Coin-OpEd: Used games are not the same as used underwear

Why, exactly, are gamers being punished for buying their wares on the secondhand market?

When I buy my underwear, I buy it new. There are reasons for this, of course. Argue how you might, but I firmly believe that soap does not hold complete dominion over cloth. Permeability is a clear and present danger here, is what I'm saying, and that is compelling reason enough for me to buy new.

Personal germaphobia notwithstanding, there are plenty of other things people buy that just don't translate well to the secondhand market. Fruit. Fruit is an excellent example of something that should not be bought used. Fruit has a shelf life. Regurgitation would be a necessity after first use of fruit. After regurgitation, fruit would have lost all aesthetic and nutritional value. Don't buy fruit used.

There are things that should not be bought secondhand.

On the other hand, lots of things do work really well the second time around. The clip-on tie that my brother wore on his first day of high school humiliated me just as effectively when I wore it two years later. The monitor I'm looking at to write this editorial? Found on the side of the street. It was just sitting there, and I took it, and it works great. Need a car? Craigslist has a 1994 Minnie Winnie with your name on it. That's 24 1/2 feet of luxury for just $9,800.

Games are also eminently reusable. Those of us with friends have been buying and swapping games for decades at this point, and I certainly recall renting from my local Blockbuster Video. What's more, the reusability of games has spawned a billion-dollar cottage industry, where specialty retailers such as GameStop buy low, sell middle, and earn big.

Whether or not GameStop's value proposition is equitable to gamers is a question for another time. However, used games don't go bad; they offer gamers a chance to experience the exact same content, with all its fidelity and fun, as someone who buys new, but for a sometimes substantially cheaper price. It also means gamers need not have boxes upon boxes of old games in their basements--or worse, simply toss them out.

To be sure, the secondhand games market runs counter to fundamental consumerism, which deemphasizes reconsumption in favor of paying top dollar for the new hotness. Publishers would vastly prefer you buy their games new. To a degree, this mentality is understandable, since a publisher takes a majority cut of a $60 new game but doesn't see a dime from its $45 resale.

Earlier this week, Mike West, who is a lead combat designer at the Microsoft-owned Lionhead Studios, told Eurogamer that the secondary games market is a bigger problem than piracy. Seems a bit harsh. Here's what he said:

Those who bought Fable III used on the Xbox 360 did Lionhead more of a disservice than if they'd pirated the PC version.

"Piracy these days on PC is probably less problematic than secondhand sales on the [Xbox 360]," he said. "I've been working on PC games for many years, and piracy is always a problem. There are a lot of honest people out there as well, and if they like your game, they'll buy it. The pirates, whatever you do on whatever system, they will crack it. It might take no time… I think the longest it's taken to happen is two days. Someone will crack it somewhere and there's not much you can do about it."

"It's just a depressing situation we're in that people don't think it's worth spending money on computer games," he continued. "What they're doing is making sure there are fewer games coming out in the future and more people out of work, which is a terrible thing. Unless you sit down and meet a pirate face to face and have a conversation about what it does, I don't think anything will stop them… But, as I say, second-hand sales cost us more in the long-run than piracy these days."

West's attack on the secondhand market is far from an isolated occurrence. Since 2010, Electronic Arts has been walling off the online modes of many of its popular sports franchises, forcing those who do not buy the game new to pony up $10. THQ and Sony have followed suit with their own versions of EA's Online Pass, and a handful of other publishers, including Ubisoft, have also expressed interest in the scheme.

John Madden's playbook has surprisingly few mentions of an Online Pass.

What these companies are doing is trying to artificially create a situation where buying a preowned game is as attractive as buying preowned underwear. But in truth, there's no reason why a preowned game shouldn't be just as good as a new game, and not only do consumers recognize this, but they have readily available (not to mention legal) means to act upon it.

