Opinion: Pre-Owned Is Piracy

This article is solely the opinion of the author, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of TheSixthAxis, its staff or owners.

Hello dear reader, my name is Josh and I write news and the occasional feature here at TSA. Apologies for the interruption to your regular schedule, but I wanted to briefly talk about something that grates with me as a regular reader of posts, comments, and forums around the web. I’ve seen many people (not just here) beating down the “pirates that ruin the game industry” and yet being very positive about pre-owned games.

So here’s what I have to say: buying pre-owned games is just the same as piracy. Here’s why:

First and foremost, I’m not saying that everyone who has ever bought a pre-owned game is a pirate and should be immediately locked up, and I’m also aware that a lot of people, myself included from time to time, buy pre-owned games. But I want to say before I start that just because we do it, doesn’t mean it’s okay, and I think it’s best in the topic of argument to take a step back and think on a less personal level.

Obviously, second-hand sales of DVDs, games and whatever else have been around for many many years, I’m clearly not going to deny that, but precedent doesn’t make it right. Let’s look at it this way: if you buy a game, new, at retail or online, the retailer, developer and publisher all take a cut of what you pay. That seems fair, right? If you download a game from a torrent site, none of those three take anything, which I think we can agree is unfair.

[drop2]Now, if you buy a pre-owned game in somewhere like GameStation, the retailer takes everything you pay (excluding of course whatever they bought it off the previous seller for), but the developer and publisher get none of that. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just the same as the torrenting model, just that the distributor gets something out of it. Maybe, however, you consider the former to be more moral than the latter due to the exchange of money?

Okay, so lets say I download the game, as a torrent, but from a paid members-only site, that’s still piracy and that’s still wrong – even though I strictly-speaking paid for the file, the makers got nothing. “But the retailers have to pay for stocking and transportation of the aforementioned pre-owned games,” I hear you cry. Sure, I can go with that, but when I torrent the file there are no stocking or transport costs, so I shouldn’t actually have to pay anything.

Then you have the two main supposed positives of pre-owned sales for the makers of the product: promotion and retailer partnerships. Some claim pre-owned is acceptable because it gets the name of the product out there for someone to then buy maybe a sequel or other game by the companies behind it – yet surely that’s just as true for those that pirate the game? The only real benefit for pre-owned for a developer/publisher is that by not kicking up a fuss about it, they keep their games in stock at retailers and therefore get them sold out to customers.

Basically, game-makers are blackmailed into staying passive with regard to pre-owned because otherwise they’ll get screwed over by retailers.

Once again, I’m not claiming everyone is an evil person, I’m just saying that piracy and pre-owned are really very similar from the point of view of a game-maker. Therefore I see no reason why online passes or anything equivalent should be a problem for anyone who appreciates the games they buy, because at least the developers and publishers at least get some financial support to actually continue doing what they do. That is all.

Feel free to discuss/argue with me here, or you can also find me on Twitter at @joshlhood or even e-mail me at josh [at] thesixthaxis [dot] com if you wish to have a more private conversation on this topic. Thanks.

Image: Edge.

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226 Comments

  1. I always buy new games but I’m very well paid and I can afford to, so it’s easy for me up here on my high horse and say pre-owned is “bad.”

    The fact is, if you want to support the people who make games, you buy new. Can’t afford to? Wait. You can pick up new games for ridiculous prices if you just wait a short period of time.

    Back in my day (ooh! my back!) games launched at high(er) prices and took YEARS to go down. Nowadays you can get a relatively new game for €20/$25/£15.

    But, and this is a big but, the preowned market fuels the sale of new games. Kill preowned and fewer new games will be sold. Fact.

    So, this is not black and white by a long stretch.

    • I agree with this, on all accounts. These days it’s much more pheasable for me to wait for games to drop in price as I don’t have as much time to play them anymore, I still haven’t played Uncharted 2 for crying out loud. So now buying new is much easier for me than 5 years ago when I was a spotty teen with nothing else to do.

