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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Used Game Market Affecting Price, Quality of New Titles 384

Posted by Soulskill
from the either-that-or-it-doesn't dept.
Gamasutra is running a feature discussing the used game market with various developers and analysts. The point has been raised by many members of the industry that used game sales are hurting developers and publishers even more lately, when they're already beleaguered by rising piracy rates and a struggling economy. Atari executives recently commented that used game sales are "extremely painful," while GameStop's CEO unsurprisingly came out in support of resales. We've recently discussed a few of the ways game designers are considering to limit used game sales. David Braben, chairman of UK-based developer Frontier Development had this to say: "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game — which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's."
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Used Game Market Affecting Price, Quality of New Titles

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  • Boo f*cking hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:51AM (#26057267)

    In other news, used car sales are hurting car manufacturers even more lately, when they're already beleaguered by rising petrol prices and a struggling economy. Ford executives recently commented that used car sales are "extremely painful," while eBay's CEO unsurprisingly came out in support of resales. David Braben, chairman of UK-based car manufacturer Frontier Development had this to say: "Five years ago, a great car would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad car â" which was essentially our incentive to make great cars. But no longer. Now manufacturers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the car's quality and then gamers start buying used cars which generates money that goes into eBay's pocket, nobody else's."

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      When I buy a car, I use it for *years* before reselling it. Also, when I resell it, I've put thousands of miles on it and other wear that makes it not very valuable.

      When I buy a game, I play it and sometimes beat it the day I bought it. I also have a lot of incentive to sell it back to gamestop that weekend, since they'll often give you $20 back for it, as opposed to the $3 they'll give you in a month.

      When I buy a game, I'll often go for the $5 cheaper used copy, even though it's only a 10% discount. Sur

      • Re:Boo f*cking hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by KDR_11k (778916) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @09:11AM (#26058753)

        When I buy a game, I play it and sometimes beat it the day I bought it.

        Wouldn't you say that's more of a price-value disparity? You paid ~50$ for a game and only got one or two days of enjoyment out of it. That sounds like the game fails to deliver much for its price.

        Also, if you beat the games that fast, shouldn't you try renting? That's about 1.50$ per day rather than 30$ per game.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          $50 is way too much in most cases, which is a large part of the problem. Granted the prices at gog.com would be absurdly low for games just coming out in most cases, but anything more than $30-40 really needs to be justified, and in most cases it really ought to be more like $20-30.

          If they'd stop handing over 50k for ineffectual DRM, they could probably lower the cost of the first 500k games by noticeable amount.

      • by Amouth (879122)

        on top of that if you look this compared to jsut a few years ago.. the new games prices have gone up so much.. now the price you pay for a used new release is the same as the new new release jsut a few years ago..

        we all have our price points.. the amount of $ we are willing to spend on something.. there are extreamly few games i'm willing to spend 50+$ on - and the ones i will.. well they are the ones you can't really finish in a day..

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by BenevolentP (1220914)

          I really can't see how game prices are too high or even much higher than a few years ago.

          The content of most games today (being it story or quests like in Fallout 3 or graphics / models / textures like in... well, almost all of them) aren't even comparable to the older classics.

          Since i'm currently playing it, i'll stick with Fallout 3 compared to its predecessors as an example.

          Quest-wise, they may have the same amount of content, i guess 1 and 2 even a bit more in the writing department.

          - In Fallout 3, eve

          • by Amouth (879122)

            and i agree that it costs more now to produce a game but that applies to everything ..

            you can throw more man hours at anything and make it better more expensive.. BUT is it really needed? I like game play - forgive me if i care about a story line more than i care about how realistic an explosion or falling rocks are.. show me a sprite.. some thigns falling.. i see that i get the picture.. my mind can fill in the missing little bits, i don't need a renderer to do it.

            and sadly ther have been alot of games

          • You wern't around for the $70 NES games were you? Games get cheaper with the wider appeal. The $60 a game crap now is biting game companies in the ass, and they honestly deserve it. Drop it back to $50, and you'll see sales surge. Hell, I saw the Force Unleashed on 360 for $50 new in Target. You bet your ass I picked it up too!
          • by oliderid (710055)

            Please note that Fallout is just an example for why games are a - in my opinion surprisingly tiny - amount more expensive today, i don't really want to discuss the game itself or how it compares to its predecessors.

