Obsidian on the right way to fight used game sales

Q&A: CEO Feargus Urquhart explains how the Fallout: New Vegas developer stays afloat as an independent studio, why it isn't getting into social gaming, and how it keeps players from renting or selling its games.

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At the International Game Developers Association Leadership Forum last week, Obsidian CEO Feargus Urquhart touched on his affinity for working with licenses during a presentation on his independent studio. Afterward, Urquhart sat down with GameSpot to explain a little more about his company's approach to the industry and surviving as an independent in the crowded--and expensive--field of AAA game development.

Obsidian supported Fallout: New Vegas with four separate story-based add-ons.

During the conversation, Urquhart touched on a number of hot topics in the industry, explaining how his studio fits--or more precisely, doesn't fit--into the burgeoning social and mobile gaming scene, and how to avoid ticking off its fan base when it comes to downloadable content and other tactics designed to boost revenues and limit secondhand game sales.

GameSpot: Do you think it's getting easier or harder to make it as an independent studio these days?

Feargus Urquhart: I think it depends on your perspective. I think originally you could be an indie developer and not really have to be a business man. And I wouldn't say that I'm a business man, but I have some of the traits that go along with that. And I have had to learn a lot of things about accounting, and taxes, and other things to a point. I think in the past, it was possible to be effective without being really focused on business because the teams were much smaller. If you were eight guys and you made a bunch of money on your previous product, you can go six months without signing a deal. Our burn rate is $1 million a month, so we have to have games all the time. I am not independently wealthy, so I think a lot of it is harder now if you don't understand that you really have to focus on the business side.

GS: What do you think about the success stories in the indie scene like Notch with Minecraft? Is it a matter of the form you take as an independent developer that changes the viability of it now?

FU: I think I would look at it as what is an anomaly and what isn't. For example, Angry Birds. Is that a model or is it an anomaly? Is Minecraft a model or an anomaly? PC Data was one of the original data tracking services that would put out information on the top five games of the previous year, and in trying to figure out all of the similarities between the releases, they couldn't come up with a correlation to why the hits were successful. As it relates to indie successes, it's important that people understand that there is opportunity, and people are going to have those kinds of hits. But on the flip side, the reason we don't do iPhones games is we have all this overhead in people and such, and we have to make a hit for it to be worthwhile. But if I'm one guy and a friend, and I need to sell 20,000 copies to make money, then that's awesome. Maybe who you are is what defines where the opportunity is.

Our burn rate is $1 million a month, so we have to have games all the time.

GS: Your conference session was probably the first one this year where the words "mobile," "social," and "microtransactions" haven't come up. Is that just because Obsidian is as big as it is? So those options just aren't as viable?

FU: It's our focus. I'm not a believer in the death of the console. And that's because there is no way that 20 million people buy a Call of Duty: Black Ops, and that means the console is dead. I understand people's reasoning behind why they believe something is going to happen with the consoles, but I still think you can be very successful if you know what you are doing. I think you can see that with products like those from BioWare and Bethesda, and the kinds of products they are building with DLC follow-ups. So I think what we try to do is explicitly understand how the kind of products we want to make fit into the market we are targeting. That often means we need to figure out how to make games not just a rental. And how to prevent re-sells back to GameStop. Those are our things to solve. It's different from the mobile and social markets. Their problem is how to attain attachment rate; ours is how to retain our attachment rate. So there are two sides to the coin, but when it comes to us, at least for the big role-playing games, there is a parallel to Hollywood. People still go see Transformers. You can still make money with a $200 million movie. So I still think there is still a place for that kind of entertainment, and there will continue to be.

GS: You mentioned that the cost of developing AAA games is going up, but publishers are increasingly less likely to fund them externally. Is this causing you to lose sleep at night?

Dungeon Siege III has had one downloadable add-on released to date.

FU: I would say that that is the way it's been for 15 years. Even when I was back at Interplay, they would fund $3 million internal projects, but they wouldn't go over $1.5 million externally. I think part of that comes down to when a publisher goes and signs a contract with an independent developer, the big price tag is all in one place, and someone has to sign that. When it comes to internal projects, that's just man-month rate that is being constantly spent. It's not that the budget isn't there, it's just that it's not like, "Oh crap, we are signing off on $25 million right here." I think that results in two different systems.

