks occupied by the creatively titled (Sports Franchise) 03. Following that, few people buy those copies but rather wait for the new copies of the newest version to be traded in.

        Also, we actually offer a year warranty for our games. I don't know about you, but until I started working at Gamestop, I'd never heard of extended warranties for games. Given the average lifespan of the average used game in the hands of the average used game customer, those are fairly often returned. And should it be something like Electroplankton or Marvel vs Capcom 2, and we simply cannot secure another copy in the district, we pretty much have little recourse beyond a refund.

        Yeah, there's a large margin between sale price and buying price. It's a company, it has to make a profit. However, given the sheer volume of theft, incompetence, and simple loudness(it's amazing how often a customer will win not by being right, but by complaining to customer service until they get their way) from Gamestop's customers, there also has to be a buffer zone for all the things that will inevitably go wrong with sales.

      • I dunno near where I live we have an independent game shop and they are even more into the buisness of selling secondhand games than the big chains. I suspect they have similar margins on the secondhand games too (though i've only bought secondhand, I don't sell secondhand)

    • by Trojan35 (910785)

      Seriously, if I couldn't buy used games, I probably wouldn't have a system.

      Since owning an xbox ($600 after peripherals/2yrs Live etc), the only games I've found worth the initial cost and no re-sale were Gears of War ($60) and Rock Band ($170). That's $830 for two games.

      If I was unable to re-sell the other 20 some games I'd bought, there's no way I would even own this system.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If they are so jealous of Gamestop, why not sell used copies from their own website?

      Because they don't want anyone to sell used copies.

      Gaming is trying to move toward the model the RIAA has been working toward for a while now -- that they sell a disposable good. Electronic Arts would be just as happy if you broke the disc in half and threw it it the gutter as you were leaving Gamestop. They have your money and the transaction is done. If you want more entertainment, buy another new game.

      Think about it this way: the "old paradigm" was books. You bought a book, it was yours. Lend it out, giv

      • Exactly: and that "new paradigm" only exists in the publishing execs' coked-out delusions, because people (hopefully) won't put up with it!

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @05:57AM (#25799387) Homepage

    That's the question that comes to me ... I mean, they sell me a copy of the game, right? Since when do they have a legal right to prohibit me from reselling it? I can't think of another type of product where this can be done legally ...

    • Afaict they can't prohibit resale of the game CD/DVD/Blueray itself.

      What they can do is make users tie thier copy of the game to an online account. Then have the terms and conditions of that account say non-transferable and/or strongly encourage people to tie all thier games from the publisher to the same account (the steam method)

      They can also require online activation and limit the number of activations (the spore/ra3 method). This means a secondhand buyer may not be able to activate the game at all and c

    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Its called the "doctrine of first sale" and it is a fundamental aspect of capitalism and is legally protected in the US. Corporatist evangelicals have tried to subvert this through legal means (they failed in the US, but succeeded in parts of the EU), so in return they attempt to do so through technological means.

    • Think of it as a service, rather than a physical good. (It is, after all, imaginary property.)

      Imagine you buy a ticket to see a concert. You go to the concert, they rip your ticket, and let you in. Once you're in, you can't leave and come back, so you have to watch the show, or surrender the right to see the entire thing. At this point, you've begun "using" the service provided (a live show) and no longer have the right to resell it. You could try to peddle the ripped ticket--nobody can stop you from doi
      • Think of it as a service, rather than a physical good.

        Why?

        No really, why? Why should I help them destroy my rights as a consumer? Why should I help them fuck me over? What do I get out of the deal?

        • You get the rights to play a game. If you don't like it, don't buy it.

          Do you see the irony that a champion of the rights-limiting GPL would raise a fuss about rights limitations? Why should I help them destroy my rights as a programmer and business owner? What do I get out of the deal? Free code.

          If the terms don't jive with your needs or desires, close your wallet.
  • Isn't one of the most obvious arguments, that being able to sell your games frees up money to spend on new games?

    I know in the UK parents would make their kid sell games they are no longer playing in order pay for the latest must have game (The parents then pay for any shortfall).

    I would say this whole anti-secondary sale issue is another example of the blind greed that is currently taring down the banks.
    • Re:Liquidity (Score:5, Insightful)

      by wild_quinine (998562) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @06:47AM (#25799583) Homepage

      I would say this whole anti-secondary sale issue is another example of the blind greed that is currently taring down the banks.