            Movies too, but you don't hear hollywood producers complaining about the cost each time they release their new movie.

            The irritating thing about the video game industry is that they make more money than the movie industry and they keep complaining. When you have such an amount of revenues and you still have difficulties to keep the whole thing afloat, the real issue is the management.

    • Re:Boo f*cking hoo (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anenome (1250374) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @07:58AM (#26058139)
      These developers, etc, are completely ignorant of economics to even think of making this claim. The fact is that resale value in the mind of the buyer is a major portion of the original purchase price (whether he knows that consciously or not). If you make resale illegal or difficult enough to kill it off what will happen is that gamers will find the same approximately $60/game prices to be even less worth-it than before, since you've destroyed the intrinsic resale value the game had and there's now no way to dump a game that isn't worth keeping to recover a portion of your investment. If the resale value of a game is worth ~$20 then the entire game industry will have to lower their prices by that much on average to see the same buying activity, because a $60 game is now only worth about $40. But they aren't imagining they will have to do that. If the consumer thinks your game is overpriced they will not buy it. And making resale impossible will contribute to that perception. The result of this will be even more conservative behavior when gamers shop for games. Meaning that only triple-A titles will do well, and the A-material games will have fewer buyers and the B-games will probably price themselves out of the market. I'm sure Detroit's auto-industry and many other manufacturers would love to outlaw buying used cars to force you to buy new, but that's not how it works. That would only create a black-market for goods. So, think about this a second time, developers and publishers. You got your cash up-front when you sold that game brand-new and part of the reason buyers paid your price is because of the intrinsic resale value, you have absolute zero claim to second hand sales and the existence and ability to sell game second hand actually results in buyers taking more chances on new games and therefore more people buying new games. In fact, if your game does well second hand it's usually because your game is doing well in any case among first buyers. The answer isn't restricting 2nd hand sales. The answer is to get off your a$$es and make f***in' better games the people want to buy in the first place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BenoitRen (998927)

      then gamers start buying used cars

      Gamers buy cars?

  • Does this mean? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Antony-Kyre (807195) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:52AM (#26057273)

    We should bail out the game industry?

    After all, if it goes under, we'll get a lot of people, who spend hours gaming, not gaming anymore. This means less soda and junk food to snack on, which in turn, means the junk food industry will be hurt, which, in turn, means more layoffs.

    • Re:Does this mean? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xugumad (39311) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:18AM (#26057431)

      I'm frequently amazed the games industry doesn't just stand up one day and go "Y'know, we talked it out between us, and we've had enough. We're going to all get jobs with fewer hours and better pay in something dull like spreadsheet programming."

      So far, all I'm seeing is that their business model makes neither side happy. Game developers, at least starting out, get insane hours for little pay. Games are released at price points that are uncomfortably expensive for most of the target audience. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, to me.

      • Re:Does this mean? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geminidomino (614729) * on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @09:40AM (#26059077) Journal

        So far, all I'm seeing is that their business model makes neither side happy. Game developers, at least starting out, get insane hours for little pay. Games are released at price points that are uncomfortably expensive for most of the target audience. That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, to me.

        You forgot the third side, who is quite content:
        The suits:

        • pay the developers next to nothing.
        • gorge themselves on the gamers' money
        • Greenlight any derivative crap that comes down the pipe as long as it's close enough to an extant blockbuster

        Unfortunately, that group is the one with all the money, and as such, all the say.

      • Can you imagine, if the game makers were to receive some sort of profit from the sale of the games they code? Like, let's say a million man-hours are put into a specific game. And a specific person poured 3000 hours into it. Perhaps he should receive 0.3% of a 'specific' portion of the profits. Let's say 40% of the profits are shared amongst those for the duration of the game release. The better the game, the better the profits. The more incentive there is to do well, to make sure people buy it.

        By the way,

    • Re:Does this mean? (Score:5, Informative)

      by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @07:42AM (#26057981) Homepage

      The new American businessmodel :

      1. start a business
      2. "almost" go bankrupt
      3. get your income from tax dollars instead of, you know, those horrible clients
      4. profit !

