Atari’s Phil Harrison Weighs in on Used Game Trade Debate

And the used game trade debate rages on…

As reported by,  Phil Harrison (left), speaking at a London event yesterday, took a moderate approach to the argument over used game trading. Of the issue, the Atari president remarked:

There’s no doubt that second hand games sales has a macro-economic impact on the industry and a lot of people get miserable about it.

But it’s no coincidence that the most valuable games, the ones that have the most lifetime as a game experience, are the ones that don’t get resold, that don’t get traded.

The games that have the embedded community, the embedded commerce, the extended, expandable experiences, are the one’s that you would never want to trade, the one’s you want to keep hold of. And that’s perfectly in line with our future strategy so we’re not that concerned about it.

Atari CEO David Gardner made similar remarks at the gathering:

Second hand game sales represent consumer choice and desire. Obviously, it has economically been extremely painful for the industry… the publishers don’t benefit.


But as games change and they become more and more network centric, the disc in the box becomes only one part of the experience. As that experience grows then it becomes not such a problem.

GP: Although the used game issue brings out the militant consumer advocate in me, I must give these guys a little credit for moderating their comments (unlike Epic’s whiny Michael Capps). Both Gardner and Harrison seem to be saying that digital distribution is the wave of the future, so let’s not get too frothed up about used game sales now. And they’re probably right.

Still, I’ve ginned up enough working-class frustration while writing this to be annoyed by Gardner’s complaint that "the publishers don’t benefit" [from used game trades].

Why is that a problem?

Gardner’s comment is typical of the greedy mindset of some game publishers, who already got paid when they sold the game to the retailer. The retailer then made its money when the consumer purchased the game. And when the consumer disposes of the game, the publisher wants another bite of the apple? What is this, the Mafia? Everyone in the food chain has to kick back up to the Don?


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  1. Gamer says:

    "What you are essentially saying is that it is wrong for retailers to offer the customer a used game trading service and that if they want to do be involved in the second hand market they should pay devs/pubs for a game the devs/pubs have already made money on."

    I’m not saying the practice of the retailer to offering a used game trading service is wrong. It’s the idea that publishers can only make money on one copy of a disc once but retailers can make money on one copy of a disc multiple times that I find strange (but not necessarily wrong). 

    Retailers made their money the first time they sold the new disc as well. Why let them profit twice but not the publisher? It just seems like a lot of people support the greed of the retailer over greed the publisher, which I find strange.

    Personally, I just don’t support the greed of retailers over that of the creators (devs\pubs) even if it is technically legal and a profitable (and smart) business strategy.The publishers\devs will probably just explore different business models that favor themselves (which is already happening) and that isn’t wrong either, even if the retailers don’t like it because it threatens their 2nd hand sales profits (which only exist due to the publisher in the first place).



  2. TJLK says:

    "It’s the retailers using it as a profit cow at their (the pubs/devs) expense that bothers them."

    If the retailers didn’t use it as a profit cow then what would be the point of being involved in the second-hand market?  Its a fine business choice and one that obviouslys works so they would be doing an injustice to all involved with the company(shareholders/partners/employees/etc) if they didn’t.  When was it decided that running a business in a way that is profitable is a crime?  They are literally doing nothing illegal or wrong.

    I usually don’t side against developers but this is a no-brainer if I’ve ever seen one.  Its so blatantly obvious that retailers are not to blame here that I’m actually stunned that people are convinced otherwise.

    "Why is everyone so against the dev/publishers making money off their product but not against a retailer making money off 10 used game sales of a game they only purchased 5 new copies of?"

    First off I’m not against devs/pubs making money off their product. I doubt anyone here is claiming that. I’m against them making profit off a game they have already sold.  You fail to mention they purchased all 15 copies.  5 new, 10 used(from cusomers).  Those 10 used copies have already previously provided the devs/pubs with profit when they were originally purchased, so they have already made profit from those 10 units.  The fact that customers choose to buy a used game rather than a new game is purely a choice that should be regulated by two parties.  First party is the retailer that buys/sells the used game and the second is the consumer that buys/sells the used game.  Besides malfunctioning software/hardware the publisher/developer has officially exited the trade cycle because they have already completed the sale of the new unit.  It is totally out of their hands at this point.

    What you are essentially saying is that it is wrong for retailers to offer the customer a used game trading service and that if they want to do be involved in the second hand market they should pay devs/pubs for a game the devs/pubs have already made money on. 

    I have yet to hear a single reasonable argument against retailers.  I’ve read multiple articles, all the comments here…  There debate is literally lacking a reasonable argument.

  3. Chuma says:

    Wrong.  I collect games and consoles and like the physical object.  A piece of code is useless to me in that regard, which is why despite acknowledging the utter brilliance of Braid for instance, I haven’t bought it.  If they release it for £10 on disc, it’s mine.  I’m certain I am not the only one who thinks this way.

  4. Chuma says:

    Okay developers and questionmarkers…  Let’s break this down.

    Where do you think 2nd hand sales come from exactly?  They are when someone trades in games for new ones, which correct me if I am wrong means a SALE for you that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  The only difference is that the games shop recooperates the money by selling on the used games rather than taking cash.

    If the 2nd hand games were not being sold then you wouldn’t be getting trade-ins which means those that trade in for new titles wouldn’t be generating a sale for you.  Those that keep games with no intention of selling them buy a mixture of new and used games dependant on the deal, but whenever I buy a 2nd hand title, I am funded the trade-ins so that the shop generates money.

    The 2nd hand market directly feeds the New games market.  What some of you are proposing is a throw-away culture where everybody buys a new game and either hangs on to it or bins it.  Some others are suggesting that those who create something should get a sale at every single step of the way, which is completely against the idea of ownership of an item, and don’t give me any balony about EULAs meaning you rent the game rather than buy it – this DOESN’T stand up in court.