      The gaming industry is starting to eat itself.

      It's something else to watch these gigantic corporate entities try to turn sharing, borrowing, and reselling into the next big evil. You'd think they'd stand no chance of getting the popular vote on this, but everywhere now you start to see ordinary regular people asking the question: What can be done about the second hand market?

      The more pertinent question is: What the fuck? followed by You are kidding, right?

      No other industry enjoys this priviledge. Not even the RIAA is seriously trying to argue that you can't sell a used CD, and they've argued that ripping to MP3s is stealing, and that you need to buy a new copy every time you listen on a new device.

      The part I find the most ignorant and self-serving is the part where people talk about the damage it is doing to the industry. The industry is not an end in itself. It adapts to market pressures, or it doesn't. As an ordinary, rational consumer there's nothing that I need or want to do for the industry. They produce games at affordable prices, and just suck up the fact that I am not going to buy all of them as first sales, or they don't.

      Something everybody seems to forget in the talk about the evil of second hand sales, is that every one of them, no matter how dilute from reselling, must have been a first sale at some point.

      And for crying out loud - what happened to just being thrilled that someone wanted to play your shitty game at all?

  • If I sell my games, I have money to buy more games!

    I can't buy games with money I don't have.

    • But you won't buy the same game. Say you buy another game B, and sell the first game A to the next guy. So, the developer get's one sale of game A, vs. two if you both bought new. Even if the same company makes game B, they have to cover the development costs of two games.

      Ideally, if game A is more popular, it should get more revenue depending on how many people play it.

  • So the guy thinks that selling add-on content that is not tied to the game but the user of the game is a great way to make money? Nice bloke, that. Now, head to abandonia.com & gog.com and bask in their glory. North and South, Master of Orion and Syndicate for free? Fallout for $5? You will find it there.
  • Ads? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EdIII (1114411) * on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @06:51AM (#25799601)

    In-game ads are one source of this additional revenue

    Someone needs to kill these stupid fuckers like *right now*. I'm Serious.

    Advertising ruins everything. I don't want to immerse myself in a game and have to put up with some bullshit about what drink is better, and that I need to buy this widget cuz the cool kids got it.

    There is a cold war going on right now with advertisers and consumers and advertisers love using stupid bullshit arguments with ignorant judges like, "Not watching commercials is just like stealing content". That's why TIVO is going to cave soon under enormous pressure to thwart people from bypassing advertising and why the old company that made that DVR with the automatic commercial skip got sued into oblivion. They resurrected themselves as ReplayTV, but sans commercial skip.

    We fight it everywhere in our lives right now. From blocking pop-ups, pixels, Ad Block Plus, the 30-second skip button on the DVR, etc.

    How the fuck can you advertise a contemporary product for today's culture in a game like NeverWinter nights anyways? I would love to go down the local tavern to find my +5 Broadsword only to be faced with a "Do the Dew" logo on the front of it. Sheesh.

    We all have to put our foot down now and REFUSE to participate in this else the games will be ruined. If you think I'm going overboard here, then present me a situation in which an advertisement actually adds real entertainment value?

    • I have no problem with the subtle little brain washing things like product placement done well.
      As long as it blends in I'd be perfectly happy with billboards in GTA advertising real products.
      Seeing junked coke machines in a post apocalyptic setting would be only fitting.
      But advertisers don't like subtle. That billboard can't be a washed out piece of the background, no it would have to be primary colours jumping out of the screen at me.

      They could put ads on the loading screen but then the pressure is on the

    • Re:Ads? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @08:25AM (#25800131)
      How the fuck can you advertise a contemporary product for today's culture in a game like NeverWinter nights anyways?

      On the loading screens. As for which products, know your target market. Source books, dice, miniatures, XXXL T-shirts, pizza delivery, and fizzy drinks. And expansion modules for the game itself, of course.

      • by sam0737 (648914)

        Oh shoot.

        This reminds me that, when I was teen, I made a VB program with a splash screen + progress bar and sleep the thread for a few seconds because I thought progress bar was cool!

    • It depends on the game. If I am playing Burnout Paradise, racing my car through the streets of a modern city, having billboards that advertise real products makes the game *more* immersive, not less.

      Yeah, putting an ad in a fantasy or SF game is stupid, but if the game is something set in the modern world then it makes perfect sense to put ads in the game in places where the modern world has ads.