      • by gfxguy (98788) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @08:53AM (#26058575)

        Oh... My... God... you've solved the next to last step! YOU ARE A GENIUS!

  • Newsflash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yakumo.unr (833476) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:52AM (#26057275) Homepage

    Rubbish games don't sell the first time arround.

    • Re:Newsflash (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Xugumad (39311) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:22AM (#26057447)

      Between you, and a game publisher, I think I know whose numbers on sales I'm more likely to believe.

      You may not buy crappy games, because you read reviews first, but I think the message here is fairly clearly that there's enough people who buy games based purely on refractive index of the box cover, to make even the worst movie tie-in sell.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You may not buy crappy games, because you read reviews first

        You do realize what a farce the major game reviewers have become, don't you? As in - if a publisher doesn't pay for a nice, lavish "reviewing" trip, they're not gonna get good reviews. There are depressingly few exceptions to this among the reviewers that people listen to.

    • by MrHanky (141717)

      The PC version of GTA 4 sold very well the first few days.

      • by jgtg32a (1173373)
        Because GTA3 had some very nice mods, and I assume 4 will as well.
        • by MrHanky (141717)

          It might, but not unless the worst glitches are sorted out and performance is improved. It's a very good game (I've played it a bit on PS3), but a terrible, terrible port to the PC. It should be nothing that a few patches can't fix, though.

    • EA's Medal of Honor series taught me never to buy a game based on past experiences with the series. (Yes, it took me a long time. I'm an optimist.)

      Not everyone has learned that lesson, though. Stinky sequels of great games/franchises often do quite well.

  • Hmm.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AlterRNow (1215236) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:54AM (#26057287)

    If making a game is always resulting in a loss, it wouldn't make any sense ( business or otherwise ) to continue making games.

    Therefore, I can only conclude that making a game is *still* profitable ( despite everything ) and would just like to say:

    Be happy you are making profit and stop whining about how much.

    That goes for **AA too!

  • Well... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by michael021689 (791941)
    If it makes them feel any better...I have never bought or sold a used game. As a matter of fact, the vast majority of my purchases in the past year have been digital. That does come at the cost that I only buy good games from companies that treat me properly.

    Beyond that..of course it effects prices. That being said, you can't do anything about it. Once purchased, the game is mine to sell. The best (for them, that is) thing to do is to abandon singleplayer and focus on subscription and account based games.
  • That's what this is. They want a piece of the pie. Anyone who buys into this idea is an idiot. No one is going to pay $60 for a shitty game.
  • When I read... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by liegeofmelkor (978577) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:57AM (#26057309)

    that the used game market is affecting price and quality, my first response is GREAT! Market forces at work are driving new game prices down and quality up as developers are forced to compete with a robust substitute good: the used game.

    Then I realize its more of the same FUD campaign put on by the mega-corporations to prep us for invasive mechanisms inserted into games with the end goal of bilking us for more $$$. I think I'll avoid supporting this industry and stick to indie games until they have an attitude shift.

    • by Darundal (891860)
      Yeah, well, between the smart/reasonable move of lowering prices and maybe spending less on developing games, and the idiotic "let's rant like all hell about how unfair it is that people resell used copies of our product," which did you actually expect to happen?
      • I expect developers to start producing games that cost less to develop and charging a lot less for them, and this is what is happening. Most new games are written in J2ME or Flash by an individual or a small team, and are distributed for very little money or supported by advertisements. Only the companies still using the old business model are complaining.
  • Uhuh... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FinchWorld (845331) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:58AM (#26057311) Homepage

    ...yes yes, its all ther nasty consumers fault! You bundle crapware drm and we don't buy it, uhuh, thats my fault. You release the game for £50-60 quid, and somehow, especially in the current economic crisis, I find that I'd rather pay for food and shelter over GENERICFIFASPORTGAME-2009. Im even more evil for thinking that second hand at £20-30, I might just be able to afford it without sending you more money after its first sale.

    Oh, I also apologize when i decide not to buy your £50 game, because you decided you could, infact, split it into 3 seperate games and sell it that way for more than £100, for pure greed (Hi Starcraft2!). Im so very sorry. Also, do forgive me when i refuse to buy your game at all, because you decided that buying the game second hand means im njot entitled to the full game, because I also decided you weren't worthy to survive as a games company anymore (GOW2).