GS: You mentioned that it's your job to keep your games from being rentals and re-sells. The market for used games has been around for years as well, but with the ways different people are trying to combat them now, a pretty vocal cross-section of gamers who are vehemently against this has sprung up. How have you dealt with trying to stay conscious of not upsetting your player base, while…

FU: Yeah, so one of the recent issues is not putting the full game in the package and requiring downloadable content to move on. Also, including DLC in the package that will have to be repurchased for secondhand buyers. I think you have to go in and forget those gimmicks, and say, "How do I make them want to keep the game on the shelf?" I think each genre has a way to do it. Battlefield and Call of Duty have it in multiplayer with maps, rankings, leveling up, and unlocks. There are different things, but the idea is making people feel, "I want to keep on playing it."

If you cut it back and made an RPG that was 12 hours, then suddenly there is an eight-hour expansion out a month after release; that's when you start getting into trouble.

With a role-playing game, it is the same thing. We come up with things to make players want to keep on playing it. It was never developed this way, but it's funny how it has become a way to do this. By having a good and evil track, like Knights of the Old Republic II, I can play as a light or dark Jedi. I may play through as a light Jedi, but I know that I could play through as a dark Jedi. So I think, "I'm gonna do that some day." So I put it back on my shelf and I don't take it back to GameStop. If I play Fallout: New Vegas for 50 hours, but there are all these other quests, and there's this whole other area I didn't go to, and online there are people talking about all these things that you could have done all these different ways, I'll feel like "Wow, I could play this game again," because there is all this stuff I didn't get. And knowing that, publishers announce DLC plans the day the game comes out. And now, as a player who hasn't experienced everything yet, I know there are these new stories, and I'm going to be able to level up my character and get better stuff, be more of a hero. The game is going to go back on my shelf, not back to GameStop.

GS: Do you think the recent complaints are more about how these things are conveyed to players rather than the actual tactics being used? Because so many players are saying "I know this is on the disc I paid for. How can you charge me extra for it?"

FU: I think you're right. That stuff is really hard because there are all these logistics. A lot of players don't know that a certain amount of your team is off of the product for months before the game comes out, and you may have them creating art. For example, there were a lot of areas done for the expansion pack of World of Warcraft before it came out, and no one is complaining about that. I think I could explain that if someone asks, "Why didn't you put that in the game?" Well, it's not really done. So it really is just a matter of being careful about when that stuff comes out. Ultimately, if they felt that the game was worth it, if the vast majority of the players feel like they got their fun out of the game--I wanted to play Mass Effect 2, and I played it for 35 hours--they'll feel like they got their $60 out of it and will be open to DLC. As long as the core of it makes people feel like "I got my fun out of the game," I think most people won't have a problem. If you cut it back and made an RPG that was 12 hours, then suddenly there is an eight-hour expansion out a month after release; that's when you start getting into trouble.

GS: Is there anything that you would have changed about the way Obsidian has handled DLC?

FU: I wish some of the stuff had come out faster, but there were lots of reasons for that. Overall, I've been happy. The $10 price point for DLC is hard because we see that the average Fallout player spends 30-50 hours with the game, or however many hours, so if we provide one-sixth of that game time in a DLC pack we are fine, and people won't feel negatively about it. If we don't provide eight-ish hours or more, then people feel like, "Why did I pay the $10?" Particularly if it's three-to-five hours. We always felt before that that was a good length since it's more content than your typical movie, and it also changes things in the main game, but that's not the case for many people. That's been the challenge. To make the money worth it, you have to sell a lot of them to make back the development budget at $10.

Discussion

333 comments
blackace
blackace

@FMD129 @blackace Yes they are used for displays, but not played. Again im just going to restate what they are doing is illegal, and if their still doing it? Report them. Its not allowed, and my store as well as the others in my district follow that, because we like to actually keep our jobs and want to keep it that way. You cannot blame the whole entire populace of gamestop for the fault of a few, thats just wrong, and im sorry that the employees near you in the stores have no sense of guilt for selling used games as new. *********************************************************** I know it's illegal and it doesn't effect me much unless they try to sell me a new game that's already opened. That rarely happens thankfully. I'm not saying all Gamestop stores are like this. Out of the 15-20 stores I've visited around the U.S. only 2 of them have done this as far as I know.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@PDTECRJ All right. Do you believe that a friend borrowing a game is hurting the industry? Do you believing renting a video game is hurting a publisher? What if I bought a game at a yard sale? What if a friend comes over and plays one of my games? I bring up us having no proof one way or the other because that's a fundamental point in the entire discussion, regardless of the stance. Proof is everything. But sure, yes. Maybe one person would've bought new. Maybe. There's no way to know for sure, but we can make the assumption. Then let's look at it another way. 1 person out of however many people is an absence of 60 dollars which, realistically, is not hurting at all. We may as well then argue that people not wanting to play video games hurts the industry and complain that people aren't playing video games at that point, though. My sister doesn't play video games, alas that's 60 they'll never see. My cousin plays my games instead of getting his own, looks like they've lost 60 more. Losing potential profit? I'll concede that, but they're still making money and considering EA brought in billions in spite of it all, I wouldn't say that's hurting. At all. So how about that. I don't agree they're being hurt by used games. Considering how much money they make at present and how well the industry has thrived in spite of used games, in spite of piracy, that's not hurting. That's, if anything, a minor inconvenience.

