Volition developer blasts used game business

Design director at Saints Row studio warns industry could "fall apart" due to used sales, says an Xbox that blocked used games would be "fantastic."

The used game business is a contentious issue. For companies like GameStop, sales of used games are big business, but those who actually develop games don't see a dime when people purchase their titles secondhand. One developer recently vocalized his take on the used game market, and it paints a less than lovely image of the business.

Durall is far from pleased with the used game business.

In a recent entry on game developer blog AltDevBlog titled "I Feel Used," Volition design director Jameson Durall lambasted the used game market and noted that change is needed or the industry will crumble.

"In the end, I fully believe that we have to do something about these issues or our industry is going to fall apart," he said. "People often don't understand the cost that goes into creating these huge experiences that we put on the shelves for only $60. They also don't seem to realize how much they are hurting us when they buy a used game and how pirating a copy is just plain stealing."

Durall, who is currently working on a secret project at Volition, laid out a plan for combating used game sales. He said supporting games with downloadable content will encourage users to hold on to their games longer. However, Durall warned that this tactic only will work if the DLC in question is "compelling and a good enough value" for consumers.

Durall also pledged his support to the online pass schemes being used by publishers like Electronic Arts, THQ, Sony, and others, whereby parts of a game are available only to those with a new copy of a game.

"Some consumers complain about this method because the precedent has always been that it's included in the price and should come with it," he said. "It did for the person who actually bought it first…so was saving that $5 at GameStop worth it for you?"

Looking ahead, Durall said he also embraced Sony's plan to offer digital copies of PlayStation Vita titles--which cannot become used units--at a discounted rate. He said he expects gamers to be enticed to buy digital copies because of their lower price rate and this will in turn lead to fewer used copies in the wild.

Durall also talked about the rumor that the Next Xbox would prevent gamers from playing used titles. Durall said this kind of mechanism would be "a fantastic change for our business," while admitting gamers would not be excited about it at first.

That said, Durall said he believes gamers will "grow to understand why and that it won't kill him."

As for how Microsoft might go about preventing gamers from playing used titles, Durall said the company already has a system in place. He suggests that Microsoft would need to only use a code to tie a copy of a title to an Xbox Live account and make the game playable only on that account.

Durall admits that a system like this would hurt the game rental business and that there are several "faults that would have to be ironed out," but nevertheless, he contends that it is certainly possible.

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Discussion

882 comments
dogbert784
dogbert784

No matter how you try, Volition, Saints Row 4 will drown under the weight of GTA V and Watch Dogs. If you can't make a worthwhile game that will keep people playing for years, Rockstar will. 

lsglive
lsglive

I have become a fan of Volition, from now on I will only buy a Volition game if it available as USED!

Howzat!

 

stylechyld
stylechyld

I do buy games new but I don't as often as I used to..This whole greed by companies of online passes and exclusive content for pre orders..got me pissed..so now on I only buy when it's released very few, others I just buy when the price goes down..Companies don't realize is that there greed will eventually run them out of business..they want all the money....not aftermarkets..like ebay, gamestop, kijiji, etc.. I tell you what if the next consoles blocks used games.. gamers will fight back in numbers and you greedy bastards will learn..lol..lol..I can't wait!

BlackLense
BlackLense

"only 60$" He must feel "like a sir" when wrote that... LOL.

kozakon
kozakon

What, the first few millions that buy your games in retail price are not enough for you?! maybe you are not making so mach money because your games sucks.

ioriaddison
ioriaddison

This great news reminds me of buying THQ complete pack including some garbage-like PC port named Saints Row 2 off Steam. If there was a functionality of removing games from my library, I would have cleaned my library for the sake of "best games collection".

ioriaddison
ioriaddison

Are you Volition sure blaming on your valuable customers is a wise act? If people don't buy your products at full prices, that means yours aren't worth that much. Simple enough.:;

kohle36
kohle36

Hmmm...So I should start paying a tithe to Ikea if I buy a table from some guy off Kijiji?

