Bargains Are for Cheaters

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Bargains Are for Cheaters

Buying used games isn't "cheating," but what are the alternatives?

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If I don't buy a new game off of a Gamestop shelf, the developer loses nothing. Gamestop already paid the developer/publisher for the game in order to put it on the shelves. Half of the argument is invalid from the get-go.

You know the real cheaters? Those damn gamers who borrow stuff from the library! Both developers and Gamestop don't get a dime from them. Play all you like for free? Libraries are a threat to game developers, book sellers, the movie industry, and record labels! Burn 'em down!

Sorry for the hyperbole, but really. Why do you think no one raises a stink about free media from libraries?

I've raged about game prices too, Why can I still find Halo 3 for 50 bucks? The game is 3 years old. I'll repeat this for emphasis THREE years old.

You make a good point, old games should be cheaper. I'd definitely have a larger library and try at games I'd passed over when they were first released.

I do a lot of research before I drop 60 on a game. I just don't have the income and so I buy less, but if say a 3 old game is suddenly 10-15 bucks I'd definitely pick it up.

Krakyn:
If I don't buy a new game off of a Gamestop shelf, the developer loses nothing. Gamestop already paid the developer for the game in order to put it on the shelves. Half of the argument is invalid from the get-go.

The point is that with used games, via one purchase over the life of that particular disc via used game sales, it could have 2-5 owners. So while there are 2-5 people who'd like to play the game, only one copy is ever actually sold by the store/publisher. Publishers want to make it so each of those 2-5 people each buy a copy of the game.

Also, as for the argument that gamestop bought the game from the publisher already. If gamestop sells all the new copies it has, it will order more, bringing even more money to the publisher.

its somewhat ironic that thq is whining about this when they have some of the most agressive pricing Ive seen, meaning they seem more then willing to cut down the price of a new game or to put stuff up on steam sale or give consumers more shit for free then really almost anyone else

In the UK we have a tiered pricing system. I always buy my games brand new about 3 months after release, usually pay 20-30 quid for them. (Release Price 45).

Which annoyingly hasn't worked for Modern Warfare 2 or Red Dead: Redemption. ._.

Worgen:
its somewhat ironic that thq is whining about this when they have some of the most agressive pricing Ive seen, meaning they seem more then willing to cut down the price of a new game or to put stuff up on steam sale or give consumers more shit for free then really almost anyone else

Maybe because aggressive pricing isn't working for them? That's got to be frustrating.

This is one of the best article I have yet read on the used games debacle. I like your idea to gradually decrease the price of the game over time (more than they are decreasing now anyway). That could actually work out well for everybody. Let us just hope that publishers will listen (though I doubt it).

Zerbye:
You know the real cheaters? Those damn gamers who borrow stuff from the library! Both developers and Gamestop don't get a dime from them. Play all you like for free? Libraries are a threat to game developers, book sellers, the movie industry, and record labels! Burn 'em down!

Sorry for the hyperbole, but really. Why do you think no one raises a stink about free media from libraries?

You can get games from the library?!

There have been a hell of a lot of used game arguments for quite a few days now...

Instead of going and finding one of my super long posts I'm going to be lazy and address one argument.

People saying that a used game has already been payed for.

You know what damn straight it has.

But lets count it shall we? That's the developer payed once. 1:1
Then it gets sold on... the developer now has half the money they would have. 1/2
... And again... that's now 1/3
Oh they got bored of it... sold it on... 1/4
So on so forth.

I once had someone say 'You are too optimistic in you're amount of used game sales'.

Well I wish to direct you here... well over here -> http://www.cex.co.uk

This is a shop that sells entirely second hand.
Now I don't use it as much as I used to for games as mainly I want new releases.
But I worked there for 2 weeks for work experience and when I used to go in every other day I could see how much stuff was passed on.

One copy of one game can go through 20 hands (1/20).

I'm not saying that used game sales are the worst thing in the world for game devs.
But seriously don't go on a rant when developers and publishers try and claw some of their money back from pre-owned losses...

Danzaivar:

You can get games from the library?!

In Boston, absolutely. At the moment, I've got Split/Second for the 360 (very fun, BTW). Log in to your library account, place a request for a specific game, and be prepared to wait. Sometimes for a long time.

Or just check out the gaming section and grab what they have.