      But like you said, the preowned market fuels new sales, for example on thurday I plan to trade in my PSP to go towards my funds for new PS3. Not to mention gamers use it as an introduction to series they are dubious about, the most recent example I can think of for me is Mirror’s Edge, I bought that preowned because I wasn’t sure if I’d like it, but I loved it and if ME2 ever sees a release it would be a day 1 new purchase for me. Take the preowned market away flat out and people would stop buying for longer periods of time I imagine. It’s a problem, but also a support at the very same time. Strange situation, but there you go.

      • Well put. The article dismisses the argument that pre-owned can help a brand find new fans but I think that is very true.

      • I totally disagree with the article. Do you see car manufacturers crying over used car sales. NO. The used car market is huge and the situation is the same with anything you buy. Its yours and you can do with it what you want. You cant force people to buy brand new goods all the time. Or thewre would be no charity shops, no car boot sale, no pawn shops. This article is ridiculous. Think first before you set out a defunct argument. Used sales are here to stay.

      • The reason car manufacturers aren’t up- in arms about used car sales? Spare parts. To keep your car on the road, you need to repair and/or service it and a fair chunk of that money finds its way back to the car manufacturers, through parts sales, servicing at dealerships, etc…
        I used to work at Toyota’s factory in Derbyshire looking after Spare (sorry: “Service”) Parts, and it was a hugely profitable chunk of the business.
        Of course, by following this analogy to its ultimate conclusion, that explains why we’re seeing the proliferation of “online passes” – it’s a way of keeping the used game “on the road” while making sure the original “manufacturer” makes some money out of it.

      • It’s amazing how quickly games drop in price now. I’ve seen Homefront around £17, and that’s weeks old.

        The spare parts argument is actually a great one, and yes, I agree that they are almost just like online passes or DLC – a way to make money after the original sale. I do mention in the article though that this is a moral thing and I’m keeping the argument to games only – I know it happens elsewhere but there being a historic precedent in other industries doesn’t neccessarily make it morally right, just means we’re used to it.

      • but in this case the precedent is, in some countries at least, actually enshrined in law.

        we are legally entitled to resell our purchases, or give them away or transfer ownership in whatever manner we choose so long as it’s legal.

        and good games, they can hold their value for a long time.

      • @3shirts, it doesnt dismiss it. it considers it, and comes to the conclusion that if its true, then it would be equally true for the torrenting scene.

      • i don’t think that brand loyalty would be built up with torrents the same way it would with preowned sales.
        the act of spending money on the game will mean you’re more likely to give it a chance to be enjoyable, if you’ve paid for it you’re not going to give up on it without giving it a good go, unless it truly is awful.

        with a torrent however there is no sense of value associated with the product, it becomes almost disposable.
        you didn’t pay for it so it doesn’t matter if you give up on it after five minutes.

        which of those do you think will be more likely to get people interested in other titles in a series?

        i’ve played games i thought were awful at first, but then i thought “i bought it, i’m stuck with it, i might as well give it a proper go”, and ended up enjoying it.

      • point ungrudgingly taken, i agree that there is a certain loyalty to a product when you’ve payed money that you have earned to obtain it. once bought, the product becomes a representation of time spent working.

        i just wanted to point out that the article hadn’t dismissed the idea completely.

    • “I always buy new games but I’m very well paid and I can afford to”.

      Wow, just wow.

      • ???

        he wasnt being arrogant im sure, i think he was showing that he is remaining impartial despite his financial situation.

      • I’m well paid. I also work extremely hard for that pay. Should I lie about this fact?

        I mentioned the fact that I get paid well for the job I do to support my stance that I can afford to buy whatever I want, pretty much whenever I want insomuch as I didn’t always earn as much as I do now and I can understand someone (maybe someone in college or school) who may gravitate more toward the pre-owned market out of necessity rather than moral choice.

        What’s your problem? You take issue with someone admitting they’re paid well?

        I wasn’t always well paid. When I was in university I often had to go without meals to afford books. My family is not well off.

        But it’s socially acceptable or somehow noble to go on about how poor your are/were but you can’t admit that you earn a high salary?

