Used Gamers Are the New Software Pirates

**NOTE: Since some people can't read, try reading the post before assuming you know it all. I am not against used games whatsoever. This is the newest crap our loyal friends at [insert company name here] is saying. Thank you for reading. Hopefully, you read this at least...
 
The  issue of used game sales has been in video game news for a bit, now with debates of whether or not it’s okay for companies to add the one-time use cards to play online. If you’re unfamiliar with this tactic, it’s a way for a company to make a profit off of used game sales by charging you to play on their servers. There’s also a card that effect multiplayer by giving new copies a DLC card that allows you to gain access to all the levels in a game.

The debates on both sides are compelling. The companies that make these games deserve to make money, which I agree. The problem is they are making money, all across the board, they’re making money. In today’s market, if they’re not breaking records with sales, then these publishers and developers (now) are saying they didn’t make enough. They’ve been attacking the industry with frustrating DRM methods, such as the PC gaming market and it’s infamous limited install DRM. But since the fake piracy scare didn’t work, they finally came out and said what’s really been eating them: used game purchasers. How dare they buy the product and get to enjoy it!

At this point, the industry is basically saying that people that buy used games are no better than software pirates. Is there a difference? Absolutely, but here’s what you’re lead to believe: If you buy a used game, you are not contributing to the pockets, much like a software pirate, who doesn’t buy it one way or the other, contributes nothing to their pockets. This, my friends, is a non sequitur in it’s finest form. Or a very stupid argument.

The difference is that while a pirate doesn’t make a purchase, and the developers/publishers never see a dime of that non-existing money. The used game purchaser may not be contributing to their wallets, but they are contributing to someone’s wallet. The bigger picture is, like any other product (and let’s not kid ourselves, video games are no different than any other product), when a game is purchased, the developers and publishers made their money on that copy. When the original user sells the copy, it doesn’t matter one bit, since the developers and publishers still made their money.

This is greed.  I just blogged about greed. Funny, another greedy subject is on hand. Does this reflect the industry. (Yes.)

Think of a used game like a used car or movie or anything else. If you buy a Blu-Ray movie, there’s a feature called Blu-Ray Live. This feature logs into servers and allows you to download special features not contained on the disc to your Blu-Ray player. If I buy my copy on Amazon, used, I still get this feature. Same with a car. If I buy a used car, the car manufacturer doesn’t deny me a warranty for my car if it’s under the original car warranty. So, again, why are we so idiotic we think these greed-bags deserve more than they deserve?

Some people buy used because the game is iffy. I don’t really rely on reviews (except my own), and there’s been a few times that relying on a review has lead to a palm-to-face expression. When I buy used, and I really enjoy the game, I usually end up buying DLC to support the game (if it’s worth it). I rarely buy used games in the first place, mainly if I missed them and just wanted to play catch up on an old game that looks interesting. But I understand why people buy used. It’s not always just money. Sometimes it’s the fact that you might end up with a shabby product and guess what: you can’t return it, so you’re just stuck with a $60 piece of crap.

A simple solution would be to allow them to do this. Allow game companies to keep their one-time download cards for new users. But give a little! Let non-server users who still want to play your game online, let them use a private server, peer to peer, LAN, anything! It’s pretty annoying to want to play an older sports title and have it blocked by “Server is offline”. This would fix that annoyance as well. Even though this is a simple solution, do you want to know the real reason they’re not going to do this? Greed. It forces you to buy the “latest and greatest” yearly.        
48 Comments
49 Comments
Posted by DryvBy
**NOTE: Since some people can't read, try reading the post before assuming you know it all. I am not against used games whatsoever. This is the newest crap our loyal friends at [insert company name here] is saying. Thank you for reading. Hopefully, you read this at least...
 
The  issue of used game sales has been in video game news for a bit, now with debates of whether or not it’s okay for companies to add the one-time use cards to play online. If you’re unfamiliar with this tactic, it’s a way for a company to make a profit off of used game sales by charging you to play on their servers. There’s also a card that effect multiplayer by giving new copies a DLC card that allows you to gain access to all the levels in a game.

