Bargains Are for Cheaters

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I agree.

If I want a game really bad (Halo Reach, LBP2) I'll buy it on release day/within the first week (I can't always get to the store on the first day).

If I don't care for the game much I'll wait a few months for it (CoD: Black Ops).

If I really don't care for it, I'll rent it, forget about it, or just get it when it is really, really cheap.

I've been doing this for years, and it works out perfectly for me,.

And, another thing, for developers. If you really want more money, publish your own games.

If you go to Activision/EA, you won't get any of the money unless it sells enough.
Publish it yourself, you get all the money

This time, Shamus has really hit the nail on the head. This is EXACTLY what should be done: it's good for consumers, and it would incur MASSIVE damage to used game sales and maybe even to piracy! Really, are publushers that blind? I know that they are, but it's still unbelieveable that people know how to make millions, yet didn't even think of copying that practice from the movie industry! If games indeed had dynamic price reduction, i'd buy a lot more games.

By the way, as has already been mentioned: part of Steam's success is because of regular sales. Valve know that making a little money is better than making no money at all, probably because THEY'RE NOT RETARDS!

Really, the contrived stupidity of an entire situation and the simplicity of an ideal solution THAT IS ALREADY IN USE in the neighboring industry just makes me cringe. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

This is really a great idea,Steam is already did a great job for PC/Mac games.

This is the best idea I've ever heard. I am tired of having to wait 2 years for the price of a new game to go below $40 (IF I'M LUCKY). If I don't have it by then, I probably don't care enough to pay that much. Getting $40 for a game is a lot better than not getting $60.

"not worth the hassle to save 10 percent of the purchase price on a $10 item"

if you can wait 3 months after a movie comes to dvd you can amazon a movie (originally $20) for easily <$3. and yes, another $3 shipping brings that to nearly $10, but $4x 10 movies is 40 .../6= another 6 (or more) movies.

or screw it all and netflix from a console or the net. and when it comes to games there's gamefly but i don't know the fees. and, of course, gamestop's freebie 'rental' system is too good to be true ... i'm sure it'll change within a year.

take advantage while you can

I don't see book publishers bitching about libraries.

I think that there is an issue that tends to get left out in this type of argument. The fact that not only are the prices ridiculously high, the price the publisher sells it to the retail leave very little room for profit on the retailer end. The profits off of new titles are very low to the retailer and I don't really blame Game Stop. This isn't giving them a pass though because I think they charge way to much for used games.


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....

And not surprisingly, is the biggest digital distribution service for PC. People who want the game straight away just buy it at the base cost. People who don't care quite as much wait for the game to to hit the Weekend Sale or Midweek Madness. Heck, I personally have probably a dozen games that I bought purely because they went on sale for under $10. That's money those developers made which they wouldn't have if they didn't change their price.

I've always agreed with what the article says about how prices need to go down with time. Sure I can definitely see the logic in keeping them at $60 launch when you can easily put over one million sales on day one, but eventually the demand at $60 just isn't there anymore. You've recouped the development and advertising costs, so at this point every sale is just profit, so why not push for more sales at a slightly lower cost than fewer sales at the higher cost?

I also find it interesting how shops like Gamestop have been around for nearly 20 years, and yet just NOW developers are taking exception to them.

I've been wondering this for ages. Hell, I see this sort of thing too much. I recently acquired a PS2. Now, if I go to eb games (here in Australia) there's hundreds of games, all preowned, for less than $15. The really good ones, like God Of War 2, might be about $20. In the same store I browse these games I look up and see GTA San Andreas for $50 brand new! $50? Why? Hell, I could have bought Vice City, Liberty City Stories, and GTA 3 preowned (unfortunately San Andreas wasn't there preowned) for less than that. It makes no sense.
In fact, usually after a year or so any good game should have recouped the cost of production, which means the y should have no problem lowering the price. It just means, as you said, the people who are more or less indifferent to the game might pick it up and send a little extra money to the studio.

It's all about the game itself. Especially in today's economy. If I could afford to I'd buy as many games from the get-go on release day to play them ASAP. However, because they're 60 a pop, I can't, and therefor wait for the prices to go down. Games that I get excited for, such as FO:NV, I preordered as soon as I could so I could get a copy ASAP, same w/ GoW3.

I feel locking the players from the full game is a way to drain our wallets more in rough times, especially because if we bought 6 used games with the $10 DLC thing that EA has, that's a brand new copy of Halo Reach, or whatever. But instead we have to spend it to get the full experience of a game, punishing us for wanting to get good games we missed late or trying something new. I'd rather NOT buy a game with the extra cost when I could get a game that's maybe a point less on the rating scale and get the full experience without paying more

If we all had the money, the $10 DLC full exp. wouldn't exist, but because they want to get ahead, they squeeze our wallets. I understand gaming is falling on harder times than it used to, but again, it's just stupid. DLC as a concept should be used to FURTHER expand our gaming experiences, not punish us for saving up for a new release we can't wait for, and playing something we heard through the grapevine in the meantime.