PDTECRJ
PDTECRJ

@AncientDozer You clearly are talking about way more things than I am. No where have I mentioned that I care one bit about how much money publishers are losing, or about the morality of it, or whether or not the industry is going to be doomed because of this. Literally, my one and only point is that you cannot say that used games are not hurting the publishers __at all__ due to the fact that they made their money on the original sale. You continue to bring up the fact that we have no way of knowing how many new games would be sold instead of used games, but we should all be able to agree that realistically, at __least one__ of those used sales *would* have been a new sale if we had no used games, and therefore the publishers lost money--end of story. If you truly believe that in the history of used game sales not 1 single used sale would have been a new sale, then there's no point in us even talking. But all it takes is one, and money has been taken from the industry and given to the store who sold it.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@PDTECRJ I never suggested you did, but the argument is framed around whether or not used games is bad or harmful to the industry. Otherwise we wouldn't be sitting here having this conversation. A few bucks may not matter to some but it would matter to others and there's just no way to find out. We can assume that some would buy new if there was no used but how many? How do we figure it out beyond an assumption? There is no parallel universe that we can look into to see what it's like with no piracy or used games. I'm pretty sure I'd have bought a lot less games if there was no used market. So there isn't any solid, concrete means to find out if they are 'taking away from publishers' and how much. Which isn't likely that significant because they still seem to make big bucks It isn't about saving the industry, either; it's about just making more money. EA complained about piracy and used games but drew in, what, billions? Fable churned out a great deal of money even though the company bemoaned the used industry. Oh, and here's a thought. If we're going to complain about used games, we might as well complain about pawn shops, garage sails, block buster, netflix, and a plethora of other services. Birthday parties and friends just giving friends stuff! At this point, I'll be honest, I have very little sympathy for companies like EA and Activision who talk about how they're losing money to piracy and used games - selective targeting - but bring in billions.

PDTECRJ
PDTECRJ

@AncientDozer I get what you're saying, and it's true. However, you are heavily basing your argument on the idea that we have no idea how many--if any--new games would be sold instead of used games. While there is no way to prove how many would or wouldn't be sold new instead of used, it would be preposterous to assume *no* more new games would be sold, and therefore yes, without a doubt, money that would have gone to the publisher is being kept from them. To say there is "no way of knowing" if they would ever have gotten it in the first place is just sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the likelihood that a few bucks isn't going to stop 100% of buyers out there from buying a game they want. If one single person would have bought new instead of used, then that is at least some money that is being taken away from the publishers. And I'll reiterate--I don't have a problem with used, I just have a problem with people arguing that the selling of used games aren't taking anything away from the publishers.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@PDTECRJ Because, PDT, a used copy was paid for and therefor a publisher has received money on that one copy. We can sit here and argue all day about whether a person would or wouldn't buy something if it was used or not, if it was cheaper or not, on sale or not but that goes no where. The only verifiable fact we have to work with is that before there can be a used game, a new game has to be sold. This is fact. Irrefutable. And one used game does not, in fact, become two or three or four used games all in circulation at once. Oh, yeah, which by the way is important because publishers are starting to liken used games to piracy (one even declared it worse than piracy) to woo the sycophants and try to justify their draconian measures. But piracy, which I don't think is nearly as bad as they claim (in that it doesn't seem to really cut into their profit as much as they'd have us believe), is different and worse. One copy, which might be obtained through theft, become many copies. A used game in circulation only ever remains one copy. Yes, the company doesn't get 120 but would the company have gotten that second 60, but would they ever have gotten it in the first place? Like I said, no way of knowing. Regardless, it still got $60. It still gets money and the copy in circulation is paid for. Not like, say, piracy, where there's no money for the publisher.

