Writer: Obama Should Regulate Sales of Used Games… GP: No

Over at kombo, Nick Michetti has penned a thoughtful article titled How Barack Obama Can Bring the Change the Video Game Industry Needs.

While some of his ideas have merit, a suggestion that Obama regulate the used game market marred the piece for me. Michetti writes:

We also need to rein in the used games market and not with DRM. It is fundamentally unfair that developers are being robbed of profits for work that they’ve done. If the ESA will not offer a mandate, then we’ll need the government to do so. Publishers and developers should be entitled to at least half of the price from the sale of every used game.


However, we need for there to be caps on used game prices and a Blue Book system for video games to prevent price gouging. We also need for developers to respect our tradition of the second hand market and have part of the mandate state that developers cannot use DRM to inhibit used sales.

Ignoring the fact that the ESA, which represents game publishers, has no wherewithal to issue any type of mandate to game retailers, I just don’t get Michetti’s point. Actually, I don’t get the point of anyone who is whining about used game sales (like Epic’s Michael Capps).

The reason is simple. Industry types – capitalists, all – who seek to restrict used game sales would interfere with the way markets work. And they want to interfere in a way that is purely for their own benefit and decidely anti-consumer. In this case, anti-gamer.

By way of example, let’s say that a carpenter builds a table under contract from a furniture manufacturer. The carpenter gets paid and the manufacturer in turn wholesales the table to a furniture store. The furniture store adds their markup and sells the table to a homeowner. Later, the homeowner remodels and picks up a few bucks by peddling the table through an ad on Craigslist.

Now, replace "table" with "video game." The game developer is the carpenter. The game publisher is the furniture manufacturer. The game retailer is the furniture store. The gamer is the homeowner.

In both cases, there was an economic chain. Everyone got paid for the services. Are we now going to allow the carpenter and the furniture manufacturer to say to the homeowner, "Hey, you can’t sell that table. We want everyone to be forced to buy a new table."

Of course not.

Along this line, I was impressed with a recent blog post by veteran game developer Soren Johnson (Spore, Civ series), who writes:

Many factors come into play when a consumer decides if a specific game purchase is worth the money, and one of those factors is the perceived value from selling it back as a used game. In other words, people will pay more for a new game because they know they can get some of that money back when they trade it in at the local Gamestop.


Importantly, this perceived value exists whether the consumer actually sells the game or keeps it. Wizards of the Coast has long admitted that the existence of the secondary market for Magic cards has long helped buoy the primary market because buyers perceive that the cards have monetary value.

UPDATE: Kudos to Nick Michetti, who dropped by to discuss his article in comments. I see that Kotaku also picked up the story.

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  1. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Why reign in an industry that is so wide spread and doing so well, the market has so much competition there is no need to control it. Sure if you only used the big box outlets you are going to be screwed but that’s only because you are paying for the overhead.


    In fact we need regulation of returns and the wording for repacked or “refurbished” games we need to let retail sell a new return as new with a proper 30 “right of return” day warranty there is no reason to allow them some leeway in selling products as long as it wortks and the consumer is happy it dose not matter if its truly new or not..

    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=
    (in need of a bad overhaul)


    Gdamn word 03 changes the font……

  2. squigs says:

    Is the guy serious?

    On advertising in video games – This was probably an idea from a staffer because it’s cheap and the campaign had lots of money, rather than a key part of the campaign.  At best it shows there’s no absolute hatred of the games industry.

    Second hand games – I agree with just about everyone else.  If the publishers don’t like it, increase the retailer’s markup or reduce prices.  The retailers need to used game sales because the markup on new games is too small for them to survive.

    Tax deductions for devkits – They are already.  All business expenses are.

    Tax cuts for middleware developers – Why?  they’re doing pretty well.  They get gobbled up by the big players because they do so well.  (Also in a couple of cases, how?  One company is based in Dublin, and another in Oxford).  As for developing for new technology, they get a fair bit of help from Sony and Microsoft.  Also, this sector has fairly limited growth potential.  Demand is pretty much limited by the number of developers. 

    Mandatory licencing fees to middleware developers whose software is included in SDKs – This already happens. 

    Tax cuts for developing for new mediums – Fine but no need to make the games industry a special case.  Improvements in bottling technology or shrimp fishing are at least as important.

    "affordable discs that all home console platforms should be forced to support" – I like this idea, apart from the "forced" aspect.  Should the government decide to approve an open standard, with industry backing then great.  Should console manufacturers choose to support it then also great.  I’m a little wary of the government micromanaging something that should be left to market forces. 

  3. Anthrax says:

    Well it was illeagal for Napster to be giving away their music, but the fact that Lars was complaining about it was rediculous, although that’s another discussion.


  4. GoodRobotUs says:

    Warned Us?

    Don’t make me laugh you fraud. Less than a month ago, you were claiming responsibilty for it, writing to Palin and trying to get that very kind of legislation put through.

