Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My thoughts on the recent used games court ruling...

Happy to see the the recent legal ruling over used game software. I'm excited about what it could mean to console game makers if game publishers step up- as a group- and make some demands of the retail giants (Gamestop, Best Buy, Toys R Us, Walmart,etc.).

Now don't misunderstand. I'm not opposed to used game sales. I NEVER have been (contrary to what some will tell you). I think used games help the market- to an extent- and I think gamers should always get the very best deal they can get when buying ANYTHING.

And I don't disagree with the doomsday scenario Jim Sterling of Destructoid paints of what could happen to the game business IF used games are no longer sold: fewer new games sold because customers could not use in store credit to buy new copies. Sure, that's a possibility. And a bad one.

But I'd like to think this legal precedent could/would be used instead to either:

a- motivate publishers to force big retail into sharing profits with publishers on used titles (i.e. 'hey, you want to keep breaking the law big retail store? Fine...then cut us in'). This is the ideal solve so publsihers win, big retail wins (a bit less than they win right now but they still get to make gobs of cash), and gamers themselves never have to feel ANY change to their game buying habits. Check it: everybody wins!

b- motivate publishers to force open a window where games can not be sold used OR rented for the fist X months of release. THEN once the window closes, the games can be sold used and rented and the publisher gets a cut. In this case, everyone wins but the gamer who buys used or rents and thus- annoyingly- has to wait a bit longer to play. But this is the movie model and it seems to work fine for those folks.

A common, obnoxious game fan insult thrown at any game maker who voices that they don't like the current used game market system is that game makers are greedy. I hear that a lot whenever game makers bitch about used games. I hear that AND I hear the stupid 'first semester on the debate team' quality analogy comparing used games to used cars which simply doesn't hold up if you think about it for 5 seconds. But on the greed insult, it goes something like this:

'You game makers are greedy fucks! You charge 60 bucks for your games- which is way too much- and they are never worth that much anyway. How much is enough for you? You just want all of our money!'

Now sure, some game makers are very greedy and would sell their mother to the Taliban if they could turn a profit (and we all know who I'm talking about here). But most are not. Yes, publishers want to make money and lots of it. But that's just business. That's not greed.

And the consistent decline in game sales shows that business is not so good. Some attribute it to longer games- ala RED DEAD and COD4:MW2- keeping players from buying more games (aka if a game can last you 100+ hours, you don't need to buy another game for a good long while). Some say it's the free stuff to play on the net (why pay for anything when I get just as much fun- for free- from AddictingGames.com?!?) . Some say it's iphone and ipad games (that are not tracked with the NPD). These are all valid- and in some cases wonderful- reasons the core console business is struggling.

But many suggest- myself included- that a good percentage of the issue is that used games are ruling the roost these days and gamers- especially in a tough economy- are opting to save cash by buying a used game versus ponying up for a brand new one. And since a new game is the only way publishers and developers make cash on their work, well it makes sense why the industry is suffering.

So for me this legal decision is a GREAT thing. But only if publishers use it to force big retailers who sell used games to cut them in on the deal.

THEN we all win.

Well actually- truth be told- THEN the fight will be developers struggling to get publishers to include used game sales in their contracts. But that's a fight for a different day :).



Alex said...

Great post David.

I agree that the decline is due in large part to used game sales. I also agree that games like Farmville and other mobile/online entertainment is taking away new customers from the console gaming industry.

As a hardcore gamer that is unemployed, I do look for bargain bin deals at cheapassgamer.com and used sales at amazon or gamestop.

I also believe there needs to be a quality authority on the price of a game. Just like those crappy 3D movies that get converted and have you waste $15 at the box office, movies and games should not all cost the same.

At my local movie theater they have different sized auditoriums. Some have state of the art digital video and sound and others are still using setups from 1995. All cost the same ticket price, $10 for a regular showing.

That's getting away with murder and there needs to be some regulation preventing this with games too.

da criminal said...

Alex- I would LOVE to see different pricing tiers applied to games.