Uh-oh, I may have opened the floodgates.

Zerbye:

Worgen:
its somewhat ironic that thq is whining about this when they have some of the most agressive pricing Ive seen, meaning they seem more then willing to cut down the price of a new game or to put stuff up on steam sale or give consumers more shit for free then really almost anyone else

Maybe because aggressive pricing isn't working for them? That's got to be frustrating.

probably because it involves money and history has shown that just having allot doesnt mean you dont want allot more (see activision)

I sort of agree. It'd be nice for game prices to go down gradually. I think operation ten dollar is an interesting but flawed attempt at a solution. I think charging extra for online play on a preowned title is fair though. As a consumer of used games the publishers don't owe you a thing anyway, so it's not a matter of customers being mistreated. But the reason estra content ultimately fails is that, for example, I didn't have a decent broadband hook up while playing Dragon Age. It was just a crappy portable thing because I lived away for college but came home on weekends and needed to bring the broadband with me back and forth. To cut a long story short I couldn't play as Shale in Dragon Age and basically missed out on the full game even though I was willing to pay full price for it on release. Expansions never bothered me because they were just that, expansions, but Shale was a part of the original game that I couldn't get. Publishers need to throw away the stick and start dangling a carrot or people won't bother anymore. I don't really see how charging for online play has a negative effect on people who buy new titles though and as I've always said if you don't pay the full price you don't get the full product but with DLC some people who do pay full price don't get the full product and that's just not right.

Shamus, you win. So much. I would hug you if you were here. You totally hit the nail on the head with this one. I should also point out that if you want to discourage used games, you better have a damn good recycling program. What am I supposed to do with that disc when I'm done with it? Throw it in a landfill?

Shamus Young:
snip

Once again, thank you so very much for writing what I've been feeling, but unable to articulate on my own. Yes the developers are hurt, but you really can't blame the consumer, or gamestop even, for taking advantage of a yawning chasm in the video game market; namely that of lower priced, older games. Sure, once a game gets so old it's collectable and hard to find, I can understand the price going back up to near (or even above, in rare cases) the original price. But after it's been out for, even let's say 6 months, the game should be more affordable. I know that's 3/4 of the reason I haven't bought a "new" game since Christmas-time, and instead broke out an old copy of Baldur's Gate instead. If I could walk into a game store and see some older games for even 10% off their original price new, I'd be more inclined to take a chance on something that wasn't one of my "I have to have it now" titles.

Shamus Young:
Experienced Points: Bargains Are for Cheaters

Buying used games isn't "cheating," but what are the alternatives?

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while this is awesome and i can completely agree,

we've got to remember the target audience...gamers.

i swear we are the cheapest people on the planet, most gamers would wait 6 months to get a game for 30-40 bucks than pay 50-60 for it at the start. So im just curious as to how this would affect how games are sold off release, because im sure the developers really depend on that first month of selling to really get a wage out of the game they just created.

but i would rather see this than give gamestop money, i am guilty of selling/buying used games (to my local store though, forget gamestop, they can watch me rub my nutsack on their logo and thats the most they will get out of me)

this is a good well written article on how i feel for the most part, developers and customers need to stop punishing each other and need to find a way to get the real culprit, gamestop.

Danzaivar:
In the UK we have a tiered pricing system. I always buy my games brand new about 3 months after release, usually pay 20-30 quid for them. (Release Price 45).

Which annoyingly hasn't worked for Modern Warfare 2 or Red Dead: Redemption. ._.

This comes closest to my solution for doing things, which basically runs on the question "Why do you have to buy new games straight away?". Seriously, I'm asking y'all Why? Is it so you can jump online or talk to your friends and brag about the fact you've beaten it before them? Because unless you're the sort of dick who gives all the spoileres away, you really have nothing to say except "It's awesomely awesome and you should buy it and play it". Or perhaps you're afraid of being the only one who hasn't played it, in which case you've got some other serious problems going on there.