    Now, we all know you have more faces than the Alps, but your inconsistency is shining through like a beacon.

    Just thought I’d let you know.

  5. RSF says:

    If anything, though, this is even worse than Lars Ulrich complaining about Napster. Metallica’s copyrights really were being infringed by Napster, but what buyers and sellers of used games are doing is completely legal. I’d say this is more akin to unionized auto workers complaining about people buying imported cars because it lowers domestic car sales. Shameless, greedy behavior either way, though.

  6. Anthrax says:

    Robbed of profits? Someone already bought the game, and probably for an unfairly high price. People need to learn that $60 video games are a big turn off for most consumers, even long-time gamers. If they’d simply sell it at a reasonable price people would have less of a reason to pirate it and to buy it used. But buying a game used it just part of the industry, it’s not hurting anyone. It’s a way to help retailers stay afloat, without whom the developers would have less places to sell their games the first time around.

    I hate how publishers make up all this crap to make it look like they’re going out of business because they’re not stealing every cent from everyone every second of the day. It’s like Lars Ulrich complaining about Napster. Once you’ve sold an 11X platinum album, you’re not really in a position to complain about losing money over some stupid filesharing service.

  7. JDKJ says:

    Pfft. Jack can’t even spell "relevance" much less stop his attention whoring, if he tried. No more than the leopard can change its spots. 

  8. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "You’re welcome."

    Thanks, Jack.





















    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  9. RSF says:

    You clearly haven’t educated yourself very well on the nature of End User License Agreements or their history of related court cases. To just make a blanket statement that the terms of the EULA are always uniformly enforceable when preceeded by a "click-wrap" or "shrink-wrap" agreement is plainly wrong. Going by your logic there could be a "return immediately after purchase" clause in the EULA legally compelling me to send my game back to the publisher without being reimbursed. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_User_License_Agreement#Shrink-wrap_and_click-wrap_licenses Again, lower courts have decided things differently and there’s no definitive Supreme Court case law on the subject.

  10. RSF says:

    Actually, you haven’t reiterated (or iterated, for that matter) any laws in regards to this. I’d be happy to see which laws you’re referencing that inform me that the pieces of plastic I buy aren’t actually mine, unlike the potato chips I buy, the televisions I buy, the vehicles I buy, or the shirts I buy. I’m familiar with the first-sale doctrine and there is no definitive Supreme Court case stating that the terms of the EULA [can] expressly invalidate or void it; there are conflicting lower federal court decisions which have gone both ways. Any attempt at legally enforcing terms of the EULA prohibiting resale would be easily challenged.

  11. E. Zachary Knight says:

    The only problem with that type of EULA is that you are unable to return games that contain provisions you don’t agree with. You are not able to return software easily if you do not agree with the terms of the EULA.

    If they want to make EULA’s enforcable, they should make a way for us to review the EULA before purchasing or opening games.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  12. E. Zachary Knight says:

    You are right and licenses unless specified in the agreement are not transferable. But there have been at least one case where that was taken to court and First sale came through.


    AS for games, I think if it were taken to court, they would view games as more like other forms of entertainment and less like computer software such as Office or the Adobe Suite. Those software are used for commercial purposes and thus require licenses to limit their use and transfer of rights. But games are solely built to be entertainment.

    The only way a game can bypass first sale is if the disk bought in the store did not contain everything needed to play. If that which is needed to play must be licensed from the publisher of the game. I am talking about private server type things. MMOs and such. Since you need to use the private servers of the MMO provider, they can get away with limiting the transfer of rights.

    But games that contain everything needed to play the game, like all console games and the majority of PC games, they will be treated like DVDs, CDs, and books, as they are self contained entertainment works. There is nothing that needs to be licensed.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  13. Paul T. Farinelli says:


    This entire article has nothing to do with videogame violence. It’s about used game sales, a completely different issue altogether. Stop trying to make everything about you in a misguided attempt at getting attention.

  14. T5 says:

    "First of all, Barack Obama is a big advocate of the First Amendment and First Amendment rights."

    Source? To many pro fairness doctrine types around to sign off on this one.

    "Publishers and developers who decide to develop for expensive and complex new mediums like Blu-ray should also get a tax cut or console manufacturers who use the new mediums should be forced to take smaller portions of their fees until the price of the medium comes down appropriately."

    Tax cut is fine. Forced? Elaborate on this.

    "Maybe Obama won’t be receptive to our problems, maybe we won’t want to reach out — maybe this article is a plentitude of pipedreams doomed never to come to fruition."

    This seems right.  Not exactly a great article and given Obama’s desires to rais Capital Gains Taxes it seems unlikely that the gmaing industry stnads to really benefit from him in any direct sort of way.  Tax cuts for the industry would be great but there seems to be no inclination on Obama’s part to make it happen.  The kind of cahnge Mr. Michetti desires seems more obtainable on the state level.  

