Bargains Are for Cheaters

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Yeah, that's funny. Game companies can always shame gamers into paying for their products. That's been working great for years.

Meh, brick-and-mortar stores in AU are beyond retarded most of the time anyway, so I usually only go there to look rather than buy; most of my purchases are either digital or from online stores, usually from Britain. Seriously, I've seen stores offering the used copies of games for more than what it would cost for a brand new copy. If this sounds good to you, factor in that Australia gets some of the most overblown prices in the world anyway, and all you have left are preowned games that don't even deserve the shelf-space.

Case in point:
I got Borderlands online for ~AU$35.
Brand new copy in store (one week later) costs AU$75
Preowned copy, same store, same time costs AU$95
I kid you not.

Edit: and by the way, that copy of Borderlands I got? Brand new.

I'm in full agreement with Mr. Young here. Developers would do well to slash prices as it would give gamers better incentive to buy new as opposed to buying used to save money. Digital Distribution would also be a good idea. Blizzard has gotten on board with it and now sells it's titles over the net to be downloaded directly. By doing it this way, it eliminates overhead created by CD or Blu-Ray which allows developers to sell at lower prices and still generate profit.

In the Playstation era many new games would go for around $40. That's my ceiling. I refuse to pay more than that unless it's a game I'm absolutely sure I'll love. I got a Super Nintendo in 1996; I'm no stranger to hopping on a technology right when it becomes obsolete and picking up everything that's worthwhile. Prices will come down, it's just a question of whether the developer will make anything off me by the time they do.

I'm lucky that most of the games pushing artistic boundaries today aren't big-budget 60 dollar titles. At least I can support innovation while still being a tightwad. Hell, I doubt I'll ever play most of the big blockbusters with the excess of shooters and linear 4-6 hour games. Games are a lot prettier but the gameplay options are far more anemic than they used to be. I like platformers, I like RPGs, I like strategy, I like side-scrolling shooters. I can find that stuff, certainly, but not in the quantity I'd like. There's a reason I haven't upgraded from the PS2. This is another generation where I'm gonna come in at the end and feast on the spoils. (And in the meantime borrow, borrow, borrow.) I don't see a worthwhile reason to do otherwise.

Dorkmaster Flek:
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?

Sell it directly to someone else, not a store. Cut out the middle man.

Ben"Yahtzee"Croshaw

Oh shut up. You got about half the issue and you're speaking out your ass on the rest, as usual.

Since they're inextricably linked, I'll just jump straight into piracy.

The only type of piracy the film industry cares about is pre-release stuff. Things that jump the lines of "graduated billing" you describe. Screeners released online before films are even in theaters, while they're in theaters, or before they're on DVD. They don't care much about cam and telesync releases, as the quality there is always near complete ass. So the quality loss fits within their graduated billing lines... whether they like it or not.

The reason film only really cares about one type of piracy is most of the money in film is in ticket sales. Always was, always will be. Even if everyone and their brother has bluray players hooked up to 7.1 systems and 60" 1080p screens, the theater is still a better experience... at least after you feel you've paid back that still pretty sizable investment to sitting on your ass.

Music also has a type of graduated billing. If you care about the band, you pay for concert tickets and merchandise. The labels aren't happy about it, but the rest of the music industry has accepted mp3s, cds, legitimate or not, are simply advertising for concerts. If someone pays, gravy. But what they're selling are concert seats.

Video gaming... can't really have any sort of graduated billing. Theres nothing comparable to theaters or concerts, the products aren't very long (and still aren't priced at ~$7 an hour, like new DVDs or $15 an hour like some blurries), and don't depreciate in any form. A game is as good the day it's released as 20 years later. Collectors editions are mostly bullshit sold at the wrong end of the "care" schedule. Demand for the things increases as the IP gains popularity, so the guys who bought them early and don't want them anymore sell them for 2-4 times what they paid on ebay. Kinda like music, in that respect. So logically, collectors editions should hit the shelves after people already love the game or just not hit the shelves at all in the case of some games.