What can be said? These companies fail to realize that they aren't likely to change consumer behavior by (A) guilting their fans into paying full price for games, or (B) nickel-and-diming them for online modes.

To the first point, as any therapist will say, motivating someone to do something through guilt is one of the fastest ways to build resentment and destroy a relationship. Said another way, if I buy used games, and someone starts making me feel bad for doing so, I'm either going to not buy games at all, or I'm going to steal them instead. (Lest it not be said, I do not condone piracy, or petty theft for that matter.)

In the same vein, charging for online modes is a dramatic departure from what gamers have come to expect after years of precedent, and such a change can only engender ill will among the player base. Further, when a premium is placed on a discounted product, that premium will effectively price out a portion of the population from buying it. (Now, I'm not calling game publishers who engage in this kind of thing capitalist pig-dogs, but a Marxist probably would.)

Bottom line: Publishers are aggressively attacking secondhand sales because the vast majority of games do not sell enough copies to justify their exorbitant development costs. To make up for that deficit, publishers have resorted to punishing the consumer. Perhaps it would make more sense if these publishers reexamined their own method for creating games and worked within their financial constraints to create a sustainable business model instead.

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603 comments
nintendoboy16
nintendoboy16

Why can't developer/publishers just deal with used games? They made the money before when it was new. On top of that, there are quite a bit of gamers who still would rather play on old systems and knowing the fact that not all of those old games are going to be downloadable, they have no other (legal) choice but to buy those games used.

hamper17
hamper17

As far as I'm concerned once I buy a game it's mine and I can do what I want with it (within legal reason). Developers just have to accept that second hand sales are a part of the market regardless of how they feel about it. I'm sure GM, and Ford would love it if people only bought new cars but that's not the way it is. Concentrate on making better games and people won't want to wait to get it on the second hand market.

tarutaru1
tarutaru1

All I can say is that after buying 3 new games this year that did not live up to my expectations, I have had to further finetune my critical eye. I used to only use this web site for reviews (it is great I love it) but now I have to trawl through numerous other web sites, not simply looking at score ratings but also reading the articles in full to try and get a balanced perspective. All in the hope that the next new game I buy will actually be what people say it is. Or at least what I hope it to be. It's so hit and miss. Should I go to Skidrow for the next game that I would have normally bought? I think I might. If it's good, I'll be playing it lots and would want all the benefits of a legitimate account, so I'll buy a proper copy after finding out what it's like. If it's crap, well I won't be spending much time playing it anyway, so I didn't need to buy a proper copy in the first place. Or if there's a demo version available, to always remember trying out the demo even if I am 90% confident it will be a good game.

Madjik2k2
Madjik2k2

More developers taking up EA's strategy eh? I'll say it again, if used games are causing your company to lose SO much money, why not start up a used game department of your own instead of trying to stick your fingers in the pies of everyone else? You give me a compelling reason to buy from you over Game Stop and I'll do it. How do you think game stop got so damn good at it? No? Well, don't be surprised if you don't see that extra \$10 coming out of my pocket, I'll just play the game at my friends house like I used to back in the day, and you'll STILL lose out on that resale, suckers. Don't fight your customers, or you'll find yourself in the trash can; I don't have to spend my money anywhere I don't want to. And some people wonder why Indie gaming is on the rise...

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

The games have to be purchased brand new in order for them to become second hand right? Why should developers have a second slice when they have the first sales money in the bag? Game stores that sell these wares have to pay bills and wages etc....Rubbish titles deserve rubbish sales....As gamers I think we deserve a little more respect because, after all, we pay them to make games for us...not the other way round....If they make a game we don't want then bad luck....Fable3 was rubbish and no wonder their crying foul because no-one in their right mind would have bought it at full price$.

runnermpls
runnermpls

If the games are good enough, people will buy them new. LA Noire had record breaking sales because people know Rockstar can make good games, and the previews and hype were stellar. No one wants to be the last one to play the flavor of the month. If the game is crap, expect a few people to buy it, and then it to be re-sold over and over. How is this the fault of gamers?

