Used and Abused

Used and Abused

Using the secondhand games market as a scapegoat for problems that affect the whole industry is not of any help to retailers, customers or publishers.

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I personally agree that the 2nd hand market is just a scapegoat. However, I do wonder sometimes whether stores selling 2nd hand games for 3-5 cheaper than a new copy are taking the mick a bit. That said, there clearly appears to be demand for even this slight discount; as whenever I go into, for example, Blockbusters ill usually see them offering to buy back the latest blockbuster game title for maybe 10 less then a new copy sells. Those arn't massive margins. Sometimes reading 'industry' responses to the 2ndhand games it sounds almost as though they think the retailers are getting these games for free. I dont know how big the profit margin on a new title is, but I doubt its all that bigger for major release 2nd hand titles either, at least in the first few weeks of release.

The industry, to me, seems to be making it harder & harder for it to make a real profit on games. I personally cannot see the retail price of games getting much higher then they are now, allowing for inflation of course. With the rising price of development, theyre having to squeeze profits from smaller & smaller margins, especially considering how few games aparently make a profit at all for a publisher/developer. New technology has allowed games to achieve unprecedented levels of graphical realism etc. But I wonder if in its rush to climb to the heavens, the Industry isnt in danger of getting too close to the sun & melting its wings.

"If we cannot find a way to make what the consumer wants at a price they are willing to pay, then we deserve to fail. That's capitalism for you."

Truer words were never spoken. Instead of trying to improve their product quality and generate more revenue through innovation and hard work, the game industry seems to be taking a cue from the Obama-bots of the world and attempting to legislate their way to profitability rather than letting the free market rule.

What's next after they prevent Gamestop from selling used? They try and ban people from selling their old games on eBay? Give me a break.

Folks, if you buy a product, it is yours to do with as you please, including resell it. The fact that people are even considering trying to ban the sale of used games is flatly unacceptable, and a measure of how truly lacking in creativity and competitve spirit some of these company leaders really are.

This move away from capitalism that is currently gripping America needs to stop. It quite simply makes no logical sense whatsoever, unless you're a lazy arse averse to working for your living.

In any event, nice article, I'm glad to see at least one person who makes games for a living and also has some common sense.

You can see a move more away from a material disc and more to Downloadable sites like steam etc as people can't resell without a real item to trade in. This crying over re selling is rather silly but if they are really bothered they should move to these website based sales. it's not like it's beyond consoles to do this now.

Oh that reminded me of the Phantom console which was meant to work by download streaming only with no discs. unfortunately they seemed to be a bit before it's time. I reckon xbox will go this way next gen. they seem to have the network for it.

Good article.

The games industry makes products that fail to maintain value not because of Lack of Intrinsic Artistic value but due to a shifting medium.

Look at movies. New movies are sold for what, $30? $35? That's about right. But movies from a year ago don't cost that much. They're about $10 less. And by the time you get into movies that were made in B&W (which are some of the best films, by the by), movies cost $14.99. Are you telling me that "To Kill A Mockingbird" has less intrinsic artistic value then "Iron Man" or "The Incredible Hulk?" Because I'd beg to differ. And keep in mind, the television/movie screen hasn't altered its method of delivery for decades. Likewise with music, nothing has changed really. You hear music through sound. It was that way when primitive cavemen were forming primitive bee-bop bands with rocks and sticks and it'll be that way twenty years from now when, well, I dunno what they're gonna do, but sound'll still be sound.

But with games, everything changes, on a year to year basis. "Call of Duty" came out in 2003. 5 years later, "Call of Duty: World at War" has graphics that make COD look like a cartoon. The end result? COD is cheap (like the budgie says). I mean, if I had to upgrade my television every five years to play the most current movies because otherwise I'd have to play them at lower quality sound and without lighting effects, yah, I would want the movies from the 1950s to cost me pocketchange. Hell, I'd want the movies from the 90s to cost me pocketchange (and I'm pretty sure I'd want to be paid to watch movies from the 80s). With games, you can actually watch quality improve release to release. So when GameStop sells a game that's a year old for $40-odd, I applaud the game's tenacity. But I don't buy it. I buy it used for half that. Because the fact you managed to maintain that kind of pricing is pretty damned good. But you ain't worth that. I know it, the retailers know it. The only people who don't know it are the publishers.