    Frankly I view this as greed from games developers, pure and simple, and short sightedness on the way the 2nd hand market works and props up the New games market too.

  5. Chuma says:

    Where do you think 2nd hand sales come from exactly?  They are when someone trades in games for new ones, which correct me if I am wrong means a SALE for you that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  The only difference is that the games shop recooperates the money by selling on the used games rather than taking cash.  If the 2nd hand games were not being sold then you wouldn’t be getting trade ins which means those that trade in for new titles wouldn’t be generating a sale for you.  So in short, you are fundementally WRONG.  The 2nd hand market directly feeds the New games market.

  6. lordlundar says:

    I *have* walked into a Gamestop, asked for a fairly new release, and been told they were out of stock, but they did have this used copy for $5 off the new price.

    You actually proved my point on this in supporting used game sales. There was an artificial shortage and as such you can’t buy a new game. Going with what the publishers want, you would have to have paid them more for their artificial shortage.

  7. StevoUK says:

     And what’s wrong with that? If steak tastes good (to you), you’re bound to eat it a lot – you certainly wouldn’t complain about how it still tastes good …

    If you don’t like steak, switch to something else!

  8. StevoUK says:

     Except most people posting here seem to think that the retailer’s 10 used copies were magically created by the power of hopes and dreams. The publisher set what it considered a fair price on the game, and 15 copies were sold. That is the end of the story for the publisher / developer / etc.

    The retailer is not doing anything illegal or immoral – if developers are starving because of lack of revenue, they would stop making games and get a more lucrative job, or charge more for their games. Since they’re not doing that, we can assume that the status quo is working quite well.

  9. Gamer says:

    Well… why is everyone so against the dev/publishers making money off of their product but not against a retailer making money off of 10 used game sales of a game they only purchased 5 new copies of? So the retailer gets 5 new game sales and 10 used game sales, meaning profits from 15 games, but the publisher/dev of that game only gets profits for the 5 sales to the retailer.

    If we’re going to talk about greed, then let’s lump the retailers into that boat as well. They want to keep the used games market in their hands out of greed as much as the publishers/devs want to stifle it to make money off of each sale of their game.

    As long as physical media is sold for a game, no one can really stop consumers from having their own 2nd hand market between other consumers, but that isn’t what bothers the publishers. It’s the retailers using it as a profit cow at their (the pubs/devs) expense that bothers them.

  10. emong says:

    I’d buy a new game if it is worth it.  Publishers don’t have to be afraid if they sell good content.  Game publishers should understand the concept that for them to have people buy their stuff and keep it is by providing good replayable content and other collectible merchandise with the package.  Publishers who suffer because of used game resellers actually should take it as a constructive criticism that they are selling a crappy product.  When I go to buy used games I usually need an hour or two to dig out high quality games.  And most of those quality games up for resale are like two to three years old from their first release.  This means most games that are up for resale earlier than upon it’s release compared to others are the short and crappy ones.   Games are like movies, books, and music cd’s but why don’t these industry whine about used item resellers.  Take for example Gears of War 2 sepcial edition, It’s a good game at the same time it has some memorabilia and extra content bundled with it and at the same time it is tagged with a 60 dollar price like other new releases.  You may be able to sell the game cd to gamestop once done with it and keep the other stuff but if I trun the table around, I won’t buy a used GoW2 Special edition without the other cool stuff, and I’m sure I will end up buying a new one instead.  I know publishers can think of better gimmicks like this rather than whining about used games resellers. My word to the publishers:  be smart know your market and product then make them work together.    As a basic rule for everything, masterpieces are keepers and crap is just crap.  Avoid selling crap.


    And guys piracy is getting something for free, buying re-sale games costs you.  If I’m gonna pay for something, I want to get my money’s worth that’s why crappy games are reselled at a lower price.  Those games are traded in because either they are crappy or old to be considered as keepers.   In the gaming industry piracy is stealing while re-selling is putting the right price tag on old or crappy merchandise, both are totally different but both have the same effect on the publisher sales. There should be no debate on this one.  This year we did not have much good games but 2009 looks promising.  So save up for next year don’t spend to much this Crhistmas season.

  11. sqlrob says:

    Only about half, so no, it’s not small.

    The last several hundred dollars has all been new. Keep trying to rationalize away alienizing paying customers.



    The attach rate is what, 7-10 for most consoles? I have bought *NEW* 23 in one trip. Why do you insist I don’t do anything for the industry?

  12. DeepThorn says:

    Yup…  they don’t care, they get their money.  09 and 08 are the same game, changed a few textures that were prolly alternate textures from the year before that they decided to leave out, and other than that…  same sound, same 3d models, same animations, same everything.  I love how EA released a video comparing 08 and 09, and there were only minor lighting changed in half of it.  I wondered what they were comparing… oh look, we know how to change the hue of a light in our game engine, and movie it slightly, wow.

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  13. questionmark1987 says:

    In the scheme of things considering most of those are probably used sales and wouldn’t benefit me a lick, yeah small loss.

  14. questionmark1987 says:

    I’m saying people enjoy different types of games. There will NEVER be a game that appeals to EVERY gamer’s tastes because people want different things when they go shopping for games. Someone who predominantly likes Halo is probably not going to be as interested in Final Fantasy unless they also like roleplaying games. Trying to create a one size fits all game is asinine, it’s common practice to create games for a "target audience" just like every other product. I’m saying if I ever owned a company I would be geared towards people who wanted to support the industry, and screw all the people that don’t. I KNOW there’s enough of a market of people buying new that it wouldn’t make much of a difference. I cited Spore as an example, a LARGE portion of the hardcore gaming community knew what that program would do to their computer and they bought the game anyway.

