May 19, 2010

Publishers and developers are idiots

I'm getting so sick of the pubs and devs spouting off about the evil used game market. Another nugget spouted off again recently. Says Karl Stewart, Crystal Dynamics' Global Brand Director:

"Having the used market is not beneficial to any of us."

Hang on a minute, who is the "us" in this statement, 'cause clearly he's not referring to the consumer. I get tired of statements like this because it seems that the logic applied by the pub/dev, is that anyone who bought the game second-hand would have obviously bought the game new. But I think this is hardly the case. The ability to resell a new game on the second hand market, enables the seller to take that money from the resell and put it right back into the publisher's pocket by purchasing a new game on day 1.

Never mind that publishers and developers who complain that other people are making money from their material are pretty much trying to ignore years and years of established copyright law and ownerships rights. Yes, no one would argue that they own the IP, just like an author of a published work own their text. However, you can transfer ownership of the material that it is printed or published on at the discretion of person who bought it (else how would retail store transfer ownership of the book or game to you in the first place).

Guess what Karl, or whatever developer or publisher is spouting off yet again, I don't buy your, 'Whoa is me! People aren't buying my game direct from me!'. If you want users to buy directly from you (via a retailer), then give me an incentive to do so. Drop your prices. Add in special content that is only available for first time buyers. That would make the used copy worth less, and increase incentives for buying the game on day 1.

Stop complaining about it, you're not being treated unfairly. It's part of doing business. Authors complained about it years ago and they lost, so get over it.


  1. and yet EA gets dumped on for their "project $10" for doing just what you ask. I think its pretty silly to hear these people get so upset over the recent online pass strategy they're launching on sports titles. If your excuse to buy Madden 11 used is to save some cash, typically you'd only save about $8 if you bought Madden used within a few months of launch. Just buy it new for a few dollars more and get your online pass included.

    Now if you ask me, the more valid complaint is that you are going to pay the premium for a new copy with online pass only to have EA shut down that game's servers in just a few years time.

  2. I personally don't have a problem with the whole project $10. The market will adjust based on these initiatives. What I imagine will happen though will be that Day 1 sales for games will decrease because games included in the Project $10 will have less value in the used market. As such, anyone attempting to do a second-hand sell, will have to discount the game by the same amount that the next buyer will need to pay on top of getting the game disc to begin with.

    So in the current market, I buy a game for $60, play it and sell it back to GameStop for $30, and buy a new game for an additional $30 (out of my pocket). GameStop turns around and sells the game for $55.

    In the brave new world, I buy a game for $60, play it and sell it to GamesStop for $20, which means that I now have to cough up an additional $10, which will in turn reduce the amount of games I can buy on day 1. GameStop doesn't want to loose their margin of $25 so in order to maintain the buy in price for a used game it has to be sold at $45 and bought at $20. So the end user price will even back out to $55.

    In then end, I think the only people that the publishers will hurt with programs like this are themselves. GameStop will just adjust their buy and sell prices for used game so they maintain their margins.

    However, the real concern with this is when you have an older title, let's say something like Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter, that the publisher decides to drop support for and now no one can ever play it again.

    I think of all the titles I've had access to from previous console generations and it concerns me that new games will be 'locked out' in the future because support has been dropped either at the publisher level or even a broad stroke like turning off the Original Xbox Live support.