Posted by Tidel (360 posts) -

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

-- Isaac Asimov

I find the debate around used games very frustrating.

It isn’t much of a debate – no one is interested in studying the problem because everyone’s too invested in having opinions about it. In the age of social media, having an opinion is good enough – I tweet therefore I am – and challenging the worth of an opinion is tantamount to an act of war.

So consider this a warning shot.

In 2009, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter reported that used game sales generate roughly $2 billion in annual revenue, and used games accounted for one-third of all game sales in a given year.

And it appears everyone in the industry – certainly the game publishers and developers, and a lot of the press – stopped reading there.

But Pachter went on to say, "The vast majority of used games are not traded in until the original new game purchaser has finished playing - more than two months after a new game is released - typically well beyond the window for a full retail priced new game sale.” His research also suggested the pre-owned market gave gamers more income to spend on new games – amounting to a 6% gain in new sales because of it.

Anyone arguing against the sale of used games – saying that the developers deserve your money for all their hard work, making it a moral stance – are ignoring the available data.

Everything the industry is doing now – online passes, holding content hostage as DLC, making claims about who is owed what – is not about taking back something that was lost. It’s about profit. They see $2 billion and want it for themselves, and fuck every law or consumer right or inconvenient research that stands in their way.

What scares me most is how easily it has happened, with such indifference from the gaming community. And editorial here, a few forum posts there, some whinging on a podcast – barely questioning it and never attempting to fight it. Never saying, “The right of first sale should be protected. As a consumer, these practices are directly infringing my rights, and I won’t have it.” No, we wring hands and line up anyway, because apparently our desire for entertainment vastly outweighs our common sense.

I wrote about this on a now-lost blog in 2009. I thought it was a big deal. This was Pachter the analyst, not Pachter the Game Trailers sideshow. But the story didn’t go anywhere. No major consumer sites picked it up – no one in a position to advocate for our rights did so. They marched us into this present, where we now have gamers advocating for the rights of developers to squeeze undeserved money out of consumers and call it a moral good.

There is no data to back up that position. You have big business stating the opinion that consumers should get less for more at the same time as claiming ‘lost sales’ without any data to back it up. They feel they are owed more, but the truth is they just want more.

And we are giving it to them. Some of us gladly, arguing for them, taking up their appeal to emotions and never looking beyond.

On Friday, TorrentFreak shared a link to a report about the effect of piracy on the Hollywood bottom line. Hollywood lobbyists have crowed for years about the fatal effect internet piracy will have on that industry, also making the claim of ‘lost sales’. Of course, in the years since this ‘threat’ began it has never actually manifested. Box office records continue to be shattered – the most pirated film of 2009 was Avatar, which also happens to be the highest grossing film in (unadjusted) history.

As researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College report, “We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in US box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy.”

Rather than evil internet pirates running rampant through Hollywood profit, the only genuine lost sales Hollywood suffers are those it perpetuates by holding to outdated modes of staggered international release. Millions and millions of dollars are spent lobbying against a problem that doesn’t actually exist, and all Hollywood has to do is think different about how it distributes its product.

Piracy happens. It has and will always happen. Just because the technology used is better doesn’t mean it is having a greater effect on the industry now than it has ever done. Piracy does not necessarily have the negative impact on sales billion dollar companies would like to believe it has.

And the games industry? Things have been rough in the past few years, for a lot of reasons – this economy, the inflated cost of development, sales being down across the board even if a few titles make Oprah-money. Could it be that the aggressive attacks the industry is leveling against consumers to fight imagined lost sales is finally paying off? If Pachter’s analysis was right – that the money consumers get back from selling their games is more often than not used to fund new game sales – could the decline, in part, be a result of successful lobbying? It’s not the effect the industry wants, but that tends to happen when you’re fighting windmills and calling them dragons.

And the worst thing is, it’s a self-sustaining system. The industry introduces anti-consumer measures to make itself more money; consumers have less money from selling their used games to buy new; the industry goes, “SEE! We’re losing money! KILL USED SALES!”; more anti-consumer measures are introduced to claw back money that is, now, genuinely lost, though still not for the reasons they claim; and so on, until the whole thing comes down.

I’m not claiming this as a truth. It is my opinion, and it’s based on the research I’ve done – and I can’t claim that the research is true, as I’m sure someone could point out, because I didn’t do it myself. It’s all second hand. But the point is, I did research. I’ve looked into this situation rather than just felt something about it.

What I found lead me here – embattled, angry, impotent to make change but wanting to do something, anything, to say that I didn’t just roll over while this industry shat itself and used us to wipe; while the enthusiast press still prioritizes clicks over critical thinking and kowtows to its master more than questions it; while so many people viciously defend their right to have an opinion about this but don’t bother to make it worth something.

Here, saying you’re wrong about used games, and asking you to think.

#1 Posted by Tidel (360 posts) -

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

-- Isaac Asimov

I find the debate around used games very frustrating.

It isn’t much of a debate – no one is interested in studying the problem because everyone’s too invested in having opinions about it. In the age of social media, having an opinion is good enough – I tweet therefore I am – and challenging the worth of an opinion is tantamount to an act of war.

So consider this a warning shot.

In 2009, Wedbush Morgan analyst Michael Pachter reported that used game sales generate roughly $2 billion in annual revenue, and used games accounted for one-third of all game sales in a given year.

And it appears everyone in the industry – certainly the game publishers and developers, and a lot of the press – stopped reading there.

But Pachter went on to say, "The vast majority of used games are not traded in until the original new game purchaser has finished playing - more than two months after a new game is released - typically well beyond the window for a full retail priced new game sale.” His research also suggested the pre-owned market gave gamers more income to spend on new games – amounting to a 6% gain in new sales because of it.