    And "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game-- which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's."

    No Im sorry, games just aren't as good as they were, because I recall buying and trading in games for second hand games more than 5 years ago. So that hasn't changed, must be the games eh?

    • by Xugumad (39311)

      > You release the game for £50-60 quid,

      Where on earth are you finding £60 games? Even at RRP, they're £50 at most, and if you go to Amazon £30-40 is normal for console games.

    • Re:Uhuh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NexusTw1n (580394) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:40AM (#26057561) Journal

      Games with replay value don't get sold, gamers want to keep them to play again later. With no second hand copies available, people will have to buy new.

      Games that are good enough get relaunched at half price as Platinum Games, which will see another boost in revenue as 20 quid is a price point where most gamers are prepared to buy new.

      Games that have a long completion time - eg 30+ hours, or excellent online gameplay, result in gamers keeping them for quite some time before being sold back to game stores, which keeps that initial sales stream lasting longer than normal.

      Games that have a short single player experience, or turn out to be not as good as the paid for review claimed, get sold back to the store as quickly as possible, and the publisher's revenue stream dies.

      Gamers sell games to buy more games, they know you always get a better store credit price than cash price.

      Gamers who buy second hand games, can't afford to drop 50-60 notes on the latest games. If these poorer gamers weren't keeping the second hand market strong, the price the richer gamers would be getting when they sell their games, would drop. This would mean they'd have less money to buy new titles.

      50 - 60 notes is a lot of money to most people, even those that can afford it, can only justify it, because the game retains value and some of the cost can be reclaimed by selling it.

      The market is working correctly, and any attempt to try and grab more market share by the publishers will back fire.

      • Yep (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sycraft-fu (314770)

        I have a large collection of games that I'm never selling. I love them and periodically replay them, just like favorite movies. Baldur's gate 2 would be one. Ya it's an old game but I still like it. I replay it maybe once a year or every other year. I probably will for a long time too. You could compare it to the Princess Bride. Ya I saw that movie when I was 10. Guess what? I own the DVD. I like it. I don't watch it every day or anything but I watch it now and again. I'm not selling either game or DVD beca

      • Re:Uhuh... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Fred_A (10934) <fred AT fredshome DOT org> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @09:35AM (#26059015) Homepage

        I find it rather strange that numerous $randomSlashDotPosters can figure this out and that almost none of the game companies can.

        Don't they hire, like, market dudes or something ? Or are we specially gifted around here ?

        What's wrong with all those companies that keep on acting like divas all the time... "waaah, I've been obnoxious and painted myself in a corner, it's all the fault of my nasty customers, of p2p, of unmetered access, of sunspots, of the falling market, of terrorism..."

        [/rant]

        • Re:Uhuh... (Score:4, Funny)

          by jonaskoelker (922170) <.jonaskoelker. .at. .gnu.org.> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @10:18AM (#26059531) Homepage

          Or are we specially gifted around here?

          Around here I think we're just special ;)

        • by hey! (33014)

          Well, in every business I've been in, the problems of the business come from ignoring things everybody knew to be true. They did things they knew in principle to be bad, they failed to do things that they knew in principle they had to do.

          Why?

          Expediency. And the driver of expediency is cash. You can make money without making cash. Every day a programmer labors to create a better product, he is creating value, and that value is worth money. The problem is that it's not cash, and you have to pay him

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rycross (836649)

          Yes, they hire marketing guys. Who do you think came up with the idea that used game sales are terrible and hurting the industry? If they can convince consumers that buying used games hurts the game companies, that its unfair to the game companies, and that they should accept methods of strong-arming them into buying new for the "good of the industry," then they will, because that will make their companies more profitable. What you are reading from these companies IS marketing, make no mistake. Its just

    • by MetaPhyzx (212830) *

      In reading the article, this is concerning console games, and is interesting to me for two reasons:

      1. This is primarily a discussion about consoles, not PC gaming (there's not much market for used PC games in the last few years).

