Well, it looks like the current hot topic is used games again, thanks to circulating rumors that PS4 and Xbox 720 may block used games. There's usually one focal point of this argument whenever this debate arises, and that's GameStop. Oh, that evil GameStop, selling used games for five dollars below the new game price point. THEY MUST PARISH! If you've ever been around a video game forum, you know a lot of people hate GameStop.
Now, there is something that I think most people aren't taking into consideration here. If GameStop sells used games at 55, it actually increase the odds that a consumer will buy a new game at 60. They'll probably think, "Well, if I spend five dollars more, I can guarantee myself a disc without scratches and a manual without Cheetos fingerprints. I'll take a new copy please." A lot of the outrage that I hear from people is that they make so much money off used games sales because of their markup.
So let's say GS doesn't sell used games at 55 dollars. Let's say they start at 40. Now things start to get interesting. Why buy a new game at 60 when you can buy it at 40 used? Sales of used games begin to skyrocket. GameStop may not make the same amount of profit, but the demand for used games all of a sudden went up, while the sales of new games has decreased. This also presents a quandary. How will they get used games off their racks if they aren't selling new games for people to sell back to them? Kinda makes you think.
GameStop actually makes very little from the sales of new games, so they rely on the used market to carry them through. It's also been reported that they're closing roughly 250 stores nationwide. Could it be because so many people refuse to buy from them? Well, I'd also like to think that part of it is overdistention. I've heard from several people who say there are at least two or three stores in their zip codes. Here in Aurora, Co, we have one in the Aurora Mall and one just outside a couple minutes away. It's no different than a Wendy's closing because there are three within five minutes; they're competing against each other.
You can blame GameStop all you want, but if they can get away with selling used games at 55 dollars, why bother lowering the price? The demand is there, so it only makes sense from a business standpoint to offer the supply. Does that make them unethical? No. Greedy? Sure. And when you're taking risks on buying games (and this same risk applies to other stores, such as pawn shops), you'll want to try to make the most money that you can back.
Now lets talk about the potentiality of the next-gen systems blocking used games. A lot of people will celebrate this because they think GameStop will go out of business, and they want to see that happen. Too many people, though, are hung up on that fact and don't realize who else will be affected. Included, but not limited to are these:
- Mom and pop shops
- Craig's Listers
- Rental outlets
- Your friends
Yes, yourself. The thing is, when you buy a video game, that copy BELONGS to you. You have the right to do whatever it is that you want to do (provided that you don't make copies and distribute/sell them) with that copy. You should not be barred from attempting to get some of your money back when you are tired of the game, or just simply don't like it. If used games become blocked, then new game sales will suffer as a result. After all, when you buy a game at 60 bucks, you better hope to God you bought a good one. Because you can't eBay it, you can't pawn it off, you can't sell it to your friend, or even give the damn thing away. You just bought a 60 dollar coaster. Sure, you can wait for a sale on a new game, but that would do little good, as the retailer already paid the distributor for that copy. They took a loss on the copy to get if off their shelves.
"But... but.. the devs deserve their money!" And rightfully so, as they make money from the initial sales. That's where it ends, though. First Sale Doctrine prohibits the author from making money from future sales of that particular copy. This applies to everything: music, books, movies, art, sex toys, whatever. You can't make a special exception for the video game industry. Why should you? No other industry cries so much, and implements so many counter measures to stave off losses to a used market like the video game industry does. If you honestly want to support developers who make games you like, by all means, do so. Just don't go about calling the used market and the people who partake thereof evil. You should be pointing the finger at publishers who continue to sell short games pock-marked with DLC options and online passes for 60 dollars. "But, if their games sell, why lower the price?" Haha, GREAT POINT! If GameStop can sell used games at 55, why lower the price? Simple supply and demand.
"But.. but.. we PC gamers don't have a used market!" This is one argument that I hear from time to time, and other PC gamers actually butt in and say, "Yes, there is a used market." It's just that GameStop doesn't sell used PC games. There's a reason for that, though. It's very very easy to copy a PC game to your harddrive, find a CD key and play it without the disc. This frees up the game to let you sell it back to the store for maximum value. Console games don't work that way. Plus, PC games are on average cheaper, so there's less incentive to go out and buy a used game for 55 when it already sells for new at 30 or 40. Also, there's Steam. Loads of cheap games that can be traded and gifted. There's not much of a used market for PC games, because there simply isn't a need for one. Console games are much more expensive on average, thus the demand for used games.