The debates on both sides are compelling. The companies that make these games deserve to make money, which I agree. The problem is they are making money, all across the board, they’re making money. In today’s market, if they’re not breaking records with sales, then these publishers and developers (now) are saying they didn’t make enough. They’ve been attacking the industry with frustrating DRM methods, such as the PC gaming market and it’s infamous limited install DRM. But since the fake piracy scare didn’t work, they finally came out and said what’s really been eating them: used game purchasers. How dare they buy the product and get to enjoy it!

At this point, the industry is basically saying that people that buy used games are no better than software pirates. Is there a difference? Absolutely, but here’s what you’re lead to believe: If you buy a used game, you are not contributing to the pockets, much like a software pirate, who doesn’t buy it one way or the other, contributes nothing to their pockets. This, my friends, is a non sequitur in it’s finest form. Or a very stupid argument.

The difference is that while a pirate doesn’t make a purchase, and the developers/publishers never see a dime of that non-existing money. The used game purchaser may not be contributing to their wallets, but they are contributing to someone’s wallet. The bigger picture is, like any other product (and let’s not kid ourselves, video games are no different than any other product), when a game is purchased, the developers and publishers made their money on that copy. When the original user sells the copy, it doesn’t matter one bit, since the developers and publishers still made their money.

This is greed.  I just blogged about greed. Funny, another greedy subject is on hand. Does this reflect the industry. (Yes.)

Think of a used game like a used car or movie or anything else. If you buy a Blu-Ray movie, there’s a feature called Blu-Ray Live. This feature logs into servers and allows you to download special features not contained on the disc to your Blu-Ray player. If I buy my copy on Amazon, used, I still get this feature. Same with a car. If I buy a used car, the car manufacturer doesn’t deny me a warranty for my car if it’s under the original car warranty. So, again, why are we so idiotic we think these greed-bags deserve more than they deserve?

Some people buy used because the game is iffy. I don’t really rely on reviews (except my own), and there’s been a few times that relying on a review has lead to a palm-to-face expression. When I buy used, and I really enjoy the game, I usually end up buying DLC to support the game (if it’s worth it). I rarely buy used games in the first place, mainly if I missed them and just wanted to play catch up on an old game that looks interesting. But I understand why people buy used. It’s not always just money. Sometimes it’s the fact that you might end up with a shabby product and guess what: you can’t return it, so you’re just stuck with a $60 piece of crap.

A simple solution would be to allow them to do this. Allow game companies to keep their one-time download cards for new users. But give a little! Let non-server users who still want to play your game online, let them use a private server, peer to peer, LAN, anything! It’s pretty annoying to want to play an older sports title and have it blocked by “Server is offline”. This would fix that annoyance as well. Even though this is a simple solution, do you want to know the real reason they’re not going to do this? Greed. It forces you to buy the “latest and greatest” yearly.        
Posted by Onno10

Dam capitalist, they make 1 game, they get paid once. Stop being greedy.

Posted by dragonzord

Game developers/publishers are just getting greedier and greedier because they can. We need some kind of regulation on the industry like they have for movies. 
 
Like the stupid fucking WWE THQ guy saying if you buy a game used you cheat them. Ok, but I bet he went to college right? I bet he bought used textbooks. He cheated the textbook industry. He's a dirty, filthy thief. I'm getting tired of 'supporting' the industry that wants to fuck over everyone else at every other turn. I buy all my games new but I see the direction this is going in and how video games seem to think they should be held to a different standard than movies(even though movies can't do dlc and video games can, oh look another source of income that's abused). 
 
I can't wait for the next generation not to be able to play a game with his friend without his friend having to mail a dollar to that 'poor off' game industry

Posted by The_Laughing_Man

If they really wanna stop the sell of used games. They should program in a lock. You install the game to your system. And it can not be used again.  
 
