chikahiro94 / Member

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Used game buyers: whose customer are they?

On another forum I frequent we were discussing (arguing) the new EA Sports policy concerning used games. During that discussion someone proposed the following:

The original buyer is the customer of the game company. If I buy a new EA, Sega, Epic, whoever-game, then I'm their customer.

The used buyer is the customer of whoever they bought the game from. If I buy a game used, then I'm Gamestop, my buddy, the pawnshop, etc.'s, customer and not the video game company's customer.

The person also pointed out that the original buyer for other used products will enjoy benefits that used buyers don't - the full warranty period, full support period, full return period, etc., and not only are they not always transferable, they never fully transfer. If I sold you a car with a warranty, you don't get the 100k mile warranty, you get what's left of it.

In short: the person who pays the company's bills gets everything. Anyone after? Maybe not so much, if anything.

It was an interesting way of looking at things that I hadn't considered.

Why is this relevant? Because one of the arguments was that used buyers are still the game company's customers, even if the company never saw a penny from them. The counter point was, no, they were the customers of whoever they bought the game used from, not the game company. As such, the onus of support and customer service should be up to the retailer (Gamestop).

Of course, you can't say that without bringing up the fact that Gamestop aggressively pushes used over new. A $60 game will often have one or two $55 used copies. If you have an Edge card, bring that down to about $50. Opened, new games cannot get refunds, only exchanges, within 30 days. Used games can get refunds if done within 7 days, exchanges up to 30 days.

Add on top of that? Games that have original buyer-only DLC like Mass Effect 2 are still being sold for only $5 less than new. If you buy ME2 used expecting to save money, keep in mind that the Cerebus Network will cost you another $15 (something that original buyers got with their purchase). Gamestop knows about this, but hasn't adjusted their pricing accordingly.

On top of that used games are Gamestop's major profit source. They'd much rather sell something used than new. Game publishers, obviously, want you to buy new because that's how they make money.

So - whose customer are you? Discuss.