  15. TJLK says:

    If EA wanted Madden to do better they should actually work on it.  I was gifted a copy of hte PS2 Madden game by a friend that got it for free(lol).  When I score it is common for the OTHER TEAM to celebrate, I’ve fallen through the centerfield logo, I’ve thrown a pass backwards, I’ve ran THROUGH A WALL, I’ve transported 5 yars to the other side of the field mid sprint and I’ve had all my graphics change from my favorite team(steelers) to the texans…  wtf.  Its an unfinished game.  I wouldn’t even be satisfied if it was a beta and I was testing it.  People buy it not because it is a good game but because they love the NFL.

  16. DeepThorn says:

    You know that with Sims 2 and its expansion packs alone, EA can fund their entire company during the start of the Sims 2 project to now, advertisement for all of their games, and much more without dipping into other income from other games right?  That is figuring in taxes, retailer cut and so on.  Once you add in Madden and other games, EA is just raking it in.  So they have no excuses anywhere.  That is figuring taxes take out 60% too, which good ol’ Bushy has them paying less than that given their income. 

    Epic has made so much off of Gears of War, that they are more than good for a while as well, as well as other companies.  If anything, second hand hurts small time developers, and that isn’t what the publishers are even thinking about, because they don’t make them enough money for them to care, and if they really wanted smaller developers to be more successful, all they would have to do is make it cheaper for them to publish games instead of taking over half of the profits they receive.  I am sure the poor business skilled, in my eyes, man who developed a certain tractor brand games, would have loved the publisher to charge less for their service so he could have pocketed more money, and keep paying his employees a minimal amount. (intern level pay)  The guy only keeps his company around for fun now.

    Once you realize that these companies pay hardly nothing in taxes because their financial people are geniuses and know how to show little to no profit to the government…  wow.  Some of these companies only show a profit every 3 years so they are not forced into a different bracket and forced to pay taxes no matter what their expenses show.  If they stupidly invest their money, then the developers only have the management to blame.

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  17. DeepThorn says:

    Great peice man.

    They dont want to research it because it takes time and money, and they rather be lazy CEOs and other high managing positions and take the easy way instead of making great games.  All in all, if the second hand market is increasing, it is because games are not as good as they used to be.

    Yes, as G4 said, maybe games have became a little jaded, but game developers/publishers have became lazy.  I would put a certain CEO back in power of certain high ranking game publisher in an instant over the current guy, and have him work his magic.  Do I agree with all of this positions on everything?  No, we have slightly different ideas on how to run a business, but we respect each other’s ways and ideas still, and know both ways can be successful and not only a good way to run a business for us and our consumers, but also for our industry.

    You can’t only think about money, you have to think about every angle out there.  If you ignore other angles, you start killing off your business slowly, just like many companies are doing right now, even non-game.  It isn’t only the stock market having problems.  It is high ranking executives focusing on the certain things instead of looking at the bigger picture.  Do you have to make money to excite inverters to get money to make more money?  Yes, but at the same time you have to do it the right way.  EA is going to go through a painful time with the Madden trails, and will lose a lot in stock value, permanently. (As in after the market recovers, they will not recover as much as other companys, not that they will never get that high again.)

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  18. TJLK says:

    Make new unit sales more attractive for gamestop than buying, maintaining, storing and selling used games.  Problem will be solved.  =).

  19. DeepThorn says:

    They guy on the car line is either in a foreign country, has no rights, and gets paid very little but still higher than the majority of the people around there or else he wouldnt be there, OR he works in the US gets paid way too damn much for not having any education, and his union is part of why cars cost so damn much.  (seriously, starting union pay doing that is $60,000 a year, for the first 6 months, then it gets jacked up to $80,000-$180,000 a year, screw unions.)

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  20. TJLK says:

    I agree 100%

    As a consumer I see the theory against used game sales as either rooted in ignorance or greed.  I really wish it was ignorance but I somehow just think it is greed.

    As a person interested in business, in particular games, I see the theory against used game sales as weakness. What I think we are seeing here is weak business minds trying to push some blame onto others because they are too foolish to admit that maybe their businesses have flaws.  Understanding how games are bought and sold is elementary and should be among the first things understood before a business exists.  As you said, make a product I don’t want to get rid of and you’ll be more successful.  I find it funny how understanding elementary business theory makes all this so obvious.

  21. TJLK says:

    You can say I’m wrong and I’ll respect that but you’ve done little to support any argument that this opinion against used game sales isn’t based directly off greed.  You’ve simply twisted my words and compared me to Jack Thompson (nice, douche).

    Yes we are talking about amounts between 5-15 dollars and I absolutely realize that.  Gamers benefit from second hand sales and so does the game industry.  I’m sorry but when gamers play a variety of games the weak ones get sifted out and if that means your game isn’t liked enough to sell well then that is to blame on poor decisions durring development.  Your taking ownership of the game away from the buyer when you try to prevent them from selling the game or interfere with that process in anyway.  Its like they don’t really own the game so why would I even want to buy these games anymore?  Why not just rent or pirate at that point?  Thats what happens when you sell something, someone else owns it and can do whatever the hell they want with it.  They can buy all the copies they want from wal-mart then re-sell them new on ebay for $100.  Developers, publishers, government or anyone should have no power to stop them or effect them in anyway.

    They can’t rely on sales past the first week because everyone is buying secondhand because the coices made durring the design only entertains one for a short period of time. That is a flaw in the design and theory behind the business, not the fault of the retailer and consumer.  Tell you what, make a game that captivates me a bit longer that I can play multiple times over and I won’t immediately want to sell it.  Make a quality game and people won’t be getting rid of it so quickly.  Stop blaming consumers for mistakes developers make.