PDTECRJ
PDTECRJ

@AncientDozer If you want to be against publishers trying to hinder the sales of used games, that's totally fine...I'm not against that one bit. However, how can you not see that used games *do* in fact take away from the publishers? Scenario 1: Person A buys a new game for $60. Publisher receives $60. He gets bored and sells it back to the store. Person B buys the game used. In the end, Publisher gets $60 while the store makes some profit on that used game and Person B saves some money. Scenario 2: Person A buys a new game for $60. Publisher receives $60. Person A gets bored of the game, but he just leaves it on his shelf. Person B wants the game, but can't buy a used copy, so he buys a new one for $60. Now, Publisher has received $120 instead of just $60, but the store doesn't make nearly as much profit. Again, I'm not at all against the buying and selling of used games, I do both myself. But to argue that buying used isn't taking money away from the publisher because they already got their money on the original game is ridiculous. Sure, there will be people who cannot afford to buy the game new but could afford to buy the game used, but the publisher isn't seeing money in that situation either way. They are, however, losing money when people decide to buy a $55 used game in order to save $5 instead of the $60 new game they would have bought if the used option wasn't available.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

I understand the used game sales issue. But what about when Fallout goes on sale on Steam from $ 5-10 dollars a few times a year? @josephtdavey I put about 235 hours into New Vegas, PRIMARILY because of mods.

PeterDuck
PeterDuck

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

EvilTyger
EvilTyger

Halo and Call of Duty didn't sell millions of copies because of their great copy protection. Likewise, if a game sells for crap, it isn't because everyone has pirated it. Make a game worth buying, and people will buy it. Give the game replayability, and people will play it longer. Make a 5 hour crap game, and it gets rented or bought and then dropped at Gamestop.

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

@Darnasian For there to be a USED copy, there has to be a NEW copy sold. What don't you people understand about that detail? A company still gets its money unlike piracy where the game is probably stolen, copied, and pushed with no profit to ANYONE. Versus a used copy. For every one new copy bought and sold bac, there will only be one used copy in circulation per new copy. It's on par with a friend giving or selling a copy to a friend or throwing it out and someone else finding it. Or Ebay or craigs list. Or renting a game. Trust me, the developers? These publishers? Aren't losing money because of used games. They're losing money because it's getting harder to justify paying 60 for an incomplete game that lasts for less than ten hours. Five hours if you're lucky. Riddled with glitches that require weeks of patching. And then they have DLC.

Gamer-Geek
Gamer-Geek

I only buy a game new if I can get at least 15-20 hours out of it otherwise its pre-owned for me.

Darnasian
Darnasian

@AncientDozer They do not screw customers because they like it or because they do not want you to play the game.... They do this because they get no f*ing penny for their hard work if u buy those BS used copies....

revanknight
revanknight

He has the right idea. The key to fighting used game sales is to increase the longevity of your game. The game's content must be continuous, but constant. There must ALWAYS be something distinguishable around the corner. Also: I would KILL to have a name like "Feargus Urquhart."

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@rolla020980 If you offer people a choice between free health care that is GOOD health care, and roughly the same quality health care at the cost of $100, do you think the people are going to choose to pay? Of course not. If it's free, demand for it goes up. And the sales model of Gamestop allows them to sell used and new on the same shelf, making the discrepancy in price clear and obvious. And by the way, the automobile industry is bankrupt. Coincidence? You decide. LOL :)

AncientDozer
AncientDozer

There is no "right way" to fight used games. Fighting used games is a waste of energy and a d-bag move to begin with. The second hand market is a LEGAL and LAWFUL alternative and screwing customers because you don't like it is unusually cruel. DLC is a good step, though.

shabulia
shabulia

I don't mind DLC as long as the core game is a full game and the DLC is an actual add-on that is worth while. Things like costumes on Street Fighter IV that are actually on the disc are totally not worth it. But I think the Arcade Edition add-on wasn't a bad deal, especially because it isn't necessary to have in order to continue playing online woth those who don't have the DLC. Extra levels modes, map packs and such all add to a game's longevity and if the main game is complete, the add-ons can be worth it. I feel if the games were priced about $10.00 lower then people would be more inclined to buy new. The used market will never go away as long as there are physical copies but when content like The Shivering Isles is released, it makes me want to keep my game. Personally, I feel the gaming market is due for a change. The companies that make the right choices in changing their methods will continue to do well. But moves like the Call of Duty Elite pass being priced at $50.00 before the content is even released just after MW3 came out is ludicrous. Why would I almost double the price of my game for stuff I'm not even sure I'm going to want? Especially before I even know how good it is gongto be. By the time all that crap comes out, a new Call of Duty game will be out and they'll want another $110 for playing it too. No thanks. Lower the price of new titles, make the DLC worthwhile, and make the core game a full game. That will keep game makers in business.

