Battlefield Dev: Anti-Used Games Tech Isn't "Evil" or "Stupid"

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Battlefield Dev: Anti-Used Games Tech Isn't "Evil" or "Stupid"

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Nixing the pre-owned market could inspire more diversity.

Rumors that next-generation consoles might block the use of pre-owned games has consumers in a bit of a huff these days, and some developers have backpedaled accordingly on comments supporting the idea. At least one developer, however, thinks that gamers might actually see some benefits from the practice when all is said and done.

"I think [used-game blocking] can be a win and a loss," Patrick Bach, interim CEO of Battlefield developer DICE, told CVG. "I think it's a loss if it only means that you will be able to get fewer games for the same money. But in theory you could see it the other way, because a lot of companies making games today are struggling based on second-hand sales."

Many people would probably consider owning fewer games for the same price a loss, true, but Bach thinks that the driving question should be about quality and diversity, rather than quantity. By removing the secondary market and the risk that consumers will just purchase a used version of their game, he says, developers and publishers wouldn't be forced to follow the leader in popular genres to make a buck. "You feel like a lot of [online shooters] have the same formula and this is one of the reasons, which most people seem to not realize."

"[On] the positive side you could see more games being created because of this, and also more new IPs, because there'd be a bigger market for games that don't have for instance multiplayer," he said, noting that offline, single-player-only games were typically pirated.

Bach did agree that gamers who want to amass as large a library as possible would be hurt by the technology. "If you want to buy as many games as possible then this could be a problem, but if you want more diverse games then it's a more positive thing than negative."

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."

It's worth pointing out that Mr. Bach is wrong on at least one count - looking at the most pirated games of 2011, the vast majority of them were games with an emphasis on the multiplayer experience. As for the rest of his comments, well, I'm sure they'll be hotly debated in comment threads across the internet until the world ends later this year.

(CVG)

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I think this video sums up my feelings on this pretty well


Used games are a valuable part of the industry, it's sad that developers can't see this

John Funk:
Many people would probably consider owning fewer games for the same price a loss, true, but Bach thinks that the driving question should be about quality and diversity, rather than quantity. By removing the secondary market and the risk that consumers will just purchase a used version of their game, he says, developers and publishers wouldn't be forced to follow the leader in popular genres to make a buck. "You feel like a lot of [online shooters] have the same formula and this is one of the reasons, which most people seem to not realize."

Do these people really believe this shit or are they just shoveling it because they're told to?

Used games do no more to the diversity of the gaming market than piracy does (read: nothing at all). If they want to block used sales to make more money, that's their prerogative (assuming of course the courts don't find it in violation of the First-sale doctrine), but they could at least be honest about it.

Eliminating used sales isn't going to have any noticeable effect on the games that are made, aside from the fact that there will be a massive drop in business for Gamestop.

Edit: DAMN YOU DUSTLESSDRAGOON AND YOUR NINJA WAYS.

I can't wait until they kill used games and then see no increase in game sales.

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I REALLY don't like being told what kinds of games I can and can't buy...

Getting rid of used games won't "inspire" more diversity. If anything, it will keep companies pumping out the same games over and over. If they made money on a game once, why not keep doing it? These companies don't wanna lose money, so why even bother with a new idea? This whole argument is about money...not diversity...

The only thing I see inspiring diversity is the whole Kickstarter revolution...smaller companies getting donations from the gamers so they can create something the bigger companies wouldn't fund...something different...

That's how I see it atleast

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."

As soon as people say things like this, I stop caring what they have to say. They are not trying to do this to help us, they are doing it to help themselves. That's not being cynical, that's being truthful. Any benefit to us is purely a bonus, it's not their incentive.

It isn't evil or stupid, but it sure as hell is done to be nice.

You'd think a game developer would want us to buy as many games as possible.

Used games are making developers struggle? Even a game that didn't sell well typically makes a profit.

I think what prevents a game from making a profit is not valuing a games price point and a game being shit.

Skyrim: 5-60 hour game that has loads of play methods, replay value and lots of things to do: 60USD

Vanquish: 5-7 hour game that has no multiplayer, real replay value or gamplay options: 60 USD

Which would you look at buying? And don't say neither because you're not into the games, that's not the point >:L

There will be plenty of Bender laughter without me posting some as well. I fail to see how removing used games would make companies stop following the leader, that doesn't even make sense. And also, people would be less willing to take a risk on a new IP if they couldn't at least get some trade in credit.