Anyone arguing against the sale of used games – saying that the developers deserve your money for all their hard work, making it a moral stance – are ignoring the available data.

Everything the industry is doing now – online passes, holding content hostage as DLC, making claims about who is owed what – is not about taking back something that was lost. It’s about profit. They see $2 billion and want it for themselves, and fuck every law or consumer right or inconvenient research that stands in their way.

What scares me most is how easily it has happened, with such indifference from the gaming community. And editorial here, a few forum posts there, some whinging on a podcast – barely questioning it and never attempting to fight it. Never saying, “The right of first sale should be protected. As a consumer, these practices are directly infringing my rights, and I won’t have it.” No, we wring hands and line up anyway, because apparently our desire for entertainment vastly outweighs our common sense.

I wrote about this on a now-lost blog in 2009. I thought it was a big deal. This was Pachter the analyst, not Pachter the Game Trailers sideshow. But the story didn’t go anywhere. No major consumer sites picked it up – no one in a position to advocate for our rights did so. They marched us into this present, where we now have gamers advocating for the rights of developers to squeeze undeserved money out of consumers and call it a moral good.

There is no data to back up that position. You have big business stating the opinion that consumers should get less for more at the same time as claiming ‘lost sales’ without any data to back it up. They feel they are owed more, but the truth is they just want more.

And we are giving it to them. Some of us gladly, arguing for them, taking up their appeal to emotions and never looking beyond.

On Friday, TorrentFreak shared a link to a report about the effect of piracy on the Hollywood bottom line. Hollywood lobbyists have crowed for years about the fatal effect internet piracy will have on that industry, also making the claim of ‘lost sales’. Of course, in the years since this ‘threat’ began it has never actually manifested. Box office records continue to be shattered – the most pirated film of 2009 was Avatar, which also happens to be the highest grossing film in (unadjusted) history.

As researchers from the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College report, “We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in US box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy.”

Rather than evil internet pirates running rampant through Hollywood profit, the only genuine lost sales Hollywood suffers are those it perpetuates by holding to outdated modes of staggered international release. Millions and millions of dollars are spent lobbying against a problem that doesn’t actually exist, and all Hollywood has to do is think different about how it distributes its product.

Piracy happens. It has and will always happen. Just because the technology used is better doesn’t mean it is having a greater effect on the industry now than it has ever done. Piracy does not necessarily have the negative impact on sales billion dollar companies would like to believe it has.

And the games industry? Things have been rough in the past few years, for a lot of reasons – this economy, the inflated cost of development, sales being down across the board even if a few titles make Oprah-money. Could it be that the aggressive attacks the industry is leveling against consumers to fight imagined lost sales is finally paying off? If Pachter’s analysis was right – that the money consumers get back from selling their games is more often than not used to fund new game sales – could the decline, in part, be a result of successful lobbying? It’s not the effect the industry wants, but that tends to happen when you’re fighting windmills and calling them dragons.

And the worst thing is, it’s a self-sustaining system. The industry introduces anti-consumer measures to make itself more money; consumers have less money from selling their used games to buy new; the industry goes, “SEE! We’re losing money! KILL USED SALES!”; more anti-consumer measures are introduced to claw back money that is, now, genuinely lost, though still not for the reasons they claim; and so on, until the whole thing comes down.

I’m not claiming this as a truth. It is my opinion, and it’s based on the research I’ve done – and I can’t claim that the research is true, as I’m sure someone could point out, because I didn’t do it myself. It’s all second hand. But the point is, I did research. I’ve looked into this situation rather than just felt something about it.

What I found lead me here – embattled, angry, impotent to make change but wanting to do something, anything, to say that I didn’t just roll over while this industry shat itself and used us to wipe; while the enthusiast press still prioritizes clicks over critical thinking and kowtows to its master more than questions it; while so many people viciously defend their right to have an opinion about this but don’t bother to make it worth something.

Here, saying you’re wrong about used games, and asking you to think.

#2 Posted by ShadowConqueror (3084 posts) -

I have no problem with used games.

#3 Posted by Little_Socrates (5694 posts) -

I agree wholeheartedly, good sir.

#4 Posted by ReyGitano (2467 posts) -

Developers, publishers, and vendors will always be fighting the fight for more profit on their end. I can't fault failing and/or greedy developers and publishers for looking at stores like GameStop and saying "That money should be mine", it's just how the business is and at the end of the day I don't think the ethical issues matter as much as whatever practices come out of it, so if there's going to be a debate, I rather debate about those solutions.

Personally the problem I have with used games is that I view the practices of stores like GameStop to be kinda disgusting, so I never buy games from there new or used. However at the same time, I have no problem buying used games from a place like Amazon or eBay. I guess the point I'm trying to make is that this issue will vary heavily between what consumers view as the problem (which often boils down to places like GameStop) and what developers view as a problem (the companies not getting a share of the profit) so really all there is to do is for developers to keep coming up with new solutions until they find something that works better than the current model. That's the job of the game companies, and our job as consumers is simply to vote with our dollar. Want to support game companies directly? Buy new games. Want to not support a certain retailers? Don't shop there.

#5 Posted by TruthTellah (9428 posts) -

I agree about used game sales not being inherently evil, but uh... starting your appeal to people with what basically amounts to be a "f you idiots, let a smart guy tell you how it is" may not win you many favors when it comes to having an actually respectful, adult discussion on the issue.

I certainly hope I am incorrect on this, but your tone seems dismissive and elitist, with the inherent assumption that you are smarter and more well-informed than anyone who might disagree with you on this. Which, unfortunately, may only foster arguments of "I'm smarter" "No, I'm smarter" kind of rhetoric. I hope writing this has helped you feel better, but presenting your opinion in this manner may only further undermine the meaningful position you and others such as myself support.

