We talked a bit about the secondhand game market and EA's Online Pass on last week's HotSpot, and it touched a nerve with a lot of people. Unfortunately, we don't have enough time on the show to address every phone call or e-mail we get, but given how much time people take to compose their ideas and send them off to us, I hate seeing that effort go completely to waste. So here are a few of the e-mails we didn't discuss on the show:
I think you are completely wrong for supporting the online game pass. This is just another way of video game companies trying to nickel & dime us, the used game industry, just as any other used industry serves a good purpose.Buying a used car doesn't benefit the original manufacturer, neither does buying a used book benefit the textbook maker. Yet I'm sure you had no problem buying used text books in college to save money.You say that developers are "losing money hand over fist" but so is Ford, GM and many other car companies, do you support car companies taking parts out of used cars, or marking them up thousands of dollars in the same way EA is basically doing? Do you think that people shouldn't be allowed to buy used books at all without incurring extra charges? People buy used for 2 reasons, it saves them money, and a lot of times the only way you can find some games is buying them used. In this economy people have even less money to buy a new game so saving 5+ dollars can actually mean a lot.
EA's Online Pass is a fleecing of the consumer. Plain and simple. Publisher's claim that used game sales are responsible for lost profits. Guess what? EVERYONE is losing money. The economy is terrible at the moment. Yet somehow, game publishers find it acceptable to scapegoat "cheap" consumers who purchase used games. Maybe this is because the game industry maintained its financial viability much further into the economic collapse than other industries, but the train had to lose its momentum eventually. The biggest fallacy about this logic is that the sale of used goods is part of any economy. Publishers act as if this is a new evil that has suddenly been thrust on games, when the reality is that every industry before has dealt with (and survived) used sales. Cars, furniture, books, etc. all have large after market communities (I'm sure you've heard of Craig's List). Manufacturers court new sales in those markets by giving the consumer a reason to buy new, as opposed to penalizing them for buying used.
This after market ********* is unique to the software industry. The software industry is in the unusual position of being able to cripple or entirely disable products from across the Internet because software products don't need a physical manifestation (discs are just a method of transport and storage). The status quo has been changed grossly in favor of the industry over the consumer. And what of double-charging? The $50/yr. charge for Xbox LIVE grants the right to play online with other players. Those subscribers are essentially being charged twice for the same service.
I would like to interject into the continuing argument on used games.I am a 35 year old married gamer. My wife and our three children are all gamers.Our gaming budget does not support buying all 'new' games.Sometimes between birthdays, Christmas, and big game releases we do not have enough money to support our hobby. We have found that used games really help to buy games for all family members covering all of our diverse interest without leaving anybody feeling left out. We do not copy or buy pirated software.
Sometimes we have had family yard/garage sales. My children and I have sold toys, books, furniture, and other items at these sales. We own those items and is it not our right to sell them to others for some monetary gain? Granted never for what we originally paid for the items. Isn't that roughly the same thing? Yes, the developers may not get a share of the used game sale. Neither does Hasbro, Broyhill, or Hot Wheels when we sell or buy used items. Why should games be any different? Furthermore, the good will that my children have from the ability to have many current games used is cementing them in as gamers, which will translate into them I am sure buying their own new games later when they have their own disposable incomes. I believe in some ways this is good for the industry because we are able to buy games for all family members that allow them to enjoy this habit without being left out and bitter. If games would cost more reasonable New we would gladly purchase those first for the family. Just a perspective from a family of gamers instead of the usual young guy/gal journalist or single person.