The argument I hear from marketing departments is the perception will be that a 19.99 or a 39.99 game is a budget title. Well sure, until great games start coming out at different prices and the consumer gets educated.

Digital Distribution solves all of this tho and in the next 3-5 years, this argument will be irrelevant.


da criminal said...
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Matt said...

I actually think the shittiest aspect of the Gamestop/User Game scenario is that in a lot of cases it's actually next to impossible to get a few-month-old game at Gamestop these days. I wanted to play Saboteur (with the titties, which means new), no new copies to be found.

So while the economy and saving money argument is often the case, just as often I think it's just simply not possible to get the new game.

Of course there is always Amazon...

Scott said...

For me as a consumer, my biggest beef about used games is how stores like Gamestop/EB have been able to completely dictate the flow of the market. Pawn shops and private sellers now base their buy/sell rates off of what GS offers. I've put games up for sale on Craigslist for $35 (happy medium, as GS will give me $20 but charge $50), but people will actually reply to me quoting GS' trade in rates and offer $22.

This wouldn't be so bad, but these rates are terrible. They've completely screwed up the private buyer/seller market, and left a lot less room for negotiation. Gamestop's buy/sell prices for used games aren't good for anybody but Gamestop... they're making a killing.

So I can understand why publishers are pissed. They're forced to kowtow to Gamestop with "exclusive bonuses", but get a slap in the face in return. I've been to stores with 75% of the shelf space dedicated to used games, and at most stores the staff actively discourage you from buying a new copy if a used one is available.

I think publishers are going about it completely wrong however, punishing the consumers instead of trying to fight back against the retailers. Because right now it seems like the publishers and retailers are just ganging up on us, insulting each other publicly but making secret deals privately, and the only real losers are the consumers.

Kilrahi said...

Am I missing something here? What about the little guy? If I understand this right, if I build up a huge library of games, then one day lose a job and am struggling and need to sell all the crap I own to get by, I technically can't sell my used video games. Even worse if this gets cross applied to my music and movies.

Doesn't that seem like a bit of a crap fest? I've always agreed that it's not fair that publishers get hosed out of used game sales (though I think there is an argument to be made that their product pricing might be too high) but a law which prevents me from selling my stuff on Ebay seems heinous.

Nobody else think so?

da criminal said...

Kil- are you responding to my post or the ruling?

I'm not opposed to you selling your games. I just want to see publishers cut in on the deal and I am suggesting that this ruling could be something publishers use to force the issue with retail.

Lucas Sparks said...

Great points made David,

But I'm pretty sure this law only applies to Software retailing for a value of $2,000+. If you read the actual law it never mentions games. And this law would not matter because there are already a tons of restrictions on those software.

I do like the idea of making it illegal to sell a used copy of a game until X # of months. That would be a great way for developers to make the initial money and still keep interest after an extended period.

And @Kilrahi - I'm sure selling your games wont be the thing that saves you if you go unemployed. Especially if you are thinking of trading in your games to a local Gamestop - you can't live off $.25-$15.00 per game if you tried.

da criminal said...

Lucas- doesn't the law mention software? It doesn't have to spell out 'games', just software, yes?

And I think the whole point is in many of the software license agreements there ARE restrictions but this is the first time someone has actually gone to court over enforcing those restrictions and the restrictions have held. Meaning game companies don't NEED new laws or new agreements- they just know that now they can be enforced legally. Am I getting it correct?

Kilrahi said...

Well, it was responding to your post only in the sense that you made a very definitive statement that you liked the ruling, but in your explanation for why it was a good ruling you only discussed two of the three possible results of the ruling. I see the ruling as having three key points of impact:

1. The impact to software companies.
2. The impact to used game retailers.
3. The impact to consumers (both as purchasers of used games from retailers and as buyers and sellers on an individual level).

Your post addressed the first two, and to some degree part of the third (I feel I have a good handle on your opinion about how it hits consumers who buy used games from Gamestop) but I didn’t really see any discussion on what it does to some kid trying to sell his old God of War game on Ebay. Granted anyone wanting to sell their old God of War is an idiot unless they’re upgrading to HD.