  15. Gamer says:

    Well DRM isn’t really something new to those who legitimately have bought 3D software… or Windows for that matter. 🙂 It can still be pirated, but I don’t really begrude Autodesk for protecting their products and trying to make money. I sort of begrudge Microsoft, but that’s because they are so damned evil. 😉

    There’s already a lot of discussion here and I was going to be this long post about different points, but I guess it comes to one for me:

    What should the industry really do about second hand sales if it bothers them so much? I think they need to give consumers a reason to buy new instead of used. If you were given a choice between a used game at half price and a new game at full price, what would make you want to buy the new game instead of the used game?

    For me, sometimes physical bonus items can sway me (figurines, art books, etc.). Maybe getting dibs on an item in-game. UO (yes I play that game) often prints one time use codes in their retail boxes for in-game items, but it’s not the only game that does this. I remember a lot of games on the PS1 would have bonuses like analog covers and themed stickers for memory cards. If you bought used, usually these goodies have been looted by the original buyer, but if I wanted them enough, I would buy new instead.


  16. questionmark1987 says:

    It’s not necessarily unenforceable either, but like you and I both pointed out it’s never been tested, mostly because I don’t think any company has ever bothered to go after anyone.

    Interestingly enough you don’t actually have to physically copy anything. The copy going into RAM on the console is considered, by legalese, to eb a copy and it can be controlled. The agreement on your part comes in when you insert the disk or click accept on the little EULA button on your PC. It’s called a click-wrap (after shrink wrap based from CDs, which is what comes into effect with console games) agreement and it’s binding to the person who opened or installed the product the first time. These two actions are the same as signing an agreement with the publisher in the eyes of the law, that’s what makes anything in a EULA enforcible.

  17. questionmark1987 says:

    That’s the common way consumers understand it, but unfortunatly it’s not the way things are looked at in the legal venue. Like I said, rather then assuming based on what you feel is correct, actually go find out. I didn’t make the laws I’m just reiterating them.

  18. hellfire7885 says:

    The industry itself isn’t responsible for sales, the retailers are as are the parents.

    If a mother buys GTA for little Johnny it was her that did it, there was not soemoen from Take Two stickign copies of GTA 4 into people’s carts, or do you believe they still use baskets.

    As for the retailer, if they warn the parent and they purchase it anyway, they did all they can, if ythey make no effort on a warning, again, the industry had NOTHING to do with it, it was the sales clerk, and if there is no policy on it, the retailer’s fault.

    Oh, wait, forgot, personal responsibility is for terrorists, right?

  19. DavCube says:

    For one, you should have listened to his statements about video games. He’s asking parents to take a stand, not to regulate sales.

    Secondly, go back to your own blog, GP-addict.

  20. konrad_arflane says:

    a) You do own the physical medium which carries the data. You also own (not rent) the license to install the game on a single computer. I’m not sure a license agreement that prohibited transfer of the license would be enforceable – I know software companies put all sorts of stuff in their EULAs that probably isn’t, but no one knows for sure because it’s never been tried judicially.

    b) Console games are (until recently, at least) a separate case. Have you ever seen a EULA for a console game? I haven’t, because I’ve never installed – that is, copied from one medium to another – one on a machine. License agreements exist because software companies let their customers install – again, that means copy – programs, which would technically be illegal if license were not explicitly granted. A console game, which (until recently) runs directly off the disc, is legally similar to a CD or DVD – you own the disc, and you can sell it or give it away to whomever you like.

    (yes, I am aware that there are restrictions on how you can use a CD or DVD, but that’s not the point at issue)

    c) Even restricting ourselves to PC games, and even assuming that no-resale EULAs are enforceable: If a product can only ever be used (legally) by the owner, that’s something I would think should factor into to price of purchase. Plainly speaking, a game that you can’t resell should cost less than a game that you can resell, all else being equal.

  21. VideolandHero says:

    Obama doesn’t really know about or care about the game industry.  Nice try though.

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  22. michelleobamarama says:

    I have warned for ten years that either the video game industry stop its sale of violence to kids, or the government would step in.  Barack Obama has made it clear, during the campaign, that he thinks he can fix everything, so get ready for the draconian governmental response to  the industry’s recklessness.  I warned you.  You’re welcome.  Jack Thompson 

  23. Adamas Draconis says:

    Agreed. The only reason I’m considering a PS3 is because of the blue-ray capability (But I’m seriously thinking just getting the Arcade 360 and getting the blue ray seperately, most of the games I been wanting are on both of them anyway.)

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  24. ronnoc says:

     I can see their point, except when I think about all of the old games I’ve bought used that weren’t being produced.  I like to play 5+ years old games, and this would not allow me to.

  25. RSF says:

    Uh, I own every single game I paid for. The physical case, disc, instructions, anything else that came with it are mine and mine alone, I am not borrowing, renting or licensing pieces of plastic and paper from the game’s original publisher or anyone else. What you are saying is as stupid as claiming that you don’t actually own that couch you just bought, you’re just paying its maker for the privilege of sitting on it. In neither scenario does a "licensing agreement" factor anywhere into the equation; I didn’t buy a patent or copyright, I bought a physical product.