This is just the devs being greedy. You made ONE game you will get paid for ONE game. 

Posted by scarace360

Just make everything digital and then this problem goes away its simple.

Posted by MetalGearSunny
@The_Laughing_Man said:
" You made ONE game you will get paid for ONE game.  "
Indeed.
Posted by Marcsman

Yes they are. Now walk the plank maggots.
Edited by ProfessorEss

More than anything I'm just astounded at how many gamers and game journalists have bought into the publishers' flimsy, bullshit arguments. 
 
They'll say games are over-priced, DLC is a rip-off, pre-order bonuses are unfair, day-one DLC is crooked and dishonest - but bring up used games and suddenly these same people are overcome with sympathy.
 
I have no such sympathy, and I can almost guarantee the masses siding with "the industry" will lose theirs pretty quick once they finally do solve this problem and crush used games, discounted games, rental games and borrowing from friends. We'll see the true viciousness come out once all alternative markets have been eliminated.

Posted by OneManX

If Gamestop (since that seems to be the popular) shared a percentage of the sales they get from used games, companies wouldn;t care, but since they get no cut whatsoever and gamestop makes a LOT of money off used sales, it's become a problem
 
I don't really buy games used, because the last time I did it, I got stuck with a messed up disc, so this doesn't bother me at all, when companies like EA and THQ implement online passes and one time use codes and DLC.

Posted by White_Silhouette

Next we are going to have car companies wanting money from the person who sold you a used car.

Posted by GetEveryone

Though, what it does amount to is, at least to a certain degree, copyright infringement on behalf of the seller.  
 
I have a MASSIVE problem with the resale market, but (at least for now) its here to stay.

Posted by MikkaQ

Actually, used car manufacturers can and DO make money off used sales. Honda even advertises for their certified used vehicles, and encourages it because it DOES make them money, not just by taking a chunk or selling it themselves, but also because cars need to be maintained and that costs money. Servers cost money to run and maintain too, so asking for a small amount of money (it's usually like 10$), isn't really a big deal at all. The only people it discourages are the people too cheap to buy a new game new, and just buy it at gamestop for like 5-10$ less. That's pretty lame. But if you buy a game used that you really enjoy, and payed 20-30 bucks for it, another 10 bucks isn't going to change the fact that you saved money buying it used. 

Posted by august

I need a new gamer, this one's all used up.

Posted by onyxghost

The used market is no different then swapping nes carts with friends at school. It's just that its on a much larger scale, too bad of publishers, sad face. Used copies get more games into the hands of people willing to give a franchise a try for a lower price point. Bayonetta for example, $60 for that? Hell no. I got a used copy for $15. And dispite my inital dislike of the game, I'm glad I gave it a try. I really liked it in the end. Now, if the decide to make a sequeal I'll by that new to throw money at the publisher cause now I have an affintity for their product.

Posted by Sin4profit

Used games don't interrupt the supply and demand system like pirating does. Used games; Gotta be a physical copy to buy a copy - Pirated games; One physical copy can turn into infinite copies. So yeah, that statement that used games are as bad as pirated games is pretty half assed.
 
From the company's side though, remember game rentals? i dunno about most places but it seems like the brick and border rental houses are dying out, and to my understanding rental houses had to pay a licensing fee per game which created a good amount of guaranteed income. WIthout that predefined estimate before sales even start it just slows down business practices as they have less of an idea of how much money they could actually be getting back.
 
So, no, buying used games is not as bad as pirating games. Yes, used games are an economical problem for game companies. Yes, consumers have the right to sell property that they own.
 
Solutions: New business laws and standards for used game sales, such as forcing used game sellers to have to buy some kind of licensing rights to re-sell IPs used.
Digital distribution's a sticky subject because it alienates those who don't use their systems online and also pisses off retailers so my suggestion would be to create digital rental systems where you can DL new releases onto your console but you're limited to some kind of pay to play system.

Edited by Jimbo

This analogy and this 'debate' are both fucking retarded.  
 
