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

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John Funk:
Snip.

In the short-term, I agree. They companies need to make money and I would be glad to help them.

In the long-term however... no.

In, say, 20 or so years when I am a middle-aged father, I would like to come back and buy a game I may have lost... however thanks to the Anti-Piracy stuff, I am unable to.

"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."

Oh my god... this is just such an utterly idiotic statement.

Here's an idea I think people should do. Send an e-mail to everyone of these game developers and publishers that go something like this:

`

Dear (insert developer/publisher name here);

Want to know how to deal with your so-called "used sales" problem? Want to do it in a way that doesn't piss off your customers, whom are the ones keeping you out of bankruptcy court?

Have a little talk with these guys.

image

http://automobiles.honda.com/certified-used/

Still wondering what would happen to all my games if my system broke and I had to get a new one. If all my games are registered to my old system, does that mean they're all unplayable now? Because, they are used after all. There are some serious logistical questions that need to be answered here.

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

Well, they do. Its just they want you to buy games from Them and not from the *Insert used game store that totally isnt Gamestop, but it is*.

I would only support the anti-used game system in future consoles if it means the death of Gamestop... cause I fucking hate that place.

Azuaron:

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.

Sadly, the development world isn't as simple as that. Developers only get a royalty after certain criteria have been met. Usually this is based on sales: once 'x number of units have been sold (in other words, when the publisher has recouped the development cost), then the developer will get y% of the royalties. Quite often this is a tiered rate so the more units get sold (after break even), the higher the (small) royalty percentage rate for the developer. This applies to games and DLC.

Why would a developer agree to do DLC if they were nowhere near the break even point in sales? One of two reasons: 1) they might be contractually obligated to do so. 2) they will (naturally) get paid by the publisher to do the work, so if they have no other titles, or they're hurting for money (like most developers) then they'll happily do the DLC so they don't have to lay anybody off. There's no guarantee they'll get any royalties from the DLC they produce.

And, the fact remains, that the majority of developers see very little, if any, profit from the games they make in the first place. It's not that their lawyers are complete idiots, but put yourself in the position of a studio head:

1) You have a studio of (let's say) 60 people.
2) You are nearly bankrupt
3) A publisher offers you a contract to do a game that you know isn't going to be beneficial for your studio for anything other than the short term 'keeping the lights on' thing.

What do you? Accept the contract that has unrealistic royalty thresholds and hope you can find a better contract for when this one is done, or make your entire studio redundant and close down?

Developers continued to get screwed, I'm afraid. I prefer your version of the world.

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."

Hmm. Let me run this through my Corporate Male Bovine Fecal Matter filter.

John Funk:

"The only thing I know is that people are not doing it to be evil and stupid, it's about trying to generate additional revenue with very little work while disregarding the rights of the consumers."

There, that sounds more accurate. Here's a newsflash, Mr. Bach: Not everyone is aching to pay $60 for your whiz-bang ultra-pretty FPS game. Not everyone is a compliant little drone heading right towards the "new releases" section, only to be lured by the siren song of the "used" rack. If you want people to not sell your game on, try ensuring that there's content that the player wants to keep enjoying past Week 1 post-release. That might get you better results than trying to circumvent the player's legal rights.

Azuaron:

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.

Developers are paid per hour like any other job. They get maybe a bonus if the game sells a previously determined amount in the contract.

The only exception is if you are independent or still own the IP (in most cases not).

And yes, the publisher dictates that there has to be DLC.

'Lets remove used games, increase piracy, decrease DLC sales. No connection at all.'

John Funk:
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.

I am not sure you can draw that conclusion, first of all because that is not a list of "the most pirated games of 2011", but of the dowloads of .torrent files for each game in networks that used BitTorrent clients and reported the stats back, two VERY different things.

Anyway, ignroing that and taking the PC list, you must exclude Crysis 2 (because it's a special, non representative case), and then you end up with 4 hugely popular games, 3 of them with sustantial SP campaings... and what conclusions you can get from that?

BTW I am not saying he is wrong or right on that point or the rest. His observation however that the big players in the industry need to focus on proved ideas in order to survive is true (see THQ current situation), and seeing how PC seems to have more games trying to explore new avenues and also has no second hand sales... i dunno, would need to see the numbers, but a priori you can't say he is wrong.

TheKasp:
Developers are paid per hour like any other job. They get maybe a bonus if the game sells a previously determined amount in the contract.

Ahh... i think DiamanteGeeza was using "Develpoers" as in the owners of the game studio, not as in the digital artist in charge of textures or the programmer in charge of the AI.