The main crux of the matter here seems to come down to gamers saying $60 (or ~40 for my people) is too much for a game. Damn fucking right it is, but no one is making you pay this money. Wait a few months (sometimes less if the game flops) and you can pick it up for 1/2 this. Cases in point: Alpha Protocol is around 15 on Amazon, Alan Wake is <20, and Bioshock 2 is currently 9.99. (games chosen due to recent 2010 release and as they were fairly big releases)

I can't remember the last time I bought a game on release, instead I go through the Steam sales (mostly a pc gamer), or buy on Amazon/Play when stuff gets below 10 (only if it's things I really want). It's not that I don't have the cash to buy games, I just realise the impracticality of paying for games at a currently overinflated price. I should also mention I never pirate games unless I owned them once and either lost them or they stopped working.

The only issue is that some games never seem to come down in price, the examples which spring to mind here are the newest CoD games. Calling RDR may be a bit premature seeing as it's barely been out. But I think that if everyone did start refusing to pay release day prices and wait until it's cheaper, then they may get the message and lower the price altogether.

TL-DR version: You don't need to get the game on day 1 when it costs an arm & a leg.

Sorry if anyone feels insulted by anything in there, it's just a question baffled me for a while.

Here's another reason to buy used: Because stores no longer carry the games when they're older. Seriously, I'll be damned if I ever find Devil May Cry 4 or something.

Hicerion:

Krakyn:
If I don't buy a new game off of a Gamestop shelf, the developer loses nothing. Gamestop already paid the developer for the game in order to put it on the shelves. Half of the argument is invalid from the get-go.

The point is that with used games, via one purchase over the life of that particular disc via used game sales, it could have 2-5 owners. So while there are 2-5 people who'd like to play the game, only one copy is ever actually sold by the store/publisher. Publishers want to make it so each of those 2-5 people each buy a copy of the game.

I imagine you don't understand what it's like to not have much of a budget. If there's no used game market, those people who bought the game used likely can't afford the game new, so it goes from Gamestop making money and the company losing none, to Gamestop not making money and the company losing none. The developer/publisher can't make hypothetical profits. If you take money from a publisher or they have to do a mass recall or something, sure, they lost money. But if their product just doesn't sell new copies, that's not a loss, that's a neutrality.

Also, as for the argument that gamestop bought the game from the publisher already. If gamestop sells all the new copies it has, it will order more, bringing even more money to the publisher.

Like I said in the last paragraph, there is a ceiling on opportunity costs for most people. It's not that they'll suddenly buy the used game, they'll just not buy it. Or they'll borrow it from a friend, or get it on ebay, or craigslist, or get a couple of friends and go in on one copy that they can split. Or they'll just wait for the price to go down over time. Or they'll pirate it. There are plenty of ways that simply getting rid of Gamestop's used games market WON'T work, but everybody seems to pin them as the blight of developers.

Krakyn:

Hicerion:

Krakyn:
...

...

I imagine you don't understand what it's like to not have much of a budget. If there's no used game market, those people who bought the game used likely can't afford the game new, so it goes from Gamestop making money and the company losing none, to Gamestop not making money and the company losing none. The developer/publisher can't make hypothetical profits. If you take money from a publisher or they have to do a mass recall or something, sure, they lost money. But if their product just doesn't sell new copies, that's not a loss, that's a neutrality.
...

You have to factor in the "hypothetical profts", however. That's the entire principle of opportunity cost: yes, you might have made five bucks, but if you had done something different then you could have made ten. Thus, you lost five bucks. While that's not the exactly the same principle that's in play in the games market, it's the same idea.

OT: There's a big issue with the idea of dropping cost, however.

Many people say that the simplest solution is for the publishers to simply drop their prices to a point where they are competitive with GameStop and its brethren. However, there is a problem with that: the publishers could never be competitive. GameStop buys back games at a price that is blatant highway robbery. How can a developer/publisher compete with a company that buys back the game for five bucks, then turns around and sells it for forty? Yes, the publisher might cut back on GameStop's profit margins, but they could never truly compete.

Unfortunately, there's no good way out of this. GameStop isn't doing anything illegal or stupid, their business plans are actually quite brilliant in a slimy way. Yes, gamers might actively avoid buying from GameStop, but let's face it, those who self-identify as "gamers" are the minority. For every heroic defender of the developer you will have three coupon-clipping cheapskates that will simply look at the price tags, not what's behind them. The only real way to help with the problem is for the developers to push harder for "Buy new, get this in-game ____" prizes or bind-on-account games, a la Steam. Both are being implemented, although the former is being pushed hard by GameStop, a fact that I can't understand. Why would developers agree to give special prizes to people who bought the game from the leeches at GameStop? It seems silly.

