Bethesda: Used games 'absolutely' a concern

Marketing VP at Elder Scrolls, Fallout studio says company has tried to mitigate second-hand market with DLC, other initiatives.

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Used games are "absolutely" a concern for Elder Scrolls and Fallout developer Bethesda. Speaking with Destructoid, marketing vice president Pete Hines said his company has attempted to lessen the impact of second-hand sales by supporting games with downloadable content that encourages users to hold on to their discs, among other things.

"Absolutely it's a concern," Hines said. "We have tried to mitigate it by creating games that offer replayability, by supporting them with DLC that's worth hanging onto the game for, or offering tools that let them take things further."

Hines conceded that Bethesda does not have all the answers when it comes to the multifaceted issue of the used game market. He said an solution that works for everyone--retailers, publishers, and developers--may be hard to come by.

"There's no doubt that being a videogamer is expensive. Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make, and people are looking for ways to keep it affordable," Hines said. "I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves."

Most recently, debate and discussion has surrounding the second-hand market has related to the possibility of the PlayStation 4 and still-unannounced Xbox 720 blocking used games. GameStop management said last month that it has a "high degree of confidence" that the PS4 will play used games, while reports have claimed the next Xbox will block second-hand titles.

Discussion

1169 comments
Emerald_Warrior
Emerald_Warrior

The developers crying over used sales is nothing but a bunch of greedy, money-grubbing, whining. Do you really think the game industry is the only industry with used sales? HELL NO! Everything has a used market. Get over it!

JBo796
JBo796

"We aren't making enough money!"

Anyone else see that Activisions CEO made like 65 million dollars last year.  Seriously..65 million dollars for ONE PERSON..in ONE YEAR! That is BS!!!  Does he learn how to code games, do the artwork, create the level design?  NO! Corporate America is stupid.

nomadski69
nomadski69

Why do game producers think their product is any different to any other product sold? If Ford sell you a car, do they also get payment when it is sold on 2nd hand? Do Canon get payment when you sell on your camera? Or Panasonic when you sell on your TV?


The gaming industry needs to man up and stop thinking it is exempt from real life. You sell us a product, we use a product and sell it on, its ours to sell. Get your stinking hands out of my wallet.

Jasper_73
Jasper_73

if games are so expensive to make then they need to come up with a way to make developing games cheaper. as of right now its already to expensive to buy and play games. if all they do is try to find more ways to squeeze more £'s out of us then all that is going to happen is everyone will loose out. i am absolutely dreading the next gen of consoles, and its going to be sometime before they are anywhere near a price that i can afford. if i am unable to buy second hand games, then the price of games have to come down. or i will no longer be able to afford a hobby i have enjoyed for over 30yrs.

Necro_Fear89
Necro_Fear89

Offer some discounts for your games, it's ridiculous how a game that came out 3 or 4 years ago is STILL $30 or more on XBL or PSN. Why bother with that when I can just go to Gamestop and buy it used for $15? See where I'm going with this? Give me an incentive to buy your games new, have deals and cut prices to match used game prices, stop trying to nickle and dime us for everything because all it's gonna do is piss us off even more and make us buy your games used. Steam does a great job in having great deals for their games, XBL and PSN and even Wii Store could learn from it, there are very few developers who actually deserve their games to be bought new, and the list for the unworthy gets higher everyday in my case.

The-FIB
The-FIB

cus god forbids you only make $50 mil in profits and not $60 or $70 mil.......greedy fucks.

galbadiabears
galbadiabears

Gamestop should just give these babies a cut of the profit. 'Generation Me' really has set in. I suddenly feel bad for the Authors of used books throughout the world. Something needs to be done to the books to make sure that no one else uses them because after all, YOU don't own the book's content, right? Movies need to follow the same path as well.

darkreign2424
darkreign2424

From the article:

"He said an [sic] solution that works for everyone--retailers, publishers, and developers--may be hard to come by."