      • I don’t take issue with someone admitting that they are well paid, but no-one asked so to me it sounded a bit crass.

        It could be the lack of emotion available when reading things on the internet, or it could be the fact that I don’t know you and therefore cannot imagine what sort of tone you are saying that with.

      • You took that way out of it’s context.

        Wow, just wow.

    • Ok, so I go out and buy a brand new game. I then get bored of the game and want to buy a new one. You’re saying that I don’t have the right to sell it? If that’s the case, what do would you think if I bought a brand new car? Would I have the right to sell that when I’m bored and want a new one, even though the makers wouldn’t receive any more profit from that sale?

      • Any response to this JoshHood?

      • Yea, i was thinking the same thing. Your caught in the middle of principles in this debate, each and every time it comes up, and the same response are found. Some feel its there right to sell what they have bought, and do what they wish with it, like yourself (me, and i believe hazlem and 3 shirts are in that group from past discussions). and others believe that the developers should get paid at each step.

        Personally, i think the truth of the matter is simple. You buy it, you own it! Like you say with the car, if i buy a BMW then decide to sell it to you next year, then i can. and i wouldn’t be expected to give BMW any cash on that transaction. Same as a house, TV, and for arguments sake, a dirty old pair old football boots… Now, in the good old days of the Megadrive and SNES, we only had the cartridge, so you buy it and you own it. BUT this is no longer the case. The servers are not ours to buy and sell. So the disk is ours, but the services is not. And that is where the dev’s/publishers can jump on and add the extra charges and fee on 2nd hand games. I think that is all fine. As long as they dont lock each disk, to a console, then all good in my eyes.

        Saying that getting games from pre-owned markets is like steeling is a good idea, and i sort of get what he is getting at, but not its not strictly true… otherwise, every 2nd hand car forcourt, ebay, amazon, cash converters/pawn shops etc are running theft schemes on a massive scale!!!

        Its the way of the world, publishers just have to get used to the fact that people sell things once they have finished using them. If they want a cut at each sell, then they will have to clearly state that on the box, add code server side, slash the price massively and state the product sale as more of a prolonged rental and it remains the property of the publisher…bit like mobile phones are not yours fully until the contract is up.

  2. I see your point Josh but I disagree with it, a preowned sale has been bought through the proper channels before hand. Once you buy it it is yours to do with what you wish. And once it leaves your posession, it is gone. With piracy there is no such thing, the creators, producers, retailers etc lose out on sales and nothing is bought in the first place.

    I think the pre-owned market is a problem today, and I try and stay away from it a lot these days which is made easier by cheap online prices, but akin to piracy? I’m not convinced.

    • “With piracy there is no such thing, the creators, producers, retailers etc lose out on sales and nothing is bought in the first place.”

      Buy a song from iTunes, game from a retailer etc. Distribute through various file sharing networks. Multiple consumers. One sale.

      Buy a game from a retailer. Trade it in or sell it at your own profit. Multiple consumers. One sale.

      But of course, a single preowned game takes one sale from the developer/publisher (unless it is again resold) whereas pirated would take thousands of sales through one.

      Hmm.

      • Yeah I noticed the flaw in that only after clicking the reply button. Obviously what I meant was for a preowned sale the game has to have been bought,and then resold. But with piracy it could be different, distributing the reproduction of one copy to thousands of people. Where as for every preowned sale, there has to have been one ‘legitimate’ (For lack of a better word) sale to kick the whole process off.

      • One copy bought one copy in circulation.

        Copyright infringement (let’s use the correct words instead of the labels that corporate wants us to) make multiple copies without the creator getting anything for the extra ones.

        We have always had the right to sell on any product, why should games suddenly be an exception just because publishers want more money? If I buy a chocolate bar and then decide I don’t want it and sell it to you for half price I’m not depriving the manufacturer of any profit, they already got paid when I bought it. Same thing with games, if they are not happy with their profit they need to increase it buy charging more or selling more, not by using some twisted logic to try convincing me that selling my own property is somehow illegal or immoral.

        I believe the article author is a victim of corporate lies and needs to go read some history, law and about customer rights.