I completely support the used games market because I can not afford a $60 game sometimes a year after it came out (I am looking at you Uncharted!). Sometimes it is a bit more than a $5 difference. In the case of the aforementioned game it is a $20 difference and that doesn't include that damned discount card the GameStop peddles. GTA IV is another example as it is now $30 cheaper than new. Why pay more and still get the same quality product? If I could always afford new I would buy new. If developers have a problem with that then maybe they could stop selling games at GameStop and only at shit holes like Wal-Mart. People will still peddle their used wares at GameStop because Wal-Mart doesn't give a shit if you don't like it (I know GameStop is the same way but they at least let you return used games). I am ranting, sorry.

Christian Ward works for a major publisher, and admittedly does not understand why people are willing to buy secondhand for only a $5 discount.

Well you didn't need a whole article because that sentence sums up the whole problem. The retailer pretending there more important then the products they sell buy undermining the value of the original sale and trying to squeeze out the developer from his or hers cut. This 7 day no questions asked return policy they have is whats wrong. A game disc should have a fault to be returned not just because they have finished it and are to poor to afford more. Also what happened to a product losing 50% of its value once its was used or left the show room floor?

First off good article. I had no idea that people didn't like the used game market. Though I did suspect something when I went into a Gamecrazy the other day and they told me that I had to be 18 to trade in a freaking video game, due to some new bullshit Colorado law. Ironic because now that I have my license I can drive, something I'm pretty new at, but not trade in video games or buy M rated games, something I have been doing forever. But back to the article. After writing the article from a purely industrial point of view you must have had trouble understanding the consumer view, at least why people buy used games for a slight discount. And its simply that there is virtually no difference between the a new $60 game and a used, $55 dollar game. Why pay $5 more for the same product?

Yes, I'm sure the 5$ used games I'm buying for my PS2 that are no longer on shelves anywhere in the world is really hurting them.
Those used games for 5$ less siting next to a brand new copy? Okay fine, I'll give them that, but I seriously doubt used games are having any real major effects on the industry as a whole.

Because god forbid a big named company like Epic or EA would just have come out and admit it: "Ok.. Maybe it is our fault for releasing the same fucking game every year with slightly better graphics making your older game obsolete and your 50 dollar investment void."

Most games nowadays are basically filled with steroids and pumped out to meet crazy deadlines (sorry EA, a good game isn't entirely made in a year). What you end up getting is something that looks pretty, with a nice cover but no actual content... If your profits are falling it's not because of piracy or game reselling, it's because your games have no actual intrinsic value to them... Notice how Valve doesn't seem to have a problem with piracy. Even with single player games like Half Life and Portal... Because 10 years later Half-Life is still a goddamn classic whereas Fifa 99 is just old and obsolete...

I really loved the article. This is an argument that I've been hearing for years. I think the biggest appeal of the used games bin is that you can find some real gems from only a year or two ago that is both cheap and, in some cases, you can't buy new anymore.

Take the example of when my girlfriend bought a PS2 and I wanted to get her the first Jak and Daxter game. When I went out to find it, all I could find new was Jak and Daxter 2 & 3. I simply could not find that game new anywhere. Gamestop, Fred Meyers, even FYE, nothing. One day when I was browsing the local Gamestop, I took a quick look through the bargain bin for something that wasn't an old EA Sports game and ended up finding the first Jak and Daxter for a mere $10 bucks. I immediately bought the game and gave the game to her on our very next date. She absolutely loved the game and wants to get the second game, new.