  26. JC says:

    Nick, it is great to hear some clarification from you directly. I’m liking how we’re getting responses to our replies from authors of these artictlces, it is great because it clears up misunderstandings and opens more discussion.

    Unfortunatly, I don’t see how it’d be possible to have such a form of giving any amount of a used title to the developers, the fact that this be nearly impossible to enforce (except to retailers by law). This still will likely have an adverse effect of artificial scarcity, since many developers will likely want to save costs and just hope for small revenue from people trying to grab rare titles that are no longer in production and will incline more to not give any cuts to developers/publishers.

    I agree we need tax cuts but we also need to move further from insane budgets for titles that have money poured in just to make little back in return b/c of the lack of marketing or whatever. It is a highly competitive business and not everyone has the money to buy every title instantly, and the time frame for maximum profits is extremely short. No one except a few have enough cash to support every developer’s work within a time frame that their shareholders would appreciate.

    Thanks for coming here Nick to clarify.


  27. TBoneTony says:

    I don’t think we should have laws that restrict used games from being sold.

    Because used games are the first point where new gamers can try out games that don’t cost as much.

    Also I do feel that there are many parents who do feel that Videogames cost too much and the only way to counter that is when used games are being sold for half that price.

    Like see a new Wii/XBox360/PS3 game in Australia costs $100 or $120 depending on the HD graphical power and already you can see the parents worry about their gamer kid wanting more and more games that cost allot of money.

    The used game sales is what is going to be an easy way for new gamers and younger gamers who relly on their parents for the money to buy them are what are going to make a positive difference in the videogame community.


    As for the possibility of Obama being talkative about other videogame issues like the First Amendment rights, it is a 50% possibility, all he needs is to let go of that old steriotype that Videogames are for kids and start thinking that Videogames are for adults too and also understand that the crime in america has dropped and that games like GTA and other Violent Videogames have had no real influence in crime to understand that there is no need to restrict Violent Videogames from adults who want to play them and instead focus on promoting the ESRB ratings system to parents so they can understand what it all means.

    I feel that parents are able to listen better to a politician who is more high in public profile than to anyone within the industry who has not got any public profile but who is trying their best to help parents become aware of the ESRB.



  28. questionmark1987 says:

    For everyone talking about right of first sale, you may want to actually research the difference between how computer software and regular items are handled. You don’t actually own any of the games you pay for, you just paid the company that made it to play. That’s called a licensing agreement, and if the company put in a clause saying you can’t resell it, they can take you to court for doing so.


    The question becomes would this actually be practical or profitable, and the answer to that is probably no. But I think a lot of people on here are really uneducated about how purchasing a game actually works in the legal sense.

  29. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    "here in Oklahoma."

    Holy [bleep]! How did that slip past me?

    OK, soaked my head. I have a friend (somewhat) that lives in OK. I’ll bet he’ll be surprised.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  30. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Job well done, Dennis.


    "Game on, brothers and sisters." -Leet Gamer Jargon

  31. gamepolitics says:

    Nick – I wrote today’s commentary and, as always, I stand by it.

    Yes, it was a lengthy piece that you wrote. And if you re-read what was posted here, you ‘ll see that I acknowledged that your article made some points and was thoughtfully written. This segment on used games caught my eye and I think it merited a response. It also provoked a bit of discussion, which is always a good thing.

    For me, it did mar your piece. Your results may vary. But this is a hot button issue for GP, which is consumer oriented.

    To be honest, I wouldn’t have dissected your entire article here on GP for space reasons, so that was never an option. But I think that having your work taken seriously and having it subjected to informed criticism adds a certain legitimacy to what you write, don’t you think?

    Anyway, thanks for having the intestinal fortitude to weigh in.


  32. Wolvenmoon says:

    Remember this!


    Game companies believe they are selling you a non-transferable single use license, and until we force, in court, the casting down of the EULA, we will have more crap like this and DRM. You are NOT buying a product-you are buying a license, or so they say.

    Of course, if you want your games free you can just mod your console, use a free matchmaking service other than XBL (Denying them that 5 a month), get an unlimited rental service, and knock yourself out.

    But modchipping is illegal! You only own a license to that console, modifying it is against the law and acn result in jailtime regardless of intentions.

    Gamers, support open source hardware. It’s the choice between a closed, snail-shit market like we see with televisions, or a fast paced doom 2 to crysis every decade.

  33. Thad says:


    Thanks for coming by to clarify.

    I would add that the idea of a bluebook isn’t necessarily a bad one, but it shouldn’t have government enforcement behind it and I think it would have trouble catching on.  If somebody’s willing to pay $30 for a game on eBay, it’s perceived as being worth $30, and it’d be tricky to change that perception.

