Jimquisition: Online Passes Are Bad For Everybody

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 NEXT
 

Oi. That's a nice cricket bat you've got there.

This is going to be a series, right? So next time, is Jim going to not completely miss the point, and talk about how denying access to a product that I've paid for is illegal, and how the online pass is anti-competitive and thus also illegal?
Can we talk about that?

Jim... my brother... my king... i'd have followed you anywhere

What if the only way to play multiplayer in say...hm, I dunno an older game, let's say Goldenye 64 or some other multiplayer game from those days required some special voucher code to be able to play multiplayer.

Several years later the game is hard to find but you buy it on ebay or something. You fire it up getting ready for all the multiplayer goodness but... HA HA! No online pass, no multiplayer for you. [insert troll face of choice]

Of course we wouldn't stand for that for with those older games because of course, that would be absurd.
So um...what happens to all these present day games in a few years?

Jim Sterling:
Online Passes Are Bad For Everybody

In the first part of a series of Jimquisitions on used games and their place in the industry, Sterling tackles the most recent tactic used by publishers in the fight against traded products -- online passes -- and examines why they're bad for everybody. Be you a publisher, a used gamer, or a NEW one, online passes are bad news, and Jim Sterling will force the truth down your little lie gullet.

Watch Video

As person with overwhelming preference for PC gaming (I will play console, if NO PC version will ever exist) I find this subject interesting:

(A) The current PC model of digital download means I'll never have to deal with such paranoid anti-re-sale measures as it is inherently impossible to re-sell a digital download licence.

(B) I don't have to depend on trading in and buying used to afford the games that interest me thanks to how all PC gamer are inherently cheaper (about 33% cheaper) combined with regular Steam Sales = I actually have a problem of buying too many games!

(C) PC has been criticised for it's complexity compared to Consoles' just "insert disc and play". Yet at the same time as PC drops complex CD-key for simple amazon-style "one/two-click-to-buy" consoles are becoming increasingly complex and time consuming with codes, installs and launch DLC and mandatory updates (just when you want to play).

(D) This is all while consoles continue to have the cheapest, most basic and inflexible kind of online. While on PC you have custom moderated servers that you can hand pick balancing choice with latency. To say the least about trying to pay competitively with GAMEPADS! Oh sweet jesus, I know we are all on the same level but while the dual analogue was a great innovation for third-person platforming games, it's hardly the godsend for first-person-shooters that put them on parity with PC!

(E) for half the console gaming out there, paying for online has always been inevitable with Xbox Live gold membership, $60/40 per year FAAAAAAKK OOORF!

He needs to start using those weapons he keeps showing off, otherwise they serve no purpose!

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

Straw man.

Those people don't exist.

Ok Jim, I normally like your show, but this time you there were some major flaws in the arguments you made, mainly about how the used games would benefit the games market.

The reason why online passes exist in the first place is this:
When a publisher releases a game, their profit for each unit sold is about 12$ out of the 60$ the game costs. When you buy the game used however they (and the developers) get 0$ for their efforts. Considering that Gamestop sells new games for nearly as much as as they cost new they make more rofit on each used game they sell than the the people who made that game.
This is where the online pass comes in. Games cost more and more to make and with the used games market taking a ton of money from the developers, the money to make another game/sequel might not be there if the first game doesn't sell really well.

Also: People couldn't redeem their online pass while PSN was down and therefor lost time they could play online because of the code? Can you explain to me how they would have played online while PSN was still down?

Vyse86:
The reason why online passes exist in the first place is this:
When a publisher releases a game, their profit for each unit sold is about 12$ out of the 60$ the game costs. When you buy the game used however they (and the developers) get 0$ for their efforts. Considering that Gamestop sells new games for nearly as much as as they cost new they make more rofit on each used game they sell than the the people who made that game.
This is where the online pass comes in. Games cost more and more to make and with the used games market taking a ton of money from the developers, the money to make another game/sequel might not be there if the first game doesn't sell really well.