Which reminds me, if you're unsure about a game series, buying a used copy of the first game is a great way to take a risk and decide if you keep wanting to get the newer entries at full price. There are definitely some huge positives to getting a used games and attempting to destroy it is going to backlash on the game industry so hard that it could drop some profit margins for the very industry that thinks it's being cheated out of money.

darksideslight:
"If we cannot find a way to make what the consumer wants at a price they are willing to pay, then we deserve to fail. That's capitalism for you."

Truer words were never spoken.

Almost. If he had written "business competition," rather than "capitalism," he would have approached a bit closer to the truth.

Capitalism is not the same thing as business, and neither is the same thing as the free market. Obama doesn't oppose any of them.

This is a particularly bad mistake because, for one thing, capitalism requires tight, specific governmental controls in order to exist, fosters monopolies (the opposite of competition), and, in one of its signature markets--the stock market--it places myriad restrictions on how you can re-sell what you've bought.

The problem is that you think you have a natural right to do whatever you want with an item you've purchased with government-printed money through a government-securitized contract.

You don't.

At the moment, you can go right ahead and re-sell a game you own. Game publishers are out simply to change the terms of the contract under which they transferred ownership of the property from themselves to you.

Think of a real estate purchase in which the seller puts restrictions in the deed--the property can't be re-sold by you for thirty years or can never be developed, etc. You can choose to sign that contract or not buy the property.

Game publishers want to do the same, in a more generalized way. If they get their way, you can choose to abide by their terms or not buy their products.

And, yes, that is the free market.

Jsnoopy:
And its simply that there is virtually no difference between the a new $60 game and a used, $55 dollar game. Why pay $5 more for the same product?

I do believe the point of the argument is, that a second hand game should be a lot more than 5$ cheaper. If a game costs 60$ new and 55$ second hand, thats less than a 10% discount. And also considering, to trade in your games for a new game, you usually have to trade in at least 3 of your old games, that means you are trading in 180 dollars (new) for 60 dollars worth of game which equals 66%. Compare 66% discount that you give to the store to the 9% discount the store gives you, words like GREED and UNFAIR kinda pops up in my mind.

The Used-Games market is almost as bad for the industry as piracy. If one person Buys a game and then copies it for 10 friends, the publisher of the game will see as much money as if the buyer would have sold to another friend, who would have sold to another etc.

It's 100% ok if games need to be online-activated or require actions to verify license-authencity (and "owning" a used game doesn't mean you licensed the game). Only the owner of the intellectual property should be able to grant licenses for its usage. The laws are just not "ready" for this yet, just like it was possible to "legally" share music with random ppl online in germany some years ago (napster..). If you buy a game, you license it, you are allowed to play it then. That's it. but you can't resell that license. It's like a day-ticket for subway. you can use it yourself, but you can't really sell it to somebody else for the afternoon after it was "used" by you in the morning. The subway company charges you for the hourly cost divided by the amount of daily customers, multiplied with the average time a day-ticket customer uses the subway, and if every day-ticket would be shared (or traded) by two persons, the price would double or the service quality halve!

Games are no Furniture. for games, 99% of the price are the development cost. For a chair, for example, 99% of the price is production cost, since it takes only common sense to know how a chair looks.

So, it's ok for person A to re-sell the chair to person B, since it doesn't need to be produced in comparison to person B buying another one, and the carpenter already re-gained 100% of his development cost for the chair fromselling the firstone.

But it's NOT ok for person A selling a used computer game to person B, since the developer won't re-gain development cost this way.
Let's say, the development cost was 2$. If person A buys the game for 1$ and sells it to person B, the developer will get 1$. Only if person A and B buy it, the dev would get 2$ back. it's that simple. Of course, there's personell cost, and shipping etc.

But all this doesn't change, that, for the eveloper and publisher, it's just like piracy, only that piracy is illegal and re-selling not.

I could say, that the re-selling is even worse than piracy for the publisher, since re-sellers canot be sentenced, but pirates can.