AfrosRockMan
AfrosRockMan

How's about we show these greedy bastards that NO sales are worse than used sales? After reading this, it makes me wish further that I didn't buy SR3. Besides, the fact that it's stripped down and DLC ridden (much of the DLC on disc!) just goes to show their mentality. And ONLY $60? How's about these f***ers try juggling "only $60" on minimum wage plus living expenses!! As many people have said, most of these pieces of s*** aren't even worth "only $60". I hope this Jameson Durall a**hole loses his job when this goes under so he can learn to tough it like the rest of us. Then he'll see how much "only $60" is when he's struggling to feed his ungrateful trap.

Vodoo
Vodoo

Only $60?? ONLY $60???!!!! Yeah pal, that $60 is alot for an INDIVIDUAL to pay for one game. Especially when 90% of games aren't worth that $60. THAT is the problem, not the used game market. 9 times out of 10, if a gamer goes to Gamestop and a new game comes out that is actually good, not like the garbage that is Saints Row for dummies, that person will almost always spend the extra $5 just to get it new. There's really not much difference between $55 & $60. And FYI... if ANY console comes out that blocks used games, THAT CONSOLE WILL NOT SELL!

avngr9
avngr9

What an idiot. The only time I've ever considered playing a SR game is via Gamefly and after reading this I'm glad I've never had the time and for future reference I never will. "Gamers will hopefully come to understand..." Go to hell.

person9090
person9090

If they really do make an xbox where you can't buy used games almost nobody's ever going to buy an old game. Think about it, there might be a two year old game that's really good, but most likely there aren't going to be any new copies of that game and people aren't going to pay full price to "legally" download that game from xbox live. So where are people going to turn? Piracy, of course, which means that this guy basically just wants everybody to pirate his studio's games and drive them out of business.

Guppy101
Guppy101

Of course a developer of a terrible game title would say something like this. How about you make a better product that your "fan" base will enjoy playing for years and not have the heart to get rid of. I don't see Bioware having this issue... chump.

ReaverGod666
ReaverGod666

I can appreciate the fact that game companies want to make a profit. But if thats the case, then make better games! I'm not going to spend $60 on a game that I'll play once and never touch again.

RossRichard
RossRichard

An XBox that doesn't allow used games is one I will not buy. Believe that.

heroesfan261
heroesfan261

@Randori_humar sorry but movies are still much more expensive to make. Also, you don't think game companies get money from varieties of places? They do make money from rentals just like movies, they get money from their publishers. Studios like naughty dog get money from sony to produce their games because their games turn a profit. there's also collectors' editions, DLC, and more. Companies like bethesda also get money for their own games from they money they make off of publishing other dev's games like brink and such. Then there's MMO's which just suck your money out of your wallet.

mos2000
mos2000

This whole situation outlines the enormous problem within the current game industry structure. It also outlines why it needs a complete overhaul. Think about it; the ones calling the shots and have the funding at their complete disposal are the ones who 9 times out of 10 care less about the gaming culture, but just want to turn a quick buck. Sure, they'll throw a Peter Moore or whoever out there to make us think "oh - these guys know gaming..." but the other 19-20 schmucks in the board room only care about gaming figures. I know this is the same model used in selling books and the movie industry, but everyone eats well when there's success. Game developers are given pennies on the dollar for their efforts where they're stuck skimming staff on o/t, or even shutting down. It's safe to say that game publishers can not be trusted under this model. But the answer is NOT this spineless rhetoric straight out of a board room. Stand-up for yourselves! We're with you a %100 if you do. We're not the problem. Publishers are. Their roll needs to be diminished to that of an "agent" for developers, to help get their products on various consoles/gaming platforms. That way the decisions are made by those with the creativity and care for the community. Look at Bethesda publishing. They've taken control of their own destiny. And after 4 years in the lab, we have one of the greatest games this gen. Rest assured - they are the least bit worried that bundles of used Skyrim's are out there.

otgkhan
otgkhan

Its remake of the Movie Industry hating Blockbuster and forcing Netflix to not carry title for 30 days after release.

xatman911
xatman911

Half of the games I bought were because I was able to try them from friends/rentals.

cream_assault
cream_assault

Soon, game makers will target the game rental business.

