Microsoft's Attack On Used Game Sales Asks Customers To Sacrifice Their Rights To Save An Industry

from the industry-is-not-responding.-kill-process? dept

As Microsoft stumbles towards the eventual release of the Xbox One (an all-in-one console apparently aimed at replacing all of your entertainment devices with a sleek black box equipped with eyes, ears and a frustrating inability to fire up a secondhand game without tossing some cash Points into the tollbooth), gamers (for the most part) have expressed their irritation and disbelief, even going so far as to call on Sony to not eff up the next Playstation with the same sort of purposefully limited feature set.

But, this intentional limitation does have its supporters within the gaming community. One of them is Ben Kuchera, who penned an editorial in support of the new Xbox over at Penny Arcade. He argues that this combination of account lock-in and elimination of used games will be a net win for most gamers, who will presumably enjoy some sort of trickle down effect from game developers.

GameStop may not be able to aggressively hawk used games for $5 less than the new price to customers under these new controls, which is great if you’re a developer or publisher. Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold, and as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.

Yes, that’s a possibility. But I would imagine it’ll take a few years before new releases start hitting the market on day one for less than $60, especially if Sony goes the other way and keeps secondhand gaming alive. Kuchera also suggests that Xbox may feature more Steam-esque bundles and faster price cuts, presumably because killing the secondhand market will flood game developers with price experimentation-type money. He could be right, but (again) I don’t see this developing the near future.

But here’s where Ben goes wrong.

It needs to be made clear, if all the studio closings and constant lay-offs haven’t made this explicit: The current economics of game development and sales are unsustainable. Games cost more to make, piracy is an issue, used-games are pushed over new, and players say the $60 cost is too high. Microsoft’s initiatives with the Xbox One may solve many of these issues, even if we grumble about it. These changes ultimately make the industry healthier.

Microsoft wants consumers to buy discs but come away with nothing more tangible than licenses when all is said and done. This push has been in the making for several years, with the PC gaming market leading the way. Of course, you can still buy the discs (and resell them — if anyone’s buying) but services like Steam have paved the way for gamers to load their hard drives up with bright, shiny licenses, and not much else. For many, the convenience is a decent trade-off. For others, the speedy application of price cuts makes giving up the right of first sale a little less painful. But Ben’s arguing that we, the public, should willingly give up another chunk of our rights in order to help bail out an industry. Is that what we really want?

In a brilliant response to both Ben Kuchera and another commenter in the Neogaf discussion thread (who maintains that the “detrimental effects” of used game harm the gaming industry), faceless007 argues that we don’t.

You admit you only hold this view because of the detrimental effects (you think) are impacting the industry. You are asserting that a fundamental aspect of property rights and consumer rights as it has existed since the beginning of trade should be adjusted and recodified on a per-industry basis, not because it’s inherently bad or unethical, but just because you think it’s a threat to the industry’s health. Which means you are essentially arguing for protectionism for corporations–consumers are free to exercise their consumer rights only up to a certain point, but if that free exercise is perceived to threaten the viability of the industry, then their rights must be limited in order to save the industry.

It’s one thing to see an industry mouthpiece tout the “benefits” (which, for the consumer, are often “limitations”) of replacing the right of sale with digital license boilerplate full of phrases warning that everything in the “agreement” could change at any given time. We expect that from those who directly benefit by removing or severely limiting the secondhand market. It’s rather galling to hear affected customers arguing for the health of an industry over their own rights.

But faceless007 isn’t done and turns on the industry itself, taking it to task for its self-inflicted inability to flourish in a market that it endlessly exploits to the nth degree.

The industry does not come first; consumers do. I have no sympathy for an industry that cannot properly stumble its way around a viable secondhand market like every other mature industry in the world… If this industry can’t find a way to make money off the primary market — even with DLC and exclusive pre-order content and HD re-releases and map packs and online passes and annualized sequels and “expanding the audience” and AAA advertising and forced multiplayer — then, if I may be so blunt, fuck it. It doesn’t deserve our money in the first place.

If an entire industry has its head so far up its ass, is so focused on short-term gains, and has embraced such a catastrophically stupid blockbuster business model in the pursuit of a stagnant market of hardcore 18-34 dudebros that it thinks it has no choice but to take away our first-sale rights as its last chance of maybe, finally, creating a sustainable stream of profits, then it can go to hell. It doesn’t need your protection, it needs to be taken out back and beaten until it remembers who its real masters are.


There are many industries that love having customers but actively hate granting them the control to resell their purchases. It pains them to watch money change hands without taking a bit off the top.

Look at the recording industry. It likes licenses for music on platforms like iTunes. Digital means a lower distribution cost. But it still handles each sale like a physical CD — at least when it comes to paying their artists. The end format is malleable for those who control it. Want to sell your purchased mp3s? Sorry. It’s just a license. Looking for your larger license royalty? Sorry. It’s a CD.

The motion picture industry is no better. Please jump through our DRM hoops and get your entertainment through our portals… until these shut down and you are the only one getting screwed. Why? Because the industry won’t make it if it can’t find the next $200-400 million to throw into holes like “John Carter” and “Green Lantern.”

Do we really need more examples? We need to pay more for games in order to save an industry that’s done things like hand customers a fully, purposefully broken SimCity and then spent the next several weeks denying every contradictory fact gamers dug up? Microsoft may get more developers on board by promising them they’ll never have to “lose” a sale to Gamestop again, but if this is the only sustainable route, then the gaming industry has problems that run much deeper than used game sales. If the Xbox is the “new way,” then purchasers are paying for the privilege of being victimized by an industry that wants its customers to pay for its bad habits.

The game industry thrived for years alongside a secondhand market. If it can’t make it now, it has no one to blame but itself.

Filed Under: , , , ,
Companies: microsoft

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Microsoft's Attack On Used Game Sales Asks Customers To Sacrifice Their Rights To Save An Industry”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jeremy2020 (profile) says:

I’m eager to watch the sales of EA sports franchises dry up when people can’t trade them back in…If this industry wants to shoot itself in the foot, let them.

All the idiocy about how the lack of used games will cause price cuts is dumb. There’s people who complain about people who use Steam don’t buy new games when they’re released because they wait for the price cut.

The industry needs to be taken out back and beaten.

Manabi (profile) says:

Re: Re:

All the idiocy about how the lack of used games will cause price cuts is dumb. There’s people who complain about people who use Steam don’t buy new games when they’re released because they wait for the price cut.

And you can bet that if they succeed in killing the used market and it’s no longer there to use as the whipping boy, they’ll be turning on Steam and its sales next. Prices won’t go down, there will always be some new excuse.

Strafe says:

Re: Re: Re:

I was thinking the same thing. The copyright industry as a whole is infamous for making bad choices and being wasteful. Instead of streamlining their industry and acting smarter, they’d rather throw consumers under the bus just so they can continue status quo. I’m praying consumers, not just the core gamers, are smart enough to see through this and hold onto their dollars.

Don’t forget the Kinect 2.0 in this either. Who wants to pay for an always on, always connected high definition camera plus microphone that is watching and listening to you and your family at all times? One that can monitor your heart rate, your emotions, and even charge your credit card accordingly depending on how many people are watching a video? These are the facts, what we know for certain. What we don’t know is whether it can be disabled via software. If the Kinect must remain connected for the Xbox One to work even after turning it off via the menu, you can count me out. Whomever decides to trust Microsoft and the game publishers is a damn fool in my book.

Tiernoc says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The hell with the ability to shut it off via software, if the new Kinect is integrated physically to the Xbox One I want a way to disable it PHYSICALLY.

I value my family’s privacy. I am not interested in Microsoft’s assurances that they’ll only use this power for good.