Used sales are a legit part of the market.  Piracy isn't.  When a publisher puts a console game on a shelf and prices it at $60, they do so in the knowledge that the purchaser is legally entitled to sell that copy on again.  The fact that you can do that has a positive effect on the price at which they can sell their game in the first place.  To some people - a lot of people - the game simply wouldn't be worth $60 if they knew they couldn't sell it.  In effect, the publishers have already been paid for all potential used sales at the first sale.  With piracy a copy is just conjured out of thin air and they never get paid for it.
 
If the publishers don't like this arrangement, then they need to enforce a EULA like PC games do (accepting the EULA is the only thing that prevents you from legally re-selling PC games).  In enforcing a EULA they need to recognize that a) they have made their product worth less money to a lot of people, because they can't sell it, and b) console gamers will hate having that hassle before being able to play their game.  Being able to just put the game in and play is a big part of why consoles became the big success story in the first place, and they'd do well to remember it.
 
You could make a case for restricting access to their multiplayer servers, as long as it isn't advertised as an inherent property of the product.  Again, they need to be careful about what they're doing with half measures like this though, because there is a large segment of the market that just doesn't give a shit about online multiplayer at all (~50% of 360 owners don't have XBL Gold).  Further, this 50% (for the most part) probably isn't the 50% that rushes out on launch day to buy a game.  So when Joe Casual Singleplayer walks into the store a week after launch and the used, SP-only version of the game is now on the shelf for ~$40 instead of the ~$50 it would have been before they restricted multiplayer, you've just made buying used instead of new a whole lot more appealing for him.  That's if they haven't confused the guy so much that he's just given up on gaming entirely.
 
Tl;dr:  I think fucking about with the functionality of used games will backfire.

Posted by Suicrat

I don't think anyone is actually saying that paying an entity for storing a game is identical to not paying for it at all. What they're saying is, the amount of value they receive from your desire to play a game is no different between downloading a ROM and buying a used disc. Sure, you were willing to give up dollars to someone, but that's not the point. It wouldn't be okay for you to rob a liquor store if you gave a mickey of rum to the homeless guy begging for change outside of it.

Someone brought up the point that piracy is turning one copy into a large of copies via torrents is fundamentally different than the value of one disc being transferred from one user to another. Well, actually, it isn't to the publisher and developer. No publisher sells through their entire inventory of any game, ever. It's quite simply, impossible. However, used game sales continue to happen while unopened copies sit on shelves or in warehouses.

But O, how horrible and greedy a company like THQ is for wanting compensation for their efforts and expenditures. They have not made it harder for their customers to enjoy their game, they've merely made it harder for the customers of used game stores to enjoy their game, and why should they feel any semblance of guilt for it?
 
I'm not going to buy their wrestling game, but I'm also not going to fault them for trying different ways of insuring that they are the ones who benefit from people's desire to play the wrestling games they spend millions of dollars and thousands of man hours to produce.

I doubt any of you would like it if a co-worker took all the credit for your work, and got a raise and a promotion instead of you because he stole your spotlight. This is the correct analogy to draw
; not developers and publishers as evil, ivory-tower-occupying money worshipers. They simply want you to recognize that the beneficiary of your desire should be the producer of the item or service that satiates the desire, not the rent-seeker who merely stores it for you before you're ready to buy it, and yes, stores like Gamestop and EB are rent-seekers all the way. If you're going to go on a rant decrying greed as evil, you shouldn't paint with such a broad brush. Greed for wealth you did not produce is one thing; demanding recognition for your effort is another thing entirely --and  I would argue it's actually the opposite.

Posted by ArchScabby

lol

Posted by StarFoxA

Okay dude, I'm only 16. I'm a student. I can't afford to buy $60 games, unless they are very good. I rely on the used market.

Posted by PrivateIronTFU

So if I have a yard sale, and sell a bunch of stuff, I guess it's okay for a representative from each of those manufacturer to demand a portion of money for stuff that was legally mine. That makes sense.