I dont see gamer, consumer or purchaser in that statement.   Not a coincidence.  Publishers and developers want a cut of the resale market if they are ever to endorse its existence.  Without that, the looming threat of consoles not being able to play used games will persist.

joeallard
joeallard

The one thing that Bethesda does that stands out above the rest is that they cater to the modder. They allow their games to be modified for replayability purposes. I have well over 2000 hours of play time with Skyrim and more than fifty mods attached to the game. 

frylock616
frylock616

And this is why I haven't brought a Bethesda game since Fallout 3. I just pirate all of their games so they don't see a dime from me. If they didn't use the same dirty tactics as other developers do, they would actually get my money. But they dont, because they are dickheads.

greatryoman
greatryoman

Bravo to Bethesda. Just like they said, it seems like many games cut down on their final product, and then sell nigh-important or easily could-have-been-included parts of the game as 'DLC'. Bethesda's DLC on the other hand seems, at least to me, to sell ACTUAL alternate, bonus content, instead of what feels like part of the main product. That said their games do tend to have high replay value (Why is Skyrim so good? Because if you start a new character, you're not going to do nearly ANYTHING the same way as your last character), and with these factors in their games, I'd say they have about the highest retention of the game in their purchasers.


That said, they also seem to point out the rest, as usual. Other games usually have a straightforward story, so it's always the same, so people return the games quickly. And lets get something straight; when you SELL A USED GAME, it's purchased by GAMESTOP, or a similar 'middle man', who then sells it directly to another gamer. Bethesda has no hand in that transaction then; and it means while the first guy might have paid 60, and the second guy 40, leaving Gamespot with 100 dollars, Bethesda received NONE of the 40, and only a fraction of the 60.

Worse, they would have received a fraction of a second '60', if the 40 didn't exist at all. So they're losing hand over fist, and that's what studios hate used game sales. (They wouldn't if they were selling used games, but THEY aren't the ones doing that, completely unrelated companies like Gamestop are.) That of course is why many companies act like Microsoft currently, trying to devise a way to screw the used games industry, because it's a rival to the NEW game industry where they make their money.


Think of it like pepsi and coca-cola. If pepsi's selling you a 1 dollar product, and coca-cola's selling ya a 30 cent product, one's going to DESTROY the other in no time. And most people don't think of new and used games as separate 'companies' like that, but they really are. They're rivals.



That said, Bethesda is simply saying in this article that they realize used games benefit players, and they try to accommodate that as best they can by trying to get you to not sell your Used Game. But they do it honorably, through the 'make the best game we can' route. And they're saying that if things continue, they might end up on the far end of the battlefield from us...but they want us to know there are no hard feelings if they do. They don't WANT the Used Game issue to get out of hand, but realize that the way the situation's going right now, that giant argument might be forthcoming.

DerekLee688
DerekLee688

Sounds like they don't like the free market business model, and as consumers we have to lose our freedom of choice and not actually own the things we buy, for them to make money. Sounds like they should charge $60 and give us DLC for free, or make the game cheaper to charge us for DLC. 

They want us to get nothing for the money we pay them? Games are a service not property? You play what they let you play? Screw that.

jesusismyhomie
jesusismyhomie

Make all Games $30 instead of $60. & THEN add DLCs. I'm not going to buy a $60 game that is not complete. End of Story. 

pimpofdoom
pimpofdoom

Just seems like they want to take more power away from the consumer for the sake of larger profits. Don't know but used games have been around for a while and the industry seemed to be doing well enough all these years.

ShaddnArakh
ShaddnArakh

He said an solution that works for everyone--retailers, publishers, and developers--may be hard to come by.

Yes, because the solution has to work for us, gamers, consumers!

lyricalsoldierb
lyricalsoldierb

So how is it gamestop gets away with not splitting a percentage of used games sold?  I mean really?  Do we really think it's okay for 5 people to own a game that the developer only got paid for once? 

TohouAsura
TohouAsura

I think Bethesda is doing it right, for once.

They acknowledge the problem from the consumer's side too, so they realize locking their games would only anger people and hurt them in the long run.

So instead they release more content to keep people interested in playing their games.

I can accept that approach, though I think their DLCs are really overpriced ( Dawnguard is NOT worth 20$. At best, 12$ ).