Please do carry on espousing the virtues of a decent used games market, but perhaps you could tone down the rhetoric a tad simply for the sake of not having this devolve into an argument of egos over a true argument of ideas.

Online
#6 Edited by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -

Consoles are catching up to PC.
Ever so slowly.
 
PS: Also I find your Isaac Asimov quote usage disgusting.

#7 Posted by Oldirtybearon (4870 posts) -

@TruthTellah: Have you tried arguing with the retards who take the pro-dev/pro-publisher stance? They're mouth-breathing morons and if it didn't effect me adversely, I'd say good, milk them for every penny they have. The problem is, it does effect me, and it does effect a great deal of people. I don't even buy used, but the idea that it's somehow morally corrupt/equated with theft is both disgusting and absurd. @Tidel isn't saying anything that smart people haven't been saying this whole time. The problem lies in the opinion-protecting asshats who hide behind "It's just my opinion, man!" like it's some bulwark that makes them bulletproof. There is opinion, yes, but there is hard, factual data that backs up the used game business actually helping the industry as a whole. You can't throw opinions at fact and tell me I'm wrong.

Everybody needs to quit this stupid carebear hug-a-thon with the opinion thing. Discourse is natural. Debate and arguments are good things. But in this current climate, nobody wants to be wrong, ever, so they hide behind their bullshit go-to line of "opinions!"

It pisses me off. I'm sick of it.

#8 Posted by Grimluck343 (1157 posts) -

@Tidel If you really are this angry about things, maybe it's time to look for a new hobby? Video games are supposed to be something fun, not something you go into a frothing rage over (unless you're playing Demon Souls, because fuck that game).

#9 Edited by TruthTellah (9428 posts) -

@Oldirtybearon said:

@TruthTellah: Have you tried arguing with the retards who take the pro-dev/pro-publisher stance? They're mouth-breathing morons and if it didn't effect me adversely, I'd say good, milk them for every penny they have. The problem is, it does effect me, and it does effect a great deal of people. I don't even buy used, but the idea that it's somehow morally corrupt/equated with theft is both disgusting and absurd. @Tidel isn't saying anything that smart people haven't been saying this whole time. The problem lies in the opinion-protecting asshats who hide behind "It's just my opinion, man!" like it's some bulwark that makes them bulletproof. There is opinion, yes, but there is hard, factual data that backs up the used game business actually helping the industry as a whole. You can't throw opinions at fact and tell me I'm wrong.

Everybody needs to quit this stupid carebear hug-a-thon with the opinion thing. Discourse is natural. Debate and arguments are good things. But in this current climate, nobody wants to be wrong, ever, so they hide behind their bullshit go-to line of "opinions!"

It pisses me off. I'm sick of it.

I would definitely agree that there are superior arguments to other ones, and many are indeed uninformed or misinformed. The issue is with the idea that anyone who disagrees with you is automatically an ignorant hillbilly destroying the world. This isn't about hugging it out; it's about treating other human beings as fellow human beings and possibly wanting to actually have a discussion. If you think discussion is meaningless, then buy some propaganda buses and blare your opinion through people's neighborhoods. But if you're going to actually work to convince anyone, starting out your argument with the suggestion that anyone who disagrees with you is an ignorant idiot scum of the earth, you're not really going to get anywhere.

I dislike the idea of subjective truth as well, and it's a shame that many equate being treated respectfully with treating an opinion as equally valid. It's someone's ability to hold and convey an opinion which is equal, not the strength or legitimacy of their opinion. Yet, in the realm of actually trying to change someone's mind, few arguments are ever won by simply calling someone an idiot for thinking different from you. It can feel good, sure, but it serves no purpose. It sounds to me like the OP is interested in actually doing something about public opinions, and so, my suggestion is simply to tone down the rhetoric so as to not alienate anyone who doesn't perfectly agree with him. That doesn't mean stop saying that he is right; it means attempting to not come off as purely holier-than-thou and primarily insulting toward anyone who disagrees. People won't respond well if you just insult them, online or in person, and it's especially detrimental to paint with a broad negative brush when it comes to a large amount of people who have varying reasons for supporting something. If you are disagreeing with someone and they seem ignorant, then by all means say that they are ignorant, but suggesting that anyone who disagrees on this one issue is somehow ignorant and horrible serves little purpose in the larger effort of convincing people to understand your point.

If your interest is simply in saying your peace no matter how people respond, then by all means talk like an assumptive, self-aggrandizing jerk, but if you're actually interested in convincing people to understand and possibly agree with your point of view on this topic you care about, a more measured tone that focuses on the actual view and its merits over everything else serves far better. There is some decent content in the original post, but it is muddled with self-assured nonsense putting down anyone who disagrees. Trimming off the fat bogging down his argument could go a long way in at least causing people to think more about the issue.

Online
#10 Edited by crusader8463 (14427 posts) -

I'm all for games being cheaper, but the state of used games as it is is nothing more then legalized piracy and a way for those that want to pirate but don't out of some moral high horse to find a middle ground to get games cheaper then the asking price. Unless a game is at least 50% or more off of the retail game I always pony up the extra $5-$10 to buy the real copy so that the Dev's get their rightful cut of the profit. The only exception to that rule is if it's like the case of when I bought my Wii recently and many of the older games are impossible to find anywhere but used copies on amazon or trading on sites like kijiji.ca. I'm not against individuals being able to trade their games with others, but when a mass market store like EB Games does it on the scale that they do I feel that they need to apply a developer tax where in a portion of the profit goes back to the Devs.