To me the potential impact on the individual consumer is awful. So, at least from my perspective, it would be like saying you like a jobs bill passed by Congress even though it wipes out the entire Amazon rain forest, or a health care bill even if it will double the cost of health care for all middle class Americans. The above ARE extreme examples so they aren’t completely analogous with the court ruling we’re discussing, but they illustrate kind of the point I’m getting at. I can see how the first potential impact of the ruling would be a real boon to software companies because it helps them survive, and if they survive they make more and better games, but it seems to me like it comes at a high price to an individual right you and I currently have.

Now, you may not feel the impact to the individual is likely to be very high, or you may feel that it is but the benefits to the software companies is still so awesome that it is worth the trade off, but I would be interested in hearing your opinion on why that is the case.

On a final point to Lucas, yes, the sale of used games won’t save you if you are unemployed or, more likely, underemployed. Especially not if you take them to Gamestop (to get a real deal go private party), but . . . some people who have really truly been underemployed will tell you it’s selling everything, including the kitchen sink, that can fill that gap and get you by. Games are just one of the outlets that exist. Just so I don’t misrepresent myself, I haven’t been in this situation, thankfully, but my current job involves me with many people who have. It feels like selling your personal possessions, including games, is something a person should be able to do. Same with cars, waffle irons, or old TVs. Why is software so special?

Kilrahi said...
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Kilrahi said...
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da criminal said...

Kil, why would a customer suffer? They still get cash and credit for the games they trade in. It's just that when the used game sells, the publisher gets a cut. Are you saying that now- with this plan- since the pub gets a cut the retailer would give to customers on used games to make up for the new loss?

simon.watts said...

Great post David, i'm so sick of reading that 'used car' line!

Roll on Digital Distribution i say. We can probably sell games for much less to the consumer direct and the only person losing out will be the retailer

Glad to see you are liking Darksiders :)

Kevin said...

I love the idea of publishers getting a cut of the sales. Making used games sales outright illegal would be INSANE, and I'm worried that the big companies will be pushing for it.

IF used game sales are illegal people will buy them black market, killing both the companies AND the stores that sell their games.

IF used game sales are illegal say goodbye to built-in fanbases. Theres a local shop near my house that only sells old-school games for old-school systems and people love it. Imagine if selling Final Fantasy 7 used was illegal. Would so many people have played it? Would it have such a huge fanbase?

Imagine: "Oh, You should play the new Twisted Metal! What?? You never played TM:Black..OR TM2??...ohhh man too bad used games sales are illegal, you could have picked one up and become a huge fan who will buy anything that says Twisted Metal on it in the future. OR: Well I gave my copy up to Steve, but when he's done I'll give it to you. That way NOBODY makes any money!"

Stopping used games sales will be profitable in the beginning, but the long-term implications are no good.

That's why I agree with the profits going to the game makers for used game sales. Keeping it they way it is now screws the makers, and making them illegal would screw the gamers AND the makers down the line.

As a (long) side note: Companies should take demands from the customers, not MAKING demands of customers. If sales are showing that people want cheaper games, even going so far as to abandon consoles for online gaming, then the industry needs to adjust. It shouldn't try to force people into spending more money. "Bad customer! No more used games! You give me 60 dollars now or no game at all!" People will just say "Fuck you!" and stop buying all together. This is why the cheaper digital distributions make so much sense.

da criminal said...

Kevin- yeah, I don't think anyone is pushing for killing used game sales IF it means game makers can get cut in on the deal.

But I agree with you digital is the ultimate solve.

I also agree some games should be cheaper and the biz on our side needs to learn how to market less expensive games in a way that makes them still look amazing and cool and not like budget titles.

The real question is: what is a proper price? To me a game that gives you 50+ hours of entertainment SHOULD cost more than 60 bucks. But a game that gives you 5 hours should cost WAY LESS than 60.


Frosty said...

But who would be the judge of something as incorporeal as entertainment. Entertainment is a completely relative concept. What's 50 hours of entertianment to me isn't necassarily 50 hours of entertainment for others.