In any case, I prefer that over disk-locks.


This is a very troublesome issue. It is entirely within the developer's rights to block used games. However, there is no question to the fact that it will indeed damage the relationship between consumers and developers, and that is something that would be in everyone's interests to keep healthy.

So while gamers aren't entitled to re-sell their games, they aren't entitled to buy them in the first place. It's a system of honor/trust in a way, and as with all systems who work like that, they are very fragile.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

This is nothing but a cash grab, the used game market existed before companies like MS even figured out that there was big money in used game sales let alone attempt to block used game sales so they can charge people again for a game...

And saying its hurting their bottom line is also misleading...  its not cutting into, their revenue, that would mean that used game sales are eating revenue from an existing product or service they already have, as far as i know MS nor Sony have a used game sales department. 

They are just mad it is, revenue they dont share a piece in... so this manufacture of opinions that "used game sales are hurting the industry"... its just BS

If its hurting the industry so badly, why are they wanting to control it!?, instead of making their products all digital...so people would have to buy new...

TunafishCharlie
TunafishCharlie

Don't PC require one-time-use keys to install. Quit your whining.

LukeWesty
LukeWesty

I don't get it. If a game sell's 3 million copies at £40 a pop ($60 lets say) surely there making a bit of cash from it.

DETfaninATL
DETfaninATL

If what's rumored to be true actually is true, and the PS4 will play second hand titles while the Xbox 720 will not, well.......... Xbox may have put the nail in it's own coffin.

Also, I don't know the logistics of the industry, but it would make sense if the second hand retailers kicked a very small percentage of the sales of used games back to the publisher and then the publisher would have to kick some back to the developer. If it meant the cost of used games goes up a few dollars so be it. It's still cheaper buying a $25 game (that used to be $20) than a $60 game.

AlwaysRunning
AlwaysRunning

The solution for game makers is to stop having bloated, unnecessary, runaway budgets for every game they make, which need to sell ridiculous amounts of copies to simply break even. Publishers keep crying about how much money it costs to make their games, but whose fault is that?? They are the ones setting the expectations for themselves, and used game sales are not to blame for that. If you make a game that need to sell 10 million units, and your proven audience is less than half of that, where to they expect all of this money to come from?

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/7121-Dark-Souls-and-Dark-Sales

StolenDiagram
StolenDiagram

DLC isn't enough for 360 and PS3 gamers Bethesda. The content will dry up eventually, just as it has done with Skyrim as of late. As I own the PC version however, new life can be breathed into the game on a daily basis but you need to push harder for your modding tools to be made available on console markets too. Developers like you have a degree of sway over the likes of Sony and Microsoft due to the strength of your games, don't just roll over like dogs waiting for your bellies to be scratched, stand your ground and if they refuse to accept your games on the basis that they can't cash in on user mods then leave them on the PC where they shine.

Atomic_Gumshoe
Atomic_Gumshoe

Well bethesda has done a good job, because the last four titles they have released I have purchased retail, usually day one

parrot_of_adun
parrot_of_adun

Makes sense, really. I understand why someone might buy a used game (I only ever used to), but I also understand that any used sale is meaningless. I simply buy new myself, cause I like the security of knowing no one's stomped the disk against sandpaper or something, as GameStop fare often looks to be...

azairy
azairy

Used games weren't a concern when the market was smaller and no extra sales for companies via DLC, and now they are? Wtf is going on then? Have programmer wages sky rocketed? The likes of Sony and Microsoft demanding a bigger cut per sale of a game? Who's to blame here? I'm lost.

KarloCam
KarloCam

@Emerald_Warrior Imagine Toyota or some other car company was like "Once you buy our car, you can never sell it again or let anybody else drive it." Sure it's a little different but i mean come on...

DeKuip
DeKuip

@greatryoman Again it's so fucking simple. I pay for something its MINE. No compnay or product in the world treats it's customers like game company's do.

What the fuck dont you understand about buying then owning and then you decide what you do with something that is yours. Its again's all about the customer with out us they have no product. Are supermarket's going to charge money on my half finished carton of milk when i want to sell it. No and if they tried they would be condemed but when it's a game and a billion doller buisnis it's no problem. 