    I can compare cars to games because they are both luxury.  YES a luxury.  I could take the bus around to get groceries if I NEEDED to.  Transportation is a nessesity but personal vehicles aren’t.

    So I kind of want a new car right now because I think it isn’t reliable.  Its aging and things keep breaking.  Why do things keep breaking when I do everything i can to maintain it the best I can?  No idea but I do know that I won’t invest in another Pontiac.  It seems to be dying before its time as it isn’t nearly as old as some of the other cars I see on the road.  So if I go to sell this I might get about two grand because of the year.  Now your saying Pontiac deserves some money back after I sell this car and the dealership sells it to someone else.  They’ve made a questionable product and now they get some more profit when its resold?  How the fuck would that not make Pontiac greedy assholes?

    So to me when someone says because a game company has a hard time staying open they should get a little bit from re-sales or be paid some kind of used sales fee from stores like gamestop.  And what it sounds like to me is that the company that is at risk of not making their money back is in that position because of the poor decisions that business made.  When you start a business you want to make a profit.  If you fail to make a profit you can’t always just blame the consumer or retailer for selling their games they didn’t feel the need to keep.  You need to either A.) blame the business tactic you’ve implemented or B.) blame the product you’ve made. (or perhaps blame the marketing).  I’m sorry but thats how it is.  If you want to be successful you have to reduce cost of production as much as possible without reducing the quality of the product made.  You must make innovative choices in design to differenciate your product from others out there and ontop of that you must make the game have replay value(meaning you can replay the game and not get bored).  I don’t understand how this is not clear as crystal to everyone.  So now businesses that fail to do this are crying because they can’t make games that are as profitable as the big guys?  Sounds to me an aweful lot like some weak business ideas that need to die.  Businesses that can’t turn a profit and can’t make a product people want to buy and keep are going to display poor results.  Those poor results usually mean the business should fail and should eventually be replaced by another.  Thats how markets work.

    Well thats how they are supposed to work now if a company makes poor choices they get to whine and possibly do so enough to get bailouts that far excede the value of their company.  Or perhaps push blame onto competition, consumer or retailers of their products.  But the fact remains if a company makes a solid product that people want to keep then they will succeed.  If they make a product people want but only for a short period of time then that makes it a lot more difficult to push new units out of the door so implementing changes in the design of the product will be needed.  If they fail to see this they are destined to fail, and should.

    When a company fails and closes its doors it isn’t always a terrible thing.  It just means that it failed.  Businesses fail all the time and new businesses ideas are born from them.  Experience is gained and people move on.  Don’t want your business to fail?  Well start off by avoiding the spineless ‘the consumer/retailer’ is to blame approach and put the blame directly on the shoulders of the company itself.  Re-evaluate the business strategy and make better decisions.  That is basically all you can do… stabbing the consumer and retailer in the back doesn’t seem like a good way to push product out of the door.

    If I ran a business, and I’d first not waste time and money on this foolish idea that a retailer or consumer is to blame for my failure.  I’d realize that the success of my business is going to be determined by several things that all trace back to the company and the decisions and actions taken by it.  Failing to produce on any level will be bad for business and can eventually lead to failure.  Failing to remedy poor decisions or mistakes will definitely lead to failure.  It is a high stress, high pressure environment only meant for brave individuals willing to own up to their own shortcomings.  If I had a successful business and I seen my competition put out claims that second-hand sales are harmful to their business I’d feel damn good because its a reflection of weakness on their part.

  22. beemoh says:

    Because Wal-Mart, and most non-specialist retailers only deal in the newest of new releases in order to generate footfall for other products, often selling games at cost or even at a loss.

    Games older than a week do not represent an attractive product to Wal-Mart as by this time a/ newer games have been released and b/ everyone can get the title cheaper second-hand at GameStop.


  23. sqlrob says:

    The latter is caused by retailers only buying in a small number of new games, knowing that this will force sales towards the second-hand channel.

    Let me reiterate what I’ve said before. Wal-mart is the number one retailer of games. Why are they buying a small number if something is not available?


  24. zel says:

    blockbuster has a huge used inventory section, they even carry used games. Granted however they don’t buy em and resell.


    I am a signature virus, please copy and paste me into your signature to help me propagate.

  25. beemoh says:


    With all due respect, I don’t think I’ve seen anyone cram more wrong into one post since Jack was last here.

    >Now… taking the stance that buying a used game is not contributing to the developer/publisher is a bullshit theory absolutely driven by greed. Publisher/Developer have already received money from that original sale

    That is only relevant as far as individual discs are concerned, and in terms of individual discs I’m pretty much in agreement with you, the games industry shouldn’t be getting a cut of resales.

    However, the issue is about complete projects, the individual titles that costs millions of dollars to make, millions of dollars that aren’t being recouped beause of the current state of the games retail market and its reliance on second-hand.

    >Buying a used game isn’t taking away from a sale.

    Yes it is.

    We know this, because people keep being offered a second-hand copy at the checkout when they try to buy a new copy on the basis that it’s $5 cheaper. Everyone who takes the second-hand copy instead is a lost new sale.

    We also know this due to people going into a game shop being unable to find a new copy on the shelves have to buy a second-hand copy instead. That’s a new sale the industry has lost to the second-hand market.

    >Publishers/developers do benefit from used game sales. Why? Because when you buy a used game you’ve picked up a game that would otherwise be collecting dust and hopefully appreciating it.

    Okay, I appreciate your post. Now take that appreciation to your local supermarket and buy your weekly food shopping with it. You know, food- that thing you (and all game developers) need to eat to live.


    >Here is my theory.

