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The Coming War on Used Games

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#1 Perfect72

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:14

Yesterday we got the first round of rumors for the next Playstation console, allegedly codenamed “Orbis.” Among the details was a note that used games would be restricted on the console. They would be available on a “trial only” basis where users would have to pay more to get the full titles.

Compare this with similar rumors about the next gen Xbox. The common thread is used games, and again there were hints that the “Xbox 720″ would restrict used titles in some fashion, be it tying a copy to an Xbox Live account, or putting in place a “pay extra” system like Sony seems to be eying. Many current titles already have an “online pass” that must be purchased outside of a used game that allows players multiplayer access, and it’s clear dismantling used game sales will be a huge priority for consoles in the coming generation.

The reason is simple, really. If you’re wondering why Gamestop continues to thrive while its brick and mortal brethren like Blockbuster and Borders fall, used games and lack of digital distribution are the reasons. When Gamestop buys back a game from a customer for a fraction of the price, when they resell it, they reap 100% of the reward. For sales of a new $60 game, they might net $10 or $15 for themselves, but when a clerk pushes a used copy for $55, they get to keep the entire pie while those who made the game get nothing.

There are used movie and book sales, sure, but those are overshadowed by each respective industry moving their products online. We have Netflix for movies, killing Blockbuster, and Kindle for books, killing Borders. But there is no equivalent for console games, and as such, consumers still need Gamestop. And pushing used titles hard lets the company not only survive, but thrive in an age when it seems like they should be obsolete.

Developers and Gamestop have tried to make nice in recent years, which is why preorder bonuses now come attached to every new game out there. Companies promise Gamestop exclusive content for trying to sell their game new, rather than pushing used copies that gives developers nothing. But it appears the truce is coming to an end.

Even though these Playstation and Xbox news bits are just rumors, the fact that both concentrate on restricting used games show that the industry is more than likely lining up a killshot. Either they’ll hobble used games to the point where it’s a headache not to buy new (and it’ll cost close to the same), or they’ll wipe out the possibility completely. Another Xbox rumor is that the console will be purely digital and not use discs at all, negating the entire concept of a used game.

What does this mean for the consumer? The way I see it, there are two paths the industry could take from here. One would have us looking to Steam, which has changed the PC gaming industry completely. It’s gone all-digital, which means no one ever buys used games. Rather, older games are put on sale, sometimes to an exceptional degree. While a company might price an old copy of Deus Ex at $40, a Steam sale might have the game selling for $7 for a weekend.


Source.


#2 firey

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:20

Definitely interesting to see where this goes. Really the only people affected are places like GameStop and EBGames that make their profit on used games. More and more I am seeing used games going for maybe 5-10$ less than brand new. And used often come without digital codes and goodies buying new does.

I never buy used as I find way more gain in buying new.

#3 Dot Matrix

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:21

Not a PC gaming problem! :p #PCRules

#4 Miuku.

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:24

Not a PC gaming problem! :p #PCRules

When you have no choice, you have no problem.

I'm seeing a time when consumers need to start standing on barricades and put a stop to the licensing madness - no other industry gets off with this type of lunacy.

#5 nominak

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:24

Not a PC gaming problem! :p #PCRules


I think that's exactly what they're trying to achieve lol

#6 threetonesun

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:45

As a gamer, I'd prefer to know that I was locked in to buying a new game, then to wondering what I'm missing by buying it used. So many games recently have come with add ons and downloads that only work for the original owner, so could easily end up spending more for the complete game than you would just buying it new.

Oh, and death to vendor exclusives too. :crazy:

#7 freak180

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 16:59

I dont like the sound of this...Not one bit :\

#8 Emn1ty

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 18:58

I'm tired of this crap. If reselling a non-consumable product is so bad, lets shut down used car sales, used movie sales, used anything. I don't understand what the gaming industry is so butt hurt about. At this point its getting so bad that you won't even be able to lend people games, one of the other main buy reasons for consoles (cause you can't very well lend someone a PC game these days).

Whatever, I guess the gaming industry just wants to nickel and dime us to death.

PS: This will only increase piracy. The more difficult it is to get something legally the more people there will be obtaining it illegally.

#9 +Brando212

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 19:06

I'm tired of this crap. If reselling a non-consumable product is so bad, lets shut down used car sales, used movie sales, used anything. I don't understand what the gaming industry is so butt hurt about. At this point its getting so bad that you won't even be able to lend people games, one of the other main buy reasons for consoles (cause you can't very well lend someone a PC game these days).

Whatever, I guess the gaming industry just wants to nickel and dime us to death.

PS: This will only increase piracy. The more difficult it is to get something legally the more people there will be obtaining it illegally.

pretty much, and I blame EA because they've become bigger *******s than ever this last year

#10 The Teej

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 19:08

I just don't get why publishers can't bully retailers into giving them 20% of the profits sold from a used game. Solves everyone's problem. Retailers still make a bigger slice of the pie from pre-owned while publishers roughly get the same they would from a new game. This would either have two reactions: Gamestop has to stop putting such an emphasis on used games, or (and this is more likely) people get less money from trade ins - at which point the used game market decreases. Either way, publishers win and nobody is blatantly getting dicked over in public.

More then one way to skin a cat, people!

#11 Amarok

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 19:20

As long as it works like the Online Pass system that quite a few games have implemented in the last year or so it's fine with me.

#12 the better twin

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 19:30

Why should publishers get a penny? They already get their cut. If its not enough for them then they should renegotiate their deals with retailers. Consumers are the only ones punished by this. Retailers just put their prices up and consumers just end up paying more. Want to play a new game round a friends house? Tough. Want to share the cost of a game with a family member? Tough.

The corporate greed really stinks.

#13 Salutary7

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 20:14

Not everyone will spend $60+ for a game, even if they can't get it used. Plenty of people buy new games only because they know they can always sell it to cover some of the cost. Unless new game prices are reduced accordingly, I have to seriously question whether killing off used games will actually increase sales for the publisher.

#14 Enron

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 20:25

My only concern is the availability of new condition games years after the initial release. I don't like used games, unless I'm buying retro games on eBay.

#15 insomniac9

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Posted 29 March 2012 - 20:48

I hope that they do not go with this approach and I'm still hoping that they do allow backwards compatibilty on both consoles. The majority of games I own on the xbox 360 are used, the ones I buy brand new have been out a while and are normally in the sales. I would like to know why go after sales of used games why do they not do the same for DVD's, Blu-rays and CD's?