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?


- 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?