So plz, used-game-buyers, keep in mind, that the $10 you pay more for a new game in comparison to a $40 used game makea all-or-nothing difference for the publisher and it will prevent developers from making great new story-driven singleplayer games, since these are the most re-sold games.

thx!

Somian:
The Used-Games market is almost as bad for the industry as piracy. If one person Buys a game and then copies it for 10 friends, the publisher of the game will see as much money as if the buyer would have sold to another friend, who would have sold to another etc.

It's 100% ok if games need to be online-activated or require actions to verify license-authencity (and "owning" a used game doesn't mean you licensed the game). Only the owner of the intellectual property should be able to grant licenses for its usage. The laws are just not "ready" for this yet, just like it was possible to "legally" share music with random ppl online in germany some years ago (napster..). If you buy a game, you license it, you are allowed to play it then. That's it. but you can't resell that license. It's like a day-ticket for subway. you can use it yourself, but you can't really sell it to somebody else for the afternoon after it was "used" by you in the morning. The subway company charges you for the hourly cost divided by the amount of daily customers, multiplied with the average time a day-ticket customer uses the subway, and if every day-ticket would be shared (or traded) by two persons, the price would double or the service quality halve!

Games are no Furniture. for games, 99% of the price are the development cost. For a chair, for example, 99% of the price is production cost, since it takes only common sense to know how a chair looks.

So, it's ok for person A to re-sell the chair to person B, since it doesn't need to be produced in comparison to person B buying another one, and the carpenter already re-gained 100% of his development cost for the chair fromselling the firstone.

But it's NOT ok for person A selling a used computer game to person B, since the developer won't re-gain development cost this way.
Let's say, the development cost was 2$. If person A buys the game for 1$ and sells it to person B, the developer will get 1$. Only if person A and B buy it, the dev would get 2$ back. it's that simple. Of course, there's personell cost, and shipping etc.

But all this doesn't change, that, for the eveloper and publisher, it's just like piracy, only that piracy is illegal and re-selling not.

I could say, that the re-selling is even worse than piracy for the publisher, since re-sellers canot be sentenced, but pirates can.

So plz, used-game-buyers, keep in mind, that the $10 you pay more for a new game in comparison to a $40 used game makea all-or-nothing difference for the publisher and it will prevent developers from making great new story-driven singleplayer games, since these are the most re-sold games.

thx!

It's not my damn problem if the publisher makes any money. Screw the publisher. It's not my problem if the DEVELOPER makes money either. I am the consumer. I am the love-hate enemy/sweetheart of the industry of your choice. You must both provide me with quality service and do it at a low price, and if you can't do it I will find someone who can. And if you try to fork bad merchandise off on me, I will destroy you just like I destroyed the other guy who couldn't keep his costs down.

I am the consumer. It's about ME. Selfish? Damn right. Egocentric? Yep.

Well thats bloody capitalism. When you put the rights in the hand of the developer instead of the consumer, it's the CONSUMER that takes it. When you put the rights in the hands of the consumer, the developer takes it- albiet less so.

If production costs are making games into too huge of an investment... FIX IT. Lower your costs. If you can't you get to be meat for the herd. Coddling developers and being nice understanding consumers is what led to EA.

This is one of the major differences between consoles and PCs.

Where as with a console, people will often trade in their old, last gen games, PC gamers tend to hang on to their old games for the simple reason that we can still play them without having to change the box hooked up to the TV. At worst, a PC gamer might need to boot up a virtual machine. Hades, I do it to play games that don't run too stable on XP. But then again, it's no great amount of duress for me as I can just save the state of my virtual Win98 computer and resume in about five seconds at the click of my mouse and be playing the game inside of ten, fifteen seconds.

With this, PC gamers don't really need to return games though some do for reasons of not liking it or what have you. Me? I still have my original copies of Doom II, Chaos Gate, Final Liberation, Dark Reign which still play frequently at home or during my breaks at work.

