The Used Games Industry

One or Two Separate Beasts?

 
I've been a strong supporter of the used games market, both vocally and walletly, for a long, long time (my copy of Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, 1993, was used). When I say I'm a supporter I mean a purchasing supporter. I very, very rarely trade-in or sell my games personally but at least half my collection were second-hand purchases. I've always believed that a videogame like a music CD, book or a car becomes your property upon purchase to do what you wish with.

As we all know the videogame industry is fighting the used games market tooth and nail. Throughout the battle I've stood my ground calling bullshit on the industry. Lately however I realized maybe we're talking about different used games markets?

I never have and never will purchase a used game for anything more than 34.99 (well, maybe 39.99 in an extreme case), and it's typically at least six months after it's release. These are games that I'm either going to get for this price or I just won't end up bothering with.

So what I've been wondering is this: When the "videogame industry" cries foul on the used game industry are they strictly concerned with the Gamestop style of new releases priced 5 dollars less than a brand new copy? Or are they including the market I'm more interested in, that being getting a 6-12 month old title for 10 to 30 bucks?

I've spent a lot of money on games, both new and used. If I was only permitted to buy games new I wouldn't have spent anymore money I would just have less games. If I decide the game is worth full price I'll buy it new, if I decide a game is only worth 30 bucks to me, I'm just not gonna pay 60 - regardless of a lack of other options.

The obvious solution from the industry's point of view is Digital Distribution? Not only does that kill the used game market, it also kills the dreaded "borrow from friends" and rental markets. This leaves the consumer with one choice, pay full price or don't play. But will this really raise sales (or profits if you will) to these new heights that they envision? Or will only really serve to increase piracy and reduce the market?

TL:DR?


- Is the "videogame industry" only trying to combat the Gamestop style of new releases priced 5 dollars less than a brand new copy? Or are they including the 6-12 month old title for 10 to 30 bucks market?
- Will digital distribution solve the issue or only serve to shrink the industry as a whole and increase piracy?
6 Comments
6 Comments
Edited by ProfessorEss

One or Two Separate Beasts?

 
I've been a strong supporter of the used games market, both vocally and walletly, for a long, long time (my copy of Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle, 1993, was used). When I say I'm a supporter I mean a purchasing supporter. I very, very rarely trade-in or sell my games personally but at least half my collection were second-hand purchases. I've always believed that a videogame like a music CD, book or a car becomes your property upon purchase to do what you wish with.

As we all know the videogame industry is fighting the used games market tooth and nail. Throughout the battle I've stood my ground calling bullshit on the industry. Lately however I realized maybe we're talking about different used games markets?

I never have and never will purchase a used game for anything more than 34.99 (well, maybe 39.99 in an extreme case), and it's typically at least six months after it's release. These are games that I'm either going to get for this price or I just won't end up bothering with.

So what I've been wondering is this: When the "videogame industry" cries foul on the used game industry are they strictly concerned with the Gamestop style of new releases priced 5 dollars less than a brand new copy? Or are they including the market I'm more interested in, that being getting a 6-12 month old title for 10 to 30 bucks?

I've spent a lot of money on games, both new and used. If I was only permitted to buy games new I wouldn't have spent anymore money I would just have less games. If I decide the game is worth full price I'll buy it new, if I decide a game is only worth 30 bucks to me, I'm just not gonna pay 60 - regardless of a lack of other options.

The obvious solution from the industry's point of view is Digital Distribution? Not only does that kill the used game market, it also kills the dreaded "borrow from friends" and rental markets. This leaves the consumer with one choice, pay full price or don't play. But will this really raise sales (or profits if you will) to these new heights that they envision? Or will only really serve to increase piracy and reduce the market?

TL:DR?


- Is the "videogame industry" only trying to combat the Gamestop style of new releases priced 5 dollars less than a brand new copy? Or are they including the 6-12 month old title for 10 to 30 bucks market?
- Will digital distribution solve the issue or only serve to shrink the industry as a whole and increase piracy?
Posted by fwylo

I would say that their main argument is against the still new "used" games market when the places like gamespot will only give you 40 bucks for a new trade in, then end up making 20 dollars off of a game when they sell it used.  And in some cases now being used and not even having the full release content including download codes or whatever.  
 
The older used titles is a tough call though.  Even though prices are dropped they are not dropped to the same degree.  The industry is obviously still arguing that area of games but it is much harder to validate then when there is no way to compare with the amount of price drop that the used games are going to have to drop.  
 
I buy all my games new and it must be a hard copy.  Maybe i'm slightly oldschool like that but I like the idea of having a disc with it just in case.  But I also don't buy many games that I know I'm not going to get replay value out of.  If I'm only going to play through it once I'd rather just borrow it from a friend.  So I have no idea where I stand on the industry's argument.  Games should have enough replay value that you aren't paying 6 dollars an hour to play a game.  Game like the first MW which had strength in both its single and multiplayer campaign are what I want to see more of.  A game that was fun to replay in single player and also easy to sink days of multiplayer time to.  But I understand its hard to give multiplayer to all games to make it fresh and exciting every time.  I guess you have to have a single player that is awesome enough to make up for it.
 
I can't speak for everyone else obviously, but digital distribution has no effect on the industry for me.

Posted by iam3green

just something off my head. i don't want to see consoles become digital. PC, steam is another thing because u can backup the games on a disc. consoles u can't do that and can't write anything from it.  xbox live for xbox 1 just went offline. this is an example of something like that happening. if they did go digital than a lot of times in the future it would go offline.
 
i think that they are more bitching about the new used games. i would rather pay the extra $5 for a new game than used. i find a lot of times at my gamestop the disc are scratched a lot. there are some weird peopel out there that want to buy used for $5 off.

Posted by Sparky_Buzzsaw

Just thought you'd like to know that this blog got a shout-out over on my own blog.  I thought it was one of the best blogs I've read in a couple of weeks.
Moderator
Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie

I'm a big used game buyer myself. If digital distribution becomes the standard I'll simply buy less games for find another hobby. If the gaming industry thinks they can force me to do anything they are sadly mistaken.

Posted by MikkaQ

Being super adamant on hard copies of games and whatnot, I don't know why but on a whim I opened up a steam account (always borrowed a friend's before that for CS:S), and immediately I spend like 30-40 bucks on games I won't play more than once, I think. They're good games and all, but I dunno. The hard copy is a lot more attractive to play, it's on the shelf right there, instead of opening my computer, then steam. But Steam makes it more attractive to buy... everytime I log on, I look to see what I can blow 10-20 bucks on. And I often do. Digital distribution is the realistic future of video games, but I don't know if I'm a big fan. Still very much on the fence. I do however, LOVE it for indie games and XBLA/PSN type stuff. Maybe there's room for a balance. Full games on disc, small games on download services. I'd like that. I like how steam and other services created that market for small cheap games. 
 
As for used stuff, I think the industry would be very happy to see ALL used markets go down, regardless of price, but I also agree that buying the old games for like 30 bucks is ripping off the developers less than buying a 60$ game used for 55$.