As for straight up piracy, I'm not against that in certain situations ether. I personally only pirate games when:

  • A developer/publisher does something to make the games unplayable like Ubisoft DRM.
  • They refuse to sell me the game on a platform that I play on like with EA and their Steam hate.
  • To test a game when there is no demo available.
  • To test a game to make sure it will run on my computer when it gets into its later years of life and I can no longer just assume it will run every game.
  • If I need to save up the money to buy it and don't have it right at the moment, but know I will in the new future.

And of course should they ever rectify any of the above reasons I immediately buy a copy as soon as I am able. According to a list I started keeping of the money I spend on games, in the month of Jan-Feb 2012 I have spent almost $800 on games. That's $800 friggen dollars in the first two months of the year alone! That's not even including god only knows how much more a few months prior during the big Steam Autumn/Christmas and black Friday sales. So to any of the hate replies I'm sure to get for my above opinions you know where you can go as far as I'm concerned, because I buy my fair share of games and only seek out piracy as a last resort.

#11 Edited by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -
@Oldirtybearon:    ooooooo, those people are smart, those other dudes are morons ... laughable
 

but there is hard, factual data that backs up the used game business actually helping the industry as a whole

Where?
This links OP provided at least fail to show that.
Just because used game market is a large part of sales does not instantly proove that if it wasn't there the same $ wouldn't be funneled in a different way. 

A small part of $ is injected back when you sell your used copy and get for example $15 back to use on a later game purchase. But buying a new game at  say a Steam sale for $45 would have the same net effect. If you say: "but the dude who purchases new games now bought 2 games instead of one therefore the industry profits" all we have to do is look at the other dude who didn't buy a new game either time. Whereas the 1 guy on PC would have also bought 2 games for the same $. The overall supply of money by consumers into the games industry is a relative constant. Used game sales don't suddenly increase the overall influx of cash, in fact they bleed some to the used retailers, out of both consumers and publishers.

The consumer is only shafted if an alternative to used sales does not exist and he cannot buy more games with his money then he would have otherwise. Agreed? But alternatives do exist. Physical retailers drop game prices and do do sales. In fact the used games help keep the prices on non-used games up, since shops can afford to do so as people who want a cheaper deal are forced to buy used.  On PC we already have a 100% working alternative in terms of Steam and GoG. Consoles are in a transitionary period, a solid online alternative does not yet exist, hence the halfway measure of online passes and DLC (cd keys on PC are way harsher)
 
No one is saying that used game market should die in a fire, they're just OK with the other parts of the used market, DLC and online passes.
 
(i claim no moral high ground over people who buy used, I bought/sold used games myself as well as pirated, these days I mostly buy new to vote with my $ for those devs that provide content apealing to me)
#12 Posted by Crash_Happy (737 posts) -

Personaly I think that the idea publishers should get money from used sales isn't really logical. Still, all this appears to be set to be sidelined, since digital delivery is becoming the norm, and there's no second hand with that.

#13 Posted by Contrarian (1143 posts) -

The problem I have alwaus had with industry telling how much money they are losing to piracy/used sales is that they are theoretical. They are based on every illegal download or used sale as a loss. That is where the problem is, but they like to scream large numbers to get our attention. My anecdotal evidence is that the vast majority of these so called looses would never have eventuated in a sale in the first place, so there is no loss. If I buy a used game, usually cheap and quite a deal after release, it is because I didn't care enough to pay full price, but I wanted to try it.

The same applies to piracy of movies, music and games. The people I deal with had no intention in buying the product in the first place. Don't tell me they should have just gone without, that is unrealistic ivory tower stuff. There is an upsude though. Some of the games I got cheap and used turned out to be unexpected gems and rocketed to my "must have" list and purchased at release. That wouldn't have happened if not for the used sale.

Big business is trying to control us and they use their money and influence at government level to get laws they want and we shouldn't accept it. When we buy something, it is ours to do with as we see fit. Used sales aren't bad and piracy does not cost business as much as they claim, nowhere near it.

#14 Posted by MB (12948 posts) -

This entire argument will soon be moot with a fully digital video game space looming just years away.

Moderator
#15 Posted by Grimluck343 (1157 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

No one is saying that used game market should die in a fire

GameStop can go die in a fire.

Also, super confused by people trying to compare used games to piracy. Piracy is stealing a copy of something, like a song or movie. Used games involve me going to a store and buying a disk, the "original copy," as it were. When I go to a used bookstore, no one accuses me of trying to pirate a book.

But, as was mentioned before, with everything moving towards digital distribution anyways this is all going to be a moot point.

#16 Edited by Enigma777 (6084 posts) -

I disagree with some of your points, particularly that gamers are accepting their loss of rights and getting less content for the same price without an argument.

I buy all of my games new, usually on launch. This means that I normally receive the preorder bonus/online pass for the same base price I've always paid in the past (also I've never had to pay extra money for an online pass). From my point of view, I'm not losing any content. If anything it feels like I'm getting more (though this feeling might be artificial). Furthermore, I almost never trade-in games. If I deem a game is good enough to buy, then it's good enough to keep on my shelf. In the last 6-7 years I think I've traded in a total of 3 games and that was only because I ended up with multiple copies of the same game. Therefore, I also don't feel like I'm losing my rights of second-hand selling since it's a practice I almost never use.