      • Yes but you didn’t eat the chocolate bar, did you ;)

      • @Kevling

        I expected that question to pop up. And the answer is: “It’s irrelevant”, that a product isn’t consumed by using it does not change your rights as the owner.

        The initial seller have gotten the price they asked and should have no say in what happens to the product after that. If I buy a game I have a right to play the game for the lifetime of the media, and a right to sell that right on. If I buy a chocolate I have a right to eat it for the lifetime of the chocolate (short as it will be), and a right to sell that right on (if I can find a buyer for my partially eaten food).

      • Try selling a chococlate bar without the wrapper and see what happens.

        The first mistake people make when making a comparisson is not comaparing like for like.

        When you buy “a game” you buy the case, booklet and disc, but you also buy a license to use the code. When you buy a car you don’t buy a license to drive it so when when you sell it on it’s different to selling on a game. You can’t sell license to buy a game.

        A better comparison is music but that would suggest that games aren’t sold at the correct price. How many games can you complete in a day compare to games?

        One 4 min song costs 80p. One 12 hour game cost £40. If you sold a game at 80p for ever 4min of game time then games would be £180.

        When you buy a digital game you just buy a license which is why you can’t trade it in. When you buy a disc based game you buy the disc as well and you can sell the disc legally but legally you cannot sell the license. If you buy a preowned game and play it without buying a license then your are technially breaking the law as you have no legal right to use the code on the disc.

      • not the old license thing again.

        if the law states we can resell our purchased media, and in some countries we can, look up the first sale doctrine, then what the license says about the matter is irrelevant.

        just because the license says we can’t transfer ownership, that doesn’t change the law if it says we can.

        so there is no basis to say we’re breaking the law, when in fact it’s the publishers who might be breaking it by preventing us from transferring ownership.

        you buy a four minute song on cd and it’ll cost you three quid.

        i can buy a two hour movie for 20 quid.

        i can buy a book that could take me days to read for less than a tenner.

        i can buy a picture i can look at for years for anything from a quid to thousands of pounds.

        how does that affect the cost by time ratio?

      • @jimmy-google

        I chose to use something that is consumed to detach the argument from games. I need to get the point across that we have a moral right to sell on any item we’ve legally purchased. It doesn’t matter if it’s food, a car, music or a game.

        The fact that I can’t find a buyer for my “only slightly licked” bar of chocolate does not affect my right to attempt to sell it.

        Whether you think games should cost more (based on a comparison to another overpriced product) is irrelevant. That the initial seller didn’t charge me “enough” doesn’t affect my rights.

        As for buying a license and not a disc? That’s what they’d like you to think, a publisher putting something on a piece of paper (or as data on the disc) does not make it law. Unlike on the PSN when I buy a game I’m _NOT_ presented with a license before I give up my money, and I sign nothing. If you can show me a court case saying otherwise I’ll show you a country with a broken legal system.

      • The geohot case is a good one. Much of the arguement was based on the they don’t that you can do what you like to hardware but as you don’t own the code you can’t do what you like with the software. You buy the right to use the code not distribute it or alter it. If can distribute the code why can’t you pass a digital copy of something to someone else if you delete it?

      • I think the whole eula bit in the geohot case was about court jurisdiction. And yes he/we should be allowed to modify the heck out of our consoles if we so choose, and distribute information about how to do it. And while technically distributing custom firmware is copyright infringement, to get any use out of it the receiver would have to own a PS3 that came with a license to the unmodified code (no harm, no foul). While Geohot may have broken the letter of the law I don’t think he did anything morally wrong (but I believe those that distributed illigal game copies did). What he did was repair an intentional defect put into the console by Sony.

        But back to what we were discussing here, the right to sell what you have bought. If you sell your PS3 do you transfer your license to the system software with it? Or would it be OK for Sony to charge the new owner for use of it?