Then you'd have developers (less repetiable as they'd be) who'd add more filler quests or mindless capture quests (like find 1000 flags hidden around this map, it's oh so fun) to beef up their time.

Really one way to kinda stop people playing one game as long as they do is to limit the amount of free time you'd get with online play, as shitty as it sounds. You could limit each person to 100 hours free then after 100 hours is reached charge like $10-$20 for another 100 hours.

msq2 said...

Making it illegal to sell used games would only encourage people to get the games totally free via torrents. Then neither the retailer or the game company would see any profits.

da criminal said...

Again, no one is suggesting making used games illegal.

But msq2, game companies don't see direct profits from used games anyway. So a player who ONLY buys used and would now switch to torret for his fix doesn't really hurt the publisher all that much. Yes the publisher loses because the in store credit a gamer might use to buy new games goes away but end of the day, I have a feeling money lost to people buying used who WOULD buy new but choose to save 5-10 dollars is far greater than the money we would lose because in store credit is no longer an option.


CrashMan said...

Ever think maybe the gaming industry shouldn't try so hard to convince gamers that the game they bought 2 weeks ago is outdated?

*ahem* allow me ...

Industry Type: "What's that, gamer? You spent $60 bucks on Game X and $20 unlocking the on-disc DLC (now dress like Chun-Li to fight zombies!)?

Well, now it's a coaster. Cuz now it's 8 months later and 'Game X 1.5: Revenge of Stuff we Didn't Have Ready at Launch' is here!

So pry open your wallets because, seriously, THIS time it's the most epic! For Realsies! We promise .... for now.

Oh, and did you buy that 3DTV yet? We don't care if the tech is precarious-at-best right now. Sony wants to sell the things so we want you to buy 'em!!

That HDTV you bought? Please. No one games in HD anymore. Unless you want to bleed your friends' eyes out, am I right, gamer?"

Gamer: "Ok then, I guess I'll trade in my old game for the new one."

Industry Type: "Whooooaaa... that's breaking the law, buckaroo! And making money that way is wrong."

Gamer: "But I bought your console cuz it plays all my illegally downloaded movies and songs."

Industry Type: "... that money went somewhere else. Somewhere that saves puppies. Gotta go!"


Any of that sound familiar, fellas?

>>>If used games hurt the industry financially, stop trying to make your product so darn disposable!!

(most gamers don't even beat the games they buy! or sometimes even play them!!)

Gamers get more meaningful, lasting experiences. Devs/pubs won't put as much pressure on gamers to pinch pennies "illegally" through the 2nd hand market.
(Are the name changes in Madden really worth the price tag? How 'bout the Rock Band Hero titles?)

Say it with me, David, "everybody wins!"

David: "But, sir, we do not force gamers to view our games as disposable products. Sure, the DLC will literally render games unplayable when the servers go down. Essentially replacing purchases with extended rentals. But that's a choice the consumer makes."

Alright then, I suppose you can CHOOSE not to flood the market every quarter?

David: "No. It's a business."

And businesses HAVE to sacrifice in the name of profit?

David: "Well yes."

Isn't that greed?

David: "Well, er, no .. it's .... I don't like you."

Then we're even. ^_^

TyrantII said...

I really couldn't disagree more.

This is just another grab from an industry trying to control every aspect of it's product. It's getting into a larger fight, but my belief is that IP and copyright laws have grossly been misappropriated from artists to corporations that increasing see it as their right to sell you "use", rather then a product, and to have the right to do so for all eternity.

To quote you "Fuck that"!

They really don't have any right to demand resale; especially on physical products, unless they want to fund and finance the stores themselves.
There is NOTHING keeping say EA from setting up a division, and offering great credit, or great money on returned/mailed EA games; and then turning around and selling them used.
Price pressures means they wouldn't be able to keep used game resale prices so high and trade ins so low, but thats whats the issue is, isn't it? They don't want to open up that competitive can of worms and drive the profits Gs has found down. They just think they're entitled to it.

As for the decline, are you really serious? Up until recently all everyone was talking about was how the game industry was fine and hadn't had the same hits even in this rough economy. Year after year I've been reading reports on how the industry is adding billions to it's worth.