    The last quoted sentence, "We also need for developers to respect our tradition of the second hand market and have part of the mandate state that developers cannot use DRM to inhibit used sales," is actually a perfectly good point.  I don’t have a problem with government intervention that PROTECTS consumers from predatory business practices (in Dennis’s analogy, DRM would be equivalent to a device that won’t let you sell your table or move it to a new house — not a perfect analogy, but that’s the basic idea).

  34. E. Zachary Knight says:

    Hey Nick. Thanks for coming in and commenting. I was one of the people who came to your article and commented on it.

    The article was very well thought out and interesting.

    I agree strongly with the idea of better tax incentives for the games industy. this is something I am working on here in Oklahoma. I hope that one day Oklahoma will recognize the importance of hte games industry.

    I hope that this will not ruin any notions you have about us or this website.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  35. Alastor says:

    Hey GamePolitics,

    Someone here at GamePolitics.com took the opportunity to comment on my Obama article–or, perhaps I should say, one paragraph of a three-page editorial.

    It is true that enclosed in my editorial is a single paragraph dedicated to "reining in the used games market." It is also true that this paragraph was shortsighted and not anywhere near as well as thought out as it could’ve been, especially with implications for the market and government control. I will freely admit of my own volition that I did not fully grasp the implications of what I had written until some of the comments had come in. I admit this because I have realized that the full implications of the paragraph in question are the polar opposite of my beliefs. I do not support government control of our industry, nor is government control involved in any of my political beliefs. I’m an independent and a moderate who supported Obama through the primaries and the general election. I just happened to come up with a poor idea, is all.

    How did the paragraph come about in the first place, then? Just an admittedly poorly thought-out ideological notion that if developers got a small bit of cash back from the used games market, it would provide them with less of an impetus to include DRM. That’s it. No government control undertones or anything of the sort meant to be implied. To reiterate: it was a bad idea conjured up by a limited understanding of the scope of the implications of the idea, which never should’ve been written in the first place. If you were offended by this paragraph in any way, I apologize. Rest assured that if I could go back in time and rewrite the piece, I would eliminate that point entirely, for it doesn’t accurately reflect my intent in any way, period.

    But for the person in question here at GamePolitics to proclaim my piece "marred," in my opinion, is just as shortsighted as my paragraph on the used games market. This was a three page piece written with a simple message: that our industry is heading towards a crash, that we need some help and that maybe we could get some aid from the U.S. government in light of our current predicament. After all, I wouldn’t have written this statement–"I’m not talking about a radical ally-making process here, but rather about establishing an open line of communication so that Obama and Congress will be more receptive to hearing about (and reacting upon positively) industry issues in the future"–if I had meant for that single paragraph on used games to reflect a notion of government control in one instance, let alone on behalf of the entire piece.

    The paragraph in question is a trouble spot, true, but marred? I vehemently disagree. I don’t think that a piece that asks for tax cuts for smaller developers like Double Fine Studios, tax cuts/more money for middleware developers, tax-deductible SDKs and putting an end to a rivalry that has done nothing but cost the taxpayers of this country money–not to mention how it gives this industry grief–can be marred by a single paragraph. I think that those ideas are to the very least conceptually strong and that they shouldn’t be dismissed because of one poorly thought out paragraph that I admit error on.

    So, I ask all of you: take a Sharpie marker in your mind and blot out that paragraph and the one other mentioning of that point, then re-read the piece, for those are the ideas that I stand by. Those are the ideas that are supposed to comprise and be the crux of my editorial, not that single paragraph. After all, if I had intended for that paragraph to be the crux of my editorial, I would’ve written an editorial about that, not as a single paragraph in passing.

    I want to be clear that I don’t want to stir anything up as a result of this, merely clear up a misunderstanding. I don’t think ill of the author of the post, nor am I angry. I just want to clear the air and make sure that when people read this article, they know full well what my actual intent is and there are significantly meatier ideas to consider that are meant to be there, rather than debate over the one that I shouldn’t have put in at all.

    Nick Michetti

  36. hellfire7885 says:

    Yard sales must be outlawed, Who knows how many companies are being grieviously harmed!!! Ever dollar spent at a yard sale is a dollar for terrorism!!!!!

  37. Canary Wundaboy says:

    You know as well as I or anyone else knows that doing such a thing would kill the PS3 as a console overnight.

  38. hellfire7885 says:

    So once noe more copies of a game are being produced, it should become impossible for anyone who wants a certain game to ever get it?

  39. Father Time says:

    There are two used PS1 games that I am trying to obtain. One is Spyro 2, and the other is Twisted Metal: Small Brawl. While I have no problem supporting insomniac or incognito does anyone think they should make money off that purchase? I can’t find the games new, none of my local game stores sell PS1 games as far as I know so I’m left with either the used game market or piracy. I won’t be bothered with altering any of my playstations, and I’m not sure about using ROMS so piracy is pretty much out the window.