Basically, the entire video game business model is a confused mess taking all the wrong cues from music, film, and television. As far as that "price reduction" where does that come from? It sure as fuck isn't going to come out of the retailer's end. They'll just laugh, raise prices, and act like you're the asshole (not saying thats what happened with activision, but...). So that means either the publisher or the developer has to take a smaller cut... while the retailer gets the same amount of money. Theres also no guarantee the retailer will actually pass on their savings. So everyone who matters gets even less money, and the retailers are just "honest businessmen"...

But one thing isn't confused. Gamestop. Any dealing with gamestop benefits only gamestop. Consumers lose, publishers lose, developers lose, traders lose. They are currently in the bussiness of "heads I win, tails you lose" and doing extremely well for a completely cancerous parasite sucking the life out of the industry.

You can also stop bringing up any other "used" product. Doing so simply makes you look stupid. Car manufacturers make most of their money on maintenance. Selling "official" parts to "official" dealerships for people's massively overpriced maintenance/repair calls. Not to mention, used cars are regulated. A car must pass inspection before it can be sold. Getting cars to that point means buying parts from manufacturers. So manufacturers make money no matter what. Anything else... I've got an old trinitron sitting on my desk. I bought it for $20 five years ago. If it loses power or signal for any (and I mean any) length of time, I have to break out a hair dryer and heat up the back for 20-30 minutes. I know its only got one or two power failures before it never turns on again.

I recently bought Dragon Age Origins, my friend had been going on at me for ages saying it's the best game ever you have to play this. Suddenly I find myself with a gap in my life over the summer so I think what about that Dragon game I've heard so much about so while I'm in town I decide to pop into my local GAME and check it out.

45 they wanted for it and I'm not being funny but thats a lot for a game that's been out for a while, but the worst thing is in the same shop is a pre-owned copy for 9.99. Which am I going to buy?

I was simply dissapointed the very moment I ran up my 360 for the first time. I bought it from a friend and I bought the games on my own, the only "new" games I had were Gears of War 2 and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. I got bored of it (the 360) and I needed money pretty bad, I was cornered to selling my 360 and I did it. Now, I still need money, but not as badly as the past week. I even borrowed a couple of Steam discounts on the way.

I'm not cheating on Microsoft or anyone else, It's just business and I think (in my case) even the need for the money.
I'm on a strict diet of (cheap) PC (Steam) and NDS games right now and that's all what I need (plus food, washing my clothes, paying my rent...), until I get a new job.

This article is absolutely right. If you want to beat used game sales, you have to cut down the profit potential. I have bought a lot of games that were heavily discounted on Steam that I would have never purchased at their retail price. I didn't pay much, but the developers and publishers made money they never would have otherwise. Developers are not the problem, consumers are not the problem and retailers are not the problem. Publishers are the problem.

As a console gamer for whom Steam is simply not an option, I love used games. I can get a game I want for half or less. I've never bought a game when it first came out. I wait, see if it's any good, if it has anything I want, then I buy it.

As far as that goes, I don't owe the Developer a damn thing. I only owe me. I'm the consumer, I'm the one they want to buy the game. If they want me to buy it new, they need to give me a reason. I don't care about "supporting the developer". I care only about getting the best deal I can.

If I pay $60 for something I could pay $30, I've wasted thirty whole dollars. Likewise for movies, books, even cars. So if THQ wants to me to buy a game new then they need to give me a real reason to.

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

I don't know if it is just them. I bought Red Faction Guerrilla for $10 new at a Wal-mart. Saved me about $8 over buying it used at Gamestop.

tunderball:
I recently bought Dragon Age Origins, my friend had been going on at me for ages saying it's the best game ever you have to play this. Suddenly I find myself with a gap in my life over the summer so I think what about that Dragon game I've heard so much about so while I'm in town I decide to pop into my local GAME and check it out.