Let's see how blocking used games would pan out:

Company A blocks used games
Company B doesn't
Company B's console sells many millions of more units the Company A console
Company A, now in a tight squeeze, disables used games blocking, sales go up, we all learn a valuable lesson

I will give the same argument I've given before, blocking off used sales it's a horrible idea because it makes rare games even rarer, let's say a game comes out for the next Xbox but for whatever reason only 100 000 copies of it are made, and it's good and people start to buy it, OK but the problem is that every copy that someone plays is one copy that nobody else is going to be able to play, thus making the game even rarer and skyrocketing the price, hypothetically speaking we could even run out of playable copies, just imagine that, it's horrible, just horrible.

Snotnarok:
Used games are making developers struggle? Even a game that didn't sell well typically makes a profit.

This is actually incorrect. It's far more common for games to not make profits; publishers typically prop up their earnings with big "tentpole" games (your Battlefields, Call of Dutys, Zeldas, etc) that are guaranteed money-makers because so many of the rest of their portfolios will typically not provide sufficient return on investment.

Who would describe their purchasing habits as wanting to "buy as many games as possible"? That's dumb. People don't just buy things indiscriminately (for the full price anyway). It's wanting to "buy as many games of the games I want as possible."

Some of his points aren't completely invalid. By destroying part of the market and not having to worry about, they'd be more free to experiment and not have "follow the leader". Now that makes some sense... assuming that by destroying the used market actually works out and they start rolling in money. If it doesn't work how they want then, well I guess we'll be right where are now, except we'd be stuck with any shitty game we do buy. That sounds better, right?

Edit: I very rarely buy used games anyway and this still bugs me.

I know I'll be spending more money on all sorts of new games now that used games have gone away! With all the money I saved by not buying used, I'll have all this money to put in all those developers' coffers.

/sarcasm

Blizzard probably gets a pass. Valve and Bethesda as well. But if you think I'm putting money into any other company when its $60 a pop, you're going to be surprised. Then out of business.

Diversity? Please. It'll be the exact f-ing opposite as whats left of the industry try to compete for the fewer games that people will be able to buy since they can't trade in their games anymore.

If it wasn't for used games sales I wouldn't have bought many sequels NEW and there's LOTS of DLC I would have never paid for.

Kaleion:
I will give the same argument I've given before, blocking off used sales it's a horrible idea because it makes rare games even rarer, let's say a game comes out for the next Xbox but for whatever reason only 100 000 copies of it are made, and it's good and people start to buy it, OK but the problem is that every copy that someone plays is one copy that nobody else is going to be able to play, thus making the game even rarer and skyrocketing the price, hypothetically speaking we could even run out of playable copies, just imagine that, it's horrible, just horrible.

Very much this. I've recently been purchasing some hidden gems for my old Xbox that I failed to pick up on first time round. Games like Armed and Dangerous, Otogi, etc. All these games are out of print, meaning I had to buy them second hand. If the Xbox had come with anti-used games software, there'd have been no way for me to experience those games at all.

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."

Bull. Fucking. Shit. This has nothing to do with benefiting consumers and if he truly believes that then he's not only a fool, he's a fool with his head so far up his ass he's tasting what he had for dinner last night.

No, that is exactly what will not happen. Anti-used game technology will make consumers more risk averse, which will in turn make developers and publishers even more risk averse than they already are. If you want more diversity and creativity in the mainstream industry, you need to focus on reducing development costs so that you can reduce the price to the customer. Killing used games will not suddenly cause gamers to have more disposable income.

I'm pretty sure he has this backwards. If people could buy LESS games, then they'll be MORE selective. Every game would be the same homongenized mess in order to draw customers in to their rare purchase.

Secondly, games would become more rare (since you can't resell them). And last time I checked, rare items don't really go DOWN in price.

If there was a way to kill used games an activation code etc what would really bother me is how many games could get lost because systems break, servers shut down or companies go out of buisness. The part that I like about used sales is that you can still find and get things that are out of print if you're willing to look hard enough. I'm tentatively willing to accept say an all digital future or some other system that removes used sales. But its going to have to work really well.

Also thinking out loud here doesn't owning fewer games mean buying fewer games? I'm honestly not sure that you'd really see a change in your bottom line as any argument there revolves around the people buying used still buying a copy of your game which I'm not sure is true. Maybe if there was then a more gradual pricing along a similar line to used sales but then you would just see the same sorts of buying habits and number of games as today so I guess I'm really not sure where his point is going. As far as I can tell you'd still see about the same marketing issues as games currently face.