Now as far as your argument about second-hand sales supporting first-hand sales and the impact of losing that system, you're basically describing an unsustainable bubble economy. Before Gamestop was a huge company with record-breaking yearly profits there were a lot of small mom-n-pop game stores where you could trade-in games. However the practice was never that big of an impact since such stores were fewer and mostly unkown. That changed when a large corporation emerged that could influence gamer's buying habits through advertisement and sheer mindshare and geograhpical presence (seriously at one point there were 7 Gamestops in my area withing 3 miles of each other. Seven!). So Gamestop created a cycle that increased sales in the short term while also cannibalizing new game sales (why pay $60 when you can pay $55!) in order to drive their profits. But after a while such a system would collapse under it's own weight, and the market would be fucked. Just look at what happened after the housing bubble crashed.

This is why I'm happy that publishers are trying to influence the system. I fully realize that they're only looking after their own bottom line. I get that. But I'd rather see the money flow into publisher's pockets where there's a higher chance of it being redirected towards developing more games than to Gamestop/Best Buy/Amazon/Redbox/Gamefly/Walmart/etc.

You also have to realize that our free-market economy is designed to be self-correcting (mostly) and one way of looking at this is that it's simply trying to get back on the right track before the bubble bursts.

#17 Posted by Humanity (9879 posts) -

I agree that you shouldn't be limited on the market because of moral issues towards the developers. Imagine not having the option to purchase anything used? Does that mean full retail price stays on a game forever? I bought FF13 last month used for basically $5. I had enjoyed the game enough that even having spent $20 wouldn't have felt a waste. Would I have bought it at full price? Probably not. Did the developer/publisher get anything from my $5 purchase? No. What did happen was that I tried it out and I'm seriously considering buying FF13-2 at full price now - something I would have otherwise not done if I hadn't played FF13 to begin with. So I guess there is some sort of loop logic here. I'm just an advocate for pro choice and a free marketplace. Maybe if selling used cars became illegal the motor industry wouldn't be in shambles right now - but then again a lot less people would be driving cars.

#18 Edited by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -
@Grimluck343 said:

@Tennmuerti said:

No one is saying that used game market should die in a fire

GameStop can go die in a fire.

Sure. But those are 2 different things. Shitty company policy/practice should not be equanted with the entire principle.

Also, super confused by people trying to compare used games to piracy. Piracy is stealing a copy of something, like a song or movie. Used games involve me going to a store and buying a disk, the "original copy," as it were. 

Firstly: piracy =/= theft.
The only difference to the publisher between a used sale and a pirated copy is ... none. To them you aren't a customer. Unless you buy their online pass.
To the store a used sale is just as good as any normal sale, even better in fact. To them you are a customer.

 When I go to a used bookstore, no one accuses me of trying to pirate a book

And they don't in game stores either. But the dude who wrote the book will not get a cent.
Comparing different markets and their business models is not as simple as equting only 1 aspect of them.
 
@MB said:

This entire argument will soon be moot with a fully digital video game space looming just years away.

Thank god for that. It's getting tiresome.
#19 Edited by crusader8463 (14427 posts) -

@Grimluck343 said:

@Tennmuerti said:

No one is saying that used game market should die in a fire

GameStop can go die in a fire.

Also, super confused by people trying to compare used games to piracy. Piracy is stealing a copy of something, like a song or movie. Used games involve me going to a store and buying a disk, the "original copy," as it were. When I go to a used bookstore, no one accuses me of trying to pirate a book.

But, as was mentioned before, with everything moving towards digital distribution anyways this is all going to be a moot point.

As far as a developer is concerned there is zero difference between you pirating their game and you buying it used. The only difference is that buying used requires you to give money away so that people that feel piracy is this big evil thing that only the most corrupt/evil people in the world do can feel a peace of mind because they handed over some amount of money to someone first so that means it's ok. They both have the same end result for the developer. The only difference between the two is the public perception that it's ok to trade a game amongst friends an infinite number of times, but if that same person got a copy from a torrent that's suddenly reprehensible.

I personally know a ton of people that buy a game used, then trade it among their circle of console friends a good 5-10 times over. They each go and buy a different game they all are interested in, then cycle them amongst themselves. The only person to make anything out of that is EB Games for the initial buy of $40 and that's now 4-9 less sales that game will now see.

#20 Posted by Grimluck343 (1157 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

When I go to a used bookstore, no one accuses me of trying to pirate a book

And they don't in game stores either. But the dude who wrote the book will not get a cent.
Comparing different markets and their business models is not as simple as equting only 1 aspect of them.

...I thought the entire point of the OP was to defend used games sales as a legit form of piracy, which is why I compared it to used books. If not, I have no idea what that wall of text up there is about.

Also, I'm pretty sure we're on the same page on this issue and what the definition of piracy is (i.e., not theft), I just didn't explain it very well. I don't have a dog in this fight at all since I buy all of my games either new or on Steam.

#21 Edited by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -
@Humanity said:

Imagine not having the option to purchase anything used? Does that mean full retail price stays on a game forever?

You mean the way it is on the PC now? You can buy Arkham Asylum on Steam for under $10 regularly.
Do physical retailers in your area never drop down prices on non used games? They do in mine and in previous 2 areas I've lived.
 
BTW: i'm not arguing for abolishment of used games market (if you read my previous posts)
People (such as the OP) are frequently confusuing acceptance of online passes and DLC as a stand aginst used games sales in general.
#22 Posted by Raven10 (1888 posts) -

I think piracy is morally wrong. It is stealing. There is no excuse for piracy. Just because you don't have enough money for a game, doesn't give you the right to steal it. Even if you plan on paying for it later. You wouldn't walk into a clothing store and take a whole bunch of clothes with the intent of paying for them later. In fact doing so would likely get you arrested. So as far as piracy is concerned, I don't agree with it in any situation. If you want to play a game or watch a movie then pay for it. In most situations you can rent a copy which will at least give some money back to the developer.