    Interfering with the trade cycle of video games in this manner would likely doom the industry to lower sales, make developers less willing to move towards riskier innovative game play decisions and decrease the variety of games in the market place. 

    It would doom them to no more sales than they’re currently getting- everyone currently happy to pay top whack for a new game are totally unaffected. The only people who would not be buying games are the people buying second-hand, who aren’t contributing anyway and therefore are not a visible part of the market in the sense that if their money was to disappear tomorrow, it wouldn’t have any effect on the games industry.

    People willing to pay full price, $60, for a game fall into two broad categories:

    *People willing to pay $60.
    *People willing to pay $60, but if they can get it for $55, they will.

    The $55 people, are, of course, the people being offered a $5 cheaper second-hand copy at the checkout. These people, as we know, are willing to pay $60. So they will.

    Result: higher sales, not lower. The games biz becomes less risky, publishers are able to move onto the next project quicker and "riskier, innovative game play decisions" are moved towards and "the variety of games in the market place" increases.

    >If you honestly think about how much more gamers would have to spend on games to get the same amount of diverse game play in you’d have to be a fool to believe they’d do it. At least during the time period where game sales are the most useful to the publisher/developer.

    Early sales (when the price of the game is it’s highest) are much better than sales when retailers reduce the price to move it off the shelf. Consumers will allow games sit on store selves for extended periods of time waiting for the price to drop so the investment isn’t as risky.

    The early sales period is cut artificially short by the second-hand market.

    Second-hand sales are driven by two things- high new prices and the inability to find new copies of games that are more than a week old.

    The latter is caused by retailers only buying in a small number of new games, knowing that this will force sales towards the second-hand channel. The former is caused by there only being a small number of new copies in the marketplace, meaning the publisher has to spread the initial cost of development over fewer units in order to break even.

    This neatly brings us onto your next point:

    >Reduced prices will result in less profit. Less profit on the publisher/developer side will result less money to make a new title. Less profit on the retailer side will mean less store space for product. Less money to make a new title, decreased quality in production. Less store space to sell product will mean even lower sales. Decreased quality in production means no new contract. Boned.

    Alternatively, reduced prices result in a larger buying market (While nobody’s suggesting that we’d see 1:1 sales conversion, we do know people who will not buy games at $60 will buy games for $50, they’re doing it in the second-hand market now) meaning costs can be spread over a greater number of units. This means greater profits can be made per unit at the dev/pub side while still reducing costs for the retailer, who can make more profit per unit while still reducing costs for the consumer.

    The catch is, of course, the games industry can’t reduce their prices because the second hand market is cannibalising new sales, and the retailers won’t let go of the market because it’s too lucrative- and that assumes that the retailers aren’t keeping new prices artificially high to keep the second-hand market going.

    >Not only will the amount of games consumed be reduced but the time in which they are consumed will also be reduced. Growth of new studios will be decreased and a downturn for games will be obvious. Gamers won’t have a chance to buy risky innovative titles because retailers will catch on and won’t want to offer them the shelf space. Worse of all gamers will be more likely to get bored with the decreased variety of games and will move onto other forms of entertainment.

    On the other hand, shelf space is already at a premium because half of every branch of GameStop is clogged up with second-hand- how many risky, innovative games do you suppose haven’t been able to get into GameStop because there isn’t enough room in between the copies of Halo and the second-hand shelves?

    >Instead of trying to interfere with the trade cycle why not try to understand it? Study it, determine why people like selling/trading/buying used games and adjust your business tactics based on that knowledge.

    They are, it’s just that their wriggle room they could use to do so is being eaten by the second-hand market. They can’t make games cheaper, as they won’t be able to break even. They can’t rely on sales past the first week, because by this time everyone’s buying second-hand instead. They can’t make shorter games that are cheaper to produce, because everyone complains that they’re too short and not worth $60.

    The only people who benefit from the second-hand market are the big-box retailers, who make millions of dollars in profit. It screws over developers and publishers who can’t make their outlay back, it screws over the independent retailer who simply can’t afford either the high wholesale cost of new games or a high-street location and most importantly it screws over the consumer who is spending $10 to save $5 and by reducing choice.



  26. rma2110 says:

    I don’t think a publisher deserves a to be paid a second time, and certainly not a third or fourth time, for the same freaking game. I would love to be paid twice for the same job, but that’s just not how it works. Are book, music, and movie publishers whining about the same thing?

    I think publishers have screwed themselves by making flashier and flashier games. The only thing they keep improving in most of their games are the graphics, and so developing a game means movie-like budgets. No innovation, originality, or heart. Just the same old gameplay with flashier graphics. Now they need extra money so they can make games with even better graphics.

    Same thing has happened to the movie inustry. The only innovaion we see comes from indies. Look for ward to playing the same game over and over (with better graphics).

  27. mogbert says:

    I don’t know what is up, but I can hardly read any of the comments due to the font size being messed up, even tried changing IE (forced to use, I’m at work) text size but it doesn’t affect it. Either way, I’ll throw in my two cents and hope I’m not repeating what has already been said. Maybe someone will figure how to fix the font thing later and I will reread the thread.

    Resale of games hurt the ones that make crappy games, or try and exploit a title year after year by rereleasing marginal updates as entirely new titles. However, the people who make really GOOD games, they have less to worry about. Shoot, I don’t know about now, but do you know how hard it was to find Disgaia? Even used, it was running about $80. I think they rereleased it and the demand went down a little, but the really good games don’t drop much in price.

    You go to Gamestop and see what they have for used games. You’ll find a few gems now and then, but usually you will find crappy games and shovelware (two different terms, they don’t mean the same thing). And the worse the game, the more copies you can find used. I just picked up three games for $30. If I had been able to find them new, then it would have run me around $150 for these games. All of them were considered failures, but I hadn’t tried them so I picked them up. There isn’t any way in heck I would have paid full (fool?) price for any of them.