shawnyboy456
shawnyboy456

Regardless...Games are going to be resold to Gamestop... I rarely see people putting a game on their shelves to play it later.... When there are sooo many games that are amazing games... Last Couple months... Arkham City, Battlefield, MWF 3, Skyrim, Halo, Saints Row.. People cant afford 60 bucks a game..plus all the DLC.. If i can get 30 bucks trading in a new game and be able to buy a new game at t30 then i would take that opportunity in an instant.

rolla020980
rolla020980

So what's next? I buy a used car , but I have to pay a fee to use the radio? This whole thing is ridiculous. Obsidian is doing well because people want to buy their games. My point is, make a good game, and more people will be willing to buy it new.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@spoonybard-hahs That it does good sir. And I'm most certainly not the most reliable source for that info. I've made ridiculously extreme arguments on here that might have misused statistics and ideas. Actually, I'm SURE I've misused ideas before. I'm just not the typical thinker or gamer, I guess. (PS Thanks for friending me.)

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

@csward I'll agree with that. Some games stay up there in price for far too long. Super Mario Galaxy 2 is a year and a half old and it's -still- full price, on a system with so much shovelware that you're used to seeing mid-range prices all over the system's shelves. Super Smash Brothers Brawl new is $49.99, and that game is -3 and a half years old- for Pete's sake... now am I going to buy it new for $49.99 or am I going to buy it used for $29.99? Who in their right mind is going to pay 20 bucks more when they don't have to?

csward
csward

Obsidian CEO Feargas Urquhart forgets one very important aspect when discussing his argument on used games. The people who buy used games probably aren't willing to pay the current retail price. Thus, you can't consider game resale as lost revenue, because they never would have bought your game for that price anyway. The best way to counter used game purchases is to lower the price faster (Black Ops was $60 up until the release of MW3) or make more compelling content/downloadable content (which was part of his argument). Still, fighting used game sales is an uphill battle that game companies will never win. I mean, look at the success of free to play games as an example. Obsidian needs to get with the times. P.S. Fallout New Vegas wasn't worth $60 and neither was Mass Effect 2 for that matter because they ditched what made the series great to appeal to the masses. Obsidian = EA 2.0

quinmalkiq1
quinmalkiq1

I personally agree with the movement towards DLC, they are more appropiate then the "old school" expansion's that could cost up to $50+ with half the content that some of these DLC's have. I would be happy to pay upto $20 for a DLC, but again, only if the game is worth it. Some game's that DLC's are available for are just plain not worth it,, where as other's are worth it & should have much more DLC's available to extend their shelf life.

vault-boy
vault-boy

The way to make people buy games new is to make GOOD games so they buy them at release. Or make a Call of Duty game and get 9 million preorders for a glorified DLC.

Melchior111
Melchior111

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

sknight175216
sknight175216

Can you imagine a world where we couldn't sell and purchase used games? Not only would we all be broke, but we would have entire rooms filled with games we probably wouldn't play again after the first time. :P

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@cachinscythe Okay, that makes more sense and now that I think about it, is probably what the law or whatever is about. I worked at Hastings for a spell, which sells new and used games, books, and movies, and now that I remember the store, used films always had their own section. I didn't mean to insinuate that you made it up. However, false information does run rampant on the webs.

Elann2008
Elann2008

I love Obsidian. I don't understand the hate for this great developer. They're brilliant writers... better writing than Bethesda's team, hands down. And that's probably why they coordinate projects together. Alpha Protocol was amazing and New Vegas is better than Fallout 3, imho. Dungeon Siege 3, with its flaws, was really good. Keep em coming.

valdarez
valdarez

So stupid to try to fight used game sales. I can't tell you how many used games I've bought and played that I NEVER would have played brand new. After playing the used game, I became a fan, and then purchased the next release new. Fighting used game sales is short sited and weak management trying to make up for lack luster games sales due to inferior management and product.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@spoonybard-hahs (continued) Now I'll admit that this is Wikipedia, which isn't always reliable. And given that Blockbuster is able to sell both used and new, it's a little confusing how this law is supposed to work. My guess is this: you cannot place a used copy of a movie directly next to a new copy so that the price difference is clear and apparent. You have to put them all on separate racks. At Gamestop, because no law exists, you CAN put the two right next to each other, making the discrepancy apparent and thereby cutting into those crucial beginning sales. There might also be a certain period of time that has to pass before used movies can be sold instead of new ones. I've never worked for Gamestop or a retail gaming outlet. (In fact, I've only ever worked for Albertsons. 3 years as a courtesy clerk.) So I'm not privy to how accurate this info is or whether that law is actually followed. But I DIDN'T make it up.