When the FBI / CIA can get court approvals for a cellphone software hack that turns on the microphone and camera and sends the feed out remotely, I’m sure that it won’t be long before we’re reading about that hacker in China who plugged himself into some family’s Xbox and started spying on people (or heaven forbid, our own government doing it).

DCX2 says:

Re: Re:

Ha, they’re just working around price cuts.

Case in point: Borderlands 2. About a month or two ago, it went from $60 to $40. Then Steam had a sale, and it was down to like $14 or something like that.

Notably, the DLC was NOT on sale. If you aren’t aware…BL2 has a TON of DLC. I think they wanted to one-up THQ regarding Saints Row the Third.

Anyway, just the costume DLCs for the characters is $15. Yeah, that’s right – just the costumes cost more than the game on sale. To buy all the DLC, so you get new maps and new characters and new guns and such, you’ll need more than $60 – AFTER buying the game!

In other words, the game is not done. I refuse to buy a half-finished product and I refuse to support these kinds of shenanigans. I will wait for the Game of the Year edition before I even consider buying BL2.

Pitabred (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Being Borderlands 2 is a game I play quite a bit, I have a strong opinion here:

BL2 is done. The base game has a very complete story, TONS of costumes and heads, all included, and they keep it updated and well patched. The DLC for Borderlands 2 is just that… extra content you can download. More characters with new skills and play styles, more areas and stories to play. Nothing required to enjoy the base game. There’s no requirement to get it, not even to play with other people who do have the various other characters and costumes and such.

There are many companies that do DLC to nickle and dime you to a complete game. Gearbox and BL2 are not an instance of that.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Gamer

I know, I’m going on a tangent but you brought up Borderlands…

I hate it for what it did. It’s the epitome of what’s wrong with the video game industry. I think it relied too heavily on bad writing, horrible plagiarism, and the concept that players merely want more loot.

This is why Diablo 3 failed.

But I’ll talk about that in a minute.

Borderland 2’s gorillion problems explains the plagiarism. They stole EVERYTHING about that game and I hope people see why if they watch the video. But even in the first, I couldn’t put my finger on exactly what happened with the game. I just didn’t have fun with it. I was a mercernary that didn’t care about the characters, the setting was too barren, and in the end, I just felt like there was nothing to compel me to really pick up the second one. Having watched the second one, I just felt that the story and narrative was just horrible with one dimensional characters willing to betray their souls depending on the context.

But to watch them screw over developers and other people that you took the game from? Really?

Now let me get into Diablo…

You want to know why Diablo 3 failed? It wasn’t just DRM. They thought the game was about loot. It’s the same problem as Borderlands 3. Play the game and you don’t have that environmental horror feel that you get from the first two games. I was scared of the Butcher in the first game. You saw that he was an evil demon willing to kill you. Look at him in the third game. He’s introduced like a pro wrestler. The environment is lighter and you just don’t feel like he’s that big of a deal. Sure, the game’s polished to all hell, but you just don’t have that terror of the demons that you did in the first few games.

And that’s the problem. We have sequels that just don’t have that heart in them. They give people what a focus group wants but not what we, the gamers, want.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I love how you say “base game”. That is an open admission that it’s not the whole game.

It used to be that you’d beat a game and you’d get new costumes or a new playable character or a new game mode. Now they want you to pay for it, piece by piece.

No thanks. I’ll wait for GOTY edition on >60% off sale, just like I did with the original Borderlands, so that I can buy the whole game once it is complete.

Tim Griffiths (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The question is simple, would the content have been in the game and would the game be sold at the same price if it wasn’t being sold as DLC? The answer is largely ‘no’ in a lot of cases, there is limited time and budget to make a game and that has to be balanced with potential returns. Developers can now afford to keep a content production cycle going, rather than starting a new cycle for an expansion or a totally new game, because they can expect a return. Simply saying “dlc should have been in the base game” is completely ignoring the economic realities.

Talking of which you are also discounting that possibility that because devs can now sell a lot of stuff that used to be “unlocks” as DLC after the game has come out, often using what would otherwise be down time for content creators during the QA to do so, they don’t have to spend as much main development time on these items which could mean more actual content or more polish in the actual game.

Some DLC is exploitative money grubbing but it’s not inherently a bad thing.

Pitabred (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The “base game” has a complete story that’s cohesive and complete. The DLC are additional stories that you can play through, and not required to enjoy the base story.

You of course don’t care about that distinction. You probably also think that Tolkein was a scheming bastard because he wrote 4 separate books, instead of one “whole” one.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re:

People obviously forget all of the claims the industry has made and we can use EA as the quintessential example.

When EA was created, the problem was competition. They bought different studios and got larger as a result and created a retail publishing monopoly. Games suffered under them because they worried more about budgets and focus groups than they did unique games that appealed to various consumers.

As they got larger, they began to find reasons to make customers buy more of their games. High prices, DRM, codes to input, you name it.

So then they get competition in Steam. And Steam escapes their notice. Meanwhile, EA gets larger and larger, dominating the retail space and games suffer under them. They release their sports franchises and gain monopolies on all sports titles.

But they can’t conquer the digital space that Steam and GoG now supply. What do they do? Push out Origin. They push out an inferior product that takes your data and sells it for even more money and ads while making the price of the games the exact same $60 price tag. They have no distribution to worry about, no overhead, just put up good games.

Yet the price is still the same.

How about modding tools for games? Won’t even try to get consumers to become their best creators. Instead, there’s only one way they think and that’s to get your wallet.

Then they implement more DRM, more intrusive access to your data, and more crap that people don’t want.

EA, quite frankly, is just trying to control a market that no one wants. Give them enough rope to hang themselves. It’s time for them to fail really hard.

That One Guy (profile) says:

That sounds familiar...

‘Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold, and as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.’

So, correct me if I’m wrong, but that sounds remarkably like the idea behind ‘trickle down economics’, can someone remind me how well that system works for anyone not at the top?

Seriously, anyone who buys they idea that if publishers suddenly don’t have to compete against used sales they will lower their prices is either unbelievably naive, incredibly optimistic, or both.

silverscarcat says:

Re: That sounds familiar...

The RIAA promised us that once cassettes were gone and CDs, which were cheaper to make, became the norm, the price of CDs, which were superior to cassettes, would drop from 17.99 a CD (cassettes were 14.99) down to probably somewhere around 14.99

What happened after cassettes were abolished?

CDs went from 17.99 to anywhere from 21.99 to, in most cases, 24.99.

Yeah, there’s no way that they won’t increase prices without used games.

hell, I bet that if used games disappeared tomorrow, it would be a month, at most, before games started to come out at 70 USD, and then later 80 USD and topping off at around 100 USD.

They’re already that high in the EU and Australia after all.

Atkray (profile) says:

Re: Re: That sounds familiar...

The price will always be whatever the market will bear.
When those who do not buy $60 games (instead buying $30 used games) are driven out of the market those who used to sell their $60 games to get an extra $20 to buy a new game will buy fewer games.

Because those willing to buy a game for $60 now are buying fewer games the game studios will point at a convenient boogeyman and raise their prices.

Sony will follow Microsoft on this because it is the game studios driving these requirements.

If you want to kill this type of activity the don’t buy their products. But more importantly show them you will buy something else. Even if it isn’t comparable, buy one of the new open source gaming consoles and get your friends to buy it too.

varagix says:

Re: Re: Re: That sounds familiar...

Doesn’t that ‘something else’ already exist, in the form of indy titles and deep-cut Steam sales? I mean, we’re not talking about Games Workshop selling bits of plastic to a very niche market here. Video gaming is ‘mainstream’ with lots of competition. Raising their prices will just result in people buying something else and guaranteeing the company will go out of business.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: That sounds familiar...

See, I’d be more than happy to give that money to the Humble Indie Bundles. Let’s see, $60 for one game, or $60 for five or six?