Used game sales I don't take an issue with on a moral standpoint, but I disagree that they help the industry. The real problem is rising costs. 10 years ago you could make and market a game for under $10 million. Now a title with the same level of exposure will cost you over $100 million. The problem with used sales is that without additional revenue, most companies won't survive another generation. As costs rise again, and the number of consoles in the market reset with the new generation, many companies just won't be able to make enough money to stay afloat.

Now I don't argue that used game sales may increase the sale of new games. The question is whether those increases would be greater if used game sales didn't exist. So say every game gets a 10% boost in sales due to people trading in old games to buy that new one. Would the boost from not having a used option increase the sales more? That's really the question at hand. I think the argument the publishers are making is that this increase would in fact be greater than the increase earned from keeping used sales. In the end a 6% boost isn't as great as the boost you would get if every person who bought a used game bought that game new (by your numbers a 33% increase). Now obviously not everyone who buys used would choose to buy new, but if even a third of those people did, the increase would be 11%, nearly double the 6% you see from keeping used game sales.

I think in the end you are acting like you are smarter than everyone else, yet you fail to really work the numbers through to their full extent. Publishers aren't stupid. They are going to do what gets them the most profit, and if you look at the projected numbers, as I just gave you, the increase from not having used game sales should be larger than the increase from keeping them. Now I don't think used game sales are morally wrong. But the question is would gamers prefer used game sales or to have costs, and quality, drop back down to 2002 levels. I think in the end most gamers would choose to pay the extra money and keep the numerous quality advancements seen in the past decade.

#23 Posted by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -
@Raven10 said:

I think piracy is morally wrong. It is stealing.

/sigh
#24 Posted by Shirogane (3581 posts) -

I don't think the major problem with used games is the used games themselves, but the way that Gamestop and other retailers are treating it. The amount they profit from used games is completely crazy, and how often they'll try to get you to get the used versions instead of new ones, and other crazy stuff.

#25 Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie (1225 posts) -

I'm offended when this issue is called the used game problem. As a consumer, I have multiple purchasing options in the marketplace when it comes to buying a game I'm interested in. What's the problem? Publishers and Developers were so busy worrying about gouging console gamers up front that they failed to even consider the huge pile of money to be made after the game has been played. They're just pissed that a third party swooped in and took advantage. The bare truth is this: Developers make a new game, publishers market it, consumers buy the new game. Mission accomplished. Pubs and devs achieved what they set out to do, which is sell a product. This sense of entitlement that these guys should continue to profit on something they have already been paid for is absurd.

#26 Edited by Humanity (9879 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

@Humanity said:

Imagine not having the option to purchase anything used? Does that mean full retail price stays on a game forever? Does that mean full retail price stays on a game forever?

You mean the way it is on the PC now? You can buy Arkham Asylum on Steam for under $10 regularly. Do physical retailers in your area never drop down prices on non used games? They do in mine and in previous 2 areas I've lived. BTW: i'm not arguing for abolishment of used games market (if you read my previous posts) People (such as the OP) are frequently confusuing acceptance of online passes and DLC as a stand aginst used games sales in general.

I agree that they do drop in price but it's not as a significant drop as used games. When you go to Gamestop you can be pretty sure that if a game isn't very popular you will be able to get it real cheap a month down the line. Take for example XBOX LIVE. I would download a ton of games directly and be able to just re-get them whenever I feel like but they are asking $40 for really old titles that I can easily get for $10 elsewhere.

Steam is great and I don't know how they do it. Steam will have sales for games during their release week which is insane.

IF we abolish used games and everyone adopts the Steam business model concerning sales and bundles then I am 100% behind that move.

I have no problem supporting the developer, but just like them I'm on a budget too.

#27 Posted by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -
@Humanity said: 
 
Yep, that's actually one of the (small) negatives of used sales. They directly allow retailers such as Gamestop to keep prices up on "new" copies higher for longer.
As far as Steam goes, it's much easier for them to do it due to an incradibly smaller overhead of digital distribution. Expenses are much much lower then for physical retailers. Plus phjysical games have a minimum cost to get to shelves, manufacturing and shipping, which also limits the drop in price (until floor space is needed). 
Here's hoping Microsoft and Sony can catch up to Valve when it comes to digital distribution, both in flexibility, prices and availability in the next gen. I want a better buying experience then I have now on my PS3.
#28 Posted by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -
@Dad_Is_A_Zombie said:

I'm offended when this issue is called the used game problem. As a consumer, I have multiple purchasing options in the marketplace when it comes to buying a game I'm interested in. What's the problem? Publishers and Developers were so busy worrying about gouging console gamers up front that they failed to even consider the huge pile of money to be made after the game has been played. They're just pissed that a third party swooped in and took advantage.

So in your own words. What's the problem? They are trying to take advantage of it now, themselves instead of Gamestop. No one is taking away your option to purchase used.

The bare truth is this: Developers make a new game, publishers market it, consumers buy the new game. Mission accomplished. Pubs and devs achieved what they set out to do, which is sell a product. This sense of entitlement that these guys should continue to profit on something they have already been paid for is absurd.

Correct. If they already sold one copy to the dude who shared it afterwards online, imo they already got their profit and should fuck off.
#29 Posted by selbie (1962 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

Consoles are catching up to PC.
Ever so slowly.

PS: Also I find your Isaac Asimov quote usage disgusting.

This, on both points.

#30 Posted by hwy_61 (944 posts) -

Does anybody else feel that part of the problem is the uneducated public? Sure, people like us know about used games and what kind of effect it has, but maybe to a gamer that regularly trades in games to buy new ones doesn't know that the money isn't going to the folks who made said games.