In Germany Steam is being sued because  you cant sell 2e hand games on pc's. So before you go bsck to your bentley sir stop being a greedy asshole just like the company you work for cause i don't believe that a avarege gamer with a averege job can talk shit like you do. 

epicgameresearc
epicgameresearc

@greatryoman Do you not understand Capitalism?  Your Pepsi/Coke analogy is called Free-Market Economy.  A corporation that can't compete with quality and/or price should fail.     

The only reason(s) the used game market exists is because of high price-points and low quality (ie the SKYRIM PS3 debacle).  Good games at reasonable prices succeed(ie THE WITCHER).

Bethesda wants to sell me half a car at full price...  and then almost immediately upon release start selling other parts of that same car!  Wait, they didn't sell me the whole car?  WTF!?!?

Bethesda and others want to license their incomplete games to players in order to undermine the used market.  If that is allowed to continue, soon it will be illegal to sell anything at a yard sale, garage sale, or Craigslist.  Forget selling your used car or old printer.  Everything will be licensed, not sold to the consumer.

People should be up-in-arms about these practices.  Corporations aren't free to manipulate Capitalism.  We have the power to shut them down...  but have to vote with our dollars.  I will never buy another Bethesda product.        

sneakthief81
sneakthief81

@jesusismyhomie ^^^^^HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD!!..I was just about to say the same thing!..exactly!..and..if they can't do this..I'm seriously thinking maybe supporting indie gaming?..Valve's piston box, and the ouya console..

JOLIVERW
JOLIVERW

@TohouAsura I agree, positive measures rather than negative. Encourage gamers to keep their games, rather than effectively stopping them buying second hand. 

bobnice
bobnice

Im not sure of th3 specifics but developing a video game cost millions, especially the big AAA titles, ty3 more technical the game the higher cost, figure that a company has to hire voice actors, possibly hollywood caliber, sound designer, animation designers, graphic, designers, music studios, game play designers, script and story desingers, artists, physics studios, testers, and withing each of those it branches out, they also have to maintain online servers and add more as required. They also have to pay their customer support and then pay to have millions of copies put on disk, printed and labeled and shipped. Then they need to hire these people all over again if they plan on supporting the game over a lenghty time with patches and DLC and server use. Its simple, any game sold used the company makes 0 zero on. So if you like a franchise and would like to see them continue to support it and develope sequels down the line, then support them by buying their game new, otherwise youre only supporting gamestop if you buy used. I for one do not want to see more and more studios close like weve seen over the past couple of years, look what happened to the tomb raider and hitman people. Studios are closing their doors more often than not and we will most likely be left with smaller mobile games like angry birds in the future if things fontinue on this path. Dont take my word for it just read what is going on and the rumors on ign gamespot and gametrailers about the potential future of the game industry.

FastClau
FastClau

@LukeWesty some of them, around a million will be resold as SH, so the company doesn't make ANY money!!! if they block playing SH games on your future console, they force you to buy the game as new, and after just keep it :((( Its a huge crap, what if I don't like the game!!! nobody will buy it!!!

bobnice
bobnice

Thats not entirely true, first what we know of xbox is still rumors and we wont know for sure until may 21. Secondly the ps4 will still be build with the technology that blocks used games, this is all over the internet. The ps4 will have the technology to do so, if and when they choose to go that route remains to be seen. Look here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6gfnVzX34w&feature=youtube_gdata_player

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

@AlwaysRunning its all about new revenue for them at this point, nvm fixing the problem..... how do we make money off of it at this point... and thats just the publisher, console manufacturers are selling it as a way to control piracy, and provide a custom "user experience"...which is just basicaly getting information about your media consumption habbits, custom advertisement etc. and ofcoarse blocking used game sales as another benefit to them, no doubt consoles with this feature might actually be more favored by greedy publishers as well, this is why we might be seeing ubisoft and bathesda recently coming out as pro for it.

dussan2
dussan2

@azairy 
Its not about loss.  Its about profit magin percentage.  They see Gamestop making a billion dollars a year off of their games and they want a cut.  So rather than put the screws to the distributor, they put it us.