That is a no-brainer, folks. And even if you already own those games, you can give them to other people, either through Steam or by sending a friend the link to the HMB.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 That sounds familiar...

Too bad in 1984, my father was making $13 an hour as a general laborer, doing the same job today I can make $9-10 an hour.

So if $8 in 1984 is roughly equivalent to $18 today, yet pay rates have stagnated if not dropped, then the CD actually costs us more to buy today than it did previously.

Strafe says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Another thing I’m worried about is games I’ve purchased via Xbox Live. How long until the servers are shut down, like MS did with the original Xbox (and their music service IIRC)? I do my best to avoid this method of buying games, but it’s not always possible. For example I just paid for Metro 2033 on the Xbox 360 because I couldn’t find a physical copy to buy. This worry is why I’m trying to figure out how to backup and restore stuff on my console right now (no luck yet).

Having to switch to another Xbox 360 a few years ago was a pain too. I was able to transfer everything over easy enough using the data cable they provide, but everything purchased online up to that point will no longer work for anyone unless I’m logged on. One arcade game won’t even work at all. I dread how much worse problems like this are going to get given where the industry seems to be headed.

What really concerned me recently is Adobe and their Creative Cloud. Are we heading into a future where we no longer own anything? Where everything is rented and if we stop paying the monthly fee, it stops working? I can see the game industry doing the same some day, especially given the method Microsoft is using to stop secondhand use. Hopefully governments will step in to regulate stuff like this before it gets too out of hand.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Even DRM free stuff does not allow you to legally resell it, so…good luck with that!

I’m guesing you’re referring to the Vernor/Autodesk ruling.

While you’re right in one respect – that only applies to software that includes license terms forbidding you from reselling it. Software that does not include that term is still perfectly legal to resell. (And frankly, even when it includes it, is effectively unenforceable anyway.)

PopeyeLePoteaux says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

  • Doom 3 (2004) + Resurrection of Evil (2005)
  • Quake 4 (2005)
  • Warcraft III (2002) + Expansion (2003)
  • Dungeon Siege II (2005)+ Broken World Expansion (2006)
  • Unreal Tournament 2003 (2002) & 2004 (2004 duh)
  • Unreal II: The Awakening (2003)

    Shall I continue?

    Check wikipedia for their release dates, those games are from last decade.

    I’ve played those games among others, some of them bought used, and I can resell them legally after using them.

    Try again.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Reselling the games is what we give up for low prices and convenience.

This is an acceptable trade off.

If they don’t want to give us those prices, we have ALOT of other options for spending our time and money that is only a click away.

So no, we don’t have the problems console gamers have. Perpetually full price junk that you can’t resell and cant mod and wont be patched.

Pseudonym (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

This is an acceptable trade off.

On behalf of console gamers, I agree. That’s why we like the current console economy, for the most part.

Having said that, I think that what I really want is the ability to use a console controller with a PC. For non-point-and-click games, playing with a mouse and keyboard sucks, and doesn’t scale to more than one person sharing a couch.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

That would be interesting to see, actually, if only to force a proper distinction between licensing and purchasing. If the court found that players are only accessing a licence for the games, then any such digital “sales” should then be banned from being called a sale and referred to as a license or rental in all advertising and documentation. If it’s a sale, then there should be no reason why Steam couldn’t allow a resale of an account if not offer a transfer to a different account.

It’s none of Steam’s business who in the physical world accesses that account, as long as it’s not done via fraud and the original owner removes their copies of the games (something their DRM could conceivably force).

Andrew F (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Vernor v Autodesk. The theory is that the game manufacturer is “licensing” the game to you and not selling it. The metaphor is like this: If I sell my house to you, I can’t stop you from reselling to someone else. But if I lease my house to you, I can stop you from subleasing.

That said, the obvious argument is that software licensing is nothing like renting physical property. The point of renting something is that you eventually give it back. For the most part, a lot of software developers who are “licensing” the software don’t realistically expect you to return the software when you’re done playing with it.


Re: Re: Re:4 Way to take something out of context.

Except that case wasn’t about shrinkwrap software at all.

It involved the kind of software that is common in business use but is nearly unheard of for consumers. It involved an actual contract negotiated by both parties and agreed to by the buyer in advance of receiving the product.

Strafe says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

It’s been my experience that the game companies don’t care if one CD key has been seen on several different IP addresses. The point of them is to prevent mass use by many thousands. Banning a key seen on only a few IP address is actually dangerous. A lot of people travel and take their game with them after all.

A different IP address never automatically equals the game has changed hands. Most games made over the last decade don’t even phone home, they just require an authentic CD in the drive and CD key in order to run. It’s only over the past several years that online activation has become more prevalent with games, with always connected being a more recent addition (Sim City 3 & Diablo 3 for example).

If people are willing to overlook the silly legal aspect of it, they can always use a cracked EXE with the game they’ve purchased and then sell it later with it’s unused CD key. Not a whole lot game publishers can do about that, and even if they could I doubt a court would care when the game in question has been legally paid for. It’s doubtful this type of license agreement would stand up in court either. Given the details of the Autodesk ruling, it most likely wouldn’t apply here.

out_of_the_blue says:

If possible, corporations will monetize anything.

This is hardly surprising. Computers enable much more copyright protection and other unwanted “interaction” to extract more money. You Luddites want technology to stand still when you believe it in your interests. But if were possible with books a century ago, it’d all be settled now.

I’m curious why you kids believe that paying for a license to play a game means that license goes with the media, forever. You don’t literally buy the game, you know. You’re only paying rent for a license. If you simply adjust your notions to license terms, this is obvious and you won’t be jarred when find it in practice.

Now, whether corporations are extorting you here is easy: they are not. Just don’t buy under those conditions. But always the premise underlying these gamer rants is the apparently maniacal compulsion that you MUST play games.

Anonymous Coward says:

I thought it was already well-known that Ben Kuchera is a clown whose opinions on the games industry are based entirely on the voices he hears in his head after eating too many lead paint chips in one sitting.

Games journalism is atrocious all around, but Kuchera takes it to a new level, almost an art form of incompetence.

ScytheNoire (profile) says:

Worked for PCs

PC gaming haven’t had used games for a long-time and it’s seen unprecedented growth and sales success. It’s booming without a used games market. There’s more developers than ever, with a huge indie industry. With delivery platforms like Steam, which offer easy purchases, easy game management, and great sales, it’s been going great. And with services like GoG which offer older games DRM-free for low prices, no worries about not finding older games. Plus, it’s been killing off the PC gaming piracy.

So console gamers can disagree, can complain, but it’s going to happen. It’s been proven successful on the PC platform, and while you probably won’t see the sales and indie development, due to control, it will benefit all.

The only one benefiting from used game sales are the scumbag stores who deal in it while destroying the industry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Worked for PCs

DOSBox is just a shell emulator and Amazon is a vendor. Neither have to do with the issue at hand and neither get around the simple fact that you cannot resell a used PC game and have not been able to for a long, long time. Even DRM-free games from or wherever will have a clause about not reselling them.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Worked for PCs

“PC gaming haven’t had used games for a long-time…”

This must be a very recent development then.

I clearly remember buying used games for the PC as far as at least 2007 (work and life in general have prevented me from buying/enjoying more games since).

Then again, I have certain…tastes that aren’t very mainstream. I despise COD, for example (both the fish and the game). Maybe that is the problem?

Ima Fish (profile) says:

Re: Worked for PCs

It’s been proven successful on the PC platform

Well fucking duh. Of course taking away consumer rights increases profits. If that’s the criteria we’re going to use to decide how we enact and enforce our laws, we’re totally fucked.

The only one benefiting from used game sales are the scumbag stores who deal in it while destroying the industry.