If companies were smarter, release a full game, and use DLC as expansions to get that money back, but make it worth buying. 5 maps, 3 recycled for $15 is a bad example of DLC used correctly, $10 for a new area, or even the MW2 pack 5 less would be a good example. Halo ODST for 30 is a better example, DLC to add onto a campaign or levels, meaning that gamers who buy a used copy for 20, but spend another 20 to get the extra experience, means everyone wins. Gamers get a full experience from the get go with add ons to add to a what is hopefully already great time. Retail stores get money from used games and stay alive. And developers get to make their money back, get buzz about their projects, and get more content out quicker at cheaper prices. Everyone wins that way

Actually, about Modern Warfare 2's pricing:
The other day, I was strolling about at Gamestop, poking around in the used-games shelf. What does a used copy of Modern Warfare 2 cost? 599 SEK (~59 dollars, lazy conversion from swedish kronor to US dollar... it's probably more like 65 dollars, but shut up), and a few meters to the left of that... Mass Effect 2, which was released several months later (and, in my eyes, a FAR superior game) , at 229 SEK (~25 dollars).
So in the six months ME2 has been out, it has dropped to somewhere along half the price (plus project ten dollar, which is another 10 bucks), whereas MW2 has, in 9 months... dropped 10 dollars in price?... And these are the USED versions.

I stared at that pricing for a second, cheered at myself for not buying Modern Warfare 2 yet, put them back in the shelf and walked away.

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.

I agree on this, only they always remove the manuals from those games - just collect them, then read them after I've finished the game. So it's kinda sad. Understandable, but sad..

Once again a very good article about a current topic Shamus. I need to think about this.

ok, when someone comes into my store to buy a new game...lets say mafia 2 on the xb360, it came out yesterday here in the uk and goes for around 39.99. A lot of people who come in to buy the game dont have the cash, or dont want to pay the full amount, their getting burned by titles like alan wake and kane and lynch which can be finished in a couple of days. So they take their kane and lynch or alan wake and get money off us to use against the price of their copy of mafia 2, so by trading in the short-ass game they completed two days after purchase they now get mafia 2 at 14.99 and somone else who quite fancied giving kane qnd lynch a try can get the game somewhat cheaper than normal.

This works, the publishers game doesnt sit on the shelf slowly gathering dust, the store makes more money than the 3.00 profit it makes on a retail game dragging the price down to compete with other stores (including supermarkets who will sell the game for a loss, just to put other stores in the area out of business) All dlc is doing is driving a lot of my customers straight to the pre-owned bins looking for bargains.

Don't they already do this? I've bought a number of games for say 20 dollars. PC games for example, bought many at 5 or 10 dollars. Xbox 360 games, picked up a number of them for 20 bucks (latest being Deadspace). 20 CDN btw.

I'm never throwing down more than 40 bucks for a game. Well, maybe Reach, but besides that.

I'm always puzzled as to why the games industry believes that it shold run differently to any other.

I understand that the primary concern is to recoup the loss made on developing the game and then make as much out of it as possible (DLC and so on) but (big one), once the game has been bought new then that's it surely? Game was made, game was sold, game now has nothing to do with them.

Using a different example, my car was bought second-hand for £2,000, obviously I'd prefer to have bought one brand new but I don't have the money for it. To my knowledge, the car manufacturer isn't expecting to make anything else from my car once it had been bought.

Why are games different?

I play xbox 360 games for free* legally. How? Buy em used, sell em used, and no middleman like gamestop in between.
I'm just really confused about the Gamestop phenomenon, isn't there an online auction site in the US which you can use for free? Couldn't you just sell your game on say craigslist?
Maybe people just want to throw their money away, buying and selling at terrible rates.
I don't know about that stuff because I live in Finland and here I use a free auction site where I can convienently sell my game after I'm done playing.

*-shipping costs and slight devaluation over time


I stared at that pricing for a second, cheered at myself for not buying Modern Warfare 2 yet, put them back in the shelf and walked away.

Of course you could just a have gone online to searched for the best price, MW2 is about 28e on ebay with shipping and with a little more searching around with google you could probably go even lower.

I wish I lived in fantasyland where used games were super cheap like people on forums always claim. Personally I don't need to save $2-5 (usually $2) that badly, and if I did I damn sure wouldn't be buying video games.

Games are too expensive.