    But should they continue benefitting from something they made oh so long ago that they won’t continue making? Should auto makers reap benefits from people selling their used classic chrome cars that look oh so much nicer than most cars of today?


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  40. BrandonL337 says:

    Gamers would Rebel

    if their 360 RR’d what then gamer complains that none of his game work

    game companies: tough shit

    gamers would literaly stop buying any games and only playing flash games, because they know that their 60 dollars will eventually have been for nothing

    United we Stand, Divided we fall.

  41. MaskedPixelante says:

    If the games industry itself were so paranoid about used game sales, then they’d USE the technology to make sure a game can only be played on one console.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  42. Jag says:

    I can understand the developer/publshier getting a cut from game rentals but a blue book is just dumb as well as second hand sales.


  43. illspirit says:

    Industry types – capitalists rent-seeking corporatists, all – who seek to restrict used game sales would interfere with the way markets work.

    Fixed that for you. :p

  44. JC says:

    Not everyone has internet and not everyone has a great enough connection to receive such titles within a reasonable timeframe especially if their internet connection has caps (which many do).

    DD will be a sad day for many consumers that prefer the reliability an actual copy with possibility of resale.

    Game sizes are likely going to be huge next gen, we already have PC titles pushing 14~18GBs, some people only get a monthly cap of 20 in some countries. It’d be a bad business model to focus on it currently, as much as they’d like it, that perceived value of resale being gone would likely have customers demanding the price for a game drop to the $30~40 range, and publishers are extremely stingy about selling at $60 currently b/c of their huge expenses on developing titles they feel they need to spend in order to feel they have a AAA title.

  45. Rennie Davis says:

    Bill Weasley: To a goblin, the rightful and true master of any object is the maker, not the purchaser. All goblin-made objects are, in goblin eyes, rightfully theirs.

    Harry Potter: But if it was bought—

    Bill Weasley: —then they would consider it rented by the one who had paid the money. They have, however, great difficulty with the idea of goblin-made objects passing from wizard to wizard. … They consider our habit of keeping goblin-made objects, passing them from wizard to wizard without further payment, little more than theft.



    TOTH: Electronic Frontier Foundation brief in Universal Music Group v. Augusto (dealing with the right of a recipient of promotional CDs to resell them.)


  46. SounDemon says:

    Why don’t they just place a greater emphasis on Digital Distribution on consoles?

    You know, sell full 360 games over Live, let the Wii use a Hard Drive so they can sell games over the Wii Shop, and have the PS3 sell full games over the Playstation Network.

    Honestly, they need to realize that the majority of people will not go to the trouble of making their consoles play pirated games, and recognize that Gamestop’s price gouging scheme is a far bigger threat, NOT used game sales and embrace digital distribution accordingly; they need to shut the hell up about piracy, since piracy is usually a sign of the market having a need that the industry will not fill, such as Hollywood not giving people movies online until they realize that about a million people downloaded their movie off Bittorrent.

    The Game Developers should have seen this coming and done digital distribution; sadly, the first DD was steam and it was in 2004; they were content to just leave things as they are and not react to market changes such as piracy. 

    Hey Developers; embrace DD and stop whining about piracy if Gamestop’s price gouging is a bigger threat to you!

  47. sqlrob says:

    OK fine, let’s do this.

    Right of First Sale is one of the compromises because of copyright. Control second hand sale, no copyright.



  48. Benji says:

    1) Good counterexample. I would have gone with used car sales myself, but the point’s the same.

    2) Is the used video game market really the economic scourge that we need the Obama presidency to tackle? Seriously?

  49. JustChris says:

    The first sale of the game, in its brand new state, is the final product. Game companies only deserve the final product sales, and in terms of GDP the product has reached the end of its sales pipeline, even if it can be resold again and again. GDP counts the sales of the new games only.

  50. Adamas Draconis says:

    That is an industry that will never die (Pardon the pun)

    Hunting the shadows of the troubled dreams.

  51. Father Time says:

    Coveting your neighbor’s wife is killing the porn industry (unless your neighbor’s wife is a porn star).

    Diet and excersize is killing those ‘miracle’ diet drugs (and good riddance).

    cliffnotes is killing the book market.


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  52. E. Zachary Knight says:

    It doesn’t matter. You are legally capable of selling something you bought at a profit if you want to. It doesn’t matter if it is a good idea due to supply and demand. The market could be saturated with a product selling at $20. If I want to sell that product for $30 or even $300 dollars, I am legally capable. It may not be smart, but it is legal.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  53. E. Zachary Knight says:

    You can too make a profit off of something you own. You are well within your right to buy something for $60 and sell it for $80 if you wish. You don’t have to alter it or anything. AS long as it is the original product you purchased, you can make as much profit as the market is willing to pay.

    That is why it is not illegal to buy stuff at garagesales for dirt cheap prices and then to take them to other places you know will get you a massive mark-up and sell them there.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  54. kielejocain says:

    It’s no fun when someone comes in and wins the thread with the first comment.