45 they wanted for it and I'm not being funny but thats a lot for a game that's been out for a while, but the worst thing is in the same shop is a pre-owned copy for 9.99. Which am I going to buy?

Been hearing about game. Its actually not part of the problem. They price pre-owned sales fairly, trade-ins fairly, and new copies fairly. They likely took a loss on that 10 sale.

The more I hear, the more It seems the issue of retailers being "parasites and thieves" (to quote a thread closer to where this actually started) is utterly exclusive to gamestop. To say, the issue isn't you selling your stuff on ebay or amazon. Starting to think the reason no one comes out and says, clearly and concisely, "gamestop are a bunch of fucking theives. Everyone else is cool," is that would be slander, and they'd get sued, and gamestop would get even more money from being a completely worthless tumor on the left ventricle of the video game industry.

DeadlyYellow:

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

I don't know if it is just them. I bought Red Faction Guerrilla for $10 new at a Wal-mart. Saved me about $8 over buying it used at Gamestop.

I got red faction guerrilla for free after I bought Darksiders

I don't buy used games, because I hate used things and I like to collect games(also the reason why I dislike buying on steam/gog etc).

Something I haven't heard anyone talk about:

The game being commented on is charging for online play. I think this is perfectly valid. Online play requires powerful servers, bandwidth, etc. that is IN ADDITION to the original development cost of the game. If you want to use their resources, you should really have to pay for it. The original buyer of the game paid for it, why shouldn't the used buyer of the game also have to pay for it?

Zerbye:

Krakyn:

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.

In all earnestness, why is it ridiculous? I can get access to games legally without paying the developers a cent from used game sales and the library. What makes one ridiculous and the other not? Aside from making the developers look really bad, that is.

I do think that people bashing used game sales is just as ridiculous (probably a bit less) than people bashing libraries. If you see all my other posts in this thread, used games sales do no harm to the developers because of price thresholds on used game consumers. They're not going to buy a $60 game under most circumstances, whether they want it or not. They're going to pirate it, borrow it from a friend, go in on it with somebody else, get it on craigslist, or something. But they're not going to pay $60 for it.

Libraries are places to store the knowledge and history of our world. Games are part of that knowledge and history, and if the library wants to buy a game and rent it out, that's their prerogative. You have to deal with some things though like a reservation waiting list, people not returning them on time, etc. If you go rent the game from the library, the developer got paid for that product, and it's just as if somebody passed it around to their friends afterward or sold it to Gamestop used. If you get your games from the library, you're a smart consumer.

they'd make a lot more money if they just go full digital distribution, knock down the price since they're no longer paying manufacturing costs for the physical media, packaging, and whatever content goes on said packaging. Then institute Shamus' idea of consistent depreciation in cost so that you can buy a game you weren't that interested in two or three years down the line to see what you missed out on.

Worgen:
I got red faction guerrilla for free after I bought Darksiders

I had forgotten about that deal, not that I had the money (or interest) to get Darksiders.

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.

lol? i hope you know it costs then less then $1 to create each CD and less then $0.05 to let you download it

If anything they should be giving out games for 15$ they would get much more business

Catalyst6:

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.

But publishers don't reduce the price of the next game if their previous game made them *MASSIVE* piles of money.

Do you think Activision is going to reduce the price of the next CoD title just because they've made shitloads of money from MW2? Nope, they're going to release it at the same price, if not more, and bitch about piracy.

ionveau:
lol? i hope you know it costs then less then $1 to create each CD and less then $0.05 to let you download it

If anything they should be giving out games for 15$ they would get much more business

... Isn't that post a little outside what most people expect from this place? "lol it no cost monies 2 maek games!!" ?

I mean, really? I thought people here knew enough about the industry to not say anything like that. Publishers invest millions into game development, pricing is based around seeing a return for all involved.

RvLeshrac:
But publishers don't reduce the price of the next game if their previous game made them *MASSIVE* piles of money.