The less you care, the longer you wait and the less you pay. Games should have been doing this as a matter of standard procedure years ago.

Steam's been doing it for quite some time....

Zerbye:
You know the real cheaters? Those damn gamers who borrow stuff from the library! Both developers and Gamestop don't get a dime from them. Play all you like for free? Libraries are a threat to game developers, book sellers, the movie industry, and record labels! Burn 'em down!

Sorry for the hyperbole, but really. Why do you think no one raises a stink about free media from libraries?

You know, that's an interesting point. I've never heard anyone complain about this.

whaleswiththumbs:
This.

This what?

The_root_of_all_evil:

The less you care, the longer you wait and the less you pay. Games should have been doing this as a matter of standard procedure years ago.

Steam's been doing it for quite some time....

This is true, and plus STEAM hs it down to a great tea on how to work it

Breaker deGodot:

Zerbye:
You know the real cheaters? Those damn gamers who borrow stuff from the library! Both developers and Gamestop don't get a dime from them. Play all you like for free? Libraries are a threat to game developers, book sellers, the movie industry, and record labels! Burn 'em down!

Sorry for the hyperbole, but really. Why do you think no one raises a stink about free media from libraries?

You know, that's an interesting point. I've never heard anyone complain about this.

You know why? Because it's ridiculous. That's why.

Catalyst6:
There's a big issue with the idea of dropping cost, however.

Many people say that the simplest solution is for the publishers to simply drop their prices to a point where they are competitive with GameStop and its brethren. However, there is a problem with that: the publishers could never be competitive. GameStop buys back games at a price that is blatant highway robbery. How can a developer/publisher compete with a company that buys back the game for five bucks, then turns around and sells it for forty? Yes, the publisher might cut back on GameStop's profit margins, but they could never truly compete.

Unfortunately, there's no good way out of this. GameStop isn't doing anything illegal or stupid, their business plans are actually quite brilliant in a slimy way. Yes, gamers might actively avoid buying from GameStop, but let's face it, those who self-identify as "gamers" are the minority. For every heroic defender of the developer you will have three coupon-clipping cheapskates that will simply look at the price tags, not what's behind them. The only real way to help with the problem is for the developers to push harder for "Buy new, get this in-game ____" prizes or bind-on-account games, a la Steam. Both are being implemented, although the former is being pushed hard by GameStop, a fact that I can't understand. Why would developers agree to give special prizes to people who bought the game from the leeches at GameStop? It seems silly.

And if Gamestop was only making $8 from a used game, instead of $30, they'd stop. There's not enough profit in the former to make it worth their while.

My question: WHY don't console games get marked down? (Note: PC games most definitely do. You can get Fallout 3, plus all expansions, for like $30.) If we can answer this, we might be able to solve the problem- and I would have a lot more games, and the developers would have sold a bunch of those copies they inevitably have just lying around.

Catalyst6:
There's a big issue with the idea of dropping cost, however.

Many people say that the simplest solution is for the publishers to simply drop their prices to a point where they are competitive with GameStop and its brethren. However, there is a problem with that: the publishers could never be competitive. GameStop buys back games at a price that is blatant highway robbery. How can a developer/publisher compete with a company that buys back the game for five bucks, then turns around and sells it for forty? Yes, the publisher might cut back on GameStop's profit margins, but they could never truly compete.

Unfortunately, there's no good way out of this. GameStop isn't doing anything illegal or stupid, their business plans are actually quite brilliant in a slimy way. Yes, gamers might actively avoid buying from GameStop, but let's face it, those who self-identify as "gamers" are the minority. For every heroic defender of the developer you will have three coupon-clipping cheapskates that will simply look at the price tags, not what's behind them. The only real way to help with the problem is for the developers to push harder for "Buy new, get this in-game ____" prizes or bind-on-account games, a la Steam. Both are being implemented, although the former is being pushed hard by GameStop, a fact that I can't understand. Why would developers agree to give special prizes to people who bought the game from the leeches at GameStop? It seems silly.