And really, I think the (very) recent decline is two fold:
1) The global market meltdown finally hitting home
2) Much larger selection and a glut of triple AAA, and well marketed titles.

Really, I do have to say the last few months haven't had any really huge hits. Not on my Radar at least.

There were tons of great titles from last Sept through the spring; so many that I'm still catching up as of now. I haven't bought a game in months because of it. Hell, I haven't had time to get to batman yet and just finished Heavy Rain! This gets into an issue I think I've seen you talk about where the industry needs to learn to space their AAA titles out. Releasing everything for fall and Xmas seasons has to be effecting sales, especially for littler titles and newer IP's trying to break through the noise.

I know you views are a bit different, being a developer and a business owner; but I just can't see eye to eye on it. And this is coming from someone who thinks $60 is actually too low for most AAA titles that are worth it (something no one wants to talk about or acknolege is that we're paying much less for our hobby then in the past. I bought Nintendo $50-60 cartridges back in that day, when adjusted for inflation would cost me $96.50 today; and look at the production values today! )

Speaking of marketing, be sure to push to market the shit out of TM. Sonys overall marketing campaign with Jerry Lambert has gotten a ton better after that dismal launch crap; but they still seem squeamish to get behind a big title and really push a huge marketing campaign like MS will do. It really translates into sales, and TM is a game that deserves it. Get it on MNF, regional sports networks during home games, and even the more popular network tv slots. Please do that!! :D

Anyways regards and much respect, I just don't think that punishing gamers and reselling is answer to the bigger companies woes. How much blood can you really get from a stone?

da criminal said...

Crashman- yeah, I dunno dude. When I hear people like you make those kinds of arguments it's clear you feel the industry- in many ways- rips you off and it seems THAT is why you are angry. And that's totally fair. But that's a totally different issue. As I've always said, if a consumer (of anything) feels they are not getting value or quality for their money then they should stay far away from the product in question. I respect, support, and practice that myself as a consumer. If i was as angry as you sound about the way the game business had treated you, I would stop buying games for sure (used or for sale).

But keep in mind, I'm not saying the problem is with game buying behavior. Gamers should get the best deal and demand the best deal ALWAYS! And if you feel an industry treat you with disrespect then by all means, walk away. No one expects gamers to feel for or support the game biz out of the goodness of their hearts. Support us because you WANT to buy our games. We're not asking for charity and we're not asking for gamers to burden themselves with our business problems. And remember, I never said kill the used game market. Keep it going, by all means.

But if a business makes a product you like and think has value, then yes, that business deserves to make money off of you if you have chosen to acquire the product in question.

CrashMan said...
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da criminal said...

Tyrantll, did you read my post?

Where do I suggest punishing gamers? Where do you see I am saying kill the used game market?

If I have my way- as proposed in the post- gamers will never even know a shift of business behind the scenes has occurred.

The only hit a gamer would take is if the biz adopted my proposal for version b where a gamer who usually rents or buy used has to wait- just like a movie goer- for a few months before a new game is allowed to be rented or sold used.

And yes, I do think used games are hurting the new games market for sure.


CrashMan said...

Worry not. I operate exactly that way.

If I feel a game's DLC is going to rip me off? No sale.

If I feel a game is trying to make it's sale purely on some hyped technological "improvement" (now with MORE polygons and LESS colors!)

Then no sale.

Make no mistake. I'm quite happy with the part of the gaming industry I support with my dollars.

I think it's very far removed from the one you're talking about.

But I said what I said for the sake of people like my 14-year-old nephew who is saving up for the next console before his current one is even out of the box.

da criminal said...

Crashman- I guess we're disagreeing them. I'm not really sure. Sounds like we both support voting with our dollars so I guess we have common ground on that.

TyrantII said...


I know you don't want that, but that's where I see the big publishers taking this down the road.

That's what I'm worried about, and why I'd rather the stepping stones be torn up before they're laid.