When the publisher sells the game (to the retail chain), the devs get no money.
For there to be used copies, the game has to have sold new.
If i buy an online pass on XBL the publisher doesn't get paid.
The devs have already been paid for their work, regardless how many copies are sold.
Selling on property is entierly legal.
Pissing off customers and shops is not good business sense.
Given the choice peoople will ALWAYS buy new if it's cheap enough. Therefore the issue of lost sales is non existent.

Azuaron:
I believe Penny Arcade said it best when they said: When you buy a game used, you are not a customer of the publisher, you're a customer of Gamestop (or wherever). (They talk, at length, about this in their news section that day.)

When you buy a game new you are a customer of gamestop (or whatever). You are not paying the publisher. The shop has already paid for its inventory and now owns the stock. You buy from them. At this point, the publisher is no longer involved.

I concur 100%

That is all

Also: This does apply to DRM as well right? Right?...

I buy games i want full price, but others i either rent or buy second hand. If they got rid of second hand sales, then i wouldnt buy them games at all so jim is right in that respect. What i hate is this problem that all companies release games now. Its stupid. You get months of nothing and then in the space of a few months everything is released. Who has the money? For me so far their is:

Forza 4 14th Oct
Batman AC 21st Oct
Skyrim 11th Nov
Assassins creed 15th Nov
Saints Row 3 18th Nov

Its a lot of money. Why cant they just spread them out throughout the year? Surely they would sell more copies if they released them in june or july.

BrotherRool:
In general, your false points are made even worse by the fact that used games are now being sold within the first week of a game being released. Used games take a serious amount of money from devs, and considering online actually creates an expense, used games are costing money to the people who made them, even before you begin trying to work out whether sales they would have made otherwise are greater than the sales will may potential arise as a result of a sequel down the line.

Quick counterpoint that might have already been covered. Devs don't normally get extra money if a game does well, unless it's part of a contract. Almost, if not all of the money from great games sales goes to publishers. Developers are already paid in full before the game is released, unless they have a special contract.

MatParker116:
I like how Mass Effect 2 handled used games. Hate how THQ and EA do

you buy it used then have to pay for the privelege of NOT being an asshole in the game...hmmm

actually as far as I know thats just the PS3 version

Jim is 100% correct on this one. I work in a store, and the vast majority of our new games sales involve the customer trading in their old game to get some money off.

If they were more canny they would ebay/amazon them and make more, but some people dont care they just want that credit there and then so then can afford a new game. If developers had any sense they would find alternative ways to make money from the online experience. Offering custom weapons/extra maps as a reward for purchasing new is good, in game advertising for the online multiplayer could make a fair wad of cash as well.

Buying a used game isnt stealing, nor is it morally wrong, only complete drooling idiots could claim otherwise, PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS WANT TO SELL THEIR GAME ON WHEN THEY ARE FINISHED WITH IT.

we've managed to shift a decent number of xb360 earth defence force games recently, mainly thanks to people giving the game a try on pre-owned.

Also, quite a few customers buy back their old games, usually when they get a new xb360 and want all the achievements or simply miss the multiplayer.

So this isnt an area where one can really generalise, what the games industry REALLY needs is less whinging little babies, they should all be made redundant, go work in mcdonalds, what the games indutry REALLY needs is more forward thinkers to work on soultions that benefit all sides of this.

I'm a prime example of an individual who bought used games then turned around and bought the sequel brand new. I only bought Infamous2 and Killzone 3 because I played the previous version used.

People give me this bullshit excuse that games are more expensive now days hence the increase in price, but that holds true for movies that cost 100s of millions of dollars to make. That doesn't mean they can't be shit. Its up to developers to make a game worth buying new not find ways to fuck over people who recognized the flaws and decided their money was better spent elsewhere.

dbphreakdb:

Flatly speaking, and I reiterate, that the used game industry benefits noone save for the store.