I know, I know, you really love gaming, and you want everyone to support it. Then, you better never have done any of these:
- Read a book at a library
- Checked out a CD or DVD at a library
- Bought used clothing
- Bought a generic brand foodstuff or prescription drug
- Bought a used car
- Bought a part from a junkyard
- Read a magazine in a bookstore
- Borrowed a game from a friend
- Borrowed anything from a friend
- Snuck into a movie theatre
- Downloaded from Napster
- Downloaded from pirate site
Now, I know some of these can be debated, and if you like to, go ahead, but I'm basically saying that if you were guilty of any one of these, you're taking money away from someone else. Such is economics, the ups and downs of business and the wills and will nots of consumers. Consumer rights are extremely important, and to block them can effectively hinder your company more than help it.
For opponents of used games, you also need to consider something here. Most purchasers of used games have no intent in buying new. Period. They aren't lost "potential sales"; they are no-sales. If Microsoft blocks used games, a lot of consumers will migrate to Sony and vice versa. I can see one company being stupid enough to block used games, but not both. In the unlikely event that both do, maybe this is the winfall Nintendo needs...
I also want to remind everyone who are against used games that a lot of gamers end up purchasing new games thanks to previous experiences as a result of buying used games. They might browse a used games bin and see something for 15 bucks and love it so much, they'll buy a sequel or another game from the same company new for 60. The used market is an effective way of giving companies' games exposure. Plus, a lot of games go out of print, and you can only find the rare ones used through eBay or other auction sites. Lastly, even the Evil Vile Overloard of Evilness Bobby Kotick isn't entirely against used games. He sees used games as a platform to sell more DLC. Think about it. There really is a lot of good that comes out of used games, so they honestly are not as evil as people are making it seem.
I've liked BioWare for years, but Mass Effect simply didn't interest me initially. I don't know why, it just didn't. It wasn't until early 2011 when I first experienced the series, I bought the first two games second-hand from my local GameStation store. I loved them. My experience playing Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 resulted in me purchasing Mass Effect 3 brand new (and it was an EA game, you don't realize how much that hurt). If I wasn't able to play second-hand games on my console I would never have played the first two Mass Effect games because they didn't look like games I would want to spend full whack on, and if I didn't enjoy them as much as I did I would never have bought the third brand new and put money in the coffers of a company I despise. Do you see where I'm going? EA complain about second-hand games so much, but had I not bought the first two Mass Effect games second-hand I would never have bought the third brand new. So, EA GAINED money from me BECAUSE of the used games market. The used market, if anything, doesn't hurt the market for new games - it helps it. To destroy one would be to destroy the other. Big publishers, and anyone else who moans about it, need to get their heads out of their own arses.
interesting article i have to agree its risky as hell i mean come on aliens: colonial marines is an example of consumers that get ripped off by developers who simply cant be bothered so they make a game look good build a lot of hype for it usually also followed by a big brand name in my personal opinion such games include the likes of DmC, Aliens: Colonial Marines, Resident evil 6 etc. developers are getting so lazy and not listening to the fans so much (within reason obviously) that its becoming risky to buy a brand new game for the fear of losing money to then take it to the store (GAME in the UK e.g) where you just payed £40 - 45 to then be offered £10 - 15 its completely ridiculous start forcing devs to release lengthy demos enough to give you a feel for what you're paying for this is a counter action and one that should have been in place from the start, hell i remember demo discs for ps1 when i was younger i would play games on them over and over and base an opinion on that and 9 out of 10 times id made a good decision but hey we live in a day and age where wealthy CEO's ripping money from a dying mans hand is common practice -_-
@uchihasilver I remember those demo discs. I used to play the demo of WipEout for a month before the game came out.
It would be fair, people have right to sell their used games to friends - NOT Gamestop... same goes to used cars. if car companies has potential to stop a company selling used cars, they will too.
And why do you thing PC gaming are nearly dead?. that's because all of the pirates, everybody wants games for free instead of paying for em.
@Dogswithguns Wanting to buy used games does not equate to wanting them for free. What we are asking is to have ownership of the products we buy. PC gaming is not nearly dead but an endless stream of really crappy console ports haven't done much to impress people who spend a lot of money on their machines to play something that looks like it should have come out ten years ago.