It really makes me angry when the games industry thinks its so damn special that it can go around whining about how unfair the used games market is and to make it worse some of you support them on this issue.

If this was the car industry giving us a sob story about how used car salesman are causing job losses at the car plants no one would care.

For cars, the percentage of the development cost in the retail price is much smaller than for games.

TsunamiWombat:

It's not my damn problem

If i'm talking to "pirates" who are illegaly downloading their games from bittorrent, they answer like this, "it's not my damn problem". "If they (the publishers) can't make a good product to a good price, i won't buy it. If they can't make a good copy protection, they're screwed." (And on the other side, the buyers argue about the copy protection.)

No, it's not your problem, but you don't have to buy it. If you don't like the product, don't buy it. If you don't like the price, don't buy it. The fact that it's not illegal doesn't make it better to buy a used game instead of just downloading a copy.

Personally, I buy new games, except if there is no new one available anymore. I could also pirate if there's no new one, it wouldn't make any difference, since I don't license the game in both cases. I just buy a used one for the sake of physically putting it into my games collection.

Any yes, personally, i hate online activation, but i see, that it's necessary, to prevent people from re-selling the games.

Valve has done the right thing with steam. Piracy was decreased, but, what's much better, and what Valve won't tell you because it's not illegal, the re-selling was decreased to a minimum (account resales). That's why the valve games run so good, and that's why valve is able to offer that high quality products at such a low price. They are able to improve their games over the years. Look at the Day of Defeat: Source update, and the new Team Fortress 2 Content. The reason, they're able to do this is, that they still earn enough money from a 2-year old game, simply, because we're not able to resell it.

Also Steam offered Half Life 1 for 99c recently.

Honestly, under a buck for one of the greatest games in history.

Now, immediate reaction is 'lol gimmick, they can't have made any money from that'.

However, they probably sold a good few tens of thousands, of which a fair percent would have been gifts or new accounts, who they've now hooked into Steam, and will be spending more money with them, also, even a lousy dollar, if you multiply by enough customers, is good money.

Also, on top of that, they've just killed the second hand market in copies of Half Life, who's gonna want to pay $5-10 for a Half Life Disc now?

Same goes for GTA, they had all the GTAs from the original top down one, thru to San Andreas on weekend offer for like $40, who wasn't picking up that deal?

The more people they get on board, the more popular they become, the less second hand games there are and the more games publishers they can get on board to join them.

On top of that, games at reasonable prices and no piracy.

Used games, illicit downloads.

These two things are why in the very near future, ALL games will come from STEAM-like services. Can't torrent the game if you don't even have the whole thing on your machine.

Most people that are gamers have internet anyway. I give games on physical media 10 years at most, except possibly for the biggest AAA titles.

Somian:
For cars, the percentage of the development cost in the retail price is much smaller than for games.

TsunamiWombat:

It's not my damn problem

If i'm talking to "pirates" who are illegaly downloading their games from bittorrent, they answer like this, "it's not my damn problem". "If they (the publishers) can't make a good product to a good price, i won't buy it. If they can't make a good copy protection, they're screwed." (And on the other side, the buyers argue about the copy protection.)

No, it's not your problem, but you don't have to buy it. If you don't like the product, don't buy it. If you don't like the price, don't buy it. The fact that it's not illegal doesn't make it better to buy a used game instead of just downloading a copy.

Personally, I buy new games, except if there is no new one available anymore. I could also pirate if there's no new one, it wouldn't make any difference, since I don't license the game in both cases. I just buy a used one for the sake of physically putting it into my games collection.

Any yes, personally, i hate online activation, but i see, that it's necessary, to prevent people from re-selling the games.

Valve has done the right thing with steam. Piracy was decreased, but, what's much better, and what Valve won't tell you because it's not illegal, the re-selling was decreased to a minimum (account resales). That's why the valve games run so good, and that's why valve is able to offer that high quality products at such a low price. They are able to improve their games over the years. Look at the Day of Defeat: Source update, and the new Team Fortress 2 Content. The reason, they're able to do this is, that they still earn enough money from a 2-year old game, simply, because we're not able to resell it.