Gamestop hasn't got any responsibility to the publisher, and neither do I. If they want me to buy new, make a game worth buying new. Like Skyrim, which I'll be buying at midnight on 11-11-11.

If used sales cause EA (or another whining corporation) to go belly up, they didn't deserve to stay in business in the first place.

Two things.
One. I'm a PC gamer so...hmmf...whatever, you can complain when they start tying your games to one console or account, which they will. Until then suck it up and enjoy the fact you can even buy second hand games.

Two. Stop blinding me with Science Thomas fucking Dolby!

i didnt even really know about online passes...because i never play online

i know the who used game argument is an important issue in the gaming community, but im still getting kinda bored of it. id say about 90%-95% of my games are used. that being said, if tomorrow i was no longer able to buy used games, it wouldnt bother me that much. id much rather be supporting the developers than be supporting only gamestop (though im aware ill be supporting gamestop either way). i could deal with not buying every game i wanted and only buying the games i really really wanted. rather than buying every game that peaks my interest, i buy the ones i really want and send a message to the publishers that this is the kind of game id like to see more of. seems to me, thats how it should work. then again, i remember the days when you couldnt buy used games, so returning to that age isnt a huge jump for me

Did the exact thing with used copies to brand new squeals. I bought ac because I needed a game. I got it pre-owned. I loved it so much that on AC2 i bought the black edition which cost $200aud. There you go they got full price (in Australia) for both games.

Nurb:

The used car market is the closest you can get, and there's no car company throwing a tantrum about how used cars are "stealing money" from them when people don't want to spend the money on a brand new version, which is what one of these publishers said about the used game market, that it's basically stealing from them.

-You make a product
-You sell a product to a customer
-You have no further rights to money no matter what the customer does with it.

This is pretty much accepted by everyone else and a gamng companies need to stop whining about it.

I agree with this completely. Once money changes hands, the product belongs entirely to the buyer. Once the developer sells to the publisher, the game is no longer their product. It's the publisher's.

Skip a few steps to the retailers. When they sell their game onto the public - it becomes the property of the gamer. What was the retailer's property is no Joe Blogg's property. But the developers lost the right to moan the minute they sold the game to the publisher, and the publisher lose the right to moan when they sell to the retailer.

What really gets the developers and the publisher's knickers in a right twist is when the gamers sell back to the retailer. There are two VERY important reasons for this...

1.) Disposable. If a game is worth the asking price, it'll be one worth keeping.
2.) Convenience. A gamer could just sell his game to one of his buddies but no-one seems bothered by this.

So, why the retailer who nickel and dimes the gamer? Because the retailer always buys - and without any fuss. If the nickel and diming were that bad, the gamer would never have sold their game to them in the first place.

But what can be done about this - the publishers screw the developers, the retailers screw the publishers. The answer is simple - remove the publishers and retailers from the equation. So now you get a gamer who buys directly from the developer.

If everything was done via digital distribution, things would change. Firstly, a gamer would have to visit EA.com (for example) and register with them - a pain in the rear, I know. But stick with it...

Gamer pays Dice for a game - but this is where the rub comes in. The gamer is allowed to make a single copy of the game and burn it onto a disc - so in the event of Dice going bust, his game that he paid for doesn't go the way of the dodo as it's developer did.

Or if the gamer doesn't want that game any more, he can sell it back to Dice via the website for some in-store credit.

The gamer gets his product and the developers get their money. Publishers and retailers get cut out completely leaving the developer with more money to develop a half way decent game. And as I said before, if it's worth buying - it'll be worth keeping. Thus taking a bite out of the used industry.

Perhaps if the CEO's took a smaller pay check, the company they work for wouldnt have to worry about used games....

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

Ever consider that the reason they wait a month and pay very little is because the game is mediocre? As in not WORTH getting as-soon-as-possible and paying the highest price?