Zid96
Zid96

The more i think of it. It's the maker of games have'in problems there not make'in $$$. And don't hear Nintendo's many game maker crying...

mike300zxt
mike300zxt

Some of you games devs are as greedy, illogical and blind as the music and movie industries. You should be treating us as your fans, not as thiefs. First off, Ford doesn't get a cut when I buy a used car, so why should you? They make money selling parts, service and add-ons. Actually, they make more money on this than they do on selling cars! Some game companies are smart enough to do this too! Second, if I'm only willing to buy your game when it's used at $30 (or even to pirate it), you didn't loose a sale, because I never would have bought it for $60. Either it wasn't worth it or I couldn't afford it. THIS IS NOT A LOST SALE! Plus, now that I've bought it used, I am another customer buying your add-ons. That's more revenue and sales for you. Do you get it yet? You are making more money, not less! It has been proven that consumers have a limitted budget for purchasing media (games/music/movies), and that people who pirate more actually also purchase more! The things we pirate are the things we wouldn't have paid for anyways. Money doesn't grow on trees. So drop your falacies that you are somehow "loosing" money to your fans, and start looking for a way to provide more value that your fans will pay for. Get creative and stop treating your customers as bottomless piggy banks, and you'll make more money, not less.

Mortos13
Mortos13

Notice he says "games that are only $60" (Well 65 with tax) Not a lot of people have that type of money for a fu**in disk and some plastic. It all comes down to one word. Greed..........

oskuuu
oskuuu

and once again the paying customer is being punished. if u treat your fans like enemies thats what they become..

ragnar320
ragnar320

you i dont think its the people who are creating these games that are the problem. i think there are some back room deals going on from the buisness side people who only care about the bottom line. How many games can everyone here know that they realeased a game before it should have. that they could have improved a bunch of stuff but no they had to meet the deadline Darkness 2 is a great example of this. it look awsome but at 5 hours campaing hell no im not getting it and if this goes through i might never get it cause i dont want to buy it new

fox1986
fox1986

WTF??? There always been a used game market. Developers shouldnt make games that cost MillionS of dollars and i cant pay 50usd for a 1 year old game!!!

godziothc
godziothc

@penpusher that's why we have dlc in the first place to be honest, since half of the copies (i dont really know the exact numbers but...) of the game are sold with zero profit to the developer and unlike a used book that is going to be in worse condition, or a movie that is going to make millions in cinemas before it can be bought and resold, a game has litteraly no difference if its new or preowned (well except if you like a new shiny box or that fresh manual paper smell of unboxing a new game) so even if it's a 5e difference in price the customer is swayed. in the old days we had expansions for games, and they were mostly good unlike most dlc to most games since it wasn't just a trade mechanism then.. I always thought that companies like gamestop should have some sort of deal with developers saying that if they sell their game pre-owned they get the part of the sale aswell (and they usually sell pre-owned games 5-10e below the new game price tag and buying back for 15% of the sale price so they could share some of that shyster money with people that make all this possible). But apparently it's easier to talk about how to further punish gamers, oh lets put invasive DRM in our products, oh lets have a constant internet connection requirement for single player play, oh lets only have our game available through origins etc etc. When it comes to pirates, at least most of them wouldnt buy the game anyway,

penpusher
penpusher

And as per usual they dont mention how much profit they make from the DLC which is game has at about a tenner each ... do they really think we're that stupid?

Hurvl
Hurvl

"A bad solution is better than no solution at all" is what I read between the lines here. The world will end in 2012 and used game sales will make the industry crumble. Somehow I don't believe in either of those theories.

gamerpipe
gamerpipe

I guess many people don't understand sarcasm here when I said "He is right. take for example how used book sales totally destroyed books industry, no author want to make a book, and no more books being printed or makes money at all" you guys do know that books sales are fine, and used books never destroyed the business. right?