GraphicKingInc
GraphicKingInc

Y'know. I guess I can kinda try to understand where the developers are coming from. But why not take a different approach. Why not drum up some sort of contract with secondhand retailers to make a deal where everybody wins. Or why not change the landscape of the development cycle. Take longer to make more quality games and start nipping the Kung Fu Pandas, Superman Returns, and the 30 reincarnations of Dynasty Warriors (LOL. JK). Why don't companies merge to make one megacompany that makes even better games? I mean, look at what Warner Bros. did to the Mortal Kombat series...

garathe_den
garathe_den

Why should I pay full price for something I could get for much, much less? If retailers sold the gaes for the price they end up being second hand then alot more people would be buyng new

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Because gamers can be punished. If the people from Fruit of the Loom could make you pay for second hand underwear they would. Though, if you're buying used underwear I think you have bigger concerns than that.

Coco_pierrot
Coco_pierrot

I bought like 3 games new this year ( LBP2, Portal and Mortal Kombat ) and last year I bought Killzone3, God Of war 3, Heavy Rain, Borderland GOTY, Naruto UNS2 and KillZone2. Some of them where day one other at a big discount because I thought they don't deserve the price. I for one think the industry have gone in the wrong direction. Online gaming and DLC being the most important aspect of game nowaday make it less and less interesting for me. I have never bought any DLC and I won't buy any of them or I won't paid for unlocking something on the disc either. So I don't buy anything from Capcom and EA anymore, I thnk they really miss the point. Another thing, video games seem to priorise graphics now at the expense of story and gameplay. I bought Final Fantasy Tactics on PSN ... and I played that game 80 hours, trying to find everything. I had a blast playing it andd seriously it doesn't have the graphics of today games. I still may Mega Man X and X-2 on my SNES more often than many games I have played on PS3/Xbox360

garrett_duffman
garrett_duffman

ya, well maybe if every dev didnt think that their game was worth 60 bucks on the ps360 and 50 on the wii, then we wouldnt have to all buy used. Devs, Price appropriately.

zbiggie
zbiggie

Developers and publishers have to understand, Crap games are the reason that I pirate. I hate buying a game and then finding out that it was not what I had hoped it to be. Only less and worse then I could have hoped for. Brink is a prime example of this. I bought the game because Splash damage has made one of my favorite fps games in the past Wolf:ET. This game was to be that plus a few extras like parkor, and updated graphics. Now that I have it I can not return it, the game is locked to my steam account. On top of that even when I doe feel like playing it, the game is always lagging. ANd it is not from my computer or internet connection but from the game design. It simply is a bad online game implementation. So next time I see them release a game. (Bethesda or Splash) I will go and pirate their game. Play it in full and only buy it if I enjoy the game. Up to this point I bought their games in full and new. FO3, FONV, and Brink. But that last one has ruined it for me as the game has given me maybe 3 hours of gameplay with as many in heartache trying to find a decent game. And now I'm out 60$. Maybe when then know the game will be bad they should cut development early and cut their losses or at least discount the game. Get people to buy it that way. Would I feel bad buying this game at 20$ brand new. Yes. Would I understand that the cheap price meant a cheap game. Yes. Would I at that point brand the publisher as theives. No.

antares411
antares411

I think one important part of this is that if the gaming companies make a game that people want to keep than they wont have to worry about the second hand market so much. Honestly if I pay $60 for a game on Friday I don’t want to be tired of it or done with it by Sunday. But if I do finish it or tire of it that fast you bet I’ll go sell it while I can get the most for it. Don't blame the gamers for trying to turn over a crappy over-hyped game, blame the publishers.