      2. Piracy isn't rampant on the new Next Gen consoles, or am I just out of the loop?

      It sounds like publishers want to go down the same road they did with PC gaming (and probably marginalize it as well), and GameStop and others are helping them provide an excuse. Admittedly, GameStop'

      • by Jellybob (597204)

        One of the things that has bothered me with services such as Steam (even though I am accepting of it) is the birth to death piece. If I get tired of a game and wish to resell it, there should be a mechanism by which I revoke my key and the new owner of the media gets a new one. Of course, Valve makes no money on a second hand sale and doesn't want to deal with the headache.

        Something tells me Valve will be the first to do something constructive about this, rather then just whine to the media.

        It really wouldn

    • by khakipuce (625944)
      I often think I must be the only geek that never plays computer games so I generally have no opinion on the subject. But recently my son has got interested - he's 7 years old - and wants a Play Station for Christmas.

      My issue is the cost of the games, things like Lego Indiana Jones if about £20-£30 depending on where you buy it. Now he is pretty good a gaming, and surely the Lego series are aimed at his age group, but at that age they get bored fairly quickly (he completed the India

      • by Jellybob (597204)

        If he's into the Lego series of games, you probably don't have much to worry about. I have 20+ year old friends who've managed to get well over 40 hours of play out of the Star Wars one, and are still nowhere near having done everything can.

        There's also the fact that they're 7, so surely they can deal with a bit of repetition. Just the fact that he was able to play the *demo* for a week probably says something about his attention span.

  • here's an idea (Score:3, Insightful)

    by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:00AM (#26057333) Homepage Journal

    the technology that we use to play these games has improved greatly over the past 5 years. so why aren't the games that are played on this hardware getting any better?

    rather than bitch about how no one is buying your new games, start making good games that get me excited, so I want to go and buy them right away.

    when you make a game that most likely sucks, i can't return, and infects my computer with another one of your DRM viruses, im not going to get all excited about it.

    i still play red alert 2, unreal trournament, doom, a link to the past, etc, because those are great games that i enjoy playing.

    start making games that are fun, and i will start buying. Or, you can recycle the crappy games from last year, throw in a few more polygons to make things pretty and go out of business.

  • I gave up on console games after I read an article about how 80% of computer games bought are never finished. I don't really have much time to spare on games any more and find my gaming needs are more than catered for by browser based flash games. (Then again my idea of the perfect gaming experience is an entertaining and only mildly taxing point and click adventure.)

    Anyway, seems to me that spending so much time and energy on flare effects and 3D physics and primo voice talent and cinematic effects is dr
  • works both ways (Score:5, Insightful)

    by samjam (256347) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:06AM (#26057357) Homepage Journal

    Two facts:

    * The high price of game creates the 2nd hand market.

    * The high price 2nd hand market helps people afford new games, by selling their old games.

    Putting up the price of new games isn't going to change those facts, in fact it will raise the price of 2nd hand games making the market more lucrative and increasing the amount of trade in 2nd hand games.

    Preventing games from being sold 2nd hand will reduce what buyers can afford for new games.

    Folk only have so much money to spend on games, after all!

    I used to regularly spend about 1 GBP ($2) a week at charity shops buying books at 10-20 pence each. (They'd go back to charity shops to be re-sold when I'd finished with them)

    Then the shops went "up market" and started selling at 50p - 1 pound each and now they don't get any of my money at all.

    Games industry is going the same way.

    Sam

    • by clickety6 (141178)

      Wouldn't it make more sense to use your local library and just donate directly to the charity rather than using the charity shop as a pay-for-loan library ? ;-)

  • by mmcguigan (677816) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:10AM (#26057387)

    and you won't have this problem affecting your revenue stream.

    I think one should be asking what makes people want to trade in a game after just one week of ownership.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Kneo24 (688412)

      Exactly what I was thinking. If these games were so "great" as they assume, people would want to keep them for longer periods of time due to their replay value.

      These "great games" that they speak so highly of, are usually nothing but sequels to games, where the ideas were already done. They're not really that original and maybe just add one or two new features. The annual sports games come to mind. Most people won't keep those forever. A lot of people trade them in pretty fast when they've realized it's jus

  • "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game â" which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer. Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's.""

    And what do you do when the supply of used games runs out?