£40 for Starcraft II? And you expect me not to buy used?

I'm not cheating anyone. It's the fuckwits who put the prices that high that are cheating consumers.

I wish I lived in fantasyland where used games were super cheap like people on forums always claim. Personally I don't need to save $2-5 (usually $2) that badly, and if I did I damn sure wouldn't be buying video games.

I suppose its a mindset thing, I enjoy minmaxing, whether it be in RPGs with the stats and abilities of my character, or in RL with my money.

Games are too expensive.
£40 for Starcraft II? And you expect me not to buy used?
I'm not cheating anyone. It's the fuckwits who put the prices that high that are cheating consumers.

They put whatever price they seem fit on their product. You either pay, or you don't. Simple as that. That's how a market works.
Whatever happens AFTER someone has bought their game, is none of their business until there's a law that says differently. That's my POV. How they deal with this is none of my concern. As a consumer my only means of control is buying, or not buying, so i'll make use of it as i see fit.

P.S.: Have they really caught all the illegal downloaders yet, that they're now going after paying customers?

This whole re-selling discussion really is the most idiotic "problem" of the year. You buy stuff, its yours, you can do whatever you want with it, eat it, burn it , re-sell it.
No one sais that people who buy a used car are criminal leeches, or second hand clothing, old books, used furniture. NO that's all normal, but the game industry has to double cash here. And it is double-cashing, because everything you can not eat, always was re-sold. You want it shiny and new , go get it more expensive when it comes out, you just want it some time , get it used when its out for some time.
Thats no new "problem" of this industry, its just normality.
If Volkswagen came to me when i sold my car, demanding 10% of the money, i would've kicked them out the door, with a massive boot of steel.

I mostly buy new games.I really don't trust used ones; I've seen how some people treat their games.

I really see no problem with the used game market, save one; the people who actually trade in their games.

With all this talk about fiscal responsibility, you are being ripped off.

Even when it was 3 for a new game you were being ripped off, but what is it now? Each game gives you $10 off?

I am reminded of that story of the kid who got a dollar, then traded it for 2 quarters, then 3 dimes, then 4 nickles, and ended with 5 penny's.

What I'm saying is if you want to get rid of your game, don't use gamestop, use E-Bay.

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.

Except that Gamestop can choose to order fewer new copies as trade-ins occur, while charging full / near-full price for used copies and pocket all the money.

Very good article Shamus, although I think you missed a reason why stores such as GameStop, GAME, GameStation, HMV and CEX (these are in the UK) offer used games to consumers. It's the same reason that Cineworld charges £4.50 for popcorn and £3 for a drink - the need to survive. As cinemas receive next to nothing from ticket sales, they have to generate income from other sources, hence why food is insanely expensive.

I don't know what % of a games price goes to the retailer, I'd hazard a guess and say that it's a very small cut - probably less than £5 for a £45 game; and as consumers start to buy more of their media online, high street retailers need to find a way to generate income to stay in business and used games bring in cash just for the retailer, it the only way to survive for a lot of stores - although GAME is currently in liquidation which acts as an indicator as to the fine line that retailers are operating on.

Instead of pointing fingers at each other, retailers and publishers need to start working together to find a mutually beneficial solution, preferably one that doesn't involve blaming consumers who are simply trying to find value in the games market, we're not made of money!

What Shamus says is common sense, and it amazes me how many responses I've seen of the kind "Awesome idea Shamus". It's simpple, really. When a customer wants something, he pays for it. If he's not that interested, he won't, or will find alternative, chaper ways to get it. If he does get it and he's displeased (and that's the product and the producer's fault), he sells it. And so on and so forth.

When you see masses of used games these days, it can only mean one thing. Masses of disappointed/disinteressted customers. Why not stop spending untold millions on crap then developers? Used games exist since the start of the phenomenon, it's only bugging them now and this is the reason. They make expensive, crap and incomplete games which people get bored easily. People buy but mostly don't want to buy or might buy it if it was cheaper. And they're saying that in the end it's the consumer's fault. The Gamestop crap is just a facade because simply, they can't tell you, the customer, that you're a thief and a scumbag. But they can attack a successful enterprise. As for you and me, they say it indirectly, by applying additional fees.


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.

Except that Gamestop can choose to order fewer new copies as trade-ins occur, while charging full / near-full price for used copies and pocket all the money.

As I said in my other posts, there is a price threshold for used game consumers. They won't purchase a $60 dollar game. They'll pirate it, borrow it from a friend, get it on craigslist, go half-sies with someone, something. I remember typing more options yesterday, but I don't feel like looking it up.

Thus, the developer makes no more money, and Gamestop loses money. So there is only a loss, no gain.