A seamless cut is also a nice idea, but I don't see that as very likely. GS is a public company and just giving up revenue to appease the publishers isn't going to happen without changes in pricing, practice and/or lawsuits.

Either way, it should be interesting!

I think the better ideas on development and long term plans for growth are better suited then this proxy fight to get the last dime.

Many of which you've talked about (more realistic funding vs product, better and appropriate levels of marketing, digital vs disk, pickup game vs medium vs full blown, and ultimately pricing based on content).

Valve has some really interesting data for instance on pricing games to move quickly after first release at full price.

They've even claimed to see profit increases because at some point the impulse to buy is there at a certain price, so selling in bulk did it. Little off topic, but not really since this all comes down to making profits.

I also think it's going to be harder for mega publishers to be justified in a market where internet delivery and smaller titles can and do make money, and where more and more people are finding their way into the market. The big guys are so geared to throwing money at problem that it's going to be hard for them to change, even as they have the power to strong-arm solutions they think work. I'm thinking MPAA/RIAA/Newspapers, ect.

Ultimately, they'll change to the market conditions, or the smaller guys will pop up and win.

I just hope we don't see a industry crash in the process like before.

Kilrahi said...

It's entirely possible I misunderstand what this ruling means since I didn't read the original ruling and just read the news stories.

What I'm interested in is the unintended consequences of the law. From what I understand, the ruling states that anyone who purchases software only holds a license to that software, they don’t actually own it. This would be true whether or not Gamestop was the one trying to resell it, or myself. Either one of us would be forbidden to sell it because we don’t own the product, just a license for individual use.

Now, if I try to sell my used copy of God of War to the neighbor kid, that’s such a small transaction that it’s unlikely any game company would ever come after me. However, this would not be true of if I tried to sell on Ebay. I can easily imagine game companies demanding that Ebay or other public auction sites, forbid me, the consumer, from selling my game on Ebay. There is where it has the potential to hurt me, the individual consumer. I can sell the used game I bought a year ago, but only if I do it quietly and have no qualms about breaking laws on such a small scale that no one will come after me.

That’s my personal take on one possible ramification of this ruling. Am I off? If so, how?

Nipun said...

Hiya David!

It's so good to know your opinion about the issue, and you raise some interesting points.

Sure, like you mentioned, there are some greedy suckers who bring bad name to the industry. But, seeing the publishers through one lens and categorizing them all as greedy is not at all right.

I guess, the publishing companies really need to look at their business model. In my opinion, digital distribution is the way forward; it would take out the middlemen. But, for that to become a reality globally, the infrastructure has to support, too (especially in developing and under developed countries). However, I don't think the current model of selling games on discs would completely go away even if digital distribution does become a global way of selling. The problem I see with digital distribution is that I, as a consumer, would have to constantly upgrade my HDD space (considering how space-hogging games of today are) if I were to buy new games, and keep my old games collection, too. Also, we all know HDD can be very flimsy and iffy. What if my HDD drive goes kaput? I'd lose all my games in a zip! As a gamer I'd be totally fucked if I lost 500 GB worth games. Publishers won't compensate me for the loss because it'd not be their problem. Of course, this happens to a disc too, but then... you only lose that particular game. I guess, if the publishers want to go toward the way of digital distribution, they need to provide paid hosting space service as well. It would be more reliable as compared to storing games on a local HDD. Then, if I wanna play, let's say 'Twisted Metal: Bitter-Sweet Tooth' :P... I'd just copy that game from my hosting space to the local drive, and play it. That way, even if my HDD is damaged, I'd still have my games stored in the 'cloud'. I guess, this would be the way to go forward, but it'll sure take some time.

Nipun said...

Enough talk about future, let's come back to the present. I, as a die-hard gamer would love to see publishers/developers make more money. It would (should?) mean better games for gamers. But, I think some few baddies in the publishing business are really giving the entire gaming industry a bad publicity. I guess, they should look out for ways to make more profit as it is a business, and a business needs money. But, they should concentrate on making better games, too. Most of the AAA games these days don't justify the price they demand. If your game is good and justifies the price, then I see no reason why most gamers would not buy them new.