Tanakh:

John Funk:
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.

I am not sure you can draw that conclusion, first of all because that is not a list of "the most pirated games of 2011", but of the dowloads of .torrent files for each game in networks that used BitTorrent clients and reported the stats back, two VERY different things.

Anyway, ignroing that and taking the PC list, you must exclude Crysis 2 (because it's a special, non representative case), and then you end up with 4 hugely popular games, 3 of them with sustantial SP campaings... and what conclusions you can get from that?

BTW I am not saying he is wrong or right on that point or the rest. His observation however that the big players in the industry need to focus on proved ideas in order to survive is true (see THQ current situation), and seeing how PC seems to have more games trying to explore new avenues and also has no second hand sales... i dunno, would need to see the numbers, but a priori you can't say he is wrong.

Yes I can. The PC has budget titles, meaning eventually you can expect to get the game you want for ten to twenty bucks. PC has Steam, meaning you can eventually pick up the game you want for far cheaper. PC also has a larger back catalogue of titles from almost twenty years ago now, which despite their best efforts, the game manufacturers can't remove.

But of course, all that comes down to is the main reason why publishers prefer consoles.. Its a captive audience. So naturally, they want to make sure the captive audience stays more captive, buy trying to in force the PC model (PC is surely dieing after all) without giving any of the PC's benefits (remove modding support, call it DLC).

Capatcha: Vicious Cycle.

I would only support the idea of no more used games if they lower the price of new games. Since I don't think they would ever lower the price of a newly released game, I don't support the idea of not having any more used games. I can't really afford to buy every game I want new.

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

a lot of companies making games today are struggling based on second-hand sales

are struggling

struggling

"According to EA, Battlefield 3 garnered 3 million pre-orders by the day of its release.[65] It is unknown at present whether these figures are worldwide or just for the US. The pre-order total makes it "the biggest first-person shooter launch in EA history", according to the publisher.[66] Two days after launch, EA CEO John Riccitiello announced via a conference call to investors that Battlefield 3 has already shipped 10 million units within a week of release, with 3 million of those being pre-orders.[67] Electronic Arts stated that the title sold 5 million units within the first week of availability, easily becoming its fastest-selling game.[68] After one month, EA chief financial officer Eric Brown announced Battlefield 3 had sold 8 million copies, and that the publisher has shipped 12 million copies of the game to retailers, 2 million more than it shipped for launch week.[69] Peter Moore, the high-profile COO of EA, insisted that Battlefield 3 successfully captured a slice of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3's market share.[70]"

Struggling my ass! Just come clean and admit you want more money. At least then you'd be a little bit less disgusting.

At about 0:13 reflects how stupid used game locking is. Locking used games will only cause any uptick in piracy.

Khravv:
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.

I find it as disgusting as the next guy when developers are saying these things but this'll happen anyway. I've said this as far back as 3+ years ago in some of these threads and you can bookmark this page and quote me on this 1-2 years from now when the consoles are out. BOTH Playstation and Xbox Next will employ this feature from the start.
All this discussion is to get people used to that over the next 2 years till the release of the console. They likely already all know the specs.

Especially Tech people from companies like CryTek and DICE are likely already working with the new consoles and developing for them. It makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, the "used games" market leaves everyone unhappy but those retailers and some consumers.
Microsoft/SONY are losing their licensing fees off the top of every new game being sold, publishers aren't getting any of the profits made from used sales (and remember that Microsoft/SONY are also big publishers for their respective platforms with a lot of game studios under their roof) and it adds another risk element for funding developers, especially for certain types of games like Single Player adventures that could be played through in a manner of days and brought back.

"Piracy" isn't much of a problem on consoles and that's not really what they would be going for here, they just need to prevent the Retailers from legally (or practicably) being able to sell "used" games, a CD-Key/Account-based system like Steam, Battle.Net, Origin and all the others would be quite sufficient for that.

Don't forget that most publishers are already doing some of those things and even SONY is trying to ease people into it. They already got the "PSN Pass" for ALL of their games: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/07/sonys-psn-pass-may-not-sit-too-well-with-secondhand-game-buyers/
EA has its "Online Pass/Project 10$" and increasing DLC content, Ubisoft has "Uplay Passport", Activision is even asking for subscriptions etc.

