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The Almighty Buck Entertainment Games

Vital Parts of Games As DLC? 446

Epic Games president Michael Capps did an interview recently with GamesIndustry, and he had some interesting things to say about the future of downloadable content, and how it will affect the retail games market. He also discussed the trend toward social gaming, and Epic's plans in that regard. Quoting: "I'm not sure how big it is here [in Europe], but the secondary market is a huge issue in the United States. Our primary retailer makes the majority of its money off of secondary sales, and so you're starting to see games taking proactive steps toward that by ... if you buy the retail version you get the unlock code. I've talked to some developers who are saying 'If you want to fight the final boss you go online and pay USD 20, but if you bought the retail version you got it for free.' We don't make any money when someone rents it, and we don't make any money when someone buys it used — way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it."
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Vital Parts of Games As DLC?

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  • Epic Games.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Monday November 10, 2008 @10:56PM (#25715413)
    A once great game company. It's amazing that this is the same company that released those bonus packs for Unreal Tournament. They have really turned in to money grubbing whores. I blame people like Mike Capps.
  • Re:Book Publishers (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Iamthecheese ( 1264298 ) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:20PM (#25715625)
    "competition." If any of you slashdotters feel like starting up a game company this is a great time: Many Americans will be looking for something fun to do with their welfare checks-cum-tax rebates. Furthermore there are many coders willing to work for cheap in America and a public royally pissed off at the greed and mediocrity in the game business.
  • by narcberry ( 1328009 ) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:21PM (#25715633) Journal

    Sure it's lame, but I don't think this applies. You buy a product with an included key that can be consumed once. You can turn around and sell this product to a game store or friend, but if you consume the key, the product is nearly valueless.

    It's synonymous with food, well rotten food anyway.

  • Re:They're insane. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:22PM (#25715647)
    Except they are. No one (or at least, very few) rents or buys used games all the time. The average customer likely buys used sometimes, and buys new sometimes. Now they're screwing him over, and he'll never buy from them again. This is stupidity at its finest.
  • Re:Book Publishers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:29PM (#25715727)

    Not yet, but they're trying. There are already textbooks that come with single-use online codes that make them worthless as used if the class requires the online portion, and the book publishers are salivating over the possibility of licensing books the way that software is licensed.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Monday November 10, 2008 @11:51PM (#25715911) Journal
    Grandparent is actually correct: As you note, first sale applies. However, there is nothing stopping you from making some other agreement. In the case of movie rentals, the peculiar economics of movie production often makes this a preferable arrangement.

    If you are a rental place, buying movies at retail makes it very expensive to build up a large collection, particularly obscure stuff that will take ages to recoup the initial investment, or the bursty demand for new, popular, releases. Instead, you can establish a revenue sharing agreement with the studio, who will furnish you with as many copies of a given title as you need at the cost of pressing, which is trivial, and then share the revenue from each rental. [] [] []
  • Re:They're insane. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by fimbulvetr ( 598306 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @12:33AM (#25716225)

    The only reason I buy new games is so I can trade them in within 6-12 months and get a good amount back for them. Sometimes gamestop, etc. has a special with their membership + quantity of games that blows anything like the hassle of shipping them to ebay purchasers out of the water. I am willing to pay 50-60 bucks because I know I can re-coup more than half that when I trade them back in. If they start taking that value away, then my new game budget goes down dramatically.

    Of course, I generally only buy games getting 8+ or higher on all reviews, which is incredibly helpful for overall worth when trading them back in because most are not shitfests like the latest excuse for a spiderman game.

    The remainder of the money I "lost" can be attributed to the premium I paid to get the game close to/on release date, and the fact that companies have to make a profit - which I'm OK with seeing as they wouldn't be investing the amount of effort it takes into getting an 8+ game out the door without the good chance of them making a buck.