People who do not sell their used game to GameStop benefit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Worked for PCs

Let’s assume you’re right, Steam is the entire PC market and there are no used games. Why then would it be ok to take away the rights of another group because PC gamers have been disenfranchised already. The proper action is to allow PC gamers to transfer used licenses digitally. Not start up the same bullshit rights encroachment in yet another sphere.

PS You’re wrong, PC gaming still has used games today.

Franklin G Ryzzo (profile) says:

Re: Worked for PCs

“So console gamers can disagree, can complain, but it’s going to happen. It’s been proven successful on the PC platform, and while you probably won’t see the sales and indie development, due to control, it will benefit all.

The only one benefiting from used game sales are the scumbag stores who deal in it while destroying the industry.”

It’s only successful on the PC because of the sales and indie development. Those 2 factors are the only thing that is offered on the PC platform to compete with free. Without services like steam and gog, all of a sudden the pirate bay would be getting a much greater increase in traffic. Those services add value to the consumer by providing them with convenience at a reasonable price. The console ecosystem has no intention of providing this benefit, so what makes you think this move will be good for anyone other than the game publishers?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Worked for PCs

uhhhhhhhhh… what? I’ve been a PC Gamer for a god damn long time.

PC gaming hit a dark age when consoles started to dictate what all the big budget games were doing.

The mantra at these companies seemed to be “Dumb it down” then when WoW came out it was “Dumb it down and make it more like WoW” So you have level gaining mechanics in a first person shooter and when someone releases a first person shooter without skill/level upgrades with stupid grinding mechanics it’s gotten to the point that jackhole reviewers go so far to say “Eh, it’s good, but without any xp grinding and achievement hunting what’s the point!?”

the Indie game scene that just freaking exploded was thanks to platforms like steam that allowed indie people to be seen and platforms like Kickstarter to help starving artists eat and produce games.

There’s no evidence one way or the other if used game sales would help the current explosion of lower budget, better made, low priced games. Used games for PC was mostly dead at that point.

silverscarcat says:

Re: Worked for PCs

I’m sorry, what?

You think that the PC “master race” is superior?

I’m sorry, do try to remember this one thing about gaming lately…

Smart phone games are beating the pants off of PC AND Console gaming COMBINED.

So, you PC “Master Race” and my Hardcore Gamer Consoles just have to gnash our teeth in anger.


I play DS, 3DS and PSVita games.

Last I heard, PCs don’t have touch screens and 3D effects that work with those games.

Plus, well, PC emulators for anything PS2 and afterwords kind of suck badly.

Believe me, I hear that ALL the time…

“I can’t play that PS2 game because the emulators don’t work.”
“Can’t play that 360 game on my PC.”
“DS emulators kind of suck.”

ETC, etc, etc.

Yes, you can emulate older console games, you can play older PC games (I got a GoG account just to play Descent 3 after all), etc.

There’s one problem though…

You see, PC gaming was never meant to deal with most of the console games and vice versa. That’s why you see such bad ports from consoles to PCs and vice versa.

If the game is designed for consoles, a PC has a harder time using it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Worked for PCs

Smart phone games are beating the pants off of PC AND Console gaming COMBINED.
99 cent angry bird games are more accessible and sell more thanks to smart phone penetration, news at 11
PS2 and afterwords kind of suck badly.
Dolphin is probably the best emulator I’ve ever used
And ps2 emulation is all about the config
Last I heard, PCs don’t have touch screens and 3D effects that work with those games.
And that’s when I realized you were a troll, well at least I hope you are.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Worked for PCs

PC gaming haven’t had used games for a long-time and it’s seen unprecedented growth and sales success.

PC gaming hasn’t had much of a retail presence for a long time now. Recent growth in PC gaming has nothing to do with the unavailability of used games, owing instead mainly to the availability of more convenient distribution channels.

I doubt the PC gaming market would suffer if a service like Steam started allowing its customers to delete and then resell copies of the games they buy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Worked for PCs

PC gaming hasn’t had much of a retail presence for a long time now.

This, so much this. Honestly, whenever I walk into a video game store, I sometimes forget that PCs get new video games too, simply because I don’t see any PC games on the shelves at all anymore, or if I do, it’s a tiny rack.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Worked for PCs

This is only the case if other trends are followed. DRM free older games at a reasonable price? I think the exclusion of backwards compatability shows an intention to exploit that market. New games at lower initial cost to offset the reduction of value? (loss of resale, limited functionality, etc.) They admit the purpose is to boost revenue. Improbable boardering on laughable. Same with rapid price adjustment and frequent sales. This is not even getting into the creepy and intrusive ‘our console will watch you to make sure you behave like a good little consumer’ crap. It worked on PC because the independant market changed the landscape. On consoles, the manufacturer has too much control for proper and timely market shifts. Unless they come out of the gate adjusted, either Sony will steamroll them, or the PC market will explode.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Worked for PCs

PC gaming haven’t had used games for a long-time

That’s simply not true. You can buy used PC games right now, from numerous sources.

If you’re arguing that it’s not legal (and I don’t think it’s remotely clear that this is true), well… that’s a different issue entirely. Even if it’s not legal, it’s still common practice.

If the game industry is enjoying “unprecedented growth and sales success”, it’s in the presence of a vigorous used game market, not due to the lack of one.

techflaws (profile) says:

Re: Worked for PCs

The only one benefiting from used game sales are the scumbag stores who deal in it while destroying the industry.

Destroying the industry, my ass! The only reason I bought Starcraft II HoTS was that (using a generic account and mail address) I could sell it after playing it through on a weekend. There’s no way in hell I’d paid 40 Euros (!) for that puny set of new missions/units.

alexander bradley (profile) says:

Re: Worked for PCs

Yes and no. Steam has been a massive push behind the success of pc gaming.

Without someone or something like Steam to do the same to the console market, your just asking for trouble without a second hand market. This is MS we’re talking about. They’ll milk a cow long after its fallen over and died.

They couldn’t give two craps if they took money from your dead hands. They’ll still do it anyway.

I love steam, gog and gamersgate. These companies have made second hand games obsolete with great discounts and offers for those who can’t afford brand new games. MS simply won’t do the same, just check out the current Xbox store for a multitude of games that are several years old, yet still selling at almost full price.

I agree that this has done wonders for the pc market, I just think doing the same to the console market will cause more trouble then most people will think.

Wally (profile) says:

I don't get it..

I don’t see why an entire industry has to be griped about when one company is pulling the shit that Microsoft currently is pulling. Sony’s CEO’s vowed to keep used games in their market as is…and Nintendo no longer takes shit from third party publishers because a large majority of the publishers are wanting to quell the used game market. So if Sony and Nintendo are completely open towards used games, why should they catch the consumer based flack for things they are not planning to ever do?

Wally (profile) says:

Re: Re: I don't get it..

I still don’t see how Nintendo and Sony hould suffer. They won’t be doing this to their fan bases and third parties. We cannot let Microsoft ruin it for the rest of them. If you only knew how hackable the PS3 is and how little Sony has done to stop you from upgrading the hard disk in your console on your own..or how Nintendo has sacrificed it’s sales of the WiiU so their users would not have to worry about borrowing a friend’s game.

Robert Sund (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I don't get it..

Sony have changed its mind before and shown its true face. They have infected peoples computers on purpose as proved by the Sony rootkits, and they removed the ability to run GNU/Linux on playstations after the customers had bought them, rendering rendering-farms expensive junk.

They will change their mind again.

No one in MS or Sony have been jailed for any of their scams. They game the citizens with inpunity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Sounds like someone skipped econ 101.

GameStop may not be able to aggressively hawk used games for $5 less than the new price to customers under these new controls, which is great if you’re a developer or publisher.

Actually no, it’s not great. You might think it’s great, but really MS is shooting you because it makes your games less valuable.