Posted by Suicrat
@PrivateIronTFU: The sentiments behind sardonic statements as that are going to lead to EULAs on the front end of every console video game.
Posted by Stonyman65

News flash: Producers are greedy.    Thank you Activision, Ubisoft!

Posted by PrivateIronTFU
@Suicrat: Yeah, that makes even more sense.
Posted by Suicrat
@PrivateIronTFU: I'm not saying it makes sense, but if more and more people start embracing the mistaken belief that they own any of the games in their collection, publishers' lawyers are going to start reminding them that they don't.
Posted by xyzygy

If buying used games is piracy, so is borrowing a game from a friend. You're still getting the full experience of the actual game. 
 
Most of my game purchases are used simply because I cannot afford 60 dollar games all the time, plus, where the hell do you find new copies of older games? Surely not anywhere I live around. The only way to get a hold of these games are at the used games wall.

Posted by LordXavierBritish

I think the bigger issue here is not that used games don't give the developer money, but usually give Gamestop money. 
 

GIVING GAMESTOP MONEY IS BAD

Posted by dragonzord
@LordXavierBritish said:
" I think the bigger issue here is not that used games don't give the developer money, but usually give Gamestop money. 
 

GIVING GAMESTOP MONEY IS BAD

"
Necessary evil. 
 
We lost Gamestop we lose the only video game focused brick and mortar store. Play N Trade isn't going to suddenly get huge.
Posted by MysteriousBob

All I can say is this- 
 
The OP is a dick. Try living in a country where you have to pay twice as much for games. As a student. Screw you. Wealthy idiots like you are the reason EA and Activison feel they can charge whatever the hell they want.

Edited by mylifeforAiur
@StarFoxA said:

"Okay dude, I'm only 16. I'm a student. I can't afford to buy $60 games, unless they are very good. I rely on the used market. "


This (except I'm 19) ^^  New game are $100 here, there's just no way that I could afford that :I
Posted by BraveToaster

Most games aren't worth any price imo. There are several games out there that required a lot of time and money to create, and they still turn out to be complete shit. I don't know how many games that I've sent back to Gamefly after an hour of playing; I can't believe they were worth $50-60. 
 
If they want to charge $10 for a used game activation, that's fine with me. They'll find out soon enough that many gamers aren't falling for their bullshit.

Posted by jonnyboy

All buy most of my games used. Until the law says that it's no longer legal to do this, they can fuck off.

Edited by Lemoncookie01

I don't have the money to buy a new game every month.

Posted by cartvader

I think the problem that the gaming companies are facing is that they are seeing costs of making games rise and their bottom line is dropping.  On the flip side the situation GameStop is reporting large profits.  I don't blame them for wanting a piece of the pie.  I'm not a fan of GameStop (and I don't think that $5 or less difference between new & used is enough of an incentive) so I don't buy my used games from them and tend to avoid other large used game sellers because I would rather the profits go to the publisher/developer rather than going to GameStop.  Thankfully it is a choice that we make.

Posted by DryvBy
@scarace360 said:
" Just make everything digital and then this problem goes away its simple. "
No, it doesn't Sony is planning on this for the future. Lemme tell you what this causes. Price hikes. Relying on servers to keep up with your games. (Hope you never get hacked and banned!).
 
Did you know some older XBLA titles that you may already have bought you cannot download anymore because they're not on the server? Welcome to not being in control of YOUR purchase.
Posted by scarace360
@DryvBy: Was that supposed to deter me. and look at steam if they implement it like valve did everything will be fine.
Posted by Synthballs
@StarFoxA said:

" Okay dude, I'm only 16. I'm a student. I can't afford to buy $60 games, unless they are very good. I rely on the used market. "

This. Replace "16" with "21" and "student" with "bum". and "$60" with "AU$110". 
 