@blueinheaven @Dogswithguns not only that - but considering you'll have to buy a new console and start your game collection all over again... I'd like to be able to sell my XbOX 360 with it's games in 2 years when MSN comes out with -yet another "not backwards compatible unit" in two years...
Oh wait - I'M A PC GAMER AND HAVE STOPPED BUYING CONSOLE WHEN PS2 REFUSED MY OLD FAVOURITES... there, it's said.
@Dogswithguns @blueinheaven It's not just as bad. It's no where near just as bad. With pirates, they steal the original copy, distribute it and practically give it away. With used games, it's a MARKET. It means business are sustaining themselves with used market revenue. Jobs are created and maintained with this revenue. Plus, a used market is keeping product the original owners no longer wanted from ending up in landfills; it keeps games alive. Please, do not bring up the comparison again. To do so is erroneous.
@Dogswithguns @blueinheaven I'll repeat again this is not about wanting things for free. If the publishers want people to buy games new they should take the prices down and stop bending people over and shafting them with day one DLC that used to be part of the damned game you bought.
There's also the issue of paying full price for a game that turns out to be crap. It's not the end of the world if you can sell it on but if this comes into place and you're stuck with a digital pile of dung you paid a lot of money for I'm sure you'll still be leaping to the defence of the publishers!
@blueinheaven @Dogswithguns Yes, I know it isn't about piracy discussion..but my point is if no laws and no one stopping people from getting things for free. everybody will keep on getting those for free.. by selling used games are just as bad. if no one wants to buy new games, then there's no point for the developers making new games anymore.
Also, if Gamestop been sharing profits off used games they been selling with Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo.. then it would have never been any problem with selling used games. ain't it?! greed for self is just gonna have to end.
Well, the problem is Gamestop don't really sell us new games, they selling us used games when you're buying new games. Gamestop been having this filthy business for far too long... If we bought new games from Amazon we will get new not used, unless we bought used of course... people are missing the point of this Gamestop scamming people here?!
@Dogswithguns GameStop sells new games... If you notice GameStop trying to sell you a used game (gutted copy is not used), then tell them you don't want that copy and to tell you a new one.
I really do like having the CHOICE of buying used or new games. If the industry wants to take that liberty from me... screw them. And I hate Gamestop too... they're hypocritical thieves. Selling used games for 5$ less then new is basically saying: "I want you to buy new!".
As a matter of principle I never spend more than 40 bucks on a game. Most of the time under 20. I made this decision years ago when I paid 50 or 60 bucks for the first Fable and finished it with a maxed out character in 12 hours. From my perspective, the idea of game producers blocking the purchase of used games is their way of admitting they can't make games worth paying full price for. It's frustrating that they punish the community instead of getting their act together.
"if you were guilty of any one of these, you're taking money away from someone else."
how so? None of those things equate to a lost brand new sale. Someone pirating, buying used or borrowing isn't someone who would have paid full price had other options not been available. That is a false dichotomy that you ironically point out in the very next paragraph when talking about other people's logic.
@WCK619 If you're smart enough to use a term like dichotomy, you're smart enough to figure out what I'm talking about.
Honestly, I don't buy used games because I don't risk getting one damaged or anything. And that goes for anything I buy. (This is a personal preference though)
You can do whatever you want with the game so long as it's sell, damage or anything. Not modify it's content or modify it when using it, such as in a console. But just because of the ToS's.
As for the used market hindering the new games market and the "Support the devs" idea. Well as you said, the Devs make their money once they sell the copy "internally", then retailers sell and keep the money. But here is the thing. If costumers choose used games, it's less units the retailers have to buy, because they can just sell the used ones, no need to buy more from "inside". This is where the problem lies.
I really enjoyed this article. And thankfully you are one of the few to bring up the whole $5 price difference between used and new at gamestop or ebgames. Because of that I never bought used when I use to shop there. Instead it convinced me more to spend that extra$5 to guarantee a working copy with EVERYTHING INSIDE THE CASE.
I just hope MS and Sony are smart enough to see how much money they would lose if they were to do something like this. Not to mention there are some other things they need to be aware of:
-Some people let their friends borrow games, guess they can't do that anymore.