Your comparisons are nebulous. Games are not cars or furniture. They're akin to books, videos, and other mass media. Like other forms of mass-media, they have to deal with the realities of the medium.

In my view the argument against second-hand retailing is confused. Opponents of the second hand market act because they believe that intellectual property and ownership rights are one and the same thing. They are not!

When you buy a game, you purchase a thing, not a license! Yes, a company retains the intellectual property rights for their creation. That's indisputable. However, what the consumer purchases; the box, the manual, and the disk on which the game is burned. That indisputably remains their property!

The copy of Fallout 3 on my shelf is MY property. If it was stolen, it would be a crime against me, not Bethesda. I'm entitled to exercise my rights of ownership, and do as I please with my game; play it; lend it to a friend; resell it. This of course doesn't extend to copying, exhibiting for profit, or anything which would infringe on the intellectual property of the publisher.

There are exceptions. MMORPG's are the main one, because they cannot be played without online servers, the use of which is contingent on adhering to a licence agreement. PC games have restrictions on trade mainly because of the ease of which they can be illegally copied. Even so, the fact resale of PC games is more difficult is down to the policies of retailers, rather than owners unwillingness to trade them.

The main analogy here is books. They contain an author's intellectual property, but you can pick up a second-hand book anywhere in the world without infringing any laws. Ditto to videos and DVDs.

I'm all for laws to protect intellectual property, and I'm certainly no Friedmanite when it comes to the market. But to legislate against the second hand market would be nothing less than brass-necked protectionism; a dire infringement on the property rights of millions of consumers, in favour of a minority of publishers and developers with delusions of economic persecution!

Making money through mass media is a game, the rules of which were set long before the first video game was ever coded. If the video games industry finds it hard to work within that framework, it is for them to modernise their practices. Changing the rules to suit the whims of one industry is wholey unjustifiable.

Great article by the way. Although I disagree that there is anything at all which is inherently unsavoury about the second hand market.

Caliostro:
Because god forbid a big named company like Epic or EA would just have come out and admit it: "Ok.. Maybe it is our fault for releasing the same fucking game every year with slightly better graphics making your older game obsolete and your 50 dollar investment void."

Most games nowadays are basically filled with steroids and pumped out to meet crazy deadlines (sorry EA, a good game isn't entirely made in a year). What you end up getting is something that looks pretty, with a nice cover but no actual content... If your profits are falling it's not because of piracy or game reselling, it's because your games have no actual intrinsic value to them... Notice how Valve doesn't seem to have a problem with piracy. Even with single player games like Half Life and Portal... Because 10 years later Half-Life is still a goddamn classic whereas Fifa 99 is just old and obsolete...

You forgot how Valve distributes their product... that's the main reason they don't have the piracy problem. Anyway, I personally only buy games new when I know it is going to be a kickass game, like GTA IV, Orange Box, Bioshock (and also when it doesn't come out around Christmas). I think in a way secondhand game market sort of helps the industry because if the player really likes the game, they're more likely to go out and buy the sequel right at launch. That was case for me with San Andreas and Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.
If the publishers let the developers have more time, so they could actually make a quality product (I'm looking at you, EA!) Then they wouldn't be complaining so much.

KissofKetchup:

You forgot how Valve distributes their product... that's the main reason they don't have the piracy problem. Anyway, I personally only buy games new when I know it is going to be a kickass game, like GTA IV, Orange Box, Bioshock (and also when it doesn't come out around Christmas). I think in a way secondhand game market sort of helps the industry because if the player really likes the game, they're more likely to go out and buy the sequel right at launch. That was case for me with San Andreas and Rainbow Six: Vegas 2.
If the publishers let the developers have more time, so they could actually make a quality product (I'm looking at you, EA!) Then they wouldn't be complaining so much.