If you are talking about the pre-order things, I think the fact its talking about new games makes it acceptable evil to the publishers. But I completely agree with what you said first, Gamestop buys used games for so little, that unless developers giveaway their games, they'll never be able to compete. As much as I hate the bull Gamestop does, if I was to run a business like it, I would use the same thing if possible, cause I want money for my business, screw the gamers form of ethics.

*Edit*

aldowyn:
My question: WHY don't console games get marked down? (Note: PC games most definitely do. You can get Fallout 3, plus all expansions, for like $30.) If we can answer this, we might be able to solve the problem- and I would have a lot more games, and the developers would have sold a bunch of those copies they inevitably have just lying around.

Hehe, funny you say Fallout 3, as I just baught that for PC for just $27.99 from Walmart today.

Not sure how to start a slow clap that builds into a big one but that is what you need with this article. I would add in a paragraph about a little known service called Steam. I have a TON of games in my library that I have picked up when they have their incredible sales. These are new "copies" that both Value and the publisher and the developer got paid for. They might not have gotten as much as they would have for a new copy but they did get paid for it. I don't bother looking for these old games on ebay or at the used book store anymore (unless I want to collect the box). There is no reason too. Heck, a friend of mine even bought a new copy of Bioshock for the PC for 5 bucks instead of borrowing my Xbox 360 copy.

If the publishers/developers want to put a stop to used games, they should compete with them in the, oh I don't know, capitalist society that we tend to live in. If I see a game that I was kinda interested in for 10 to 20 bucks, I will probably pick it up, even if I don't have time to play it. But at 50 or 60 bucks, no way. I only buy new games that I really love (looking at you Fallout 3). But, I picked up Brutal Legend a couple of months back when it was on sale for 20 bucks new. Glad I did too, that game was great.

Anyhow, probably beating a dead horse now. Just wanted to say thanks for bringing the gradual pricing model up. Just don't hear the publishers/developers want to talk about having to compete in the marketplace.

Edited to fix some grammer...

Brilliant article.

Simply put, as much as they complain, legally they can do nothing about it. When I buy that game, that DISC IS MINE! I can do WHATEVER I want with it. Use it as intended, throw it as a frisbee, use it as a coaster, even sell it to someone else for them to use. The license for using it gets transferred as well.

If game companies don't like used game sales, maybe they should try to figure out how to encourage people to buy new copies - like, I dunno, giving them free DLC like Mass Effect 2? That seemed to work.

And what are they complaining about anyway? Used games sales have existed since games have existed, and that's a fact. It didn't kill them 20, 10, 5 years ago, it ain't gonna kill them now. They are just whining over the fact that people will do what they legally can with what they legally own.

Used games sales aren't killing the industry. If they were, the industry would be dead long by now. They're annoyed that they only made 50 million in profits, when they wanted to make 70 million in profits, and I understand that they are annoyed at that, but you know what?

THEY
CAN
DO
NOTHING
ABOUT
IT.

So take that Cory.

RvLeshrac:

Catalyst6:
...

And if Gamestop was only making $8 from a used game, instead of $30, they'd stop. There's not enough profit in the former to make it worth their while.

Ah, but publishers couldn't drop their costs lower than what it took to make the game plus a little for profit. Thus, GameStop could always stay *just* below what they set it at. You have to remember that GameStop has almost zero overhead, except the stores and employees, of course.

I wonder if Gamestop isn't setting themselves up for an epic fall...similar to what happened this week to Blockbuster http://www.bizjournals.com/charlotte/stories/2010/08/23/daily32.html

By turning themselves into retail pawn shops, they are antagonizing the publishers. In turn, the publishers are inovating how they sell their games. Hard drives are getting cheaper, the cloud is getting closer and bandwidth at home is goin up all the time. Sooner or later (and since I buy most games from Steam now, probably sooner) Gamestop is not going to be needed.

It would make more sense for them to cut the developers into the resale market and give developers a reason to keep using Gamestop as a retail outlet.

Dear THQ,

I buy a lot of games a year! Many are new, some are used and I even do a little renting. I own a PS3, Xbox 360, a Wii and a PC. I am a customer of yours. You have called me a cheater because I decided what a game is worth and not what you tell me a game is worth. Because of this, I will either rent or buy used the next two to three games from you that interest me. I don't care if you somehow publish the next Bioshock game, you will not get a dime from me. Stop insulting potential customers. Stop whining.

Regards,
Acalla

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