The problem is disc games can ONLY sell for $60, there is no middle ground between that and $15 downloadable titles. PC games do not have this problem, they can be dynamically priced from anywhere between $70 and $1, minecraft being in the $20 sweet spot and others around $30-40.

vxicepickxv:

BrotherRool:
In general, your false points are made even worse by the fact that used games are now being sold within the first week of a game being released. Used games take a serious amount of money from devs, and considering online actually creates an expense, used games are costing money to the people who made them, even before you begin trying to work out whether sales they would have made otherwise are greater than the sales will may potential arise as a result of a sequel down the line.

Quick counterpoint that might have already been covered. Devs don't normally get extra money if a game does well, unless it's part of a contract. Almost, if not all of the money from great games sales goes to publishers. Developers are already paid in full before the game is released, unless they have a special contract.

It's a good counterpoint and politely made for which I'm grateful, however

1. Even if it's the publishers profiting, a publisher uses that profit to invest into developers, so we still benefit.

2.http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.71663-About-developers-and-advances
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/94790-The-Beatles-Rock-Band-Sales-Are-Better-Than-Expected
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_8/50-Death-to-the-Games-Industry-Part-I.4
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/7.55628-Harmonix-Sues-Settles-with-Activision-Over-Guitar-Hero-Royalties

These articles all suggest that developers get paid royalties, ie a cut of each game sold. What happens though is that the developer gets paid an advance on his royalties, and it's normally high enough advance that the game has to sell very well before it earns more royalties than the developer has already been paid.

All the wikipedia articles I could find also mentioned 20% royalties being the standard, but I couldn't find any citations

So so bad.

Nothing he says bears any actual water. (with the possible expedition of the 3rd one)

First argument.
That the developers see money because you do trade ins and spend it on new games, only holds water if Gamestop stockpiled used games.... and they dont... they sell them. Undercutting thoes developing the games draining money directly out of the industry.

Second argument.
That used games serve to help establishing franchises. There might (no actual research has been done) be some truth to that, but its so wide it has no use. Giving away games will ensure just as well, but that doesn't make it good for business. Until some actual number crunching has been done in this field its bullshit to say it.

Third argument.
The only one that bears any merit and by far the whiniest of them. Yeah they wasted 2 mins of your time, they are bastards! This is a first world problem if I ever saw one. Yeha they waste your time. They might develop a better system so your time isn't wasted, but Imo thier lost profits trump your wasted time any day.

jimquisition is using the format of feed dump: ending the episode with some random game merchendise (instead of hats)

Treblaine:

Ever consider that the reason they wait a month and pay very little is because the game is mediocre? As in not WORTH getting as-soon-as-possible and paying the highest price?

The problem is disc games can ONLY sell for $60, there is no middle ground between that and $15 downloadable titles. PC games do not have this problem, they can be dynamically priced from anywhere between $70 and $1, minecraft being in the $20 sweet spot and others around $30-40.

That's exactly how it is for me. When a game releases I have a look at it and I assign a kind of value to it, I then don't buy it until I see it being sold for that price or lower. It's very rare I actually see a 'thirty quid game', Space Marine, Skyrim and maybe Deus Ex are the only recent ones. Any other game I just don't buy until the retailer pitches it for an appropriate price.

I think for a game like Minecraft the 10-15 range is about right, though I bought it ages ago so I got it cheaper. I generally won't pay more than about 20 for any game unless it's pretty fucking good. At the moment a lot of developers seem to have mixed up the fact that there are some games I'll pay 30 for with the idea that I'll buy any game for 30.

There's also the times when the online passes screw over people who bought new.

Like, in Space Marine, for example. I bought new, but I STILL need to under a code to progress past level 5 in the multiplayer. First thing I did when I got home was go to the PS Store and redeem my code.

Then I go to the multiplayer, and it says "press triangle to redeem". I do that, and it goes tot he store and says "nothing to redeem". I bought the game new, and redeemed my code, but since I did it in the WRONG ORDER, I cannot progress past level 5 in the multiplayer. How hard is it for this game to search my PS3 and see that I downloaded the release patch? I could call the helpline or whatever...but you know what? I don't feel like dealing with all that. I bought this game new. I shouldn't be locked from progressing further in the multiplayer and I'll be damned if I buy an online pass for a game I bought new.