  3. Interesting read (I like these guest articles!) and whilst I can see where you are coming from, there is one difference between torrenting a game and buying it pre-owned.
    When you torrent, one person gets the game (legally hopefully) and then distributes it to multiple people, equalling just one sale for MrGameCompany.
    Whereas in order for a game to be sold as pre-owned, someone has to have owned that particular copy of the game previously (the clue is in the name). This of course equals one sale per copy for MrGameCompany.
    So yes, I can see where you are coming from, but buying pre-owned isn’t anywhere near as bad as torrenting imo :)

    • This is not a guest article.

      • Whoops, sorry. Can you tell I quickly read this at the end of my lunch break :$ …good article none-the-less ;)

  4. First, it’s not the same thing. Not everyone buys used games from stores. In Romania Gamestop, Gamestation and others don’t exist, if we buy used, than we buy it directly from a person who owned it.

    I mostly buy my games from people who sell it brand new, but at 50% of that of big retailers like Media Markt or Tesco etc. Game prices are already way to high if you buy from retail. and unlike the UK where games are cheap as bread, the prices don’t fall here.

    UK -> http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sony-Gran-Turismo-5-PS3/dp/B002BWONDK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1303218419&sr=8-1
    RO -> http://www.mediagalaxy.ro/catalog/index.jsp?categoryId=989&itemId=34475

    In the UK where the standard of living is great compared to Romania, the game 35 pounds. In Romania the retail price is 52-58 pounds, depends where you look.

    The other thing which sucks, is that Romania doesn’t have access to the PS Store, so you would have to use a fake account in order to get the file which enables online play. Than that one time use code is linked to that fake account forever. If I don’t want to keep that around, in the future I will have to buy it again.

    Call it pirating if you want, but I couldn’t care a rats ass about the developer not seeing money out of second hand sales. I only care about what’s in it for money, and the way I see it, I only lose.

    • Not to mention the PS store hardly encourages purchases, some of the prices on there are rediculous. Why pay €15 for a game you could get for €4.99 physically from the preowned market?

      • I’d be happy if I could just buy anything from there.

      • I’d be happy if the spelling of “ridiculous” as “rediculous” was eradicated from this dimension.

        ;)

      • Sorry, I’m stealth typing at work so I don’t have as much time to check my spelling as I’d like.

      • I’m only kidding. It’s a common misspelling, however, and I do cringe whenever I see it.
        :P

    • :P heh I wanted to say “what’s in it for me*”. Doesn’t matter anyway. My opinion or word doesn’t make a difference.

      • My post was just sort of a tag on to yours, you made valid points :)

  5. I disagree. The retailer is taking the money for their service as a dealer, not for the games creation/development. I’m sure we can all agree they take too much profit but that’s a separate issue.

    • Indeed

      • Yeah true, Another view would be if Citroen sells a car to someone, why should they recieve a wedge of money everytime it has a new owner?

        There is a middle ground, a happy medium somewhere in amongst all the shite, but to just spin online codes at 25% of the price isnt the way forward.

      • See my post further up about the used car market – manufacturers make huge profits out of it.

    • You just have to think of it as being a vedor fee, only game shops abuse this. In auctions, ebay, estate agents, all take a cut of for organising the sale, but it’s normally about 20% ish, games stores bump this up by an incredible margin. However if you stop them from doing this, you have to outlaw the rest as well, which isn’t fair. But you cannot have one rule for one, and another for the rest. Considering the incredible margin games stores make on preowned sales I don’t think it would be all that bad or outrageous if they had to pay a small fee to the publisher, but there again how could you vigilate that?

  6. I think I’d agree with all those words. It’s developers like Ninja Theory that struggle the most, games like Ensalved don’t sell incredibly well and a large proportion of copies are probably bought pre-owned. What if they weren’t bought pre-owned, perhaps we’d have a sequel? Perhaps we still will? I’ll always buy new games to support developers/publishers, especially ones who create innovative, original titles that aren’t likely to sell in the masses, after all they need all the support they can get. It’s a bit like Fairtrade, before it came about growers and farmers received very little of the profits huge cooperation’s were making, now it’s fairer on everyone, and those farmers can keep going in business and supporting their families. That could be transferred to the game space, pre-owned means developers/publishers get nothing and can’t go on making quality games. Where as, if we sell only new games it’s fair for everyone. So, yes, I agree.