  • Marketing lies (Score:3, Informative)

    by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:19AM (#26057435) Journal
    "That's in addition to the fact that we don't see anything from the used-game sales, which is one reason why the price of new games throughout the industry remains artificially high," he says. "I mean, the industry has to make all its money from the first sale since we don't get a penny from the subsequent dozen or so sales of that same game."

    Competition drives prices up!? Don't treat us like morons. If used sales went down why would they reduce the price? To make less money? I can see that being a great business strategy.

    Why are resales so popular in the first place? Because games are really expensive and have a short life.

    I'd also like to point out that while the observation that 80% of money from trade ins is spent on games is interesting, the car resale analogy is a little misleading. Cars are assets. They're purchased with the expectation of a certain level of depreciation. Games are to an extent but it's not nearly as big a factor in the purchase.
    • Re:Marketing lies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MadKeithV (102058) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:36AM (#26057533)
      It's exactly the same BS the various recording industry associations are trying to feed us. They want to be liberated from the shackles of the free market, so that the extremely elastic demand and highly competitive market for games (music, movies) is turned into an inelastic demand government-sanctioned oligolopy.

      To which I'd say "buzz off and go into a different business if you don't like it.". Note: I am a musician and a software developer. I still don't think the market should be controlled.
  • by Gerad (86818) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:22AM (#26057449)

    Books, CDs, movies... these are all forms of entertainment that lose a lot of their value once they've been viewed once. If game companies don't want people reselling games, they need to make some kind of incentive for people to hold onto their games, and make the gameplay actually enjoyable so that people keep the game to enjoy, rather than just to finish the single-player content once. Great examples of this are the Smash Bros. series and the Halo series. Both are enjoyable to play with friends (or online) after you've finished the single-player campaign. Things like XBox achievements do a lot to add replayability to games, but if the games aren't inherently fun, then even they can't save a game.

    • Books, CDs, movies... these are all forms of entertainment that lose a lot of their value once they've been viewed once.

      I think the public library would argue you on that one.

  • A load of bollocks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gurkmannen (643368) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:23AM (#26057451)
    This is just plain fud. Being able to sell a game once you've played it increases the reason to buy it. Especially when the game is short, possibly bad or has no replayability value.
  • What a load. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:25AM (#26057461)

    The used market helps sell new games.

    Some subset of early-adopter gamers are not going to buy new games at brand new prices unless they know they can turn around and sell the game to get back some of that value. This is especially true since early-adopter gamers are the ones taking the risk on the games. In this capacity, the used market actually helps you.

    The used market is not the money factory you claim.

    If there was truly so much money to be had in the used market you would drop your prices without hesitation in order to compete. If there was that much money you should have no problem making up for lowered prices with increased sales. The fact that you do not do this illustrates very clearly that there is not that much money being 'lost'.

    David Braben, you are a remarkable idiot.

    Not only have you stated that money is your "essential" motivation for creating great games - which leads me to wonder if your firm is capable of making a great game - but you have made it very clear that your firm has no incentive (read: plan) to create great games in the future.

    • by Goaway (82658)

      which leads me to wonder if your firm is capable of making a great game

      LostWinds was a pretty good game.

  • Used car resales are also hurting the Big Three auto manufacturers. I'm waiting for them to lobby government to ban the resale of used cars in order to save the industry.

    • by GundamFan (848341)

      I assume you are joking here.

      While it is true that people are buying more and more used cars (actually; the numbers on that don't quite work do they?) or are keeping there cars longer (this is more likely) I don't think this has anything to do with how much better used car salesmen are at there jobs than new car salesmen.

      I drive a German car, I would buy American but not for any other reason than the quality of the product.

      If the US auto industry wants my next car purchase they should produce compelling, we

  • I for one never resell a game I really enjoy ... even if it's a play through game (e.g. Half Life 2) I'd still keep it around in case I want to replay it some day.

    Sounds like the game industry's found another bogeyman to blame their problems on.

  • "David Braben, chairman of UK-based developer Frontier Development had this to say: "Five years ago, a great game would have sold for a longer period of time than for a bad game â" which was essentially our incentive to make great games. But no longer."

    So, David, you're essentially stating that you don't care if the games you make are good or bad ... just as long as you get the greenbacks for them?