Snotnarok:
Used games are making developers struggle? Even a game that didn't sell well typically makes a profit.

I think what prevents a game from making a profit is not valuing a games price point and a game being shit.

Skyrim: 5-60 hour game that has loads of play methods, replay value and lots of things to do: 60USD

Vanquish: 5-7 hour game that has no multiplayer, real replay value or gamplay options: 60 USD

Which would you look at buying? And don't say neither because you're not into the games, that's not the point >:L

Vanquish because I like platinum games's work and don't care for TES games. Also I'm dead serious since this is exactly what I did.

Tanis:
If it wasn't for used games sales I wouldn't have bought many sequels NEW and there's LOTS of DLC I would have never paid for.

Same here. I don't think they realize that gamers who buy used games do sometimes buy new games too as well as dlc. They also get new games as gifts.

If it weren't for used games, I probably wouldn't have gotten back into gaming. Not on the consoles at least; and I buy a lot more games for the console than I do the PC. When I did get back into it, I didn't have that much money. For a little while most my games were used until I started anticipating new gamescoming out. Now I don't really buy any used games partially because Gamestop has gouged the prices of the used game market so they're only $2 shy of new but also because I can afford to buy a game when I want now.

I believe the term is "penny wise and pound stupid."

Do Developers not understand that....

*ahem*

IF YOU ACTUALLY MADE GOOD GAMES WE AS GAMERS WOULDN'T FEEL THE NEED TO SELL YOUR CRAPPY GAMES FOR A LOSS

Seriously, I played maybe a whole hour of Red Faction Armageddon before I couldn't put it off anymore, that game was just shit.

Same for nearly ALL of the used games selection, sure, you may find that hidden gem of a game, but you are shoveling literately tons of shit to find it.

j-e-f-f-e-r-s:

Kaleion:
-Snip-

Very much this. I've recently been purchasing some hidden gems for my old Xbox that I failed to pick up on first time round. Games like Armed and Dangerous, Otogi, etc. All these games are out of print, meaning I had to buy them second hand. If the Xbox had come with anti-used games software, there'd have been no way for me to experience those games at all.

Not to mention you'd be blocking access to them by future generations, it's a horrible idea, and I mean it's not like games don't already become rarer over time but this kind of thing would accelerate the process way too much and these games would only be owned by those people that collect games only to have them on display but never play them, that is horrible games are meant to be played, I can imagine that poor little game sitting on a shed to never be used because it's the last playable copy of the game, how sad.
A movie about this would totally be the first movie to make me cry.

John Funk:

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."

Your right its not about evil or stupidity its about greed and control

Captcha: battle royal (idk kind of relevent)


(yeah, thought I'd join in with a laugh too).

Here's a question to the industry. If you are saying the problem with used games is that it eats your money, forcing you to make shit games, why not look back at used games being bought that people seem to really like and make games based off that? If a lot of people are buying second-hand copies of Silent Hill or Viva Pinata over the newest Call of Duty (not actually happening, just a fictitious example) then maybe use that research to make more games like the former and less like the latter. If anything, it sounds like you're just passing the blame to Gamestop, but more to the consumer for making the choice to buy used in the first place.

Here's an idea. If we really are going through this whole no-discs, no-used games digital distribution method for consoles (not the worst idea in the world if implemented properly) then do it like steam where thing are at a decent price or drop in price much faster than their physical disc counter parts. That way I'm more inclined to buy your games earlier or ever. Give me a reason to give you my money, and stop taking good reasons or methods to buy your games away.

shameduser:
Let's see how blocking used games would pan out:

Company A blocks used games
Company B doesn't
Company B's console sells many millions of more units the Company A console
Company A, now in a tight squeeze, disables used games blocking, sales go up, we all learn a valuable lesson

You know what, I really really hope this happens. Because seeing them learn this lesson that way, the hard way, would be great. I would just love to see the press release explaining why they decided to allow pre-owned games and trying to cover their butt from the "we told you so" remarks.
This is something I love about competition, differences allow consumers to let their money talk for them, provided the industry doesn't just cooperate and agree to all block used games.

Oh whatever.

I really hate people who treat me like an idiot and expect me to take it.
No it does not work that way, and no I dont believe in your artistic integrity.

God when will companies treat us like customers and not like potential pirates or exploitable resources.

Snotnarok:
Used games are making developers struggle? Even a game that didn't sell well typically makes a profit.