Of course... this whole argument is completely irrelevant to the three studios that are still PC exclusive and of course... to PC gamers like myself.

It strikes me that the game developers en masse should just buy gamestop, then use it as their exclusive marketing tool much like "The Beer Store" is run by the breweries in Ontario.

You want to sell beer in any volume in Ontario? You buy shares in the beer store. That way, everyone makes money and the ones with lots of shares make more in relation to the amount of the store they own.

This would co-opt the market. By still allowing distribution through Bestbuy etc, they would also avoid the monopoly issues.

On the rare occasions I buy console titles I almost always buy used. Even if the prices were identical I would still likely opt for the used copy. Reason being, at Gamestop, used titles have a 7 day no questions asked return policy. I'm sorry, I simply don't care how awesome a game might be, if I'm laying down 60 bucks I want to know that if I beat it in 2 days or it doesn't ring my bell I can take it back and call it a wash and get my money back or get another game.

Unlike used games, new games offer no such return policy. If I pay 60 dollars and the game it total shit I'm stuck with it and my options are selling it online or shelving it and eating the loss. Neither of which I relish. Looking at it strictly as a customer when presented with two identical copies with one being 5 dollars cheaper with a 7 day return policy and the other being more expensive and no return policy what so ever the call is a simple one.

If these developers whining about used games want me to buy their games new then they need to give me a reason to and holding content hostage won't be that reason. If they want to do that, I will just go without that content like in the case of online play, or skip the game all together if it is content I would of made use of.

Right now the console game market is putting out about 1 decent game for every 10 garbage titles. Of those good titles maybe a 1 out of every 10 of those has enough content to justify paying anywhere near 60 dollars for it. Considering that 1 in every 100 games put out is actually worth 60 dollars is there any question as to why people would be shy about buying new games and opt to buy used games that come with a guarantee.

Tanfastic article - I was just talking about this with my mate a week or so back.

I have to ask though. Does the video game industry even have a right to complain? This is not trolling or flaming the industry, it's an actual question. Are they losing any money that wouldn't otherwise just go to a Scrooge McDuck swimming pool? Or are they just greedy and want the full amount just because they're 'entitled' to it?

Anyway, there's one more thing. See, seeing a movie (which is the top dollar thing, right?) in a theatre comes at a price which ranges from country to country - and it scales with the fucking earning you can make in that country. My friend in UK wants to go see a movie? The theatre is going to cost them 10 pounds, which is roughly 12 euros. I wanna see a movie in Serbia? It's gonna cost me about 3.5 euros. Notice the difference? It takes into account the living standard of the country - not completely of course, but there's a decent effort at least and as a result we're no strangers to going to the cinema.

Now let's compare game prices. Starcraft 2 in UK? 42,5 euros. Starcraft 2 in Serbia? 57 euros. See anything wrong with this picture?

Lets look at minimum wage difference between UK and Serbia - 7 euros an hour to 128 euros per month (data from wikipedia, might not be spot on or 100% current, and we're not just talking about minimum wages, but it illustrates my point). That's 18 UK hours, which is a bit over 2 days with a 9-5 job for an entire month of work in Serbia. Assuming a 3 day/week job in Serbia, that's a comparison of 18 hours in UK to 96 hours in Serbia, which is over 5 times the difference. So how can you expect the people in the latter to pay you a higher price for the product?

What that results in is that they don't get any money from us at all - this is not just an overstatement, out of all my gamer friends, I don't think I know anyone who owns a new game (exception sometimes being an MMO), at the very best they buy it when it gets dirt cheap just as an homage to a great game. People can't afford a game so they either download it or buy a pirated copy. Even places that rent games just rent you the pirated version.

You can bang on about how evil piracy is, but I'd love to see you shell out some 250 euros for a 40 euro game and come back with the same story. Instead, they could scale the prices down to something reasonable and get some decent profit in return. Or they can bang on about what they're 'entitled' to and get nothing. Makes little difference to me.

Note, while this post paints certain facts and points about the ethics of piracy, it does not condone piracy or indicate the practice of the same by the poster. Any resemblance between fictional characters and real life is purely coincidental.

Gawd, I've literally been saying ths since the argument began. Games don't depreciate in value nearly as fast as they should. They should really be half price after a year. It's ludicrous to expect me to pay such huge prices for games. The whole reason for me not getting a console was because I'd have to spend the cost of the console to buy like 4 games. I'd say much more work goes into consoles than games surely... so frankly the video game industry can fuck off.

Maybe when games are actually worth $60 (depending on the country), I'll go buy them.

If I'm buying used that's usually because the option to buy new isn't really available. Even got an import game used that wouldn't even be available in stores here.

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