cachinscythe
cachinscythe

@spoonybard-hahs You're not coming across that way at all. Never have. Except MAYBE when we had that discussion on Warren Spector and Epic Mickey a year ago, but then I was getting a little ridiculous with that discussion anyway. (Still believe what I wrote, but not the way I conveyed it.) :) (By the way, this might sound a little strange, but if you're going to direct a comment at me, will you avoid putting the space in between "@" and "cachinscythe"? Cause for some reason it keeps the browser from recognizing the reply in my inbox, which makes it kind of a pain to find the reply. Not a huge deal; just kind of strange.) This is from the Wikipedia article on Gamestop: "By reselling used copies at a small discount on the same shelf space as new copies of the game, it is argued that Gamestop is taking profits directly from organizations such as developers and publishers which are solely dependent on their intellectual property for revenue. The motion picture industry prohibits selling second-hand copies of films in the same retail space as new, full-priced copies of films, but for the game industry there are no such established protections. In effect, this means that companies such as GameStop can resell used copies of a game within days of the title's release and keep all of the profit, thereby cutting directly into the critical initial sales which would otherwise go to publishers and developers." (TBC)

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Leria "W R O N G! The courts have come down on the side NUMEROUS times in that you have the right to sell your used games because you DO OWN THEM! That is a period, done with, argument finished for ETERNITY or until the law is changed there." Oh? Since when? Name the law that states you do have the right to own said copy. Again, just because you SAY I'm wrong doesn't make you right. Just because I say I'm right it doesn't mean I'm in the right, either. You what says I'm right? THE LAW. THE US COURT OF APPEALS. Where are these numerous cases that say that we have the right to sell out games? Do they come after the exclusions put in place in 1984 and 1990 that specifically place computer games in the list of exclusions to the first-sale doctrine that was established in 1908? The mere use of your word ETERNITY is erroneous. No law is eternal. Prior to the new codification of 1984 and 1990 any computer game that had did not include a EULA that specifically states that the software is licensed to you and not sold, you COULD legally sell your used game. But not since. It isn't even an argument. It says in clear terms. Read the law before you say what is and isn't legal. And if you're going to cite court cases, make make sure you cite SPECIFIC ones. You say there are numerous cases, prove it. Show me which circuit of the US Court of Appeals says that the sale is legal.

Leria
Leria

Look, I don't think it should be illegal, let me point that out. But it is, and no amount of whining on my part or yours will change that. Reality is what it is, and the law expressly states that you cannot sell used games, simply because YOU DO NOT OWN THEM. ____________________ W R O N G! The courts have come down on the side NUMEROUS times in that you have the right to sell your used games because you DO OWN THEM! That is a period, done with, argument finished for ETERNITY or until the law is changed there.