    Next time let us think we have a chance before dropping the bomb.

  55. Neeneko says:

    Scary thing is, there have been laws passed that speak like that.  I can recall reading a case study of a national law that limited what farmers could grow, including what you grew for your own family, partly under the idea that if you were self suffient then you hurt the industry.

    There have been plenty of examples of industries that got powerful enough make life difficult for people doing it for themselves.  Healthcare is another example.. it wasn’t all that long ago that having your baby without a doctor was basicly illegal…. so one of the most basic human activites was religated to ‘you can’t do that yourself’

  56. DeepThorn says:

    Agreed, amazing logic of some people…  I am guessing he didn’t think that all the way through.  How that will rape consumers, like our gas prices that seriously should have been regulated.  If the gas wasn’t regulated though, they can not regulate these games being sold second hand.  They have absolutely no right to do so, even if it is their intellectual property. 

    Once an item is sold, everything of it is the buyer’s to do what they want with, without making profit or giving away a duplicated item based off of the original that could have not been created without the original said item.  If said owner sells that item, they will be giving up all ownership physically and else wise of that item by doing so.  If said owner takes product during ownership and changes it in extreme ways to make it into something new, then they can make profit however they wish. 

    Isn’t that how it is suppose to be?  I was reading over the law that was passed in October, and I saw they are making an IP section of the government that is going to get $25 million a year to go after people over illegal activities involving IP stuff.  Then if I read it right, it says the people in the IP department are actually allowed to get gifts from publishers to "aid them" in their work. (I took it as paying them off to screw over people harder than they should…)

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  57. Father Time says:

    Us being screwed is exactly why me and my brother don’t sell our games used. That’s why we have such a large amount of games we rarely play. Seriously we once got a couple of brand new games we all ready had, still wrapped in plastic and everything, we tried to sell them to gamespot and what they offered was just insulting. So they just sit in a drawer collecting dust, although still wrapped in plastic.

    I never considered ebay or craigslist though. My parents tried to sell a car through craigslist and they couldn’t find a buyer (although just as well because later they decided not to sell it), and none of us know how to use ebay so yeah…

    And I can just imagine some numbskull setting the bluebook value of Marvel vs. Capcom 2 to be $20 or something like that (and for those of you who don’t know, that game is going for around $80 on ebay, because it’s rare and it’s quite popular).


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  58. JC says:

    Yeah, I agree it is a silly notion that they be given money for nothing. If that ever does happen, then they won’t bother making many new sales and create unneeded scarcity; they basically become similar to the beast that gamestop is. When you create scarcity, you get worse piracy…

    They probably wouldn’t have it that high, they did claim "caps" but if someone was allowed to choose that cap, it’d be insane if they raise it really high b/c of "high demand and "little supply." Then, you have more piracy.

    You also have problems with one time only codes that developers are doing now in order to gather more sales, or that talk about them making it where you spend $20 to see your  finalboss fight/game’s ending because you bought it used.



  59. E. Zachary Knight says:

    This is exactly my concern as outlined above.

    If publishers want to keep making money off their games they would continue to offer those games for sale. But no, they would rather release a limited supply and try to rape the used market.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  60. MaJeStIc_12_x says:

    Why video games? Why not target the entire second hand market?

    Mr. Michetti obviously doesn’t realize the right of first sale, and that once a product has been purchased (not a service), the consumer is legally free to do whatver they want so long as they abide the law (unless a contract stating otherwise has been signed).

    A video game Kelley Blue Book is a stupid idea for numerous reasons:

    Who would decide what a game is worth?

    How often would this be updated?

    How would condition factor into the value?

    Let’s look at a particularily rare game like Marvel vs. Capcom 2 for the Playstation 2. The going rate on eBay and Amazon is about $60-90 depending on condition. GameStop sells the game used for $79.99. According to Michetti:

    "Publishers and developers should be entitled to at least half of the price from the sale of every used game."

    Does that mean that GameStop should give Capcom $40 every time they sell a used copy of Marvel vs. Capcom 2? Capcom might make more money from this particular sale than they did when the game was sold new for $49.99 (wholesale price is about $42). Not only that, but what if the game is resold multiple times? Should developers and publishers profit for doing nothing? I’m all for the developers and publishers, but getting money for doing nothing is not a good plan.


  61. DeepThorn says:

    The companies already got their profit from the original though.  Here, let me explain why this is not logical.

    Someone buys their game, so the company who made it got the money for that copy of the game, and all is good.  Then they sell the game, therefore they no longer own or use that game.  Then someone else buys the game.  If the company gets profit off of that too, then they are getting income because of it being sold a second time, when they already got profit from that item with no additional items on the street.