On the bright side, the single-player campaign was fun as hell, and that's the main reason I bought Space Marine in the first place.

I bought DA:O used. I liked it so much that I bought DAII new, even at a frankly unreasonable price. I bought SR2 used. I liked it so much that I've preordered SR3, even though I'm going to get thoroughly ripped off by EB Games.

Jim's point on used games encouraging buying sequels new? Valid.

PC has had worse than this for a long, long time now. You're a bit late really, there's been a thing called "CD-Keys" for ages. Before you know it there won't even be a possibility to trade games no matter the platform. Except for steam which has that ability between the users, thus cutting out the middle man.

I do however agree that the online passes and cd-keys and whatnot are really getting in the way lately, even more so when some games are going in the "you own a license, not a copy" direction which is way worse than some online passes. If console players could actually manage their own servers instead of having the dev/publisher provide one then there probably wouldn't be any online passes. Ask for the ability to set up servers instead of going apeshit.

Also, the sentence "can't afford such luxury" makes you sound abnoxious. That's what games are, a luxury. Can't afford it just yet? Well, wait a bit longer.

Jim, you are just whining about used games.

Your first point is bollocks. If you are truly trying to convince me that used games makes up for more sales on sequels, because people that tried the original are more likely to buy the next one new, or because used games are a way to experiment the game, here is my answer: SO IS PIRACY. Yeah, being there, than that. If you are truly expecting me to believe someone that buy cheaper the game might pay full price again because he enjoyed it, your naivete is only matched for your ego.

Your second point is pretty weak. The quality of the experience has no bearing in the price. What's unfair is unfair, doesn't matter if the game is crap or godsend.

Your third point is an hyperbole. Wasting your time is the same as killing you? In that case, I should be ravaging about every single game that makes me waste time in a loading screen. How dare you, Bioshock, Fallout and Borderlands to kill me while I watch a static screen and a progress bar? Shame on you!! I am a busy and important person that wants to spend every second of its non busy time doing important stuff, like killing locusts, fighting zombies and teabaging noobs... How dare them to rob me and the world of some milliseconds of important violence?

As I said, just whining...

Or you could just try doing what I do. Not bother with the online multiplayer and be happy.

I can buy a used game and not have to pay any extra money.

And it's awesome.

EDIT: Of course if it's a developer or publisher I like, I'll support them and buy the game new.

I personally feel that game companies are well within their rights to used Online Passes as a way of gaining profit from second hand sales. It seems Ok to pay for featurs like online play, extra characters, bonus missions etc. As long as it doesn't act as a detriment to the proper game.

With that said, I'm not against second hand sales and fully suport them.

A year or so ago I paid 10 for a used copy of Dragon Age Origins. I liked the game so much I bought all the stuff new gamers could get. If the game is good enough then it will make back its money that way.

In other scenarios I bought Army of Two, Assassin's Creed, Bioshock and a few others second hand but bought all their sequels new. Just like Jim said, used copies of games can snare more cautious gamers. Each new game is a pricy purchase sometimes I'm just not willing to take the risk regardless of reviews and demos.

The problem with game companies is that they are treating second hand gamers like criminals whilst second hand gamers treat game companies as corporations evil incarnate. The problem isn't the system of online passes but the attitudes of both sides of the conflict.

There is no right answer. Each side have their pros and cons which are as equally compelling as each other.

JustaGigolo:
You know what hurts the game industry even more than online passes? Cheap people who wait a month after a game comes out just to get a used copy of a game, thus giving all their money to Gamestop, and not the creators or publishers of the game.

"Oh no, I can't play this shitty multiplayer without putting in a code. Oh woe is me."

You mean people that can't afford to constantly buy new games?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here