Reltec
Reltec

"why don't the govement do the same thing that they do with books in uk libaries. charge retailers a small price of the preowned game (e.g. 10 percent) and give it to game companies." AKIK786: I really do see what you are saying here, but if you think about it from a game stores veiw, why should they have to pay the company that made the game anything. Really, its like saying that if you have a yard sale, everyone that comes and buys from you has to pay the company of whatever they bought 10%. I mean really, if you look at say an old shirt as a game and the buyer is like GameStop, its the same thing. I respect what you are saying, but then when does it stop?

anik786
anik786

why don't the govement do the same thing that they do with books in uk libaries. charge retailers a small price of the preowned game (e.g. 10 percent) and give it to game companies.

Reltec
Reltec

The thing is though, developers cant cut costs. I mean I'm sure that they could, but everyone is so into movie like graphics, CG cut-scenes and "A" List voices that we cant go back to the basics. All I ever hear any more is "the graphics look like the DS" and no one cares about game play and story. But also, who the hell gives the devs the right to tell me what I can and cant do with my games and stores like GameStop. If I want to sell my game and they are willing to buy it, then that is our rights. I hate the fact that they are trying to control what we do with our property. Next thing you know, the guy that buys my Toyota Tundra from me when I sell it is going to get a $2000 bill so that Toyota can get more money from something they already got a cut of. Personally, I used to buy every game that came out new, but now that they are spitting out trash game after trash game, I wait until I can get them for around $30 used. That way I can say I didn't pay $60 for it. Either way I doubt we can stop them, but it will influence who I buy my games from (Developer that is). Happy Gaming Everyone!

punisher70
punisher70

i noticed that too JoeBigfoot. a few months back i went to buy Mass effect 2 and they were trying to push the used copy on me for only a few bucks difference an with no instructions and scratch to hell lol!

Cool_Dave
Cool_Dave

I agree with JoeBigfoot, except its GameStop/EB Games doing it in North America. Buy it used and save... $5??? That's it? ... That's a fail! I think I'll just buy my games new, thanks... And from another store, because that's how much I dislike the chain. Blockbuster is a much better place to buy used games, otherwise I'll just buy new.

JoeBigfoot
JoeBigfoot

Nothing against second hand sales, if you want to go on ebay and sell your old games fair play to you. What I don't agree with (and this is the reason I stopped buying 2nd hand games) is a huge retailer (GAME in the UK) pushing 2nd hand games a lot more than new games. At these stores we get the staff trying to sell 2nd hand games instead of new ones, even though there's usually only a 10%-15% saving. I don't want GAME to make the huge amounts of money undercutting people trading in games then selling the same games at twice the price they paid for them. Perhaps the capitalist pig-dogs are the chains, which are so dependent on 2nd hand sales. As for Tom Magrino's solution "spend less on making games". WOW why didn't THEY think of that! Here’s a thought - If developers didn't have to worry about 2nd hand sales maybe they wouldn't have to spend so much on advertising attempting to get people to buy the game first couple of weeks before its available 2nd hand.

soozi62
soozi62

further to last post - i have a collection of literally hundreds of games (for pc, ps1, ps2, ps3, xbox, 360, n64, gamecube, wii) - which i wouldn't have had i not had access to cheaper prices - $80-$100 for a new game - NO WAY!!!!!!

soozi62
soozi62

$45 resale - i think not!! i never pay more than $30 (Australian dollars) for a secondhand game via ebay!! and why the hell shouldn't i!!

punisher70
punisher70

I do buy alot of games for Direct to Drive, Steam and from xbox marketplace it does have it advantages like if your disk get scratched or stolen your out of a game , where digital download you can always redownload if you fry your xbox or pc. I do feel for the develper's for getting screwed but 2nd hand stores, i really wish when i buy a used game i could put the cash back in there pockets. But when im at best buy or walmart and say Dragon age is 60$ and its 25$ at gamestop used it just makes more sense to buy used

brain56
brain56

"Perhaps it would make more sense if these publishers reexamined their own method for creating games and worked within their financial constraints to create a sustainable business model instead." Seriously? That's your big opinion?