Leria
Leria

It's about time that these companies stopped trying to fight the used game market and just realized that it is going to exist and they are just going to have to learn to live with it. I am getting tired of these DLC's that only a 'new game' is packaged with or I have to buy it separately.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@ cachinscythe Sorry if it appears that I am brow-beating you, but I saw this and had to comment: "Meanwhile Hollywood--contrary to what everyone on here claims--has a law in place prohibiting the sales of second-hand movies in the same retail space as new, full-priced copies of movies." This is 100% false. if not just for the fact that an entire industry cannot impose a law by itself, but also that places such as Hastings exist.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Slash_out "the part about not suing gamestop, sorry but that's just silly. If Gamestop did something illegal they'd be sued. People would buy their copies elsewhere if GS didn't sell them, and the looser would be Gamestop loosing all revenues from used and new copies of games from that publisher. And even if that logic had a glint of reality to it, then why are smaller resellers with lower weight in the game world not sued?" Why do you think? It's obvious. A legal battle is bad for publicity, and pursuit of small resellers would not make the publisher/developer any profit in any way, and on top of that, the legal fees that they would need to spend would be immense. It's the same reason publishers and developers take a stand against piracy, but don't go after each piracy group that rises up. Why? It's a waste of resources. Someone else will pirate the game anyway, and the company would lose resources pursuing something that cannot be overcome. Gamestop is somewhat similar in this regard, if not even worse. Companies will LOSE FAR MORE by losing Gamestop and other retailers that distribute their products than they would GAIN by stopping them from selling used games. If they sued Gamestop, Gamestop would simply stop carrying their titles. It's simply better in the long-run for publishers to sell less than what they want rather than to not sell anything at all. Plain and simple.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Slash_out "Because if Gamespot were to be sued, they'd win. It's as simple as that." Reality (and US law) says differently. http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/09/10/09-35969.pdf http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/09/first-sale-doctrine/ Look, I don't think it should be illegal, let me point that out. But it is, and no amount of whining on my part or yours will change that. Reality is what it is, and the law expressly states that you cannot sell used games, simply because YOU DO NOT OWN THEM. It's complete and total BS, I think so as well, but this is the reality. Either live with it or wait for the law to be changed and the Supreme Court to overturn this decision (should it ever be brought to them). Either way, you cannot argue legality just because you SAY it's legal. You don't get to say what is legal. Neither do I. The law does. It's a stupid law, but it IS the law. Simple.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@Slash_out That's the problem, brother. YOU THINK you own a copy of the game, when in fact you don't. You purchased a license to use the IP. EULA's explicitly state that you did not purchase the SOFTWARE, it is merely licensed to you, and such licenses are non-transferable. It ISN'T THE SAME as buying a graphics card, because it operates under a different set of laws. Games are considered IP's, and therefore operate under Title 17 of the USC, which I have already been generous enough to give. Game publishers CAN sue resellers, and software companies HAVE sued in the past, and they HAVE won. Again, Ninth Circuit of the Court of Appeals, 2010. My god, look it up. The fact is this, the moment a game publisher sues Gamestop, any and all retailers that do sell used games will immediately pull their products off the market. Resellers are NOT sued, because the profits that they make for publishers far outweigh whatever potential profits they see in stopping used games. If you insist that it's legal because you think it is, then show me the law that expressly states that it is. I have already shown you the law that expressly states that it ISN'T, so you should be willing to do the same, yes? Next, cars and games are not even the tiniest bit comparable. Cars are not IP's and the laws that govern them are different. The analogy makes no sense. Even graphic cards. They are not bound by the same laws and so comparing them is futile. Games run along the same laws as movies, music, etc. Lastly, the logic of "If they were doing something illegal, they'd be sued" is illogical. Whether an act is illagal or not is not determined by whether or not you are sued, but by whether or not it is the law. And it IS IN CODIFIED IN LAW. All that said, I already stated that I do not support such a system, but me whining and insisting like a child that it is legal doesn't make it legal. Period. I want the law changed, I do, but fact is, the law exists. Don't take it up with me, take it up with the government.

deadmonkey76
deadmonkey76

ohh another thing if the game is that good people wont want to sell it and not all games are created equal 60 bucks for a game that cant live up to games like elder scroll call of duty halo and forza realy need to live in reality and lower the price on there b rated games say 40 bucks and you know who you are homefront need for speed battlefield

deadmonkey76
deadmonkey76

I know thq and ea are now forcing people to spend more money on used games they purchased to play online well my answer to that is not to buy the game we need to show these aholes who realy runs the show no money for them they will have to rethink what they are doing if not in the future we will be buying our games via digital download and when that happens ill find a new hobby dont get me wrong I love video games but enough is enough also feargus sucks if he supports that crap losser

JOKER677
JOKER677

DLC seems to be the newer weapon to combat the used games market as well as online passes. Obviously this is a good plan but it does make you wonder how much developers will start to leave out and sell later on a game.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@Slash_out: yes, you own the physical copy, which is worth maybe $1. The content, which is worth the other $59, you don't own. There's nothing in the Constitution that in any way implies a right to transfer ownership of a software license. There is, however, explicit protection of intellectual property in the Constitution, which manifests as the acceptance of an EULA when it comes to software. These laws have been in place since the 80's, well before even the DMCA. Selling a disk is legal, but that doesn't mean the buyer has a right to use it. It's an issue that would have to be settled in court, and the reason it isn't is that publishers don't want to put up an expensive legal fight that would only result in upsetting their whiny, entitlement-mentality customer base.