I have a co-worker who does this pretty regularly, and one day I explained to him where his money is going. He basically responded by telling me that all he's trying to do is save money on the next new game; and if he can trade this one to knock a few bucks off of that one, then that's what he's doing.

Maybe publishers either need to create a trade in program of their own, or take serious notes from Valve.

#31 Posted by Jimbo (9938 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

So to any of the hate replies I'm sure to get for my above opinions you know where you can go as far as I'm concerned, because I buy my fair share of games and only seek out piracy as a last resort.

You quite clearly, by your own admission, don't buy your fair share of games. 'Buying your fair share of games' would entail paying for all of the games you are choosing to play. You aren't entitled to all of them because you paid for some of them, no matter how many 'some' is.

Also, pirating something simply because it isn't available on Steam is in no way at all 'piracy as a last resort'. It's piracy out of convenience or a misplaced sense of entitlement.

#32 Posted by hughesman (312 posts) -

I can only speak for myself, but everytime i sell a game on amazon i put that money directly into a new game purchase. Also, i bought a handful of games that i wasn't too sure about last year knowing i could sell them if they didn't turn out and i ended up keeping all of them. Not to mention i never actually get around to selling games until they have already been out for a year or more. Like i said i can only speak for myself, im not making any general conclusions from this but these are my personal used game practices.

#33 Edited by Sooty (8082 posts) -

I like the people that take the moral high ground against piracy but probably buy used games. In before the "but people trading in games often buy new ones!" actually no often enough they'll just trade in used for used.  Even if they traded used for new that's still putting more used games into circulation depriving others of money.
 
Me? I'm impartial. I don't care either way, please don't yell at me for calling you dirty used games buyers as bad as pirates. Buy used all you want, pirate all you want. Just don't make silly arguments for or against either of them. And no, piracy is not stealing. Stealing implies taking something away, piracy is downloading, piracy is copying files to your own machine. Yes you can make the argument it's stealing money as you're not buying the game, but that is implying the pirate was intending to purchase the game to begin with.
 
I mostly game on PC, therefore I am forced to buy new.  I fully support every game being digital resulting in the elimination of used games, I just hope the delivery methods are fair and not ludicrously priced. (like Mass Effect 2 is/was on PSN)

@hwy_61

said:

Does anybody else feel that part of the problem is the uneducated public? Sure, people like us know about used games and what kind of effect it has, but maybe to a gamer that regularly trades in games to buy new ones doesn't know that the money isn't going to the folks who made said games.

Even if they did know it's not like they'd care, heck I don't really even care. There's only a handful of developers out there I'd go out of my way to give my money.
#34 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2699 posts) -

@MB said:

This entire argument will soon be moot with a fully digital video game space looming just years away.

I'm pretty excited for this, just to shut everyone up.

#35 Posted by triple07 (1198 posts) -

Good lord I'll have to come back to this thread later when I have time to read all of these long pots!

#36 Edited by hughesman (312 posts) -

I just worry that if you take used games (and physical retail) out of the picture then prices on games will stagnate. Sure steam has sales everyday but do you really think that if microsft/sony/nintendo all ran online stores they would ever sell you Halo, Uncharted, Mario for less than 60 bucks? Maybe they would knock 10 or 20 percent off once a year, but a quick look through their digital stores and you will see games that have been on there for years still selling for the same they were day one. Don't get me wrong here im not saying im owed what they're selling but i am saying i would buy a lot fewer games. Im not sure thats what they want.

#37 Posted by Jimbo (9938 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

The only difference to the publisher between a used sale and a pirated copy is ... none.

False. Every copy involved in a used sale made them money at some point. The same cannot be said for pirate copies.

The amount of damage used sales can do is limited, because every used copy has to have first been a new copy. This means the publisher always has the opportunity to make money on the first sale of every copy. The amount of damage piracy can do is potentially unlimited, because you can have an unlimited number of pirate copies, none of which the publisher has ever made money on. This is the fundamental difference between the two practices and why one is a legally protected consumer right and why the other is illegal.

#38 Posted by Panpipe (475 posts) -

I like to start my essays by reminding the reader that they are an idiot.

#39 Edited by Tennmuerti (8173 posts) -

@Jimbo said:

@Tennmuerti said:

The only difference to the publisher between a used sale and a pirated copy is ... none.

False. Every copy involved in a used sale made them money at some point.

I can say the same about piracy. Publisher recieves money only on first copy sold in both cases.

The only difference to them is scale of distribution. A used copy can just like a pirated copy be traded multiple times too times. It's not a 1:1 of new copy to used copy. And if we are talking scale, then even tho piracy allows for much more damage per copy, the scale of sales of used games and overall sales of console titles compared to PC, brought the used sales problem to the attention of the publishers as the current number 1 issue to tackle on consoles. I'm well aware of fundamental differences between piracy and used games, don't worry. But we aren't talking legal defferences here (you are taking my statement a bit out of context). I was excplicity refering to money made by publisher during the resale transaction itself which is 0 in both cases.

And a pirate will argue that it is his right to resell his copy just as much as it is for a used game. In fact pirates did say that. The fundametal difference that allowed piracy to be made illegal (argument that was used by lawyers) is the act of creation of a duplicate copy of code, which conflicted with the laws protecting IP, not the act of resale. (after all free piracy is still illegal, not just piracy when people profit by it)

#40 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

So...who was wrong about used games? What was the You're in the title referring to?

#41 Posted by Hosstile17 (768 posts) -

Don't you guys think you are potentially exaggerating this whole issue a smidge? I buy 90% of my games new. I buy a small fraction of games, long after they have come out, used. I am not a big fan of the whole used industry. But, don't you think that 6 hour campaigns and associated $60 price tags have fostered this environment? To me, it seems like another example of "don't like/don't eat".