While I will agree that the fact that Valve has a large "online" (TF2, Counter Strike, recently Left4Dead) roster of games that are very difficult to "cheat" and thus diminuish the impact of piracy somewhat, you can't forget that they also live of their single player titles which ARE, and have always been, very "pirateable" (anything offline is relatively easy to cheat, even if it requires "online verification"). Don't forget that back in 1999 when it started, Valve was basically a one-trick pony living of Half-Life. Nowadays, they still maintain Half-Life well alive, together with Portal.

But you know what the colossal difference is? While I'm not even debating that Valve does what it does for money, they're smart. They don't get greedy. And in that way, they end up winning.

Notice that Valve usually brings out games at lower prices, or when they aren't, they generally get generous price cuts far before the average game titles. Notice that basically every game valve has ever produced has taken a long time to create, but consequently, is STILL a classic today.

The result: People know that their money is well spent. They know it's not a lost investment. They know they're buying quality.

So Portal is only 2 - 3 hours long. Every minute of gameplay is epic and it costs around 20 bucks, less if you buy it as part of the Orange Box... Look at Left4Dead. How many people were ready to throw their money at it blindly simply due to the "Valve stamp of quality" (a.k.a. Their logo). Guess what, they were right!

On the other hand when you buy E.A./Activision you know it's most likely lost money. You know that within a year, at most, the new one will come out, that will actually be more of a stand-alone expansion than a full game, but it'll cost as much as a full game. Look at games like Crysis, CoD4... These games had everything to be classics... Instead they were mass produced, and thrown out of the door without any regard. They're still great games. CoD4 particularly is quite excellent. But they're not timeless classics... Not for lack of potential but for lack of development.

jono793:

Your comparisons are nebulous. Games are not cars or furniture. They're akin to books, videos, and other mass media. Like other forms of mass-media, they have to deal with the realities of the medium.

That's what I said. They're NOT cars or furniture.

jono793:

The copy of Fallout 3 on my shelf is MY property. If it was stolen, it would be a crime against me, not Bethesda. I'm entitled to exercise my rights of ownership, and do as I please with my game; play it; lend it to a friend; resell it. This of course doesn't extend to copying, exhibiting for profit, or anything which would infringe on the intellectual property of the publisher.

[/quote]

lending means, that you grant a license to somebody, but - it's just not executable by law yet - nobody except the owner of the intellectual property is allowed to grant a usage license. You can allow somebody to use the DVD, but (in theory) you can't allow someone to "use" the game, since it's still not "your" game, you "own" only the rights to use it. What that usage includes, depends on the license, the EULAs of some older games allowed u to share the game with friends, and you're usually allowed to share the game within the household, but it's still not your property, you just have some "volume license". You're allowed to install the game on one PC (and another after u uninstalled it, or multiple PCs where YOU want to play it, and of course you can let anyone play it on your PC, if you don't take money for it. You may also lend it somehow but don't take money for it, and only to friends, if you aren't able to use the game on your PC. You may also not install the game on multiple PCs in your household to play in LAN, you'll need 2 or more licenses for that.

Not sharing MMORPGs because you can't share or re-sell them doesn't mean, that you wouldn't share of re-sell them if it would be possible. Gmaes other than MMORPGs need to be activated these days (far cry 2, SPORE), jsut tp prevent "license fraud". Most PC(Console players do something like that, but the licenses behave just like licenses for apps like Photoshop or maya. You just can't re-sell your photoshop license, and can't "lend" it so someone (who will probably use it along with you). The copy protection is just to make it more comprehensible for end users. It doesn't affect the lcense, how many copies u make, until you're the only user if you are the only one who's granted the license to use it. What would happen if Photoshop could be re-sold? Adobe would lose like 50% of the customers, since most users need only the features up to Photoshop CS or even before, and would buy "used" older Photoshop versions instead of buying the new one.

And it's similar with games.

The customer is always right.