Do you think Activision is going to reduce the price of the next CoD title just because they've made shitloads of money from MW2? Nope, they're going to release it at the same price, if not more, and bitch about piracy.

You know that acitivision raised their cut on modern warfare 2 (mw2 will always be mechwarrior 2, dirty heathen) in hopes of getting more than 15 or 20 percent from 11 million units sold, right? I realize once we start speaking in the hundreds of millions, most companies are just expected to deal with only a 10% payout for doing nothing but providing the initial investment (else they will be forever known as greedy and evil), but why should most of the proceeds of a successful game go to the retailers?

I think a big part of this problem is that Penny Arcade and other groups involved in this round of the debate on the publishers sides are former fan-friendly groups that have sold out. "PAX" has made it clear that Penny Arcade isn't really "our" voice anymore despite the fact that some people see them that way (and they can still be pretty funny).

The part of the equasion that is being missed here is that we're talking about an industry that is making billions of dollars in profits! Oh sure, there are game companies that do go out of business, but that happens in every area, no matter how successful. This whole thing is motivated by greed, not any real need to see this extra money in order to have it invested in producing more games. It's simply producers deciding that instead of simply making a hundred million dollars in profit, they could have TWO hundred million dollars in profit if somehow those pesky used game sales would wind up coming into their coffers at full price. The bean counters who came up with that school of thought are also detached from reality because they are working from the assumption that people have that much money, and would find the profit worthwhile for the full price (as you pointed out), but simply are not doing it because of the alternative.

Also understand that Penny Arcade is currently lying through it's teeth. It's presenting the used game sales as hurting developers, who wind up not being rewarded for their hard work. That right there is a lie, because it's not universally true, games are funded in differant ways, and typically a developer is being paid a wage or salary to make the game. What typically happens is that a producer wants to make money, so he hands the money to a developer to produce a game so HE can make a profit. The money to make the game is their salarys and such, after all the primary cost is human resources. When you hear "this game had a budget of X" that is the money the developers received to make it, that was their pay in most cases. If a game cost like forty million dollars, that means that the producer needs to make more than that to see a profit... the developer is now out of the equasion, it's all about the producer.

Now, there are alternative arrangements where you say have a company acting as it's own producer, or game developers with an idea borrowing money and then relying on making a profit to pay off the loan with anything in excess of that loan being their profit, and so on. But that is not always the case, and it's being presented that way to guilt us consumers.

The problem I have with the whole situation is that while games do fail and take companies with them, is that there are billions of dollars in profit being made overall with the used game market flourishing (as I said before). What kind of sympathy could they possibly expect me to have?

As far as the price scale goes, I will say that I think the problem there is that the industry thinks that by allowing the media to depreciate in cost as fast as movies do will encourage more people to wait for the deals. Keeping the prices high discourages people to play the waiting game, and that's also part of why they don't like used games.

See, their logic is easy to understand, it's just very negative since your dealing with greed of the absolute worst kind, coming from an industry that managed to avoid those kinds of attitudes for a very long time. The game industry always wanted to make a profit, but now making a profit, even a good one is not enough, it comes down to them wanting every possible blood soaked dime they can squeeze out of the consumers.

Therumancer:
I think a big part of this problem is that Penny Arcade and other groups involved in this round of the debate on the publishers sides are former fan-friendly groups that have sold out. "PAX" has made it clear that Penny Arcade isn't really "our" voice anymore despite the fact that some people see them that way (and they can still be pretty funny).

Sorry, red haze after this point...

Why are retailers your voice?

... read the rest of your post... still red haze.

Where do you think the money comes from to pay developer salaries? The moon? No, right now, in most cases, it comes from publishers. If publishers see a larger return, developers see a larger return, meaning both can do more with the next game.

We're both better off and neither of us "cheated" the guy who made the thing, because that guy has already been paid.