    • by gknoy (899301)

      While it wouldn't work for everything, I think I wouldn't mind trying a Nuka-Cola branded energy drink. ;) (I wouldn't want the radioactive variety, of course...)

  • Cheating the Game (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Here's my case for used game sales.

    By making it so I can't resell the entirety of my game by giving me a nontransferable license for a portion of the game's content, the publisher is stealing from me. Specifically, they're taking away the resale value of the goods I purchased from them by attempting to treat them as a privileged service instead. This emerging trend of nontransferable content licensing as rights management represents a profoundly backward view of commerce that attempts to justify undermin

  • by AnswerIs42 (622520) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @08:54AM (#25800289) Homepage

    Used Game Market Helps Keep Landfills From Filling Up With Plastic

    I have a game I don't play anymore, what sounds better? "Trade it to a store for $10" or "Toss it into the garbage where it will break down in 1000 years"?

  • I only buy used... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bbroerman (715822)
    As a parent of three boys, I only buy used. I'm not fuc#en rich, and games are absurdly priced. I have other bills to take care of first, like mortgage, car, gas, food, etc. If they stop selling used older games, I'll stop buying. End of story.
    • I very rarely (almost never) buy used games in a game store, because honestly I just don't think they offer a very good price on them. It'll be like new copy: $60, used copy: $55. Or if it's an older game it might be new copy: $30, used copy $25.

      Now from a practical standpoint I don't care at all whether it's a new or used copy. There hasn't been a significant difference in quality in my experience. Plus I own a smallish house, I really can't take more accumulation of "stuff" - so in many cases I don't

      • by log0n (18224)

        People who buy used games generally don't buy used when it's a new/recent release. People buy used when the game is 6 months old and goes for $15-20 less than a new copy.

        Recent: Silent Hill 5 new $59.99 used $54.99
        6+ months: Alone in the Dark new $39.99 used $19-24.99

        I bought Silent Hill new in-spite of a potential savings of $5, but I bought AOTD used because I saved just under $20 new.

        • by Tetsujin (103070)

          I don't know - in my experience usually the new price of the old game has lowered, too.

  • In the future many games will be distributed electronically on a pay-to-play service model requiring a unique serial number, verified online, that is valid for a limited period of time. Even if you make a copy, it'll be worthless after the serial number expires.

    There won't be such a thing as a "used game." Or indeed a game that you "buy" at all.

    • And, in the future, publishers will have no customers. The industry can only sell what the consumer will buy.

      Pay-per-play is not a new concept; this was what people used to do in arcades. The whole point of home entertainment was that you DIDN'T have to pay-per-play.

      I have a certain amount of cash I spend on entertainment. If I have to pay a dollar every time I die in GTA4, then does that mean Rockstar will be rolling in cash? No, of course not, it just means I'm not going to play GTA4, or at the very l

  • I recently graduated college and got a job. Now that I have a source of income, I started to look at getting a current-gen game system. But after doing the math ($250-$400 console + $50-60 x number of games) I decided that since I still have my GameCube, and there were plenty of games for it that I would like to play and didn't already own, I would fall into the used games market. So I have been playing lots more games lately, but the game industry hasn't seen a dime from me. And you know what? Tony Ha
  • And if I buy 'Baba O'Riley' or 'I Fought the Law,' then give it to whoever I sell Rock Band to?

    With physical property, it is clear that as a consumer, I have the right to do with that physical property as I see fit, including transferring ownership in full to another individual. For example, if I buy a book, I can give the book to someone, I can sell it to them, etc.

    I have yet to hear a compelling argument for why the same should not be true of electronic content. Certainly, if I buy a game I should not

    • by burris (122191)

      So called "electronic" copies are physical. There is a physical embodiment of the work in the pattern of magnetic particles on the disk. Without being fixed in a tangible medium, the work would not be subject to Copyright!

      If this copy of the work was authorized by the exclusive rights holders, such as having downloaded it from their site, then you are free to sell that physical copy it along with the HD. However, Copyright law doesn't allow you to make a new copy on another hard drive and sell that after

  • First off let me say that absolutely despise them for trying to stop the used game market. On the other hand, I understand how that does eat into profit. I won't pretend like we all wouldn't mind some extra cash, deserved or not. So what's the answer? They've made a few suggestions that I'll address.

    1) In game advertising - doesn't really bother me at all. I could really care less if I'm driving down the street in GTA and I pass a billboard for CocaCola, whoopdi-do. If done in that way then it's non-i

    • I do think it is a RIPOFF that Gamestop gives me $12 for a used game, turns around and sells it for $40, and all they had to do was put a sticker on it.