    Shame on you. Have you no pride in making good games?

    • Is selective quoting somehow the norm with some people? Try finishing Brabens quote, if you will:

      Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket, nobody else's.

      He isnt 'stating that you don't care if the games you make are good or bad', he's saying that it doesn't matter now because the second hand market has grown to the extent where it is reducing sales of

  • -low replay value
    -short games

    Many RPG games, I was not able to finish in a few weeks. The first Metal Gear Solid on the original Playstation I never gave away, not because of the game, but after I beat that, I kept at the training exercises.

    Although I cannot account for console games today, I play mostly flash games. Even pay for a few.

  • Just a little while ago, there was a /. article with the headline:
    "Atari Purchases Cryptic Studios For $26.7 Million"

    Now we hear:

    "Atari executives recently commented that used game sales are "extremely painful"

    Boo. Hoo.

    Seriously, computers must be the only market where anyone pays attention to execs whining about used sales.
    (Oh, wait--except for music and movies. Can we just blame Sony for all of this?)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ow publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies

    And where do those used games come from? Those high quality games, that people are going to keep playing for years, how did they get into the used game store a few weeks after release?

    Maybe this is not really "regardless of the game's quality", but rather that NONE of the games you make have a replay value of more than a few weeks.

  • by nEoN nOoDlE (27594) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @06:44AM (#26057587) Homepage

    Used games exist so deal with it. There are a lot of things that would affect how many people bought your games. If used games were outlawed then more people might buy games. If computers had hardware DRM that prevented any game from being played unless it phoned home to the game manufacturer, people might buy more games. If the government mandated that people buy at least 2 games a week, people would buy more games. That's not the world we're living in, so I guess the games industry has to do what everyone else has to do and cater to their existing customers. They're not entitled to protection for their business plans, and them saying that it's used games that's causing decrease in quality and affecting price is bullshit. When the demand for new games drops because there are used games, the rules of the market dictate that the companies have to LOWER their prices to compensate. Not raise them. People aren't buying them already! Why would they buy them at a higher cost? And, in turn, if the market forces you to lower your price, then you have to spend less making games. This doesn't necessarily dictate a decrease in quality. Look at World of Goo, Penny Arcade Adventures, Enigmo, Field Runners, Castle Crashers or Braid. Those games are dirt cheap to make, and are fun and original. This means that there might not be a Gears of War 3 or a Call of Duty 5, but you could make 10 Portals for the price of 1 Gears of War. I've been playing more games than ever before, and they haven't been AAA titles. They've been $20 games that I buy off XBox Live Arcade or the iPhone App Store, or from indie developers. I also bought The Force Unleashed, a highly anticipated AAA title, and it's been sitting on my shelf collecting dust. From my perspective it's never been better to be a gamer. There are so many choices for distribution and the barrier to entry has never been lower so there are a lot of inexpensive, entertaining games out. That's the biggest danger to the mainstream game market. And next time I think about putting up $60 for a supposed AAA title, I'll hold out a week and get it used.

  • "gamers start buying used copies which generates money that goes into GameStop's pocket"

    This sounds more like a tirade against GameStop than anything else, mostly because they're an upscale video game pawn shop.

    For most people, games are sold used on normal channels such as eBay and Craigslist. That puts money back into the gamer's pocket so that they can buy more games.
  • How about if the Publishers themselves began buying back used copies of their games and resold them for a lower price, perhaps with some extra goodies thrown in to draw customers away from places like GameStop.

    To me this basically sounds like more greedy bitching and whining from an industry that still produces mostly crap (with a few notable exceptions here and there).
  • I seem to remember (Score:4, Interesting)

    by stimpy (11763) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @08:14AM (#26058247) Homepage

    the movie industry saying the same thing about rental shops when they first came out. They ended up dropping the price of videotapes (Yes, I'm old. Deal.) from $50 to $19.95. They don't seem to complain about that any more. Maybe if the game companies dropped the prices to begin with, more people would buy them when they first come out.