I'm the customer, I have the money, I can do what I want with it. If I like your product, I will buy it, if I don't like it, that's YOUR PROBLEM. Give me a good enough reason to pay (AU)$100 for a brand new game and I will buy it, if not, perhaps I could spend that $100 elsewhere.

Example:
Mirror's Edge looks like heaps of fun and I do really want to play it. However, after hearing that it is annoyingly short, I won't be buying it at full price. I can wait for post-christmas sales or a used copy.

Fallout 3 looked like heaps of fun and I did really want to play it. After hearing that it had a healthy length, I decided to buy it at full price and I haven't regretted the purchase.

Great article by the way.

It is not just a $5 discount. Most used buyers also have a EDGE card which provides an additional 10% off. So you get more than $10 off.

Also, you can return a used game if you don't like it. This is especially helpful if you are having trouble deciding between 2 games. Just last week I was unsure if I wanted Fable 2 or Fallout 3. I bought Fable 2 used, decided I didn't like it, and exchanged it for Fallout 3. Can't do that with a new game.

Whoever thinks that steam games are hard to pirate is a long way out of touch with reality.
I have personially hacked steam several times. I have used systems to download games of their network without paying for them. Programs like steambuster allow you to run steam games over a lan without even having steam installed. Steam is not making a profit because it is "hard to pirate". The games are also easy enough to resell, you just sell the whole account, or in some cases you can transfer the game to another account (they did this with half life 2 from the oragange box). If you have a disk copy of a steam game, you can use the product key to move the game to your account (or recover the game, whatever).

I know this, have seen and have at one point even been offered a legit steam account with with every game valve had published at the time second hand, yet I have still purchased every valve game in the past 5 years. Why? Because the games are good quality, because the system they work on, while it may make things more convieniant for the devs and publishers, it also makes the games a lot more accessable for me. All I need is my login and I can play on whatever computer I want (usually the game files help as well, but it will let me download them an unlimited amount of times).

The reselling of video games, much like the piracy of video games, doesn't hurt the industry anywhere near as much as bad policies enforced by the devs and publishers.

Luckily for EA, I live in a country that has no organized second-hand videogame stores network.
I bought a copy of EA's Spore one day and found I hated it a great deal. So now it just litters my shelf and irritates me every time I look at it. Of course, I could sell it and use the money to buy some other EA's game, like the upcoming The Sims 3, which would probably make everyone happy, but I guess I'll have to pirate it. I don't want another pig in a poke.

Lance Icarus:

Which reminds me, if you're unsure about a game series, buying a used copy of the first game is a great way to take a risk and decide if you keep wanting to get the newer entries at full price. There are definitely some huge positives to getting a used games and attempting to destroy it is going to backlash on the game industry so hard that it could drop some profit margins for the very industry that thinks it's being cheated out of money.

I agree with you I bought Dark Sector for 10 bucks and I loved it and I'm really hoping for a sequel.

Sometimes going to Gamestop you might get lucky and buy a old game for a cheap price and buy the others like I did with Jak III now I have Jak II and I really wanna play that game.

It is 2012 and the Publishers are still crying about used-sales, piracy and the Internet for taking away revenue, all the while producing knock-off games, DRMs and cussing the very people who actually care.

I know this thread is four years old, but that makes the fact that nobody commented on this even worse: David Braben is the co-creator of Elite, not the creator. He did do the sequels on his own, though, because he had a falling out with the other creator, Ian Bell. Ironically, it was over the same kind of greedy assholishness that caused him to say something so mindnumbingly stupid about used games.

Final point: this article is a nice snapshot of a time when going after used games was still considered ridiculous. Four years. That's all it took for "used games are evil" to go from something too ridiculous for anyone to do anything but laugh at, to being something that has a lot of supporters within the gaming community. We are terrible consumers.

Edit: Hell, two years. The whole thing really took off with gamers in 2010, after the Penny Arcade comic that conflated used games with piracy.

 

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