Slash_out
Slash_out

Ps: Ps the part about not suing gamestop, sorry but that's just silly. If Gamestop did something illegal they'd be sued. People would buy their copies elsewhere if GS didn't sell them, and the looser would be Gamestop loosing all revenues from used and new copies of games from that publisher. And even if that logic had a glint of reality to it, then why are smaller resellers with lower weight in the game world not sued? Anyway, resellers are not sued, because it is simply LEGAL.

Slash_out
Slash_out

@renegade_magnum Because if Gamespot were to be sued, they'd win. It's as simple as that. Just like you can sell a graphic card you bought, a car, or anything else, you can sell a game. Just because in the eula it says otherwise doesn't mean it's legally binding. An EULA is not above the law, it's below. And it can not take away rights granted by institutions above (like laws, or the consititution). Just like a contract between two persons making one the slave of another can be signed, but it is not and will never be valid and legally binding. When you purchase a game, even if the devs tries to say otherwise, a contract is created giving you ownership of the phisical copy of the item you bought. No they can not take it away from you. And you CAN crack it. Just like you can take appart your graphic card, or overclock it, or modify your car. You can NOT however make copy of your car and sell it, you can not rebuilt copies of that GC and sell them, same thing with the game. Because you do not own the license that would allow you to do so. And you can NOT keep a hacked version of the game when you sold it, because you transfered the ownership of the item to someone else, making you a pirate if you still keep that hacked copy.

BlueFlameBat
BlueFlameBat

I don't have enough patience to read through this article without skimming, but Feargus Urquhart's initials seem to display his attitude. I haven't read the full article, so this may come off as completely ignorant, but I had to put that out there.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@rob1kenobi @JB Stone "there's nothing legally they can do to prevent resales, otherwise they would have done so" See my post below. Now, all that said, why don't companies pursue Gamestop if it was in fact illegal? Because they'd be STUPID to. Granted, they do have a legal right to do so, but if you were Gamestop and you were forced to stop selling used games, would you EVER sell games from a publisher that sued you? Or worse, if it tanks Gamestop completely, publishers would lose the biggest chain of computer game stores in the country, and therefore, their own profits would suffer. Publishers CAN pursue this legally, but losing Gamestop's business would be far more damaging than any potential rewards.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@rob1kenobi "There is no legal precedent for this." Don't be so sure; you shouldn't say things like that as if they are true just because you think they are true. Title 17 U.S.C.§ 109A: "unless authorized by the owners of copyright...the owner of a particular phonorecord nor any person in possession of a particular copy of a computer program (including any tape, disk, or other medium embodying such program), may, for the purposes of direct or indirect commercial advantage, dispose of, or authorize the disposal of, the possession of that phonorecord or computer program (including any tape, disk, or other medium embodying such program) by rental, lease, or lending, or by any other act or practice in the nature of rental, lease, or lending" The reason for this is well-explained, as when you buy a game, you buy the license to use it. Ever read EA's EULA? "This game is not sold, it is licensed," and "Licenses are not transferable" The reason why I do not argue the legality of this is that some states in the U.S. still do not agree on the express-written legal nature of EULA's. This is a developer/publisher's way of circumventing the 'first-sale doctrine', and that is why it was eventually codified in the U.S.C. Do I agree with it? No, I don't. But saying 'it isn't legal' is not going to make something that is true untrue. Simple fact.

renegade_magnum
renegade_magnum

@rob1kenobi Do you ever read earlier posts? What you said is EXACTLY what I have said in previous messages. They want a piece of the pie that game shops have. I have ALREADY said that they have already made money off of the initial sale. They are simply aware of how big a profit is made off of used game sales, and they want a piece of THAT pie. Secondly, you're analogy to your father's table is largely wrong. Your father, while he may have created the table, does not own the intellectual property to tables. That said, I have already EXPRESSLY verbalized my support for used games, and have ALREADY denounced the pursuit of used game sales by publishers. If you had perhaps taken the time to read the earlier messages, you would have realized that.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@JBStone: it's a settled matter of law that "purchasing software" means purchasing a license to use the software. If the license agreement has language to the effect that the license is not tranferrable (which many do), then you can sell a disc, but it doesn't give the purchaser the right to USE the software. Gamestop sells used games because 1. There's no effective way to prevent used sales in every venue, so Gamestop isn't the problem; 2. Buying and selling discs itself is not a violation, it's the purchaser who is in violation by using the disc; and 3. many publishers doubtless see the used market as beneficial. As for piracy, stealing is not a legitimate tool to "affect the market." if you don't like prices or policies, don't buy the game. The fact that you don't like the price of a product doesn't give you the right to steal it.