  • Re:Epic Games.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Captain Spam ( 66120 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:20AM (#25716505) Homepage

    Funny how I think they left the PC game industry because they were whining about piracy, and how going console-only would solve that so wonderfully and magically.

    And now, it's bitch, bitch, bitch all over again! It's the players' fault! Screw you, customers! What've customers ever done for them, anyway?

  • Re:They're insane. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Miseph ( 979059 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @01:43AM (#25716643) Journal

    But it doesn't, and here's how we know... 6 months after most games come out, they cost at least $20 less than they did on their street date, yet copies are still being printed and shipped, and money is still being made.

    They can't sell old games at full price, and they've known it for a while, but some shit-for-brains got the stupid idea that, all experience to the contrary aside, maybe they actually can do it.

    Of course, this also begs the question: if a game can be sold at profit for less down the line, how the fuck can you justify the high price at release as something other than a money grab?

  • by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:06AM (#25716747) Homepage

    I'd pay $10 to access a metric assload of older games, too. Provided they were updated to run on current machines.

    Know what I wouldn't pay for?

    "Here's your racing game. Its all shiny and new! Hey, all of those cars online are beating you :( Better buy that car so you can compete!"


    "Here's your war game. Better buy that explodorifle so you can kill those tanks. Because everyone has one, they paid for theirs fair and square."

    Gunbound is the perfect example. You can pay and get a pretty decent advantage. I avoid Gunbound because of that and the cheats.

  • Re:They're insane. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mabhatter654 ( 561290 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @02:09AM (#25716763)

    we should dispose of our widgets each day when we are done enjoying them into recycle bins. Then go to work for credits in the factories recycling yesterday's "junk" into new cool items. Then nobody loses!!!

  • Re:Epic Games.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:27AM (#25717769)

    GoW2 is a piece of shit sequel to a piece of shit game. The console gamers probably just don't know any better, but this doesn't change the facts. I didn't like the product so I didn't buy it, but that's Epic's problem, not mine.

  • Re:They're insane. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:03AM (#25717965)

    here []. Looks like I was wrong with the 40%, that looks more like 60%. There's a quarterly loss of 300 million USD, that would be a billion over a year if it stayed constant. Not sure how much they really lost, the billions figure was just something I read in comments on a forum.

    Late Thursday, the company reported that its net losses grew in the second fiscal quarter thanks to a sharp rise in expenses. Revenue also climbed, thanks to strong sales of video-game titles such as "Madden NFL," "Spore" and "Rock Band 2."

    So revenue is up, sales are up but the company is bleeding money like mad. Seems this whole talk about next generation games costing too much to be profitable has something to it.

  • Re:They're insane. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:30AM (#25718513)
    No one (or at least, very few) rents or buys used games all the time. The average customer likely buys used sometimes, and buys new sometimes. Now they're screwing him over, and he'll never buy from them again.

    Actually, he'll just buy less often. The price of a new game is £X. The expected return when it is sold on the second-hand market is £Y. Then the cost to the customer is £(X - Y). If you eliminate the second-hand market, then you have effectively jacked up the price of your game by £Y. That will put off customers, who will therefore buy fewer games. Until you cut prices by, oh, about £Y, leaving you right back where you started.

    The publishers are being paid for second-hand sales, because the existence of a second-hand market allows them to charge more for a new product than they could otherwise.

  • Re:They're insane. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NoisySplatter ( 847631 ) <noisysplatter@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @09:22AM (#25719227)

    I worked at an EB Games/Gamestop and I thought that whole $5 mark down thing was pretty dumb too, but if your Gamestop sells people scratched games then they're just being assholes. At our store we would show the customer the quality of the disc before they bought it and made sure they went home with something playable. If a trade in was scratched then it got sent to the company for resurfacing.

    The thing that really annoyed me was the pressure to sell their magazine subscriptions and "disc warranties". I quit shortly after they tried to get us to sell mobile phones, Helio Mobile to be precise.

Friction is a drag.