    • I have never bought a pre-owned game that I would have bought new.

      When I buy pre-owned it is always a game that, when new, I wasn’t interested enough in to pay the full price.

      • Then why don’t you by it new but when you’re actually interested, which is generally when the full price has gone down.

      • If the price has gone down enough I would. It just rarely does. Perhaps an argument for more aggressive depreciation of game prices?

      • What’s more the preowned market seems to have much more lasting power. I recently bought a copy of Silent Hill Shattered Memories and Psi Ops (nostalgia struck) for less than £15 preowned, those games are murder to find new these days and particularly PSi Ops I would imagine it would be impossible. So sometimes preownedis the only option.

  7. Agreed

  8. Oh yeah, and what makes game developers/publishers so special? Other industries have second hand markets as well. I hope this won’t a trend. Next time if you buy a keyboard second hand, the space button won’t work unless you buy an unlock code for that too.

    Also if Johnny buys GT5, plays it then sells it to Bobby. The money Johnny gets from Bobby is used to buy a new game. Instead of Johnny being stuck with GT5 because he has no money and Bobby is left without a game.

    Of course Bobby could just download GT5 and play it for free on his hacked PS3. Exactly the same thing!

    • Another good point. Almost every product you buy has a second-hand market. Pop down your local antiques fair and ask how much Thomas Chippendale’s family is getting for the sale of that mint 18th century cabinet that’s got a reserve of £15k on it.
      Why is that ok?

      • Ok so cars depreciate and games don’t but what about antiques as I mentioned above. They often go UP in value significantly. The original maker/artist never gets any of that money but no one has a problem with that.

    • “Oh yeah, and what makes game developers/publishers so special?”

      You could argue you’re supporting “art” or “creativity” but someone could equally say that a car designer is just as talented, just as creative. And we all love to use the car analogy, don’t we?

      One big problem with the car analogy is depreciation. You buy a new car, you drive your new car for a few years, you sell your new car to someone else (it is now a second-hand car) for less than what you paid for. How dare you?! The maker of that car has received nothing on this sale! True, but there is the issue that the car’s brakes probably need replacing, the engine is probably not as good as it was (not the way I drive!), the wipers are squeaking and the tyres definitely need to be switched or you won’t pass [whatever national car inspection test is in place in your country of residence]. In other words: to make the car as good as its original state, you have to invest more money into it.

      My point? What you are buying for a lower amount is not the same as what you would have gotten if you paid the initial price.

      Now look at games. Games are digital. In other words, there is no difference between a first-hand and a second-hand game. There is no “advantage” to buying new. (You could be pedantic and say that the manual is probably not all dogeared etc. but … whatever …)

      This is what makes developers and publishers “special”. There is no incentive to buy new, no real logic that supports them getting recompense for their hard work, as you can get the exact same thing second-hand which costs less.

      So, developers are putting incentives INTO their games to encourage you to buy them new. I fully support this. You can still go pre-owned if you wish, but they’d like to make some money on their hard work so there’s a reward for those who are interested in supporting the guys who pour hours and effort into the final product. You don’t have to buy new, but, in my opinion, it’s a bit rich complaining about people in a business would like to get paid for their work. “But they get paid the first time!”

      Yes, and to stay in this business most developers (not all, some are super-rich, I’ll give you that) need to get paid every time.

      Bottom line? They can’t stop you buying pre-owned. And you can’t stop them putting incentives in their games to support first-hand sales. That, at least, is pretty clear cut.

      • @Kovacs Ok so cars depreciate and games don’t but what about antiques as I mentioned above. They often go UP in value significantly. The original maker/artist never gets any of that money but no one has a problem with that.

      • A good point. If something goes up in value, taking into account the standard economic law of supply and demand, it’s because it has become a rarity.

        Games can also appreciate. I bought ICO on eBay for €40. In other words: I would have preferred to have given Konami €40 for the game over a decade ago but The demand for the game has gone up so its price has responded accordingly. I physically couldn’t buy first-hand, so I paid over the odds for the privilege of owning the game.