    In short, yes, when a game is resold the publisher doesn’t get any money, but:

    1. The resale market is rewarding the publishers who put out quality titles by there being fewer good titles for resale, and the difference in price between new and used for a good title is only $5 which means many people will just buy it new.

    2. If there was no used game market, the majority of these sales wouldn’t happen, therefore the publishers would STILL not get any money. It’s a lot like the pirate argument, where the industry equates one infringement with one lost sale. In this case, one used sale doesn’t equal one lost new sale.

    3. What you have is publishers being greedy by seeing all these sales they aren’t getting a piece of. I think of them as the same as these state governments who see these large videogame sales and they want a piece of that money as taxes. They feel they could vote themselves a couple of salary increases if they could just put a percent or two sin tax on videogame sales. The publishers just want just a little piece of these extra sales.

    Now, for my coup de grace. If the publishers should get extra money for the resale of their games, then:

    1. used book stores should need to send a portion of their profits to the publishers of books.

    2. Art auctions would always have to pay a portion of the procedes to the estate of the artist.

    3. garage sales would have to pay money to the comapny that hold the copywrite to the pattern on that ugly couch they just sold.

    4. used music store have to pay the RIAA for every used disc they sell.

    5. used movies would also require a payment to be sent in to the studio that released it.

    6. If you sold someone your old computer, you would have to pay the publishers for every individual piece of software that is on the computer, including drivers. Hey, remember, it’s only licenced to you…

    Also, this doesn’t JUST apply to copyright. What about patants? What if you couldn’t resell ANYTHING without finding EVERY person that has a patent used in the product and giving them a cut. Selling your old computer would be a logistics nightmare. This is WHY we have the first sale doctrine.

    In short, the game publishers SHOULD get nothing extra for resold games. I still have every FF game I’ve ever played, including FF1 for the NES. If you don’t want your game to be resold, then make a game that is a collectors item, that people won’t WANT to sell after playing.

  28. finaleve says:

    They put a game out and sell it.  Right there is where it leaves off in terms of the economical issue that they made their money off the game.  Now, they want to make more money by reselling their product.

    If they want to truly, truly cut down the reselling in games, IMO, they need to make better games.  Think about it, some of the games you own are their simply because it was such a good experience that you might want to return to them again.  The replayability is the key factor.  I do not ever plan to sell games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero because I plan to one day return to them and enjoy those fun experiences and love the music.  I never want to sell games like Left 4 Dead or Portal because of the shear amount of fun I had, and the fact that Left 4 Dead will feel different from last time I played more than makes up the amount I paid for.

    Make games replayable but enjoyable.  I was able to play MGS1,2  and 3 over and over again, but not 4 because it was too long and not enough in terms of actually playing a game.

  29. StevoUK says:

    If that’s the case, I have a brilliant car to sell you – it was made in 1970-something and I’ll give it to you for the low, low price of $50,000!


    Your opinion is ridiculous and indefensible, mate. Give it up.

  30. sqlrob says:

    Cars and other objects lose value as you use them, they don’t run as well, and eventually can stop working all together.  Games stay the same.

    I take it you haven’t been gaming very long, have you?

    Wing Commander – upgraded computer, became unplayable without running other software. There’s your "not run as well"

    I’ve got 9x games that won’t run under XP. There’s the "stop working" (crack them and they work. fancy that.)

    What happens when the Spore activation server is brought down, for whatever reason? There’s another "stop working" for you.



  31. Spartan says:

    What? You mean you did not know that every used game sale is already counted as a loss due to "piracy" in every sense of the word? Silly boy…


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  32. Spartan says:

    Some very astute observations and clear logic there my friend.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  33. Michael Chandra says:

    The very definition of copyright violation? When selling your cd/game/whatever and giving all copies with it as well (or destroying them), you don’t violate copyright. Piracy, however, is NOT paying and is basically theft.
    It’s not whether or not it’s ‘okay’, it’s whether or not it is against the law. If you’re going to say the price difference matters, would it then be wrong if a shop offers me a discount to get rid of the copies they have left? I’m not paying full price then either, does that mean it’s just as bad as piracy?

  34. ColdFury says:

    Let’s see.  I don’t think I can buy used books at Borders.

    I may be able to find a used section in the music store, but it’s not going to be as big as their ‘new’ section is. (which Gamestop’s usually is, if not bigger.)

    And I’m pretty sure if I could *find* a speciality movie store they wouldn’t have a used section.  As it is my best reference is Best Buy.

    I don’t think that anyone expects ‘Used sales’ to go away.  I think it’s the fact that the primary retail establishment for games has pretty much made their business model around Used sales.  You see smaller shops do that in other industries, you don’t see Barnes & Noble, Suncoast, or Sam Goody doing this to the industries you mentioned.

    And when you leave because gaming has gone digitial, which it will one day, you can take your newspapers, your vinyl records, your laser discs, your eight track tapes, and your DVDs with you and hang out with the *rest* of the dinosaurs.

  35. plkrtn says:

    One infringes on the copyright of a video game production company.

    The restriction of the other infringes on my right to be able to transfer my license to use a game to someone else.

    If you want to equate the second hand market to piracy, we should close all charity clothing shops, or thrift stores because by selling second hand clothes, they are stealing out of the pockets of fashion boutiques. Same difference.

    This is why they want to go to pure digital distribution. You can’t sell the game to someone else, and you can’t lend the game to someone else to play. Its pure 1 unit, 1 sale.

  36. ColdFury says:

    Just to throw my two cents in… when you buy a Used Game, you *are* reducing the number of new copies that Gamestop (or whomever) has to purchase in order to keep in good graces.  I *have* walked into a Gamestop, asked for a fairly new release, and been told they were out of stock, but they did have this used copy for $5 off the new price.