#42 Posted by ds8k (414 posts) -

Hi there, I play PC games. None of this is new. Welcome to 10 years ago. You get accustomed to it.

#43 Edited by Tidel (360 posts) -

@TruthTellah: Fair point re: elitism. For what it's worth it is not my intention at all to claim any sort of superiority; I don't for a second believe I am smarter than anyone. I don't equate ignorance with stupidity, either. Mostly I'm frustrated with how the industry seems to be making all these moves against a perceived threat without investigating it, problematizing it, thinking about the industry holistically. I can accept that my tone might be harsh, but I also think the content matters more than the delivery; if I've failed to get across my points clearly and just come off as a raving looney, I've done the argument and anyone who reads it a disservice. But I do feel better.

#44 Posted by Tidel (360 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

PS: Also I find your Isaac Asimov quote usage disgusting.

Why?

#45 Posted by Nasar7 (2769 posts) -

And then there are some like me, who don't by used games simply to avoid doing any sort of business with GameStop. I've said this for years: when you rent a movie, doesn't the studio get a cut of that rental fee? The video games industry needs to wise up and go after the actual perpetrator here, the huge corporation that makes billions of dollars a year through secondhand sales of their product, and not the consumer, you know, the ones actually supporting their business. But oh, that would take money and litigation and time. Easier to just pass the bill onto our customers.

#46 Posted by Jimbo (9938 posts) -

@Tennmuerti said:

@Jimbo said:

@Tennmuerti said:

The only difference to the publisher between a used sale and a pirated copy is ... none.

False. Every copy involved in a used sale made them money at some point.

I can say the same about piracy.

No, you can't. Every pirate copy did not make them money at some point.

  • For 1000 used copies to exist, there must have been at least 1000 new copies sold. There must have been at least 1000 transactions from which the publisher could make a profit.
  • For 1000 pirated copies to exist, there must have been at least 1 (/0) new copies sold. There must have been at least 1 (/0) transactions from which the publisher could make a profit.

To only look at one sale in isolation and dismiss the history of the copy involved (as publishers and certain commenters are wont to do) is to be deliberately ignorant of what seperates these two practices. This leads to people parroting stupid things like 'used games are just legalised piracy' and 'the only difference is legal'.

It's not just a legal difference: the used market by definition -even at its absolute worst- still implies a comparatively sizeable new market and an opportunity for the publisher to make money on every copy created. Even if somebody only buys used games, at least they know that every single copy they buy is a copy that, at some point, the publisher had a chance to make money on and thereby sustain themselves and the industry. The same cannot be said for those who have chosen to pirate games, which is what makes the difference between choosing to buy used and choosing to pirate not only legal but also moral.

#47 Posted by darkdragonmage99 (741 posts) -
@crusader8463:   Ok so buying a used car is just like stealing a car got it .  Man we should really arrest all those people having garage sales  stealing from all those companies.  
 
 
Did you get my point or do I have to spell it out for you?  
#48 Posted by killacam (1286 posts) -

the point made about how the money a gamer makes by selling a game ultimately goes back into buying new games only really applies when retailers like gamestop are taken out of the equation, and the transaction is carried out purely, in a gamer-to-gamer way.

developer/publishers should not be given the right to tell us gamers what we can and can't do with our purchases, but the fact that all this used-game money is going to a middle-man instead of back into the industry and its development helps no one, save for those capitalizing off of the industry's woes.

but what can be done about this this? boycotting the offending retailers seems unlikely. the vast majority of their customers have fingers nowhere near the pulse of anything pertaining to these issues. it seems the obvious solution is that a cut of all used games sales be fed back into the industry which created the games. i have no idea as to the feasibility of this, but wouldn't this keep everyone happy? publishers (and less importantly, retailers) would be getting money they otherwise wouldn't be if used games were nonexistent and gamers would still be able to scrounge every cent.

#49 Posted by theguy (796 posts) -

@Tidel said:

@Tennmuerti said:

PS: Also I find your Isaac Asimov quote usage disgusting.

Why?

It does come across as a little pompous and douchbaggy.

#50 Posted by Example1013 (4834 posts) -

@crusader8463 said:

@Grimluck343 said:

@Tennmuerti said:

No one is saying that used game market should die in a fire

GameStop can go die in a fire.

Also, super confused by people trying to compare used games to piracy. Piracy is stealing a copy of something, like a song or movie. Used games involve me going to a store and buying a disk, the "original copy," as it were. When I go to a used bookstore, no one accuses me of trying to pirate a book.

But, as was mentioned before, with everything moving towards digital distribution anyways this is all going to be a moot point.

As far as a developer is concerned there is zero difference between you pirating their game and you buying it used. The only difference is that buying used requires you to give money away so that people that feel piracy is this big evil thing that only the most corrupt/evil people in the world do can feel a peace of mind because they handed over some amount of money to someone first so that means it's ok. They both have the same end result for the developer. The only difference between the two is the public perception that it's ok to trade a game amongst friends an infinite number of times, but if that same person got a copy from a torrent that's suddenly reprehensible.

I personally know a ton of people that buy a game used, then trade it among their circle of console friends a good 5-10 times over. They each go and buy a different game they all are interested in, then cycle them amongst themselves. The only person to make anything out of that is EB Games for the initial buy of $40 and that's now 4-9 less sales that game will now see.

I'm glad kids these days are being brought up with such blatant disregard for established common laws that protect them as consumers. I can't possibly think of any way relinquishing Right of First Sale could end poorly for consumers. This is another one of those times I'm glad we don't live in a democracy.