FINALLY, someone who speaks some sense. The retailer has already paid the publisher for X amount of games. Those games are now the sole property of the retailer to do as they please, either to sell them new, used, or just give them out for free as coffee mug coasters.
The publisher no longer becomes a factor in the equation once the exchange is made, and any publisher who complains about used game sales would do well to look into self-retailing their own games via physical or digital copies (ala EA, Valve, StarDock, etc).

RvLeshrac:

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.

I worked for Future Shop (Best Buy) for a couple of months and in the information for each product, you can see the price we sell it and the cost. I can tell you they make between 5 and 10$ profit on each game.

lockeslylcrit:

We're both better off and neither of us "cheated" the guy who made the thing, because that guy has already been paid.

FINALLY, someone who speaks some sense. The retailer has already paid the publisher for X amount of games. Those games are now the sole property of the retailer to do as they please, either to sell them new, used, or just give them out for free as coffee mug coasters.
The publisher no longer becomes a factor in the equation once the exchange is made, and any publisher who complains about used game sales would do well to look into self-retailing their own games via physical or digital copies (ala EA, Valve, StarDock, etc).

If every game is resold an average of 2 times, that means the publisher only sees a return for a third of the total sales.

How is that right?

Also, "cutting out the middleman" is expensive. Most publishers keep their money tied up in projects, most houses are kinda depending upon catching a new project. So... which development house would you like to see end so EA can open it's own digital distribution service?

lomylithruldor:

RvLeshrac:

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.

I worked for Future Shop (Best Buy) for a couple of months and in the information for each product, you can see the price we sell it and the cost. I can tell you they make between 5 and 10$ profit on each game.

New games are not the same as Used.

A New game is purchased for a set price, from the publisher/distributor, and then sold at a set price.

A Used game is purchased for a variable price, usually between $1-$10, and then sold at a variable price, usually 300%-1000% of the buy-back price.

Cynical skeptic:

Therumancer:
I think a big part of this problem is that Penny Arcade and other groups involved in this round of the debate on the publishers sides are former fan-friendly groups that have sold out. "PAX" has made it clear that Penny Arcade isn't really "our" voice anymore despite the fact that some people see them that way (and they can still be pretty funny).

Sorry, red haze after this point...

Why are retailers your voice?

They aren't my voice is that of a consumer as is that of most gamers with a bit of common sense.

All of the complaints being made by the industry are basically all about the producers (the guys investing the money) who are already making billions in profits, wanting to make even more money.

I fail to see why you should be seeing red over my criticism of Penny Arcade, read what they are saying. They are acting like the used game market is actually hurting developers, and that people buying used games are doing the equivilent of stealing food from their mouths. Kind of outrageous especially when the developers typically don't share in any of the profits from the sales of a game, that's the producer. The Penny Arcade innuendo of "well if you actually met any developers you'd have a differant opinion" (or something like that) is pretty ridiculous.

I stand by my insinuation, because the guys from Penny Arcade should know better if anyone does given how long they have been involved. The thing is though that Penny Arcade is one of the web's big gaming success stories, it's worth a lot of money now. They aren't making that money through site donations, selling T-shirts, and the like. Going by things like PAX they seem to be making their money nowadays from the industry itself by acting as a major vehicle for them. It only makes sense the side they take is going to be where their fortune is coming from. To jump on the gaming industry for being greedy on things like this, would be akin to biting the hand that feeds them.

Hey, sorry if your a fan, but I can only call it like I see it. As a consumer I want the best possible deal, oftentimes that means used games, especially with the current economy. It would be one thing if the used game market was actually hurting the gaming industry, but it's not since they are reporting billions of dollars in profits. I would be bloody surprised if Penny Arcade is somehow oblivious to that.