    Personally, I would rather buy a new copy.  This is the best way I have to push up the number of new copies Gamestop purchases from the distributer, which in turn supports the games that I love.  If I love a game enough to buy it, I should do the best I can to make sure the guys that make it keep doing so, right?

    Also, I have to wonder.  How much different is used game sales from Piracy?  What’s the difference here between copying a game disc and selling a game disc?  Doesn’t it really come down to semantics, where it’s ‘okay’ because you’re relinquishing your physical copy and getting paid for it?  When it boils down to it, the economic effect on the publisher is similar, though on smaller scale.  One of the arguments for the used sales has been ‘ a used sale != a new sale’ because the person making the used scale wouldn’t have paid full price for the new sale.  Couldn’t the same defense be made of piracy?  What’s the difference?

  37. plkrtn says:

    I am absolutely gobsmacked at some of the theories here.

    Why should developers get kick backs from re-sale? If they want to encourage pirating, thats exactly the way I’d do things.

    I don’t pay anyone when I sell on books or DVDs.
    Someone on here claimed that a video game doesn’t deteriorate like a car would… If thats the case, shouldn’t the second hand value actually be the same as brand new? Funny that it isn’t the case isn’t it?

    The video games market is already bigger than film and music combined in this country. If they want to get greedy about it, I’ll stop the near $3000 of purchasing I’ve made in this generation of consoles (all three under the TV platforms, both handhelds, 30+ games, numerous peripherals) and won’t continue into the next one.

    I suppose I could always sell my hardware on… but I’m guessing Microsoft and Sony wouldn’t have a problem with that, because they wouldn’t be making a loss on that sell-on as they would if they sold a console to a customer brand new…

    If they don’t have people purchasing the games first hand, then they won’t have to worry about a second hand market, as there won’t be jobs available. Its very simple to end a market through your own arrogance. The problem here is actually how HIGH the second hand prices are, especially from companies like Game and Gamestation in the UK (same company now), not the market itself. That high price is artifical due to the low buy back price they offer.

    If I buy a game new (GTA4, Left 4 Dead, Gears etc) I do so because I know the product will be a worthwhile investment.

    Meanwhile, I will then wait for those games that interest me, but due to poor reviews from the places I trust, I will wait on and get once they’ve reduced down to clearance prices or on the second hand market are low priced. Games such as Mirror’s Edge will get this treatment.

    So I suppose what I’m saying is, if more companies made more games that I want to actually invest in, rather than play from a curiosity stand point, then the developers would get more $60 sales from me.

  38. Michael Chandra says:

    Too many posts above, won’t post my response there, but Zen, insanejedi:

    When I posted =/=, I meant !=, or an = with a / through it. It means "does NOT equal". It was a counter-argument, not supporting.

  39. Zen says:

    Your right, it did sell well.  They made their money, and I got screwed.  I bought the game…new…, I bought the book with it for my kids to use to help make creatures, and I even bought the damn DS game (which was ok).  The day after I bought it and installed it I started having issues with the PC, and still do to this day because I can’t get the damn DRM off of here without reloading the entire PC..but then I lose one of my precious few chances I get to play Spore (which I had bought NEW).  So here’s how this worked out for me.

    1. Bought game new, along with portable version of the game, and guide to help support the developer because I have always enjoyed Maxis games (specifically the Sim City series).

    2. Load the game on my PC and find that, after paying full price for it and not being able to return or sell this game to someone else if they wanted it, messed up my PC and has caused me nothing but trouble.  Also found that I could not load it on my wifes laptop and play it on there without using another download code, even though I had a log in showing I had purchased the game and was just going to move my game save around on an SD card for portability. (They said I needed to buy ANOTHER copy of the game to play it on her laptop.)

    3. Developer made their money and I didn’t get my product.  Period.

    4. FIVE people I work with had the game days before it was officially released, didn’t have any issues, played it on their home PC’s as well as on their laptops and such.  And never paid a dime. 

    So with these steps in place to make it where this game couldn’t be copied or played by more than one person, the only one that got screwed and is now quite bitter about PC gaming in general is the one that paid the company the money they thought they deserved. 

    If this is where you want gaming to go, please get off your high horse and realize that the gaming world doesn’t revolve around your pompass rear end.  Yes there are "genres" of games, but that is only a small part of gaming as a whole.  Games are made for all people, of all tastes, of all ages…not for the "chosen few" that want to play the game your way.  You can’t say that books are only for "certain" people because some people may not be able to enjoy new books. 

    What about people that have trouble paying for college and pass using used books?  Should they be locked out of an education because they worked hard, but had to use used books to do it?  You said earlier that ALL media should be this way, and books count as well.  Books, movies, and even games, can be educational…but are all still a form of media.

  40. TJLK says:

    "The games that have the embedded community, the embedded commerce, the extended, expandable experiences, are the one’s that you would never want to trade, the one’s you want to keep hold of." — I see what he is saying but that isn’t always true.  Okay so there are some great games that I don’t want to give up and I refuse to but there are plenty of others that do sell great used games either online or in Gamestop.  It happens, it’s easy to find nearly any game you could ever want online.  If you can’t find a used game you want to purchase then its either a rare title or you’re not trying.  I respect Phil Harrison’s approach to the argument though.  Make a solid game with solid replay value and people won’t be so willing to get rid of it in a time that will be detrimental to new sales.