As I said, they still have about 2 years to further the public acceptance of these systems to a point where it is viable, and this will be a reality come Next Gen, I don't have any doubt in my mind about that and don't really see any way around it. As long as they can keep 50-70% of the customer base and get their money directly it'll be a win for them, and let's be honest the adoption rate will likely be a lot higher.
Gamers have proven a spineless people time and time again when it came to things like paying for Online play, DLC practices, Disk-locked-content, Always-Online DRM, their rights as consumers in regards to Online Distribution channels and EULAs etc. You just need to wave the next new flashy thing like "Halo", "Gears of War", "Uncharted" or whatnot in front of a lot of their eyes and they'll go out and buy it (or complain to mommy and daddy till they do).

Cheap rationalization with no grounding in reality is cheap rationalization with no grounding in reality.

Yes, if you kill used games, it may make the market a bit safer, but that's no guarantee of an increase in diversity. Why wouldn't publishers just keep doing the same thing they're already doing? After all, if that strategy was keeping them afloat with used games on the market, they'll probably keep doing it because it guarantees them an even larger return without used.

Risk is still risk. Even if the market is, overall, less risky, the relative risk between going for new IP and iterating on an already successful IP is still the same, and I'd wager that the option that has already proved less risky in the past will still be the preferred choice.

Imthatguy:

At about 0:13 reflects how stupid used game locking is. Locking used games will only cause any uptick in piracy.

Not to mention that there's no guarantee that used game locking tech will work any better than existing methods of DRM. That is to say, barely at all.

And online authentication is an asinine chore. I agree with... Jim Stirling, I think... in that the first company to eschew the whole account-locking and online authentication bollocks is going to have a much bigger fanbase than the others.

...and none of them will have any games to play, because publishers are going to eschew that company right the hell back, the bloody cunts...

...And damn it, if gamers would just stop paying for things like housing, food, education, gasoline or utilities then we'd really get some diversity going in game development!

So, to sum up the argument (and we've seen it before on day 1 DLC, piracy, and yet again in used game sales): gamers must be hoarding some extra money even though they can only afford to buy games used. And if they just spend EVEN MORE money buying the same warmed over crap, that will somehow cause the big publishers to take bigger risks with their properties. Magically. Even though a huge increase in sales only seems to result in games getting bigger budgets year-on-year with a concurrent major decrease in controversial topics or changes in formula in said games.

Brilliant argument. Now tell me the one about how I need to buy the extended warranty on my couch again.

Okay, I see your point and I'd like to offer a counter solution. You can ban used games but you also have to drop game prices (new) by 30% - new games also decrease in cost through time like they do now.

Your move devs-that-promote-banning-used-games.

Has anyone else noticed that 90% of the devs that say they're stuggling because of used game sales make up some of the most profitable game companies - that haven't been making as much money as they used to - because they rush their games and they aren't quite as good as they used to - and now they're looking for something to blame - so they're settling on used games?

As someone who has absolutely no stake in this- this reasoning is hilarious.

I guess I can kind of see the logic if I completely drop the context of it.

What will likely happen?

More DLC, less content, and people owning less games or pirating them.

You have to figure that generally speaking: if people could afford to buy used games new, they'd prefer to have a brand new game. That is, assuming the game isn't trash and only worth the 10 dollars for a used game. But hey, these guys wouldn't do that, right?

Dexter111:

Khravv:
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.

I find it as disgusting as the next guy when developers are saying these things but this'll happen anyway. I've said this as far back as 3+ years ago in some of these threads and you can bookmark this page and quote me on this 1-2 years from now when the consoles are out. BOTH Playstation and Xbox Next will employ this feature from the start.
All this discussion is to get people used to that over the next 2 years till the release of the console. They likely already all know the specs.

Especially Tech people from companies like CryTek and DICE are likely already working with the new consoles and developing for them. It makes a lot of sense from a business perspective, the "used games" market leaves everyone unhappy but those retailers and some consumers.
Microsoft/SONY are losing their licensing fees off the top of every new game being sold, publishers aren't getting any of the profits made from used sales (and remember that Microsoft/SONY are also big publishers for their respective platforms with a lot of game studios under their roof) and it adds another risk element for funding developers, especially for certain types of games like Single Player adventures that could be played through in a manner of days and brought back.

"Piracy" isn't much of a problem on consoles and that's not really what they would be going for here, they just need to prevent the Retailers from legally (or practicably) being able to sell "used" games, a CD-Key/Account-based system like Steam, Battle.Net, Origin and all the others would be quite sufficient for that.

Don't forget that most publishers are already doing some of those things and even SONY is trying to ease people into it. They already got the "PSN Pass" for ALL of their games: http://www.ubergizmo.com/2011/07/sonys-psn-pass-may-not-sit-too-well-with-secondhand-game-buyers/
EA has its "Online Pass/Project 10$" and increasing DLC content, Ubisoft has "Uplay Passport", Activision is even asking for subscriptions etc.