Plus I'll also say that I am somewhat irritated with the industry as a whole because it operates much like a criminal organization, at least by US standards. While unrelated to the topic at hand (at least directly), consider that in the US gas companies are under constant investigation for not competing with each other the way they are supposed to, and also for setting prices. This kind of cartel behavior is illegal in the US. The game industry behaves the same way, but so far the goverment has not had it's eye caught. Think about it, all new games irregardless of their development costs, cost the same thing. We have standard prices. When a big title like "Modern Warfare 2" comes out, other companies re-arrange their release schedule to avoid direct competition. You do not for example see say "Bioshock 2" having it's price lowered by $20 to try and tempt sales away from "Modern Warfare 2". The US *IS* capitolist but part of the ideal is also enforced competition, to make companies strive to produce the best possible goods at the lowest possible prices. You don't see that in the gaming industry. This is one of the reasons why I have so little sympathy for it in most debates. Heck, unlike Hollywood has in the past, it won't even fight against censorship and to have games labeled properly, very few companies will push the limits of an "R" rating and if challenged tend to back right down (though this gets even more off topic).

The bottom line is that consumers are all that matters to me, I could care less for the industry or retailers at the moment. Both are pretty much out to try and bleed me, so why should I have any sympathy for them when they decide to cry about something?

Actually, I'll disagree with Shamus. Games are substantially identical to a lot of used products that are susceptible to wear and tear. A car is "used" the instant you drive it off the lot, and until it's old enough to have components breaking, it pretty much does the same thing for you that you wanted in the first place, so it hasn't lost any of its value to you. However, during that time, it'll have dropped in value to anyone else by half or more.
So games do actually fit the model of consumable product.

However, game makers are trying to sell EVERYONE a new game every few months, whereas new car makers only try to keep ahead of demand. So of course their market is glutted, and there's a crapload of perfectly good few-month-old games out there. What's the difference in quality or playability between a game that's 1 day old and a game that's 6 months old? Not a lot!

Long story short, it's their mindless greed that's creating the situation they're in, and it's not going to go away because we buy new games instead of slightly less new ones. It will go away when the game company executives meet with the game company investors and say "Look, the rise in games fueled a great rush. We had a good time and made lots of money. But we didn't take product life cycle into account because we cared more about making all the money we could RIGHT NOW than creating a sustainable business, and so we've stuffed the market chock-friggin-full of games that look and play great.

So we're going to have to slow down for awhile, let those games get old to people, so we can then bring out new games that are perceivably more attractive to play than the old ones, and then people will buy them again. We'll see you in like, a year or so? Yeah, a year sounds about right. Thanks for understanding!"

Which isn't going to happen of course. Instead, they're going to try to wag the dog by spending money on DRM hooks that turn into "games as a service" controls. In other words, they'll start selling you that brand new game with only like half of the content they have, then sell you the rest, then the rest. And then put in an item shop. Into every single game.

You watch. It'll happen :(

Therumancer:
-snip-

Well, A: I don't give a shit about penny arcade. The issue here is "retailers vs video game industry." They're using their position to pull a bit of punditry on something they feel strongly about. Go them. If not for the rest of the internet sucking their cocks, I likely would never see a comic or post made by them.

As far as everything in that last half of your post... bollacks.

All entertainment industries operate as such. Entertainment is a zero-sum game. You don't want to have to compete with a product set to sell 15 million copies even if your product is also set to sell the same amount. Most gamers only buy one or two games a month. Which means both titles split their sales. Lose-lose. So, wait a month and have a higher chance of selling to people who didn't give a shit about the last month's big title and the people who are already done with it. It happens in film, theater, music... everywhere.

Now, I'm not saying theres a clear-cut good guy in this situation. This is three generally shitty groups of people fucking each other over in every way possible while the consumer can do nothing but wait for games to occasionally fall out of the Looney Tunes style "fight" cloud. Three groups defined only by their contribution to the video game industry. Developers having the most, publishers having the middle, retailers having almost none.

"Shelf Life" for any other product is a near-linear process.
Start high, slowly decline; the irony here is that prior to 2005, GAMES USED TO DO THIS (in my market this was especially true).