      Yep. The rent is free, as are the employees, the advertising, the storage of games, the risk it won't sell, the insurance in case the game gets stolen, the computer that rings up the sale, the accountant that does taxes, the taxes they pay on that income, end even the sticker that they put on the used game. Yep, that's all free. All they have to do is put a

      • by jonesy16 (595988)

        Wow, an entire comment dedicated solely to sarcasm.

        I would assume that you've already done a thorough analysis of their business model and how it might survive if they're no longer allowed to even sell used games, I guess your post should have read more like this:

        "Used game retailers have a business model that is largely based on the resale of previously played games. A move by the gaming industry to ban used game sales would ultimately lead to the death of the very retailers that purvey their games today

        • Huh? What the hell does that have to do with your claim of "all they had to do was put a sticker on it" while completely dismissing anything that went into it? Did I say anything in favor of or against them selling used games, or anything about their business model? No. I was simply commenting on your (not uncommon) misconception about what expenses are involved in running a business. The basic idea of my post could just as easily been applied to someone saying Best Buy rips you off by charging $20 for a DV

          • by jonesy16 (595988)

            Your claim, implied through sarcasm since you didn't actually make a statement, was that the store must charge what they do on used games in order to survive because they have fixed and marginal costs associated with each used game transaction including, but not necessarily limited to: transaction processing, storage, rent, advertising, salaries, etc.

            Since retail stores would still have to find a way to exist even without the market for used games (which hasn't always been there), then the store must have a

            • Wow, that's the second time you've taken my post and turned it into something it wasn't.

              I made no such claim. I only claimed that your suggestion that "all they had to do was put a sticker on it" was utterly ridiculous and absolutely devoid of anything having to do with reality.

              I wouldn't bother trying to discuss actual figures or anything like that with someone who can't even grasp the fact that operating costs exist (or at least, since you seem very interested in implying things, that is what was implied

    • Why make GameStop pay royalties on their used sale? Just like you, they've paid cash to own a copy of the game and just like you, they're reselling it. They don't pay a "royalty" (look that word up, BTW, it doesn't mean what you think.) on new games, either. They buy new games from the publisher and then resell them with a markup to turn a profit.

      They do the same thing with used games. The only difference is that they're able to enjoy a higher profit because they are able to purchase a used game from
  • My personal issue with used games is that they cost only $5, at most $10, less than a new copy and what I'm getting out of the deal is questionable. Most of the time the instruction manual is missing, sometimes the package in damaged, and in some cases the CD has seen too much wear. And yet the condition of the package seems to have no bearing whatsoever on the cost of the game.

    My thinking is, if the game isn't worth the money new then it's not worth buying period. Maybe I'll reconsider when the game is goi

  • Judging from how my little brothers manage their game collection (Wii, DS, PSP) I am pretty convinced that the ability to sell their old games (to a game store) is what allows them to buy the newer ones, usually first-hand.

    Otherwise they wouldn't have nearly enough pocket money to buy them.

    Restrictions on the second-hand market are silly. It will just push more people on Piratebay, since that other silly restriction pushed by the industry, DRM, has also failed spectacularly.

  • by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday November 18, 2008 @12:22PM (#25802637) Homepage

    If it weren't for the used game business, my aunt and uncle, both retired, probably wouldn't play video games.

    As it is, they now have 3 PS2s (2 for home, 1 for when they head to Florida for the winter) and 1 Gamecube (which I gave to them when I purchased a Wii).

    They buy a lot of used games. My cousins buy them new games for various holidays and birthdays, but whenever they buy games for themselves, it's always used.

    • They buy a lot of used games. My cousins buy them new games for various holidays and birthdays, but whenever they buy games for themselves, it's always used.

      That's what I do, too. If there is a game that I want, I will put it on my wish list and someone will buy it for me on my birthday or Christmas (optimally spaced 6 months apart so I never have to wait too long for a new game). If there is a new game that I only "kind of" want, I will wait a year or two and then buy it used. So I am responsible for

  • its really, really simple. I don't know why nobody's thought of this before, its so brilliant. if developers want people to be forced to buy the game from them, they should simply make games that people want to keep! Make better games, and you'll sell more original copies! WOW!

"The pyramid is opening!" "Which one?" "The one with the ever-widening hole in it!" -- The Firesign Theatre

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