YOu know, I don't buy used games either.  Its that the only way for any kind of restriction of used games means I can't rent either.  Or borrow someone elses game. 

febtiae
febtiae

@azairy Its the price of development that has skyrocketed not the wages atleast for the most part. New technology means they have to spend more time figuring out how to make the games and with higher level tech they must also spend more time designing the game so that it meets the standards of the system and us.

jesusismyhomie
jesusismyhomie

@sneakthief81 @jesusismyhomie Exactly! I've been having more fun with Indie games recently because I know they are FULL games. I remember the good ol' days like awesome developers making games that were like 50 hours long without expansion! 

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

@bobnice how is piss poor talent management and a subsequent closure of studios to be blamed on gamestop used sales... if your game is good itl sell...simple as that... also AAA and big budget fails on a regular basis to churn out solid platinum hits...which means $ is only half the solution.. ...bad game concept... bad developers...etc.  too much input can be just as bad.....as evidenced by anything designed by a committee

dussan2
dussan2

@febtiae Honestly, they SAY it costs more but so does everything else in the world.  The profit potential has exploded alongside higher game develeopement costs.  This is just like making movies. 

Also new technology is all well and good but there has not been a significant leap or change in how that technology works since Playstation 2.  

They can actually reduce the cost of game developement if they embraced digital distribution.  But they won't.  Instead they sell the same game for the same price as having a phrysical copy.  Ridiculous.

DeKuip
DeKuip

@jesusismyhomie @sneakthief81 There is a big risk doing that because in the end they still find a way to make you pay for the other 30$. They make half finished games as it is. But when they lower the price to 30 they will sell games that have maybe a quarter of content and at the end you still pay 100$ 

So i don't think it will work, it would only make things worse

jesusismyhomie
jesusismyhomie

@sneakthief81 @jesusismyhomie Ya! and it would cause the developers to develop better games altogether to bring people in. If someone likes the game they will buy more of that game. If someone doesnt, then.. they didn't just waste $60.


sneakthief81
sneakthief81

@jesusismyhomie @sneakthief81 From a business point of view, the 30$ price tag just seems to make more sense..it would entice those who already are paying the 30$ at gamestop for the used game, and then they still make more money on DLCs..they would make more in volume..the only people I could see suffer a bit from this would gamestop, though...

galbadiabears
galbadiabears

@lyricalsoldierb @surferosh If that is the case then it shouldn't stop just at video games. Movies and books should be a 1 owner product. When does the madness end? I'm surprised people defend this nonsense. What happens when a game is retired and you are no longer able to find it? Your disc breaks or is too scratched to play anymore, your system dies? There are many reasons why this is an awful idea. Maybe it comes from the whole 'ME generation' where everyone feels entitled (even if that person already got their share).

surferosh
surferosh

@lyricalsoldierb  i dont buy DLC... and i only buy games when they get to an affordable range... i do not support their costly model of pricing... 

lyricalsoldierb
lyricalsoldierb

@surferosh @lyricalsoldierb hey so you're ok with it.  no biggie bro.  just don't complain when developers raise the price of the game, or sell you bits and pieces through dlc. 

bobnice
bobnice

I am not someone who will tell a company when theyve made enough money on their product. And not all great games sell well, are you telling me that you never bought a great game used?. They might sell good enough in my eyes and your eyes but maybe not to a big studio with giant expenses in the millions required to make video games nowadays. But if you feel that way, im not gonna tell you your wrong because I see both sides, so like I said if you feel that way then support gamestop by buying their used merchandise, just understand people seem upset because game companies are trying to make the most money on THEIR product, what they fail to recognize is that you are not upset at Gamestop making the too much money on other peoples product. If anything gamestop is screwing us by selling used games at such a high price. Hell we trade games in for 10 bucks and they are turning around and reselling that disc to us for 45 dollars. But like I said if you feel that way then support gamestop and make them all the money but I choose to support the studios who make the games I love.