Person “A” buys your game, plays it, then sells it to UsedGameShop. They take this money and use it to buy their next game. If you take away the ability for them to sell their used games, they have less money to put towards new ones, and you end up selling fewer new titles.

If you think you can make up for this by forcing Person “B” to pay full retail, that’s just not going to happen. If Person “B” had the money to buy full retail they would.

Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold

Umm, they’re already profiting from every copy sold. When it’s sold new, that’s profit.

as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.

This is half right – profit margins won’t rise, they’re stay exactly the same. We will, however see prices drop because they’re making the product less valuable.

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s worth pointing out that Ben et al are actually wrong on economic facts here. Their premise is that used games under current conditions undermines new sales but the reality as observed in 2012 study of the used games market in Japan suggests publisher/developers owe roughly 10% of their current sales to the used games market.

The study also projects that if there was no used games market and publishers/developers priced accordingly they could make bigger profits by dropping prices but it is important to understand that the study is not able to determine if they are at the profit maximizing price point now. In other words publishers might be leaving money on the table as is just with their pricing structure.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yes, but PC-gamers have a MUCH more diverse choice then console gamers. While steam is the leader in PC-games digital distribution, there still is a large choice of other stores. Good Old Games, Green Man Gaming, Desura, pubishers that have their own storefront, indies,… There is competition here. On Consoles? Nope, all goes through Microsoft or Sony. Heck look at some of the older games in their catalog, they almost never came down from their original price.

One of the reasons Steam got so big on PC was because they offered reasonable, easy to use services for the service (reselling my game) they took from me. The company behind it also enjoys broad support from PC gamers due to their commitment and handling of all their projects. Microsoft on the other hand doesn’t.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I have always said you can be as evil and nasty as you want… as long as you keep the customer happy.

Like think of the Matrix. Why were the machines such jerks? If every human could live their lives in some crazy fantasy world in the most insane, fun, complex MMO ever imagined… the humans would never had bothered revolting.

Anonymous Coward says:

in my opinionn price point is their best place to compete. you want to make a license based console? Do it properly. Lower your price point, and for the love of god, SCREW GRAPHICS!! I am so SICK of games that play like crap. Games that slap you on the wrist or nag you when you so much as glance away from the objective marker. games that 3 hours in are STILL telling me button commands every time a context situation comes up, games that seem to have the entire plot encased in cutscenes and gameplay is simply a chore you do to get to the next one, games in which you can count the pores on your characters nose but are so pathetically repetitive and dull you actually find that more engaging.

I’ve been on the licensing system for years with steam. constant sales, quick price drops, a wide variety of unique and interesting titles… i almost never buy AAA titles, and when i do, they are under 20 dollars. i have a huge library of games as a result!

To the anti-piracy trolls, i have this to say:
If i pirate your game, you have a fledgeling fan willing to sing its praises all across the internet.
If your game proves to not be worth my time, due to restrictive licensing, untennable pricing, or a host of other issues with mainstream gaming these days, not only do you not have my money, you have enough bad rep to lose other sales too.

Lurker Keith says:

"profit from every copy of your game sold"

…Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold, and as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.

Uh, thieves & infringers aside (& they don’t count in this phrasing anyway), they already do get money on every copy sold. They just want to start double dipping on those that get resold.

Kinda unrelated (it’s about GameStop’s site), I tried to get today’s Power Hour sale on Injustice: God’s Among Us for $10 (don’t want to pay $60 for it, but for $10 I’d bite & even try to get it online), but GameStop’s servers apparently still can’t handle 15,000 – 25,000 people, according to the site’s customer service, on their system (in trying to learn how the discount works, I came across a previous Power Hour game release that crashed their server/s). I logged in right about when the sale started (I’d never bothered to try this before, but didn’t think Injustice would draw so many people, considering how many should already have it), found the game, but the price wasn’t updated yet. Once I got the game in my Cart, the site started lagging, badly, if not out right crashing. It took at least 15 mins. before the discounted price was showing outside the Cart. It took 45 mins. before it was showing as sold out (which Customer Service told me happened in the first few minutes). Despite being on the site before it crashed, I couldn’t get the game (they wouldn’t even let me come to a store & get it for the same price, even though they were aware the site was having problems). & this was a sale on NEW copies, not the USED ones.

PeterScott (profile) says:


I honestly see this as accelerating big game studio demise.

First: Less consoles will sell, because of alienated buyers.

Less consoles, less game sales.

Second: Selling games used, recovers cash to buy more new games.

Killing second hand sales will not increase the sale of new anymore than killing second hand car sales would increase the sale of new cars.

If you couldn’t sell your old car, you would only buy a new one when you finished driving the old one into the ground. Most of us would likely be driving around in 14 year old cars.

Finally, didn’t they make the same industry killing/saving claims about Piracy, isn’t game console piracy virtually non-existent. Why are they rolling in bucks and selling us cheaper games?

Declaring war on your customer is not a good business model.

1) Make games on reasonable budget, so you don’t go broke from one sub-million seller.
2) Bend over backwards to treat your customer with respect, so they want you to succeed.

I remember when I wanted Bioware to keep making great games I would buy anything they made. They had great after sale service and treated customers with respect. I own more (old school) Bioware games than anything else.

Then they sold out to EA and they can go rot in a hole now. I haven’t bought anything from them since.

Anonymous Coward says:

It's an excellent point -- and then some -- but it won't prevail

Gamers are among the most self-destructive consumers out there. They incessantly reward even the most egregious examples of customer abuse with MORE business.

Canonical example: EA. After everything that EA has done to its customers, why would anyone in their right mind even consider buying any good or service they ever offer? To do so is insane.

Yet people do it. In large numbers. And EA remains in business because they do, laughing at them and mocking them behind closed doors I’m sure, because gamers bitch whine moan complain rant flame and then GIVE EA MORE MONEY.

So EA gets to profit AND to snort derisively whenever someone makes a fuss.

The best course of actions for gamers — IF they have the self-control to do it, and I doubt that — is to systematically target companies with total boycotts until they yield. (In EA’s case, I wouldn’t stop there. I would continue until the company is insolvent, first, because they deserve it, and second, because it’s much easier to make your point when you already have a hide nailed to the wall.)

Otherwise, well, they’re just going to get more and more and more of the same, because EA and Microsoft and Sony and everyone else see no negative effects of consequence no matter what they do.

lucidrenegade (profile) says:

Re: It's an excellent point -- and then some -- but it won't prevail

“Canonical example: EA. After everything that EA has done to its customers, why would anyone in their right mind even consider buying any good or service they ever offer? To do so is insane.”

Not to mention that it’s those same customers that have voted EA the Worst Company in America for two years in a row. They hate EA, but won’t stop giving them money. Junkies

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: It's an excellent point -- and then some -- but it won't prevail

Canonical example: EA. After everything that EA has done to its customers, why would anyone in their right mind even consider buying any good or service they ever offer? To do so is insane.”

Um to play games they like to play, and because they don’t give a shit about resale when they are purchasing the game.. and “they are gamers!!!!”.

letherial (profile) says:

Sounds like the same philosophy Reganomics follows, basically the more money the rich have, the less everything cost.

Of course there is no proof of this, infact with poverty rising the way it is since the 80’s, id imagine it has the reverse effect.

In the end, its 60.00 for a game because people would pay 60.00. If a game is going to sell for 60.00, there is no reason to lower it. This is capitalism and giving the rich more money doesnt change the fundamental rules.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ah, but as has been pointed out, currently, with a used game market, it’s not just $60, it’s $60 with the ability to recoup some of that if you decide you no longer want it, which increases the value to the consumer.