punisher70
punisher70

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

punisher70
punisher70

let them charge for used multi player games i will still buy used if it's a good deal and there are more multi player games out there then i will ever get time to play. games in the past 10-15 years seem to be being pumped out way too fast dont even get time to enjoy one or 2 and then here comes the sequel's and 3 new ones that look hot. there are so many choices out there that if one decides to start charging we will simply chose another. There is always a new company comming on board to sell there product, if its good will buy it new, if it sucks not so much.Its been this way for decades with reason ......anyone remember Atari 2600 almost every game sucked an killed the game market til Nintendo saved it

qw2100max
qw2100max

piracy is a problem and it will ever be one (like when somebody hacked my game that cost me 40$ and that i only played 5 minutes

Icewind007
Icewind007

Sooo... why don't the game companies buy back games for slightly more than resellers and sell back for slightly less? Play the same game and they can only gain.

Way2fonky
Way2fonky

If I can't buy used games at discounted prices, then I can't afford to be a serious gamer. Simple as that. The day I start buying every game new is the day publishers stop making every game $50-60 on release and start putting in some reasonable price structures based on dev costs, game length and replayability. Someone from Nintendo said a few years ago that he'd like to see the industry scale it back a lil' bit and stop making every single game a big budget, million dollar project that takes years of development. Sounded crazy then, but makes more and more sense with each passing day.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@Ragnawind It's always a pleasant feeling to know you're not alone. Ragnawind, your attack upon other for trying to pass off their personal opinions of games as facts is striking a clear note with me. Seriously people, if you're not adding "in my opinion" to your statements of the "quality" of games, I think you're behaving like your opinions are facts, thereby proclaiming those who disagree with you need psychological help or something else ridiculous. I know most of you don't mean it that way, but you really SHOULD clarify it IMO. As for your comment on my earlier criticism of "classics," I should probably clarify that I don't think many of them suck a few years later, but the whole idea of "standing the test of time" is just something I find slippery and confusing. If a game truly "stood the test of time," then wouldn't it be JUST as much fun in EXACTLY the same ways when you picked it up again? And if it's not--if you're enjoying it for some other reasons--then isn't it really just your personal tastes at the time that make it "stand the test of time" rather than some sort of "timeless quality"? DKC for GBA scored low in EGM because the game from the SNES just didn't hold up well in their eyes, particularly the "collect-a-thon gameplay." But what happens if "collect-a-thons" come back in style and Nintendo re-releases the game again? Will the same critics say "This game REALLY stands the test of time" when it so obviously DIDN'T a few years ago? Think about it people :)

kazeswen
kazeswen

What I don't understand is why the Gaming Industry seems to think that they are somehow special when it comes used media sales?! Used media exists in all sectors, from movies, to books, to music. So the question is why is the gaming industry the only ones complaining, when the rest of the media industry has accepted the fact that second hand media will always be around. When you're the only one complaining it may be a time to change the status quo. Possibly lowering the production costs or game development.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@CliffHicks It is SO refreshing to see someone on here that actually seems to understand the business that so many gamers--NOT ME--love to piss and moan about. You have effectively--and much more elegantly--explained what I've been saying to people for years now. The thing is, I don't even understand the business side of the industry, but I can acknowledge my own ignorance, and my understanding of economics is such that I think these conclusions of "They're all greedy bastards" and "We're being screwed" are shallow, cliched arguments that people wouldn't make if they actually understood how the market works. I think it's a shame developers are going to have to move to digital distribution of their content to save money and maximize profits. Not that I believe adaptation in the market is bad--competition is a good thing most of the time--but the fact it has to occur because of the EXACT SAME greed and selfishness on the part of consumers that they heap upon the developers and publishers is just depressing. I really wish consumers could be a little more grown up and mature about these things, but if your consumer base is a bunch of spoiled brats...well, you have to play to them whether you want to or not.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@Apathetic_Prick (NOTE: Not trying to be rude, though it probably sounds like it.) If you can enjoy those older games fairly often and just as much as you have before, then great. But if that's the case, why aren't you just continuing to play those instead of complaining about the "lack of quality" in games today? Why do you need them? Just go play the "classics" that you can still enjoy! It only makes sense...that is, unless you CAN'T enjoy them endlessly. Sure, you could argue that these are "predatory practises" in a court, but can you PROVE it? The market provides people with what they ask for. You don't like these "predatory practise"? Then don't support the companies that use them. Then they LOSE MONEY and have to change their ways. Does that fit into your "understanding of the industry" and/or economics? But gamers aren't willing to do that these days. They've just GOT to have their fix, don't they? Hence their endless pissing and moaning about everything from having to spend 5 minutes learning a control scheme to paying "too much" for games that cost $20 million dollars to make apiece because it COSTS that much to make a game look and play well enough to attract someone's attention.