    If the company that made it actually got money taken away from them because of someone selling the game to EB or GS, then that would be logical, but no one did and no additional copies of that game are on the street by it being sold to a second person, legally. (if that is the case, then they have legal actions they can pursue)

    So I bought my 2009 Corolla for $16,000 (rounding) from Toyota back in March or April.  Now if I turn around and sell my car to someone, Toyota has no right to take a percentage of that money from me that I get from selling it to another person, and if I sell it to a dealership for $12,000, and they turn around and sell it to someone else for $14,000, then Toyota asked them for a percentage of the money they profited, that is not fair to the dealership. 

    Now if I or the dealership had the ability to duplicate the car at no cost to us, then sell 2 cars, I could see them taking a profit, but if these games are sticking with the original disc, then no one other than the people directly involved with the transaction has no right for any money to be transferred to them other than the government who is going to rape us on taxes no matter what.

    Consumers are taking at least some form of risk of getting a used game through any location, may it be online or EB/GameStop.  The game could be scratched and you not be able to play a side quest or section of the game.  It could smell like smoke because of the past owner being a smoker, it could not have the booklet, and plenty of other things that encourage people to buy a new copy instead.  If the original price wouldn’t have gotten so ass raping high, then people would still be buying new copies instead of used ones.  There are extremely few games worth $60, and even more if it is a PC game that has an expansion pack.

    I am okay with the blue book idea, but it needs to go into such detail that it would have to figure in condition of the disc and case, if the booklet is included, and so on.  So it would have to be exactly like edmunds uses to figure out car values given the car condition, what features it has and so on.  I don’t see all that labor paying off for anyone though, and Ebay would be better still for anyone unless they dont want to deal with it.  You only get ripped off as much as your laziness lets you.

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  62. E. Zachary Knight says:

    THere is already a way for customers to prevent being screwed like that. It is called ebay and Craigslist. Honestly. The only reason customers are willing to seel their games to Gamestop for the meager price they get is that they find it easier than dealing with online services or other means of selling it themselves. If more people sold their games themselves, GS would be forced to alter their used game market to look more appealing to customers who want unload a bunch of games.

    I also don’t like the idea of a bluebook system. Will such a system actually represent the value of the game or will it only deal in depreciation. THere are many games out there that are selling for much more than MSRP now due to the fac they are so rare and sought after. Will a Bluebook system honestly represent that. Also, who would be in charge of managing bluebook prices? It can’t be the industry as they would be in the position to directly control the game market. It can’t be the retailers as they would directly benefit from it. So it would have to be an independent group. But who?

    My next concern, why do we even need a bluebook system? The only other industry I know of that has one is the auto industry. They have one because cars are large investments and calculating depreciation of a car is a lot tougher than most low priced products such as games. The price of games would make a bluebook system almost worthless. $60 is not something that needs regulated as much as $10,000.

    E. Zachary Knight
    Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
    MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
    Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

  63. konrad_arflane says:

    "Like when you trade in a game for a dollar store credit that is sold for $15. Helluva mark-up and regulation would keep that from happening."

    Umm. Why? If people want to trade in their games for a dollar when it’s no secret that the store will mark it up like that, shouldn’t they be allowed to? If they think it’s a bad deal, wouldn’t they just, you know, not sell the game, or try to find a better price elsewhere?

  64. Flamespeak says:

    I don’t see this as anti-consumer. It seems that he wants companies that sell used games to have give a percetage of their profit back to the industry instead of just keeping it. A blue book value would help keep people from getting screwed in prices too. Like when you trade in a game for a dollar store credit that is sold for $15. Helluva mark-up and regulation would keep that from happening. I don’t think that stores should be regulated personally, and the man never said that he wanted the average joe to pay others for a product he had, however I do think that something needs to be done to prevent the consumer from being screwed and some kind of universal price point given on the used value for games.

  65. Neeneko says:

    The Wii VC and similiar services are actually an example of why the game industry fights both the second hand market and the abandonware piracy… so that demand can build over time and if they so choose they can re-release thier IP years later like this.

    Kinda a mixed bag for consumers but it does explain why they care so much about games they don’t even publish anymore.

  66. VideolandHero says:

    This is a bad idea.  If certain video game companies wanted to they could make a killing selling their old dated games as new.  Examples include Wii Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, Steam, Gametap, etc

    — Official Protector of Videoland!

  67. hayabusa75 says:

    Masturbation is killing the prostitution industry.

    "There is no sin except stupidity." – Oscar Wilde

  68. face777 says:

    Do that and the amount of copies on eBay goes up at least ten fold… hell, it’s a better bet anyways, gamer to gamer, goes on what we feel the value of a second hand game is, or are willing to pay, not some corporate fat cat.  I only buy second hand games off eBay even when I worked for gamestation (like Gamestop over in the states)

  69. MaskedPixelante says:

    I got a copy of Zone of the Enders 2 used the other day. You can’t find Zone of the Enders 2 new anymore.

    —You are likely to be eaten by a Grue.

  70. Cheater87 says:

    Movie rentals and the movie channels are killing the movie theaters as well. ONLY let people see movies ONCE in a movie theatere. 😛

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