I really like your 'movie-like approach' for a solution. Till the time digital distribution becomes a reality, and I mean distribution of every game, no matter big or small, it'd be a pretty neat approach.

Another way I can think of is, and it is because of personal experience: I am not a big fan of online multiplayer. So, it is really a loss for me when I have to cough up $60 for a game which has 5-6 hours single player campaign, but a kick-ass multiplayer. You can take the example of 'Battlefield: BC 2' here. I loved the single player campaign, but for a gamer like me who doesn't not play multiplayer, it was too expensive. With more and more games focusing on MP, I guess that's also the reason most people believe that the games are overpriced. The solution I can think of is: charge around $ (25-35) for a game like BC 2, but only for the single player campaign. The developers can lock the multiplayer. Then, if I wanna play MP, I would need to pay whatever money the MP is worth directly to the developers/publishers (no middleman involved). They can always provide different options to the consumer, like: offering SP and MP together for a game like BC 2 for $60 with a future DLC free, $40 for SP and a future DLC, only MP (there are many gamers who don't give a hoot about SP these days... saying this from personal experience) for $(25-35), MP and DLC(which would include new maps, modes, costumes etc). There can be 10s of permutations and combinations if you think about it. The thing is: the developers and publishers need to be flexible in their approach and think of ways to reward the ones who buy new games. That should be the way to go forward, in my opinion. Of course, my suggestion can be completely DUH, but I just wanted to share it, Sir.

P.S. I'm also tired about the cars and games analogy. My friends make arguments that you can sell cars, furniture, books, almost everything, but the auto companies or publishing biz don't ask you for a cut. They say, what's so special about games! What's the rebuttal for that, Dave?

I would really like to know your opinions about what I shared, Dave. I hope you'd take out time from your schedule to share your p.o.v. on it.

P.P.S. Please don't think that I was mocking TM when I mentioned TM: Biter-Sweet Tooth; I was just kinda mentioning a TM game of the future as an example to support my view. So, please don't take it in any other way. :)

~ Peace ~

Adam said...

Just read your used games article...

I co-own a video game store in Ohio and I would love to be able to give publishers a cut of used games as long as it ensured that my business itself would be continuously updated/stocked on newer releases.

Being an independent retailer is tough, especially when you don't have a lot of money.

How could smaller business like myself actually go about pursuing a venue like this? We would definitely love to expand our business and if that meant allowing another, for lack of a better term, proprietor of the business (i.e. publishers and giving them a % of sales), then I, personally, would be more than willing. If it meant growing the business with possibility of becoming a larger corporate type store, I'm all for it.

Like I asked, how could we possibly explore a venue such as this. We currently get our supply from a distributor who usually lacks shipping us inventory on time or before release dates. We would greatly prefer getting directly from publisher if even possible.

Adam Verheyen

Nipun said...

I totally forgot 'Steam' when I was ranting about digital distribution; it's a pretty nifty way of distributing games. Sure, there are some minor annoyances with it, too, but sans them, it's very good. Perhaps, that's the way to go for the gaming industry.

sykokinetyk said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Personally the only time I buy games used is when they are much MUCH older and incredibly difficult to come by new, without scouring the internet and possibly paying an arm and a leg for them.

That being said, I am extremely disappointed that the gaming industry keeps raising prices. Granted, as a Game Programming major, I can understand the reasoning for it, and todays economy isn't helping matters. However, the AAA games that everyone in the industry knows will sell like hotcakes, i.e. Reach, God of War 3, etc, should possibly retain the original 50 dollar price point.

The math is relatively easy. Publisher A markets a game that takes $500 Million to create at a 50 dollar price. Game sells 100 million copies. Revenue $5 Billion. Publisher B markets a game that also takes $500 Million to create at a 60 dollar price, sells the same amount of copies and winds up with $6 Billion. I know $1 Billion is a LOT of money, but the company is still profiting around $4.5 Billion which is enough for bonuses and raises, etc. I know this has just turned into a rant, but I hate where my beloved industry is going, and I dread the days when my children will have to pay $100 and higher for a standard edition of a game.