        Antiques are antiques because they’re not made anymore but there is a demand for the products in question. Hence, a market appears. It’s apples and oranges in my opinion when it comes to buying something second-hand when the same product first-hand is readily available.

      • I don’t know why I said Komani. I meant Team Ico/Sony.

      • But discs do get scratched with use, and that can affect your gaming.

        And boxes and manuals can be broken, which brings down the price too, no matter what you say. A car can have a scratched and damaged chasis, with no effect whatsoever in its driving and security but that surely it will bring down its price too.

        The truth is, there is no real difference in the second-hand market of videogames and many other products.

      • A scratched disc bought second hand is synonymous with a car bought second hand that breaks down. You return it and get your money back.

        Come on.

      • i don’t see that being digital is a factor.
        sure it’s a more durable format than say a paperback, but in essence it’s exactly the same as any other media.
        i’ve bought preowned books that were in perfect condition.

        and no incentive? the product has to be bought from the publisher before it can ever be preowned.

        and games benefit more from preowned sales than any other media does, i mean, i’ve never seen a bookstore that gives you the option to trade in old books for a store discount off new ones, yet almost every shopping centre these days will have at least one store that does exactly that for games.

        putting incentives in games is one thing, but cutting out whole sections is another, and i know the next step they’ll take is the totalitarian drm that most pc games seem infested with these days, and don’t tell me that’s to stop piracy because everybody knows that doesn’t work, not for more than a few days.
        i don’t even think that kind of thing is actually legal, at least not in the states, they have this thing called the first sale doctrine, that basically states anybody who legally bought any media can transfer ownership to another person by selling or giving the media away, so long as it’s not done illegally, for example by pirating it.
        i don’t know if there’s any equivalent rule for europe.

      • What about books then? How are they depreciating over time? Book fairs, charity events, the lot are circled around second hand market.

        Arguing that second hand is bad is pure nonsense. Developers should look for other ways of getting money. Before pre-owned there was piracy, now it’s that as their biggest enemy. What are we going to see next? Playing a split screen will require another licence because you are sharing the game?

      • don’t give them ideas.

      • So games don’t depreciate? If the case is opened it’s not worth the price of a brand new game, even if you don’t even touch the disc. Plus discs get scratch, manuals lost, cases broken, dirty etc.

      • A bit late to the party but, I think that games do depreciate in value. A game thats a year old is worth a lot less than a recently released game. when fifa 12 comes out, fifa 11 will depreciate. When the new COD comes out, Blackops will depreicate

  9. Ridiculous.
    Surely the point has to be; How many copies are out there versus how many copies the publisher was paid for? What difference does it make to the publisher if a game I bought is being played by someone else as opposed to sitting gathering dust on my shelf?

    • Not only that, but once it’s at a retailer, doesn’t that count as a game sold? Just asking because I don’t know if retailers pay upfront to publishers, or they put the game on the shelf and when someone buys one, a % of the price is sent to the publisher?

      If it’s the first, than developers have no right to whine.

  10. Good article, but can the same point not be applied to any second hand item? Eg a bespoke dining table sold second hand at furniture dealer, the manufacturer gets nothing. What if we refused to buy second hand and everything was landfilled or recycled, isn’t this a huge waste of manufacturing resources? I think you have to accept that re-use is common and environmentally sensible, the best you can do to support developers is vote with your feet and buy new if you can!

    • Games are actually in the wonderful position of all consumable media in that the creators simply make something new and it’s a brand new product which millions of people will buy. The direct comparisons with furniture can’t really be made since you don’t queue up outside Ikea to get their latest bookcase each year. Once you have a bookcase, you only buy a new one if you’re replacing it or adding another one.

      This is where games win, but physical products like the Flip cameras, iPods… Heck, even the consoles themselves are dead ends. There’s no reason to go and buy a new one if what you have works perfectly well.

      If the same situation were applied to games, then MW2 would not have sold anywhere near as many copies as it did, since MW1 is so close to it in design.

      • that’s exactly what gets me about ea being the ones pushing this whole online pass thing.

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