As I said, they still have about 2 years to further the public acceptance of these systems to a point where it is viable, and this will be a reality come Next Gen, I don't have any doubt in my mind about that and don't really see any way around it. As long as they can keep 50-70% of the customer base and get their money directly it'll be a win for them, and let's be honest the adoption rate will likely be a lot higher.
Gamers have proven a spineless people time and time again when it came to things like paying for Online play, DLC practices, Disk-locked-content, Always-Online DRM, their rights as consumers in regards to Online Distribution channels and EULAs etc. You just need to wave the next new flashy thing like "Halo", "Gears of War", "Uncharted" or whatnot in front of a lot of their eyes and they'll go out and buy it (or complain to mommy and daddy till they do).

It is going to happen and I'm going to call every one of these devs and publishers a dirty liar when games still retail at 60$. And I'm going to tell all the corporate supporters "Told you so, thanks for putting even more control in their hands."

Man, this new "used game crisis" is threatening every publisher in the industry! What if this blemish had existed earlier in the gaming industry? If used games had existed in the 90's, the N64 would have been a failure of a console!
Bowl sheet.

Azuaron:
Snip

Pretty much this. Any kind of substantial change to the way people pay for console games that makes both the consumer and the publisher happy is by both axing used game sales, and for publishers to lower the prices on their games. So unless someone has a monkey's paw, get ready for $60 games through digital distribution, with that horrible premonition of a spore-type licensing system for games, and, if it's feeling particularly dickish, some 1 pay 1 play system where you can only play a game once through, and a mandatory Elite thing for multiplayer.

TK421:
Are there seriously people who believe that the used game market actually has a negative affect on their sales? How do these people remember to breathe?

Too far in the other direction. No matter how you look at it, used game sales don't pay a penny to anyone but the store you buy it from. You can make the same arguments that people use to justify piracy, but in the end, they still don't get anything from that. Yeah, they're using something that probably doesn't take nearly enough of a chunk out of their total profits to justify the constant stream of BS they constantly sling to the customers so that they can rationalize incredibly questionable business practices and price gouging, but the reason that the scapegoat is used games, rather than something more established like piracy is because it does have SOME effect on sales. I mean, I personally know plenty of people who buy nothing but used games, and then sell it back afterwards. No DLC, no nuttin'.

I think we all forget that the mobile games industry is doing pretty well with 0 possibility of resale or second hand purchase.

Sniper Team 4:
Still wondering what would happen to all my games if my system broke and I had to get a new one. If all my games are registered to my old system, does that mean they're all unplayable now? Because, they are used after all. There are some serious logistical questions that need to be answered here.

It could be considerably worse than that. Imagine if the next generation of systems has one with the classic 'Red Ring of Death'-style meltdown risk, AND they try this system. The fallout would potentially put one of the big three down permanently in the console market.

And that's something I think the companies crowing about anti-used methods don't fully grasp yet; there are countless factors well and far outside their immediate control that could drastically effect this working. Just off the top of my head:

*What happens if one company does it for their new console and the others don't, and use that fact as a weapon against the first company? That'd be such easy PR, I could damn near write the ads myself here and now. And it'd probably kill any such efforts for at least a generation if not more.

*What happens when you want to release a sequel a few years down the line? How do you get your old game into the hands of new players, or would you be content with being 100% certain you'll never have more success with a story-driven franchise than you did with that franchise's first installment?

*What happens to the markets that rely on used game sales to keep afloat? We all love to bash on GameStop, but cut a quarter of them out of the market because those locations only made a profit through used game sales, and watch your access to the until-then growing gamer market shrivel mightily.

What kills me most is there is an easy solution to this- digital game sales, combined with lowering development costs. Sell direct through online portals, be they PC or Console-based, and use the cash saved from not having to create physical copies to either re-invest and get new product out to market more regularly, or just cut back on the excess. If your game can be beaten in eight hours and cost more to make than the entire value of a midwestern town, all animal life included, the problem of covering cost probably is not on the side of used game sales.

Well, to argue that they are exclusively good is stupid. Of course their are some bad parts to the used game market. But, as always, expensive games that aren't worth $60 to the majority of gamers doesn't help the industry either. And it doesn't help gamers at all. I'm mostly a PC gamer and we haven't seen a used game market for over a decade. But, I'm a fan of used games anyway. As a consumer, it's literally stupid to not be a fan of these. I love all the excuses that other gamers make on behalf of the industries stupid crusade against used game sales.