Totally and utterly incorrect. Most games lose money. A small percentage break even. A smaller percentage make a decent profit.

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."

If you think anyone is actually going to believe for a second that this is being done for CUSTOMER benefit, you are stupidly evil.

It is evil because it is undermining in born consumer foundational structure. Its stupid because all it can potentially accomplish is making devs and pubs less money because there is no regulatory agent that forces prices to be competitive.

Tanis:
If it wasn't for used games sales I wouldn't have bought many sequels NEW and there's LOTS of DLC I would have never paid for.

Finally, a rational argument for used games.

The "wah, publishers are evil because all they want to do is make money, wah wah wah" 'argument' is ridiculous because of course that's what they want to do. They have to make money or they go out of business. And much as many people on here hate publishers, I'm sure they hate not having games more. ;-)

However, your DLC argument is a legitimate benefit that first parties and publishers can get from used games. I doubt, sadly, that the developers will get much, if anything, from DLC sales... depends on how smart they were with the contract...

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to create some benefits for consumers."


And yet this is exactly what I picture you doing as soon as you get back to the office after the interview.
Honestly, if you are going to bullshit me, try a little harder.

NameIsRobertPaulson:
Secondly, games would become more rare (since you can't resell them). And last time I checked, rare items don't really go DOWN in price.

This is not how economics works. I mean, it is for free market commodities, but that's not what we're talking about.

To develop a game, let's say it costs $20 million. This is the sunk cost; no matter how many units they sell, this cost is fixed. This is the primary cost that publishers/developers are trying to recoup with game sales.

We'll assume it's a console game, so no digital distribution, and it costs $3 for the manufacture and shipping of each disc, case, and manual. This is the variable cost, it changes based on number of shipped games. And, since the game's going retail, the retailer is going to keep $12 from the sale. So, the developer/publisher gets $45 for each sale.

Now, 1 million people are willing to spend $60 on this game. Of those, half are willing to wait to buy used instead for $40. An additional 200 thousand people are willing to spend no more than $40 for the game. These people all buy used.

How does the profit break down? 500 thousand people buy the game new for $60, netting the dev/pub $45 per sale, resulting in $22.5 million for the dev/pub. 700 thousand buy the game used for $40 netting the dev/pub $0. 2 million people are non-contributing jerks who pirate, but that's a completely separate issue. The game has made $2.5 million more than it cost to produce. This game is a failure.

But, what if there were zero used sales, and the dev/pub sold the game for $40? 1.2 million people would buy the game new for $40. Cutting off the manufacturing cost ($3) and retail cut ($8), the dev/pub makes $29 per sale, resulting in a profit of $34.8 million. By cutting out used games and lowering their prices, game companies can turn a game that barely made it's money back to a $14.8 million home run. Of course, if they don't lower their prices they'll get $45 million (a $25 million "let's buy all the executives private golf courses").

Do I think they'll lower their prices? Of course not. They'll keep selling at $60, and we'll (well, you'll; digital distribution has solved this particular problem for PC gamers, heh) keep paying it. But with more money going to the developers and publishers, they will be able to take slightly more risk and buy private jets for all their executives.

Who loses with no used game sales? Retailers. And by retailers, I mean Gamestop. And, honestly, Gamestop can die in a fire. Well, several fires. All across the country. One at each store and office should be sufficient.

Anyway, this isn't a freemarket economy.

Actually, the used games market is: people buy and sell at the best deals they can get. (What did I say? I meant the best deals Gamestop will give them. So it's more of a "Gamestop economy" than a freemarket. Except on eBay.)

But new games aren't on a "market," their price is set by the publisher, and the publisher makes, ships, and sells a certain number of units at that price. If they need more, they just manufacture an additional million units and ship them out. There won't suddenly be a "scarcity" of units, and even if there were, the publisher isn't going to suddenly raise the price of that game in response to demand.

Which means, when a publisher raises their price, they aren't "responding to market forces" or any nonsense like that. They're just taking more of your money because they want it.

DiamanteGeeza:
I doubt, sadly, that the developers will get much, if anything, from DLC sales... depends on how smart they were with the contract...

Why would the developers make DLC if they weren't going to get a cut of it? "Why yes, publisher, I'd love to put in additional work for which I shall see zero return." A developer's either receiving something from DLC sales, or their lawyers are complete idiots.

How can anyone possibly know what would ultimately happen when used games get nipped in the bud, you can't just release statements saying this this and this will happen in the future. Just go back to swimming in money and shut up.

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