pedro1989
pedro1989

good is a difficult situation. For example, I'm from mexico piracy is popular here but I prefer the original because as I say no damage to the designers of my favorite games but the prices are doubled and if they are famous sagas can cost up to 150% more than the market I used that costs you something new. and also that money is not won easily. sorry English is thanks to google translator

cellshadingdumb
cellshadingdumb

@jer_1 Agreed Fable 3 was crap compaired to Fable 2 which wasn't as good as Fable1. So I'm glad I bought Fable 3 used because it wasn't worth the new game price. Developers need to start making their games better from the start rather then relying on DLC and online play to make the game what it should have been when it "goes gold". That means you especially bioware! I've yet to forgive you for Dragon Age 2. *Edit* Another thought if there are that many used copies of your games floating around shouldn't you take it as a sign that your games aren't good enough to keep around for another playthrough. I've still got playstation and xbox games i dust off from time to time because they still are engaging enough for me to want to play another play through.

DSryan
DSryan

New price at Gamestop $50 Used price at Gamestop $46. Personally, I'd like to pay the $4 extra dollars to ensure that my disc is working and doesn't have any scratches. The only good thing about their used games is that it's a good way to find older games that are no longer produced and you have a grace period of (I think about 3 days) to return used games if you do not like them. In short, if it's a new release, go with a new game disc.

smitherean
smitherean

The fact that a secondhand sale of a video game is identical to a firsthand sale is the reason secondhand sales need to be stopped. There is absolutely no incentive to buy a new game unless you want to support the publishers and developers instead of filling the pockets of a middleman who contributes nothing to the industry.

dbene
dbene

I fully expect games to start being ONLY downloadable or either coming with a one time code that only works for that system. And then RECHARGING to reactivate the game on a new system.

Luigi-the-Beast
Luigi-the-Beast

well, then why can't publishers work out a deal with gamestop then? they're the ones that make an obscene ammount of money on your used games. I have no idea of their margin of profit on brand new games, but you pay $60 today, they'll pay $30 tomorrow, tops. $25 most of the time, and then they sell it again later that same day, used for $54. That's a $39 totally clean, for doing nothing more than to store the game on their shelf. I can see the publishers problem with it, but charging the consumer more for it is just plain stupid. I just refuse to buy online passes for a game my kid registerd, like Need for Speed. Screw you EA, I just won't do it!

hedlesschickn
hedlesschickn

I went in to gamestop the other day with a gift card. I got a copy of FO:NV. I asked him for a new one and the guy looked at me like I was an idiot.

jer_1
jer_1

I don't believe this guy and further I just don't care enough. If a company makes a game that is worth the full price then I will buy it new. Otherwise I am a lot more likely to buy used. Stuff that in your pipe and smoke it Mike West, make good games not cooker cutter crap and people will be a lot more likely to stuff lionhead's wallet.