I could purchase Warcraft 3 in 2002 for 50 bucks. In 2003, it was 40. In 2005 it was 20, and I just bought a BRAND NEW COPY last year for 12.
I can name the same process for unused (new) copies of older titles up until that point. What happened?
Well, for starters, the number publishers declined rapidly in number as the Big Boys in each region (Squaresoft for Japan, EA and Vivendi in the US, Ubisoft in Europe) ate up their weakened competition.

Now, Publishers indisputably control the industry; they commission the games, they OWN the developers, they own the names, copyrights you name it. Sometimes, they even dictate production against a developer's will (due to contract obligations).

In fact, there is only one part of the industry the publisher does not completely control or own; Distribution.
Gamestop has, over the course of the last decade, systematically eliminated its competition through strong business practices, luck, and possibly some underhanded tactics (why yes, I have watched over half a dozen local game retailers mysteriously turn into Gamestops in the last 10 years).
They can stand toe to toe with any other major video game retailer...but more importantly, the big Publishers.

This is an age-old problem that has already been dealt with in every other industry; every manufacturer of every conceivable product ideally would want to cut out the middle-man.

Cynical skeptic:
So... which development house would you like to see end so EA can open it's own digital distribution service?

EA already has one.

Cynical skeptic:

Therumancer:
-snip-

Well, A: I don't give a shit about penny arcade. The issue here is "retailers vs video game industry." They're using their position to pull a bit of punditry on something they feel strongly about. Go them. If not for the rest of the internet sucking their cocks, I likely would never see a comic or post made by them.

As far as everything in that last half of your post... bollacks.

All entertainment industries operate as such. Entertainment is a zero-sum game. You don't want to have to compete with a product set to sell 15 million copies even if your product is also set to sell the same amount. Most gamers only buy one or two games a month. Which means both titles split their sales. Lose-lose. So, wait a month and have a higher chance of selling to people who didn't give a shit about the last month's big title and the people who are already done with it. It happens in film, theater, music... everywhere.

Now, I'm not saying theres a clear-cut good guy in this situation. This is three generally shitty groups of people fucking each other over in every way possible while the consumer can do nothing but wait for games to occasionally fall out of the Looney Tunes style "fight" cloud. Three groups defined only by their contribution to the video game industry. Developers having the most, publishers having the middle, retailers having almost none.

I think your missing the bit about "illegal behavior" here. Again, I point to the gas/oil companies and rising prices and so on. Oh sure, other industries do it too, no denying that, but that does not make it right. We are talking about video games here, so I of course bring cartel behavior up since it's a legitimate point.

See, the thing is that I feel an industry that is behaving illegally and making billions of dollars has no reason to whine about anything, and act like the used market is somehow killing them when it's not doing any such thing.

While it's a seperate issue, I feel the same way about piracy. They make billions of dollars, and do so while operating illegally. I don't think piracy is right or anything, but when they use it to justify jamming DRM and stuff down my throat I call "BS". It's like the bloody Mafia asking for public support because some gang bangers are cuting into their profits and they can't dislodge them on their own. It's crooks against crooks, neither has a moral high ground, I only care because they are trying to bring me, a legitimate consumer into it.

My basic attitude is that the gaming industry needs to put a bloody sock in it in general. If the industry was in trouble and not making billions, then maybe I might have some concern, but right now there is no danger of the industry collapsing or anything like that. It's all about them wanting to make more and more money, and when they are doing it using dubious techniques to begin with, I think they lose the abillity to start yelling "foul".

The reason why the cartel behavior in the entertainment industry exists, is because the goverment has yet to turn their attention towards it. Some of it might have to do with political payoffs, but a lot of it is probably that it isn't big enough to get their attention quite yet. Sure movies, music, video games and related things do make billions of dollars but that isn't as big a deal as the gas/oil industry which is an actual nessecity, nor is anyone currently in the position of creating a monopoly that could challenge the goverment itself like in the case of Microsoft and it's stranglehold on operating systems, or Ted Turner when he was trying to basically become the god-emperor of all media on planet earth.

I agree on not lowering prices with time, Steam takes advantage of this with their brief 75% off sales. Definatly making some serious cash.

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