No, used games aren't good for the EA/Activision/Ubisofts of the world. Yes, they are good for the consumer. No, if there were no used sales, the price of games would not drop. They are not trying to find a way to drop the price of games. They are always looking for a way to sell you less for more. That is why we are inundated with lots and lots of good looking, pretty games that offer a few hours of fun before you finish them and cost $18 Million to produce. The truth is, most games are not made to last or to be fun for extended periods of time. If everybody makes games that are 50+ hours long, bug free, and feature packed, then people wouldn't be waiting for the next COD when the last one just came out.

Also, take into account that the only time anyone pays attention to sales numbers is for the first month or so. If a game sells 2 million units over the course of a year, and another sells 1.8 million units in the first week, then another 200k over the rest of the year, the industry reads the first game as an inferior product, but it's not true at all. It's an equivalent product. The only time we hear about games beyond the landmark first month is in ridiculous cases such as COD:Blop.

This industry is broken, and it's not the fault of used games. But it sure is nice to have a scapegoat.

The games and content would be tied to an account, that you could access from multiple devices (most likely). This system is already in place for PSN, XBL, and App Store accounts. If you system dies, you fix/replace/whatever it, then log in with your account and re download your content.

Cloud services are such that even your saved games could be recovered. For example, someone makes an iCloud backup on his iPod touch, said device is lost/stolen/whatever. Same person buys new one, logs in and his content (including saved games) are there.

There is wide industry precedent for these kinds of services and utilizing them would help ease consumers into the new industry neighborhood of digital only content. Who know, prices may even drop! That's probably hoping too much.

What would change, however, is developers getting paid properly more often. Sure, piracy is still a thing. It always will be. The trick is to compete with piracy by offering a better service at a reasonable price. Unless someone is a dick, the choice between piracy and a reasonably priced, quality product with front end support will be easy.

Have them work out a deal where Gamestop pays them 20% of what they make off a used game sale of a game. Used copy of BF3 for 55 dollars? Shwoop, 11 dollars just went to DICE. *I know it goes to EA, but this makes me feel better*

Are there seriously people who believe that the used game market actually has a negative affect on their sales? How do these people remember to breathe?

I buy old games all the time, without buying them used.

My PSP was purchased a month before the Vita was released, and all I have bought are old PS1&2 games from the market.

I just bought Chrono Cross for $10... hell fucking yeah! What a bargain!!!!!

It's all going to become digital soon anyways, I don't give a shit. Insert your sarcastic pics, rage against the machine/man ideals. You haven't changed the bottom line for their betterment yet. Why should they not fight back??

TK421:
Are there seriously people who believe that the used game market actually has a negative affect on their sales? How do these people remember to breathe?

I can't remember the last time I had to think/remember about breathing.... do these things really come up in your day to day life?

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

I dunno, PC gaming is doing pretty well I'd say.

If they block used games, people wont buy the console. It just wouldnt be worth the money, after all 90% of games are not worth buying full price. Coupled with the fact i have zero interest in online gaming, means i would only buy maybe 5 games total. If that. I find it funny that companies believe that if we cant buy a game used then we will buy it at full price. lol. I, like many people, have bought used games, but have also bought sequels brand new if i enjoyed the previous title.

Only thing that will happen is the tons of games that dont sell will sit on shelves until they are dumped in the discount bin and sold at a "used" price anyway. All shit games will always be made, destroying used game sales will not make companies make better games, no company is intentionally making crappy games.

I would love them to block used games just to see them panic see their profit margins collapse. lol

DustlessDragoon:
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

but how are they valuable to the company, unless they sell dlc with the game they get nothing from second hand sales

and if they add dlc people bitch even more

Ok he does have a point about the whole diversity in games thing, but explain to me how it makes any goddamn sense, from a business perspective, to spend thousands of dollars developing technology to essentially combat 1 chain of retail outlet stores?? Please do tell me 'cause I'd actually like to know.

It's always fun to speculate on what could happen should they do this. I've given my opinion if it ever should come to the point where we can't buy used gaes because they simply won't function is the day I stop supporting the video game industry by spending money on its products. I think what Kickstarter is doing with private developers is fantastic and, like others have stated above, if developers made games worth playing instead of generic combat game or generic fighter, I'd be more inclined to purchase their games when they come out and hang onto them longer.

This whole used software thing sounds great. I need to get some used copies of windows, office, and adobe creative suite. Really tired of paying so much for these things.

I'm joking here, but actually kind of interested in how other types of software deal with reselling. Since I know nothing about it, off to google I go.

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