Hear-No-Evil
Hear-No-Evil

most companies dont have dedicated servers for consoles. So there is no cost to them after the sell. Only for patches....which if they spent enough time in development wouldn't be an issue. Devs are sticking their nose somewhere they should not...thats how all "used" consumer good are sold.

MrGoodKill
MrGoodKill

Yeah, I'm suddenly stricken with pity for those publishers who stuff their pillowcases with cash and dine on lobster on a daily basis. Oh you poor CEOs! How will you ever get by on your multimillion dollar bonuses? How can I help facilitate your odious attempt to double-dip into the pockets of already stretched consumers? Wait, I know! Why don't you start charging $100 a game. And publish the same title twice a year instead of just annually at Christmas!

rkolsky
rkolsky

I personally have no problem with publishers requiring a fee to play online content if buying a used game. Servers cost money to keep up and running, and a one time small fee, is better than the alternative of paying a subscription fee akin to an MMO.

pillazz
pillazz

If it was not for second hand games there would be many sequels that I would not of bought first hand. With so many AAA titles it is hard to justify paying top dollar for a game you may turn out to be crap. Cheap entry point [Used] games often warm you to a franchise so that you buy what come next at full price. Call of Juarez - The Cartel, The Darkness II and Dirt 3 are all new purchases I would not of considered without getting into them via the pre-owned route.

GodsPoison
GodsPoison

I only buy games i REALLY want brand new on the first day. Any other time ill either wait for the price to drop down or buy a used copy. Im sure a lot of gamers are like this as well.

scphan
scphan

instead of charging us 10$ to play a crappy glitchfest and overall terrible game of madden 2011 they should charge the retailers who sell the games used and make a huge profit from buying them used from the customer. why is it always the consumer has to pay for these multi billion dollar company's ?!?

Pumpkinhead3
Pumpkinhead3

The only games I buy new are ones that I have been waiting for and feel like I need to pre-order so I can play it the day it comes out.

Ragnawind
Ragnawind

@VirtualTofu: You should realize that most, if not all of those games are made by different companies and the games are only as good or bad as the consumer thinks. It is personal opinion, rather than fact and no game can really be better than another, because it comes down to personal opinion for the individual. @Remora133: Again with Personal Opinion trying to be passed on as fact. Many people sell their games, even if they love them so much. The reason is to get some extra cash.. @legonate11: Your first solution isn't a viable option for many. Most games are too large to just download through digital distribution. For Example, Final Fantasy XIII was over 20GB of data, and most companies in America that offer Internet access are starting to implement caps, that previously didn't exist for them. Most of them are around 150-200GB a month. It would probably be hard to reach, but if someone got many games upon their release each month, they would tear through their bandwidth like it was nothing. If the caps didn't exist and some gamers didn't still have dial-up, it might be a good option, but not as the only one. Hard copies still sell much better than digital ones. Not all companies can offer pre-order bonuses either, and it wouldn't be possible to pre-order using online distribution only, at the current time at least. You would have to wait until its release and their are still companies that give physical items as pre-order bonuses.

legonate11
legonate11

There are solutions to this that game companies could examine. First, the game companies could realize the true potential of digital distribution. We know that they save money by not having to go through production of hard copies, yet almost no platform but Steam gives any discounts to this effect, and the Steam ones are sporadic. Lowering digital prices over hard copies would block transfer of games, increase profit margins, and encourage buying new over used if the price is less than the hard copy. Second, pre-order bonuses are usually my main incentive for getting a game when it releases. This could be extended for new games, so that there is some bonus. One way of doing this would be for games with DLC to have one or two included free with a new game purchase through game registration. There are other options, but the truth is that the choice of which type, new or used, usually comes down to basic economics. The same good at a lower price is the one that sells best, unless some incentive negates or overcomes the cost differential.

The-Techspert
The-Techspert

Very neutral article. I liked it's unbiased and completely evenhanded portrayal of the situation.