The reason I mainly buy Pre-Owned comes down to this 
  
Your $60 game in Australia costs us AU$110, the bullshit thing being that with the exchange rate, your games are only worth AU$65, yet we're stuck paying through the arse. I'd much rather wait a few months and get it at a reasonable price then being bent over and fucked.    
Posted by PercyChuggs

I play all the games I want; I spend $25 a month to rent them. I must be WORSE than the used game buyers!

Posted by StarFoxA
@Synthballs: It's really pretty depressing how pretty much every country except America gets screwed over in nearly every aspect (expensive games/tech, no Hulu/Netflix, etc).
Posted by sins_of_mosin

So if a pirate buys his games off the streets, he is giving his money to someone.  So in your logic, thats ok then?
 
Fact is, the dev and pub do not get any money from a used game sale which is the same as a pirate.  You can not get past that basic point.  Paying the scum at gamestop or the scum at the corner.... either way you are helping scum.

Posted by Everyones_A_Critic
But it's cheaper!!!
Posted by StarFoxA
@sins_of_mosin said:
" So if a pirate buys his games off the streets, he is giving his money to someone.  So in your logic, thats ok then?  Fact is, the dev and pub do not get any money from a used game sale which is the same as a pirate.  You can not get past that basic point.  Paying the scum at gamestop or the scum at the corner.... either way you are helping scum. "
Except for one crucial point. As a pirate, you're doing nothing to contribute to the economy of video games. When purchasing from GameStop or a similar retailer, you create increased demand for the game you purchased, causing GameStop to buy more copies of the game from the publisher (or increasing the price of the used game and trade-in values), thus stimulating the economy. By purchasing used games, you aren't equated to a pirate, that's a completely ridiculous (and entirely fallacious) stance to take.
Posted by Synthballs
@StarFoxA said:
" @Synthballs: It's really pretty depressing how pretty much every country except America gets screwed over in nearly every aspect (expensive games/tech, no Hulu/Netflix, etc). "
Australia especially though. Internet is shitty. Although, people keep on talking about how bad game censorship is in Australia, i've heard it's worse in places like Germany. Apparently the germans have a history with violence. Who knew?
Posted by DryvBy
@MysteriousBob: Did you even read this blog? This isn't me saying "used games are the same as pirates". That's what devs and publishers are basically saying. NOT me. Read next time. :D
Posted by DryvBy
@scarace360: 
I prefer the choice of not being under the ropes of any company. Owning the product verses owning it on a server is completely different.
 
We don't know if Steam will be around in 10 years. That's how this thing works. And in 10 years, I might want to go back and play the 100s of games I bought on Steam. I didn't buy them just to look at...
Posted by Andorski
@sins_of_mosin said:
" So if a pirate buys his games off the streets, he is giving his money to someone.  So in your logic, thats ok then?  Fact is, the dev and pub do not get any money from a used game sale which is the same as a pirate.  You can not get past that basic point.  Paying the scum at gamestop or the scum at the corner.... either way you are helping scum. "
Pirate produced another copy, meaning he still has the game (to reproduce and sell) and the buyer has the game (to play).  I always define piracy as the reproduction of one's material work.  Buy a game and then sell it to someone, you forfeit your ability to play said game.  Why is it that game developers/publishers get a slice of that transaction?
Posted by scarace360
@DryvBy: Well sir if that is your argument good day and if you dont like what steam is doing then dont buy anything on it.
Posted by iam3green

no, i don't think so. i think it is just companies wanting more money because some people buy used games. the only time that i buy used games are if the game is sold out or the game is old. there are some old games that don't have any online play because of how old it is. it is kind of stupid of developers want more money from used games but some games don't have online play because nobody plays it anymore.

Posted by MrKlorox

Yup. But this blog is 3+ years too late. Used gamers have been the new pirates for some time now.

Posted by Suicrat
@StarFoxA said:
" @Synthballs: It's really pretty depressing how pretty much every country except America gets screwed over in nearly every aspect (expensive games/tech, no Hulu/Netflix, etc). "
You call it screwing over other countries, while the elite of those other countries would call it escaping American hegemony.