-What about Gamefly or other video game rental services? Most if not all of those games are pre owned.
-What if I don't want the game anymore and want my money back to buy a game I will enjoy?
-What if I sell/give my game to a friend?
An interesting case on our hands. I stopped selling my used games to GS based upon the fact that there is approximately a 500% mark up from the price they are willing to buy the game from the original owner to the price of the game then put on the self. Instead, I give big chunks of my games away (8-12 at a time) to Goodwill during the holidays. I guess the major corporations want to put an end to that too...
I like used games because I usually wait to buy a game about a year after it has been out when the used price has dropped below 10 to 20 doll hairs.
ur articles are such entertaining reads. as soon as i see ur avatar icon i go to read. good job once again. look forward to ur next.
I definitely have no problems with used games, but I do hate when GameStop sells a used game, but the box art is no longer there and it doesn't come with a game manual. If anything, GameStop is usually the last resort, because I mainly buy games (new) from Best Buy, Target, or Walmart. Amazon is also my preferred online gaming shopping destination because their used copies are usually in good condition.
I think the question everyone is asking is: What is going on with your avatar? It it a person? Is he holding a spear or talking on a cell phone? Why the vapid look?
I don't know who does not like used games - the only people would be those in the game industry. I am sure that most gamers have bought used games and want to keep buying used games forever. I rarely have enough money to buy a new game at $60. I will wait until the new game goes down in price, or buy a used copy for a decent price, but then still have to wail for a reasonable used price. I have many games in my collection that I have bought used or even a new version for a vastly reduced price that I would never have owned if it was still $60 in the store.
Also, like you said, you would have to make sure the game is 100% worth it before you buy it for $60 - see examples of horrible games such as Resident Evil Raccon City.
"Now, there is something that I think most people aren't taking into consideration here. If GameStop sells used games at 55, it actually increase the odds that a consumer will buy a new game at 60."
I feel like this statement doesn't necessarily hold true anymore... I mean back in the ps2, gamecube, and xbox era I feel like your comment about scratched CD's was a very valid point. All the time, you would have to worry about scratched cd's that wouldn't play and so you would want to buy new. But with the 360 having the ability to install games to the hard drive so it doesn't play from the CD, and the ps3 doing somewhat the same likewise, I feel being wary of buying used games because of flaws is of little importance anymore. If I go to Gamestop and buy a used game I honestly don't even worry about that anymore.
I wouldnt mind used games being blocked for 1 reason: lately when i've bought brand new ones, upon opening the case the manuals are almost always torn in some way! i'm sick and tired of repackaged "brand new" games having something ripped or leftover inside!
If next gen consoles (all of them that is) ban used games then I feel they will have to lower the original price of a game when it first comes out, (£40 or 60$ for you guys in the US is a hefty price, I'm a student as well so I would love to play more games but I spend it on other entertainment media like going to the cinema, theatre, go to a football game, going out with friends) rather than taking a risk on a game that could be awful and I can't do anything else with it, all it is now is an inanimate object that I can chuck in the bin or use, as you said, as a coaster.
There will always be a huge crowd waiting to buy a new copy of a game on release day, and all of the others in the first week of release when you don't see many used copies in store. They will never go away, but as much as I would like to be them, I don't have the money, not all gamers are rich kids who have money being thrown at them by their parents.
A good article. I'm using an xbox at the moment, and I'm pretty sure those Xbox fanboys won't be as loyal if they ban used games, they will flock to Playstation instantly, they will be more fickle than you think.
An effective but mildly clunky way to tackle used game crisis would be for publishers to sell games at a discount. That "discount" depends on the number of friends who own that game. It's like used game sales all over again except that the money goes to the right people. This should cover the digital distribution end of the games.
Well, personally, I don't care either way about these rumors. All I know is that I'm buying whatever I have interest in.
I don't see what's all the fuss about either... if you spend your money on video games maybe you need to learn how to make wiser purchases? I don't buy games that I wouldn't play more than once, gamers need to start thinking in the long term when they purchase something. Because like it or not, if used games are banned from the 720 and PS4 I find it highly unlikely that pple are going to stay away for long. You can swear off the next gen all you want, but we all know that 98% of those who do, will cave in and buy a console anyway. What are you gonna' do, join the Wii Team? Hop on board with the PC crowd? For all it's glamour the PC has just as many cons as the console does, pple just tend to focus on it's only 2 pros: good graphics and cheaper games.