With no ability to recoup any money spent on a game, people are going to be a lot more wary about putting down the money for a game, as it’s value will have shrunk considerably.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The whole idea of trickle down economics has never worked and it never will. Corporations don’t have a beating heart and are by nature greedy. All they see are dollar signs and the more the better. A rich man doesn’t become rich by sharing his wealth, he becomes rich by hoarding it. The only thing that can change that is if they suddenly lose everything and are forced to look at the world through a different set of eyes. If they only slowly lose everything you’ll see them flail around with a vengeance trying to protect “what is mine”, like we’re seeing here and with the ‘AAs.

One thing’s for sure. I’m not buying the new Spybox so they won’t have to worry about me buying used games anyway. It also means no new games sales. Which is worse for their bottom line?

zerostar83 (profile) says:

I see it differently

I see this situation turning out much differently than what I’ve read so far. I think that Microsoft is just trying to dominate the used game market, and that it’s trying to mimic eBay’s effect with Paypal. Already, games (Like Mass Effect 3) come with “DLC” that are free if you bought the game new with an activation code, and they sell the code by itself for I don’t remember how much. I’m sure there are other games that also need that code just to place the online multiplayer portions. Gamestop really does sell a lot of new console games for $5 less than new games, and push those sales quite a bit more. Personally I prefer spending a little more to buy a disc that’s not scratched, since I don’t buy that many games and $5 extra isn’t the end of the world for me. I think that people will end up paying some small amount like $2 or 5% for every used game transfer (like a fee) and then use Xbox to buy/sell their used games that were purchased through there and attached to their accounts. Gamestop is just the middleman in used game sales.

PaulT (profile) says:

I’ll just rephrase a question I asked in another thread recently: what makes the videogame industry so uniquely incompetent that they can’t run their businesses without a complete monopoly? Nobody tries stopping me from lending or reselling my DVDs or CDs. My books can be re-read as many times as I have friends to do so. Nobody complains that Opel isn’t getting a cut when I sell my car, and I’ve never heard a house builder whine that the house that was resold recently didn’t get them or the original architect a cut. I’m yet to hear of people trying to block car boot sales and art auctions because the original creators aren’t paid.

So, why is the videogame industry so uniquely vulnerable? Especially since the solution is apparently to block people from buying the console in the first place (the effect this kind of thing has on me) rather than accepting that some people will lend, borrow and resell their games under their legal rights to do so.

Andrew F (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You ever try reselling an e-book on your Kindle? Or an iPhone app? Or any sort of digital download?

The video game industry is in this awkward transition phase between physical distribution (which traditionally has permitted resale) and digital distribution (which, for the most part, has not).

So when you get the XBO, which I like to think of as a digital distribution platform that just happens to have a disc drive, you get this awkward hybrid not-quite-used-game-sale market.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well, first of all, none of that has anything to do with the question I’m asking. Digital distribution is simply a mechanism for delivering content. Yes, it’s more restricted, but that’s known up front and the pricing is therefore cheaper. But, that’s different from used sales. I’m not seeing people bitching that they can’t sell eBooks on Amazon because Amazon also sell used paperbacks, for example. I am seeing people bitching they can’t sell new paperbacks because of eBooks, but that’s a different story.

With your point about the XBO, that’s part of the problem. If you’re buying a physical product, then it’s a physical product. I have first sale rights with physical goods. No other manufacturer of physical goods is complaining that their secondary sale market stops them making a profit. Artificially creating an awkward hybrid market is not a solution, and they’re just creating more problems (and hopefully lower sales).

Anonymous Coward says:

A far bigger problem for the big game companies is how it is these days to make your own games and either post them for free, or sell them.

Look up things like ‘RPG Maker’, they make it easy for anyone to make games even if they don’t know how to code. And then there’s Visual Studio and such for professional software developers.

I used to make games like that all the time for fun, and even published one for free at a gaming website.

Some of the games people made with the RPG Maker software were even better then most professional gaming companies games, such as ‘A Blurred Line’.

When there’s more competition you tend to lose money, that’s the problem. It’s harder and more expensive to stay head of what less skilled casual game makers and small start up gaming companies make, when it’s becoming easier and easier to make super complex games.

And then when you have an industry like this, there’s several decades of old games for people to play again if they don’t like new games. Well over 50% of the games I spend I play are at least 10 years old, over 75% of them are over 10 years old. I still occasionally buy and play a new game, but most of the new games I’ve tried lately just have great graphics, and not much else.

Anonymous Coward says:

Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold, and as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.

Possible? It’s possible that I’ll win the Powerball Jackpot three times consecutively. Don’t mean it’s gonna happen.

And given the way these things usually work out, I would hazard that the Powerball thing is more likely.

Anonymous Coward says:

You know, I started out with game consoles. I no longer own a console nor am I going to buy one. I’ve really had it with all these game maker’s sense of entitlement and what they think is acceptable to the gaming public.

I also will not under any circumstances by a game with the name on it of EA or Ubisoft. Both are with the same attitude displayed by Microsoft in this article. There will have to be major changes before I am convinced to buy another from either of these gaming houses.

Microsoft can follow in the same path and I will add them to the list of those I won’t buy from. If saving the gaming industry is what this is really about (NOT THAT I BELIEVE THAT FOR A MINUTE)then these game makers have already crossed the line that will ensure their financial demise until they change their ways.

No amount of EULAs will cancel national laws about First Sales Rights and I strongly believe in that right and will exercise it. Game makers can challenge that all they want but it won’t bring them a dollar more from my pocket.

Alt0 says:

I ONLY play games on PC

But when I did play console games I bought a lot of them used.
And not from GameSlop, but from Blockbuster for pennies on the dollar (OK dimes but same point)when they let gpo some of their rental copies after a new release’s demand went down.
This is not why I will not buy the “One” however.
It’s all the scary stuff about them monitoring me in my living room and being able to monitor my heart rate (for gods sake) that I will not have one of those in my home.
Even if it is against the law to do so many friends will still sell used PC games to each other, just sayin’
And I agree with IMAFISH (to a point) but I wish I could post as efficiently and eloquently as faceless007. Dude knocked it out of the park.

TimothyAWiseman (profile) says:

It will make it less appealing to buy games

I buy almost all of my games new, but I also generally resale my games afterwards. That ability is a factor in how much I am willing to pay for a game, especially one that I am unsure of. Especially for a game I am not certain I will enjoy, it is a major factor to know that I can resell it to recover at least some of that money to buy the next game.

And that is before we get to the fact that them declaring by fiat that I cannot resell really annoys me and I would be more inclined to look at other options with fewer restrictions.

crade (profile) says:

Re: It will make it less appealing to buy games

Exactly.. I really don’t get what they are thinking.. Most people who are reselling games were probably banking on having that option when they bought new.. They have to realize that taking this option away takes a huge amount of value out of their product. Who wants to risk paying big bucks for something you might not like that you know will depreciate 100% of it’s worth immediately when you buy?

Anonymous Coward says:

all the entertainment industries did fine while they were holding all the cards and could call all the tunes. this last 30 years of those industries fighting everything internet related has been for what the gaming industry are now trying to get established, a market where all the entertainment comes via the internet with just a license and is controlled by the industries. there will be almost no expense as there will be no disks, no cases, no art work, no distribution of physical entities but you can bet your arse that the price will be the same as is being paid in a shop. there will be no 2nd hand market for anything from those industries. everything will have to be bought first hand. nothing will be sale-able without another license being bought. the entertainment industries will be dictating who can do what with every game, movie, album and ebook. the whole fight over copyright has always been about controlling the best distribution method so far devised, the Internet. no other industry has done so much to penalise people so much than this industry and no other nation has done so much to help it keep it’s control as the USA. not only in the USA but in as many other countries as possible as well, using threats in most cases that, for some reason, these other countries have folded over. i hope the customers turn on the industry completely but it has to be on more than just the gaming side. if not, the other parts will get what is wanted and then hand the gaming side the bit that it wants. this has been a conspiracy from the start. people have been warned just as people have said ‘load of rubbish’. not long to wait now and we’ll see who has been right all along!! just remember, once something has been given up, particularly to an industry that is as selfish as the entertainment industry, that has no thought or consideration for it’s own artists, let alone the customers, it will never come back!!! if they are prepared to fight so hard to get this, they wont let it go. look at how hard they are fighting to stop any changes allowing the blind to have more, better, easier access to material. they should be ashamed, but then, they are being led by a self centered arse hole!!

bebe says:

what kind of idiot....