HappyBB
HappyBB

If my account got stolen or hacked or for whatever reasons that I cannot get my games back,what then? Will you Durall offer me new copies of those games that I purchased? If not, then you Durall shut up!

ihateds2
ihateds2

My response: Get me my damn Freespace 3, son.

00Joseph00
00Joseph00

My response: create a service your customers want to pay for instead of trying to force your customers to follow your business model.

Apathetic_Prick
Apathetic_Prick

There are two sides to this coin. The first is the greedy publisher who, admittedly, puts a buttload of capital into a game - albeit often in the wrong areas such as marketing - and really only cares about the bottom line. The second is the developer whose job is in jeopardy because of side one of said coin. Stop blaming the developers; all of these "innovations" to screw you out of your coin are rarely their ideas; only their implementations. It's the same thing as blaming a contracted painter when the designer is colourblind. If this is such a point of contention, speak with your money. Starting with boycotting Saints Row 3 :P

bloody-hell
bloody-hell

The "industry" is not going to fall apart you greedy bastard - Perhaps start creating games with more longevity and replay value and stop treating customers as pirates, give us a product worthy our free time which we enjoy and you won't see us selling the game after the 4 hour linear playthrough. Only 60 $, eh ? Gee, thank you kind sir that we are allowed to beta test unfinished products which we don't really own and to which you can at any time refuse us access to, due to forced online authentication. Are you out of your mind ? This is supposed to be a customer driven market, but sadly there are too many idiot customers that play into your arms for this to really work, so you might just get away with those crazy ideas. You can keep your "fantastic change" that looks so well on your papers, I'll just put you (Volition) onto my sh*tlist together with EA, Ubisoft and a few others and not buy any games from those anymore. It's that easy for me and since about 2 years Indie game developers get more money from me than big publishers because they offer a better service most of the time too, aside of releasing not the basically same game every year.

valentinetru
valentinetru

Make a game that people will actually want to keep if you hate used game sales. The fact that Volition charges for downloadable CHEATS, of all things, speaks for itself. This guy is talking and all I'm hearing is 'greed'. Some people can't afford the, already ridiculous, $60 price tag.

Charocks
Charocks

Nobody will buy a console that can't play used games. Not one intelligent person would actually propose this.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

My main platform is the PC, so I am already subject to huge re-sell restrictions from serial numbers and game-portal (Steam, Ubi, Origin) account binding. I don't know why the industry is bothering to piss off console gamers with second-hand sale restrictions. They only need to wait a number of years for digital retail to overtake physical retail and their problem solves itself. On the plus side, maybe these restrictions will prolong the life of physical copies, which is good for me since I like physical copies. I like the pretty art on cases, discs, and in manual for many games.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

I almost kept Fable II & III becuase I bought Dlc for both....but I finally came to turns that neither games offered very much and the DLC was crap......so yeah DLC to combat used games only work if the game is quality first off AND the DLC is QUALITY.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

If the next gen yields $70 games and a block on used games, I'm pretty sure I can live without gaming as a hobby

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

Just like devs are hurting for money, so are gamers.....Many of us don't have the luxury to constantly spend$60 on a game that isn't worth it's price. There are a good number of series I would have never touched had I not been curious enough to try a used version of an earlier title. The should always be in making games that gamers will want to keep. I very rarely sell a game if it was memorable, a worthwhile experience especially if not more importantly if it has a great amount of replay value.

Chaos_Dante_456
Chaos_Dante_456

I imagine used games are how some folks got into the Saints Row series and bought this past one.

fightingfish18
fightingfish18

If next xbox cant play used games I wont buy it. I hope this guys company goes out of business and he starves in the streets

Seig5000
Seig5000

cont. As far as good product goes, are there not bad PCs? Bad furniture? Bad movies? I do not see them blaming gamer's, I see them trying to get paid for their thousands of hours of work. Which apparently makes them greedy to most people.