@ceromaster I have a gut feeling that a lot of people are going to end up buying a console regardless: some in hope that they'll bypass the "used game problem" some or the other way + some just don't mind it + some for some its multimedia capabilities + some can't stand the PC and the Wii U + some will get it hacked or something + some for the hardware = as you can see, this adds up to at least 80% percent of the console gaming crowd. Not a huge loss.
@edjos As I said before, just go to any GameStop related news article, and you'll find them in the comments section basically saying, "GO OUT OF BUSINESS GAMESTOP! QUIT RIPPING OFF DEVELOPERS!"
I guess I have a hard time understanding the desire some gamers have to support game companies, making statements like "buy new, they deserve to get paid for the work they do." Obviously, these companies need to earn money to continue creating new games, but I'm frankly more concerned about my own budget and experiences with games. If games are created with quality and offered at a competitive price (new), of course I will buy new. If not, I will either buy used or pass on the game completely. They should have offered the game at a price that was somewhat competitive with the used game market.
The shining example for me is the Journey collector's edition. I paid $30 and received 3 really good games and 3 amazing soundtracks. Thatgamecompany earned my money and so I gave it to them. I did not somehow owe it to them. Gamers should not simply support the gaming industry, but reward them when they show good business practices. Companies like EA, Sony, and Microsoft are far more interested in the bottom line than your experience. Consumers have to show them that the way to improve their bottom line is to deliver a great experience for a good price.
I like gamestop. They sell used games in good condition for cheaper. Of course, since they stopped selling Gamecube and PS2 games, I haven't bought from them in a while...
I don't personally buy used games or sell them but when push comes to shove, I like knowing the fact that the game I bought isn't worth NOTHING once I bought it... That's my problem... I don't mind online passes.. I think it's fair they charge 1/6th of the price and really if you look at the cost of the game itself most of that is markup. Games really only cost 20-25$ for the developers. So they really make about half what they would otherwise get.
I think it's a fair market and if it goes away, games will be the first industry in which once you purchase an item it would become completely worthless to anyone but you. I don't like the used game market but I believe that as a consumer you should have the right to sell a game that you don't enjoy...
Blocking the sales of used games will affect the industry in a negative way due to that fact. Big games and big companies will get richer and small to medium size companies will go bankrupt because people won't pick up a game that scores a 6 to an 8 because it's too risky.
I think used games have their place and even though I don't always agree with the idea, I think online passes are the perfect medium.
I just want to say thank you very much. I've been shouting these points for years since the online pass was implemented and no one listened to me. And I say the Online pass because it carries in with the used games issue, they are the same thing. If you somehow block a game or a section of it from being played because it's been played on another console already, it affects not only Game Stop but Game Fly and other rental services. Imagine you borrow a game from your friend to see how it is, but you can't truly experience it because you have to pay $10 to access MP. Then if you give in and pay the fee to tryout the MP, and you don't like so you decide you don't want your own copy of the game. Now that's $10 gone that you can't get back.
Again thank you Lucas. I don't always comment on your blogs, but I do read them. I just felt I really had to say something on this one.
If used games will be blocked then the sales will take a nose dive big time. Not everyone has a 50 dollar bill to slap against the counter each time for a game. Not only financial problems will arise (families with kids, students, part-timers etc.), because of that particular problem, games will also be less exposed and accessible to the masses. I almost always buy my games used, except when its from a series I really love, like Mass Effect or from a studio I really like. Blocking used games? Big mistake.
While we're at it, we should get rid of the used-car market, too. Yeah! Oh yeah - the stock market, too. Silly used stocks, you should only be able to purchase them at an IPO! And movies - those should only be viewable in the theaters - NETFLIX MUST PARISH MOAR!
The "NO MOAR UZED GAMES" arguement is kinda retarded.
I bought a used copy of mass effect, know what? I liked it so much that i bought mass effect 2 on release day. Companies really need to chill on the moneygrubbing and think about what they are actually losing.
I'm pretty sure its not legal in most countries to forbid you to resell something you buy..
Not letting that item work however might be in a gray area.
@Arcturuss The same applies with piracy, profiting with piracy is illegal, while distributing it belongs to the gray area.