>who will presumably enjoy some sort of trickle down effect >from game developers.

Wow, this is the same kind of garbage liar-politicians tell you when they say “well take off this tax and then the manufacturers will give the savings to the customers.”

Do you REALLY believe that?

Then prepared for life time of shocks as people take advantage of you.

In life there are those who stand up and question and others who just Ben Dover and accept it.

gotdibz says:

If they want to “Save the Industry” they need to look back at the ’90s, man it was booming back then, everyone was happy and do you want to know what the biggest difference was? When a customer bought a game, they got the ENTIRE DAMN GAME!!! No DLC, NO Digital Distribution, No patches, No DRM, No blocking used games, friends could borrow games, and best of all No Head up their ass syndrome.

sniperdoc (profile) says:

Game Licenses

The ultimate problem is that the game industry is taking away any type of ownership what-so-ever.

Ever read the Steam Subscriber Agreement? You don’t even own a friggin’ license anymore when you use Steam. All you own is access to whatever you purchased access to. You have effectively LEASED your game.

If you stop using Steam, you cannot play your games anymore. THAT… is BULLSHIT. Period.

The service that did it right was Direct2Drive. You downloaded their installer, it downloaded the game to a temp folder, and you could REINSTALL WITHOUT CONTACT D2D!!!! Since then the service was bought by Gamefly… so sad to see Direct2Drive go. They had great support. Would reimburse you if you had problems and if there was something wrong, would even give you games. In my case I received Medieval Total War 2 Kingdoms for free from them and when I had problems with the original Witcher they gave me the Enhanced version for free.

Try getting that type of service from Valve. Valve and Gabe Newell as a whole don’t give a shit about gamers, they care about how much money they can make. The fact that you lose access to ALL games when you don’t want to use their service (just as Origin and uPlay do now) is totally and utterly reprehensible.

I hate what the gaming industry has become. Big corps, such as Valve, just take advantage of the gaming community and they lock you into using their service, because if you move away from it… guess what… You’ve lost access to over $3000 in games. That to me is illegal. 🙁

Anonymous Coward says:

It's Ben Kuchera, what do you expect?

I read Penny Arcade, love their stuff. So when they said they were bringing on some really well-respected guy to write some and have a team to put together great stuff from all over the web, I figured, “hey, this should be great!” I didn’t know this guy, but at least the PA guys say he’s good.

So, I kept up with the articles linked and written for a couple of months. They generally ranged from idiotic (someone failing to make a point, but hey, Ben agrees with it, so good enough!) to poorly backed-up (like this moronic piece) to just down-right painful (a series of articles on the horrible TV show, King of the Nerds ::shudder::).

After a while, I realized this guy was just your every-day hack who wasn’t worth my time and stopped following. That this crap came from him does not surprise me, one bit.

Keroberos (profile) says:

One thing that has always nagged at me whenever the question of whether used games sales harm new games sales comes up is this. Everything we’ve been led to understand about the games market says that the first month of sales is critical for the profitability and success of a game. If your game has a enough used sales in the first month to impact your profitability and success, maybe, just maybe, could your problem be something other than used games sales?

Keroberos (profile) says:

Re: Re:

This. This fast churning play it and quickly jump to the next big thing was created by the game companies themselves. Back when when online multiplayer was something I cared about, I would play a game for at least a year. Now it seems like there’s always some new must play multiplayer game coming out every month. Kinda hard to keep people’s interest that way.

Lance DiBitetto says:


The comments from Faceless007 are EXACTLY the same thing I have been saying about this fiasco. giving a particular industry special protection and circumventing consumer rights for supposed sustainability is NOT WORTH THE COST to consumer rights.

If this is allowed to stand, I hope that it injures the industry in the short as well as the long run. and I really hope that there are more people that see this the way myself and Faceless007 see this. it is a slippery slope and will truly hurt consumers in the long run when other industries start to cry foul to the Fed and want freedom from the first sale doctrine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Microsoft are making the right decision, I mean we all know what happened when libraries and the ability to sell/gift second hand books were invented: Authors stopped writing as they couldn’t make a living.

Same thing happened again when people were granted the horrific ability to lend or sell their videos and dvds secondhand: Movies and TV shows were swept into oblivion.

You can’t hold a grudge against microsoft for trying to protect themselves from the same fate as every other industry that is forever lost to us thanks to this awful “right” to sell your stuff

Anonymous Coward says:

The problem with eliminating used game sales is that it gives owners almost no way to recoup some of their cost in a game, even if it’s dogshit.

Take for example Colonial Marines. Hyped game, turned out shite. With this scam in place, there’s very little chance people will be able to get their money back.

From the article: “Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold, and as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.”

If they’re eliminating the secondary market, it had better be more than bloody “possible”.

I have about ?1200 worth of games and DLC on my Steam account. Through offers and sales, I’ve spent maybe a quarter of that amount when buying them. I don’t mind the no resale, because I paid a reasonable, fair, low price for most of the games.

If resale to stores is invalidated, the only fair compromise is to mandate a price for retail games, of about one-quarter what the current RRP is.

RolandL says:

If I buy a chair I can sit on it. I can also let somebody else sit on it. I can lend the chair to a friend who’s giving a big party. I can stand on it to reach the upper shelves. I can give it away or sell it and when I die it will be inherited by whom ever I want.

I can do all these things and the furniture industry is fine with that. They don’t cry that those things are destroying their industry.

Now replace the chair with a computer game and all of a sudden the actions listed above are destroying the industry.

The major difference is that the CEO of a furniture factory has a chair at home (probably more than one too) and often uses is while game industry CEO’s don’t use their own products.

The game industry isn’t dying. It’s more alive than ever with promising studios popping up everywhere like for example Almost Human (Legend of Grimrock) and Dennaton (Hotline Miami). It’s the old bloated corpses that try to survive by squeezing out yet another franchise game that are being replaced by new innovative start-ups. And that’s a wonderful thing for gamers.

John Smith says:

Region Locking

TBH, as I have almost always bought games new (Aside for some old games where buying new is outrageously expensive or hard to find) this is a non-issue for me, though I can see why both sides of this debate care so much.

But the point no one seems to be caring about, but is a sticker for me is, with a purely digital system in place, one would think that they’d be able to support multiple region accounts on a system, yet the consoles are still region locked. Having to buy multiple systems just to play Japanese and NA games = no buy for me. Its not like the Japanese system is magically different from the North American system (aside for maybe the power supply in the case of say EU vs US/JP systems). They can justify it all they want, but the more they push for an online/connected system, the more this point becomes a sticker for me because region locking on an internet-connection required system seems so wrong to me on so many different levels.

Alex says:

The value of a game I buy right now is:

[Value PS3 Game] = [Utility I gain from playing game] + [dollar value i receive after I sell]

whereas, if the disc is useless on the 2nd hand market, the game is only going to be worth

[Value XBone game] = [Utility I gain from playing the game]

so Xbox games will have a lower value compared to a disc which has value on the second hand market. Why would consumers pay the same for such a game? It looks like MS may be shooting themselves in the foot on this one.