  • by clickety6 (141178) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @08:16AM (#26058275)

    If you want me to buy "Megagame 2" but don't want me to sell my copy of "Megagame 1" in case it creates competition for your Megagame 2 sales, then offer me a voucher for my copy of Megagame 1 (you only need to match or slightly better the price places like Gamestop would pay me). Said voucher to to be used when purchasing Megagame 2 )or another of your product line).

    Then when you have my copy of Megagame 1, you can destroy it so it never threatens your future sales again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by wild_quinine (998562)

      If you want me to buy "Megagame 2" but don't want me to sell my copy of "Megagame 1" in case it creates competition for your Megagame 2 sales, then offer me a voucher for my copy of Megagame 1 (you only need to match or slightly better the price places like Gamestop would pay me). Said voucher to to be used when purchasing Megagame 2 )or another of your product line). Then when you have my copy of Megagame 1, you can destroy it so it never threatens your future sales again.

      This was actually done by Epic, during that period of time before they started assfucking PC gamers for fun and profit. If you bought UT 2003, and wanted UT2004 (which basically included all of the content of UT 2003, in what can only be described as a bargainous adventure into consumer value) you could send them back your 'Play' disc from UT2003 and get a rebate on UT2004. I think it was about 10 bucks, but it was still a nice thing to do!

  • really? painful? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DragonTHC (208439) <Dragon@gamerslas ... .com minus berry> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @08:26AM (#26058337) Homepage Journal

    first, I've been playing PC games for over 2 decades.

    Quality has dropped drastically. Technology increased which gave the illusion of high quality. Games today are a horrendous value compared to just ten years ago. Content has dropped from an observed average of 25 hours of gameplay to around 6 hours. Half the budget is blown by publishers on marketing. Publishers have also gotten quite complacent about their position in the industry. When you have more than 3 sequels, it's easy to forget about innovation.

    Since games are so short these days, people go through them faster. Thus they go to the retailers what sell used games.

  • by Tom (822)

    Now publishers and developers just see revenue the initial few weeks regardless of the game's quality and then gamers start buying used copies

    Maybe that's because the replay value of your titles has dropped? All those cutscenes, interactive-movie "games" where there's exactly one plot to follow on exactly one road, you know? Few people see a movie twice, even a good one. So in becoming more like a movie, that's one of the consequences for your games.

    Meanwhile, I still dig up games like Crusader Kings occasionally.

  • for the last 10 years, you have been rehashing and selling old game concepts, hell, even old games themselves. Final Supremacy XVII. Blowing Tittage MCLMXXIV .....

    you've made a mass production industry out of gaming. some generated graphics, some makeshift storyline, whoops, $60 bucks a pop.

    take a lesson from wii's success. they went back to basics ; FUN. instead of shoving rehashed, mass produced CRAP like the other game/console providers do, they went to primal basics, and met the need for fun in pe
  • Oh, really? Great games don't sell beyond the first weeks? Leaving aside that the only recent Frontier Development title I know about is Lost Winds, a download-only game that obviously can't be resold, many games are selling for a long time. Nintendo manages to make games that keep selling a lot for months or even years (a quick check on Amazon shows Mario Kart DS at the top of the DS charts, a game that came out some time last year IIRC). Perhaps the games Braben observed just weren't that great and didn't

  • I'm fairly certain that I'm not the only person who reflects this demographic:

    Virtually all of my games were purchases second hand. This is mostly true of console games, where about half were bought used; and it is almost entirely true of PC game, where only two titles were bought new. There are a few reasons for that. Cost is certainly one of those reasons, but the importance of games in my life (or lack thereof) is the biggest reason.

    Simply put, those of us who don't think of gaming as the end-all and

  • Context (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Xest (935314) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @11:04AM (#26060205)

    Just keep in mind, regardless of all the doom and gloom reports, the Games industry is still posting new record profits year on year, so it's obviously not that big a problem.

    What they really mean is they want to make even more profit and rather than produce games that are of better quality and/or appeal to wider audiences they want to keep shifting the same old crap but make more from it.

    Make no mistake, the whole Spore DRM debacle had nothing to do with piracy and everything to do with preventing second hand sales. The games industry has set it's sights on the second hand market as a way to increase profits without increasing effort, I do not think it will win, but accept consumers to have to listen to whines from the industry and take it from behind on DRM and stuff for a little while yet.

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