Seig5000
Seig5000

@mos2000 That's why in one of my earlier statements I mentioned researching the game before you buy it. I realize that a few bad eggs can get through the reviews and demos, but for the most part if there's a bunch of people saying it's good and you play the demo and like it, then you're going to like the game. As for the comparing games to other industries, it's very hard to find a product that is similar. A lot of people don't realize how much work goes into a game. Movies? Has the same (or more) amount of work, but they get all that money at the box office, and then they get DVD sales. Not the same. Cars? Not nearly as much work (machines make them) and they sell for thousands. PCs? I believe machines make those as well, and it's not as much time gone into them, and they are somewhat expensive. Furniture? Whether machine or man making it, I doubt it takes longer than a game to create, plus they also sell in the hundreds. Games, on the other hand, take hundreds of hours from each person for production. They have to come up with the idea, which can be a daunting task if you want to be original. Then you have to go through the process of making all the assets, which takes an extremely long time. Then it gets shipped out. You are paying $60 for thousands of hours of work each game. If you buy used, then you are paying less for...someone else selling that game they paid for.

mos2000
mos2000

@Seig5000 - "If you see a bad game, then just don't buy it." How do you know what a game is worth unless you play it yourself? Using movies as a comparison as you did earlier, at least you're only shelling out $15 if it is bad or too short. Movie companies don't get any dlc revenue to supplement a bad product. Developers can throw out extra nooks and crannies and still get additional revenue for products that originally were sub-par. This temper tantrum the industry is making now is only evident with games. The comparison goes on and on with other goods and services that have droves of used versions of it sold, with them seeing no extra money. Yet they do not go to such lengths to limit their purchase. Movies, cars, pc's furniture, you name it deal with the same "dilemma" - no revenue from used purchases, yet no hissy fit It says a lot about games these days if so many are being purchased used so close to release. Point blank, the industry is not consistently putting out a good product. That's not a problem that we are just to "deal" with. So in closing, instead of blaming gamers, they need to revamp their whole thought process when it comes to games. This should not be approached as a money-pit for investors to throw anything at "dumb ole gamers" to get a quick buck. This is a long-standing culture where we gamers reward good effort - hence... why they're losing money.

Daemoroth
Daemoroth

Why are most game companies/publishers hell-bent on "fighting" used game sales? Why not develop a game that we won't want to hand in after playing for 5 hours? Do they think games like MW3/BF3 suffer from used game sales? My bet is no, since their respective multi-player modes keep you from trading it in. And it's not reserved for multi-player modes, I don't see games like Skyrim suffering too much from used game sales, there's just too much to do. If it has zero replayability, don't be surprised if used copies show up in the same week as your release. This is supposed to be a consumer-driven market, if you give us something that only keeps us busy for a couple of hours, don't whine (Or feel "used") if we trade it in for something that gives us ten times that amount (Or more). If they DO ban used games in one way or another, they had better make demos MANDATORY, since more often than not gamers are asked to buy a game on someone else's word about quality, and trading in shoddy games is the only "return policy" in the industry (For my area, at least). I expect if gamers can't trade in games, they'll get more stingy and cautious, and will avoid taking risks on unknown franchises or games that haven't made their quality abundantly clear.

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

As the code of the dragon says money is the root of all evil; which leads to developers falling into the endless cycle of greed, dishonesty, and laziness. (LOL! I was watching too much of that 1994 double dragon cartoon.)

demondogx
demondogx

he wants to say he feels used how about us costumers already paying 60$ for the game and then having to throw up another 15 for some stupid season pass scam with loose dlcs who arent part of that pass costing at least another 10$ and then he has the guts to talk about dlc being worth the price HOW THE HELL ARE CHEAT CODES WORTH 3$ just look at the invincable pack im done with THQ and there dlc's just look at the new warhammer not even half a year old and already more then 10 dlc and more then 40$ in it makeing the entire game experience cost you a 100 bucks they are even worse then Activi$ion with says a lot thq is part of my boycut list from now on, this aint the saveing of the gameing industry this is the death of it