Anonymous Coward says:

I’ve always seen ‘used games’ as something that indirectly benefits the games industry. There are plenty of people out there who like games, but can’t drop the $60 required for every new game that comes out. They’re more likely to be able to afford ‘used games’ though as they’re considerably cheaper (then again there are places that sell used games for just a couple bucks shy of the original price anyway…) and while this money doesn’t go straight into the devs/publishers grubby little hands, it does open you up to a wider audience, and allow you to make fans for your games that you wouldn’t have made otherwise (removing the cheaper used games does not translate into a purchase of the full price game)

Dirk (profile) says:

Agree with article, but...

I agree with the sentiments expressed in the article. However, there is 1 thing people forget and that is this is all speculation until Microsoft actually tells us there plans. I hope not to be disappointed in those plans, because so far everything about the multimedia powerhouse Microsoft is supposedly building means nothing without the games to draw people in. I suspect the only thing they were prepared to talk about was the multimedia aspect of the X-Box One and not the games, but felt they had to say something because of Sony’s press conference.

Anonymous Coward says:

Gamers don’t guy games with the consideration of resale, and clearly the games that are resold are the ones the purchaser does not really enjoy enough to keep it.

So the resale market for games are mostly (if not all) the games that people don’t think are that great, have lost interest in them or did not meet their expectations.

Gamers, on the other hand are willing to pay a higher price for the games they actually LIKE to play (go figure).

So you (or gamers) have a choice, they can buy 5 games that they can resell while knowing those 5 games are (not that good) for cheap, or they can buy 1 good game with the understanding on purchase that they cannot sell it.

Given that choice, most gamers will simply spend the extra money and buy the game they actually want.

The other alternative is the put a life span on the game, after a certain number of plays it stops working, CLEARLY marked and advertised as such, but at a cheaper price than the ‘last forever’ type.

Again, Gamers would probably like this option, as it provides them with a cheaper product, and the ability to see if they like it, if they do like it they can pay the extra to convert it to a permanent type.

They can resell the game, but the number of remaining plays would be displayed on start up, so the purchaser of the second hand game knows exactly what he is paying for. (a certain number of plays of the game).

But this type has thing has been in the PC world for years and years, it’s not going to be any different in the console industry.

Gamers are not necessarily pirates, and after all what you want to do, really, is to have the ability to ‘burn copies’ of the game and sell (or give away) those copies.

It’s not about resale of second hand games it’s about first sale of pirated first hand games.

MS and other companies have been doing this for years, my 1995 MS Flight Simulator, had a form of copy protection, you could not just copy the CD and have a working game, because at logon to the game it would ask you for a work at a specific location in the game manual (several hundred pages long), so if you only copied the CD and not made a fully copy of the game manual you could not play the game.

Simple and effective, yes easily hacked, but also generally too much effort, you were simply better off spending the money and buying the original game.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Sorry dude, while you might believe it, everything you’re saying is both subjective and quite dangerous.

“Gamers don’t guy games with the consideration of resale”

I disagree. Even if many don’t, many do, and many more depend on used sales for their level of gameplay. I know I’ve bought used games in the past when my wallet hasn’t allowed me to buy full price, and I know I’ve only taken a punt on a title that I’m not sure about because I know I can resell it or trade in later.

“So you (or gamers) have a choice, they can buy 5 games that they can resell while knowing those 5 games are (not that good) for cheap, or they can buy 1 good game with the understanding on purchase that they cannot sell it.”

First of all, define “good”. Given that most modern retail games don’t have playable demos, how do you find out what’s “good”? Do you depend on reviews (many already shown to be fixing scores for advertisers)? Do you just depend on known franchises? How do you know?

Also, congratulations, your idea has just screwed over 4 developers from their income because 4 games are not being purchased. Not thinking things through here.

“It’s not about resale of second hand games it’s about first sale of pirated first hand games.”

Now, that’s a pile of bullshit. At least, if not, then you’re happy for players of legitimately purchased games to be screwed because some other people arne’t buying legal copies. Not acceptable, sorry.

“The other alternative is the put a life span on the game”

This reduces the value of the game, and is thus unacceptable for the same price. There’s also many situations in which it would stop the legal owner of the game from accessing their game. Meanwhile, you can still play games you bought 20 years ago with no such restrictions.

“MS and other companies have been doing this for year”

Yes, but CD keys aren’t the objection. The onjection is to a system that constantly checks on you, will not function unless it’s been online within a certain level of time, and will not allow you your first sale rights after you’ve bought something. Your Fight Simulator didn’t refuse to play games because you moved to a new apartment and don’t have internet yet, or because your ISP has another brownout.

That’s a problem, and not a good thing, no matter how you’ve been taught to spin it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Ah, nearly forgot:

“Gamers are not necessarily pirates, and after all what you want to do, really, is to have the ability to ‘burn copies’ of the game and sell (or give away) those copies.”

This is a LIE. Is nobody on the side of Microsoft here able to make an argument without lying to defame the people they’re supposedly discussing things with?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The other alternative is the put a life span on the game, after a certain number of plays it stops working, CLEARLY marked and advertised as such, but at a cheaper price than the ‘last forever’ type.”

Um, yeah. Because that worked so well for DIVX disposable DVD discs…

“The format was discontinued on 16 June 1999 because of the costs of introducing the format, as well as its very limited acceptance by the general public. Circuit City announced a $114 million after-tax loss,[3] and Variety estimated the total loss on the scheme was around $337 million.[2] Over the next two years the DIVX system was phased out. Customers could still view all their DIVX discs and were given a $100 refund for every player that was purchased before June 16, 1999. All discs that were unsold at the end of the summer of 1999 were destroyed. The program officially cut off access to accounts on 7 July 2001. The player’s Security Module, which had an internal Real-Time Clock, ceased to allow DIVX functions after 30 days without a connection to the central system. Unsold players were liquidated in online auctions, but not before being modified to remove the DIVX Security Module. As a result, certain player models demonstrated lockups when DIVX menus were accessed.

DIVX appeared as a “dishonorable mention” alongside PC World’s list of “25 Worst Tech Products of All Time” in 2006.”

headnoodle says:

Nothing will get better.

And still nothing will change. Millions upon millions of parents will continue to buy their kids games ( usually the 18+ ones too ) just to shut them up for a few hours. Everyone will pay through the nose again because, well it’s only a SMALL increase….this time. Always seemingly, small, “reasonable” steps. And everyone of us bends over and says ” Yes, please cram more up our ass “

Pointless debating the rights and wrongs of the above subject because nothing will change. All of us will capitulate in the end because, like before… ” hmm, it’s irritating, but it’s only a SMALL increase and I guess i can afford it at the moment… “

headnoodle says:

Nothing will get better.

And still nothing will change. Millions upon millions of parents will continue to buy their kids games ( usually the 18+ ones too ) just to shut them up for a few hours. Everyone will pay through the nose again because, well it’s only a SMALL increase….this time. Always seemingly, small, “reasonable” steps. And everyone of us bends over and says ” Yes, please cram more up our ass “

Pointless debating the rights and wrongs of the above subject because nothing will change. All of us will capitulate in the end because, like before… ” hmm, it’s irritating, but it’s only a SMALL increase and I guess i can afford it at the moment… “

Anonymous Coward says:

A question

Why are electronic “video” games any different than Monopoly, chess, checkers etc. If I buy any one of those games I am free to do with it whatever I like. I don’t hear Parker Brothers, Mattell etc screaming or bitching and moaning about “second hand” sales of those games. So why are video games any different?

gotdibz says:

“It doesn’t need your protection, it needs to be taken out back and beaten until it remembers who its real masters are.”


Truer words have yet to be spoken! Here’s my thoughts on it:

If they want to “Save the Industry” they need to look back at the ’90s, man it was booming back then, everyone was happy and do you want to know what the biggest difference was? When a customer bought a game, they got the ENTIRE DAMN GAME!!! No DLC, NO Digital Distribution, No patches, No DRM, No blocking used games, friends could borrow games, and best of all No Head up their ass syndrome.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...