    Now… taking the stance that buying a used game is not contributing to the developer/publisher is a bullshit theory absolutely driven by greed.  Publisher/Developer have already received money from that original sale and obviously failed to captivate the gamer long enough to not get rid of it immediately. Please get your hand out of my pocket at least until you’ve removed your head from your ass.  If I ever let this kind of verbal/mental diarrhea escape from my mouth or mind I’d be embarrassed at how completely full of shit I was.  These people have to realize they’re completely full of shit right?  I mean they’re spewing it directly on those who buy and play their games with this stance against used game sales.

    If someone doesn’t like a game they just bought why shouldn’t they take it back.  If they have enjoyed it and now no longer desire to play/own it why not sell it?  Do you want them to keep a game they don’t want?  These greedy sons of bitches are killing me. 

    Buying a used game isn’t taking away from a sale. It is making use of a game that someone didn’t want to play anymore. It is no different than buying a used car.  Someone didn’t want the car or wanted additional funding for a new one so they sold their old one and bought a new one.  Why shouldn’t I be offered the chance to buy the pre-owned item to make use of it?  Do you honestly think it is fair to sell someone a $60 game they play for a week or two only to let it collect dust for the next several years never to be touched again?  Saying used games shouldn’t be an option because it is detrimental to new unit sales is exactly like saying you shouldn’t be able to sell your car because it prevents others from buying a new car.  This is blind shameful greed of which nothing good will come.  These types of ideas are precisely what people are referring to when they complain about the greedy, self-interest driven corporate mindset that neglects to use even a thread of reason beyond trying to squeeze one last cent out of their consumer base.

    Publishers/developers do benefit from used game sales.  Why?  Because when you buy a used game you’ve picked up a game that would otherwise be collecting dust and hopefully appreciating it.  Why is that beneficial?  If a publisher/developer makes a game people enjoy (no matter if they bought it new or used) the consumer is more likely to buy other products from that same publisher/developer.  Now you’re probably thinking “wait a minute, if the person bought the game new it would be a greater benefit to the developers/publishers if they purchased it new.”  Not exactly because you are forgetting about the person who consumed it and didn’t feel like it was a worthwhile long-term investment.  The person that is tired of the game or would rather play another game now has a sour taste in their mouth.  Well if I was a gamer that regularly sells used games I’d be a little pissed if I bought a game that didn’t really want to play as much anymore.  I’d be stuck with an investment that I did not think was worthwhile.  I would in turn likely wait for a longer period of to purchase another game since now it is much, much more expensive to support my gaming hobby.   Beyond the fact that a large amount of gamers would be consuming a much more limited amount and variety of games it would also instill a feeling of regret for purchasing an expensive game that you no longer want to play.  Eliminating used game sales would quite obviously be terrible for business in the long run.

    Here is my theory.

    Interfering with the trade cycle of video games in this manner would likely doom the industry to lower sales, make developers less willing to move towards riskier innovative game play decisions and decrease the variety of games in the market place. If you honestly think about how much more gamers would have to spend on games to get the same amount of diverse game play in you’d have to be a fool to believe they’d do it.  At least during the time period where game sales are the most useful to the publisher/developer.  Early sales (when the price of the game is it’s highest) are much better than sales when retailers reduce the price to move it off the shelf.  Consumers will allow games sit on store selves for extended periods of time waiting for the price to drop so the investment isn’t as risky.  Reduced prices will result in less profit.  Less profit on the publisher/developer side will result less money to make a new title.  Less profit on the retailer side will mean less store space for product.  Less money to make a new title, decreased quality in production.  Less store space to sell product will mean even lower sales.  Decreased quality in production means no new contract.  Boned.  Not only will the amount of games consumed be reduced but the time in which they are consumed will also be reduced.  Growth of new studios will be decreased and a downturn for games will be obvious.  Gamers won’t have a chance to buy risky innovative titles because retailers will catch on and won’t want to offer them the shelf space.  Worse of all gamers will be more likely to get bored with the decreased variety of games and will move onto other forms of entertainment.  Retailers have been around much longer than the games industry has and they definitely don’t need video games to survive.  Well… Gamestop does… But they also need used game sales so either way they’ll get the axe.  People have been entertaining themselves and others with other products well before video games.  So while the digital game industry will experience losses other industries will see new growth.

    Instead of trying to interfere with the trade cycle why not try to understand it?  Study it, determine why people like selling/trading/buying used games and adjust your business tactics based on that knowledge.  Interfering will result in some predictable and unpredictable negative consequences for the digital game industry.  The result will be the industry having a more difficult time adapting to the market I guarantee you that will be an extremely negative experience.

    Every cloud has a silver lining and every silver lining has a touch of gray.  As I mentioned before people have spent money on entertainment for quite some time.  Perhaps they would invest more in non-digital games.  Perhaps a new form of entertainment would be born.  Film and music would definitely try to capitalize on a shrinking video game market.

    I guess I could be off base and perhaps I could be exaggerating but it is also possible that I am understating things a bit.  Either way I think it is fairly obvious that trying to prevent gamers from selling, trading and buying used games is a terrible idea.  Furthermore I think it is obvious that it is an idea deeply rooted in greed and is a foolish interest in short-term sales gains that will be followed by a long-term slump.


  41. lordlundar says:

    A few points missing from the pro-pay group:

    1. You are assuming that the publishers will supply enough of their product to meet the demand. This is rare at best. Often times, to avoid a REAL loss, they reduce their numbers to 80-90% of evaluated demand. Depending on the game, this can be anywhere from 10-110% of the actual demand, with the higher numbers being the result of fallen hype.

    2. All Publishers are concerned about with their numbers is first day/week/month sales. Anything beyond that is not accounted for because it’s too long term for it. This has the unfortunate effect of affecting the evaluated demand the publishers use for their supply. Most rare tiles are a result of this effect, where initial projected sales are considered to be weak but surge in later times, with no demand to match it.

    3. At no point with a retail/web store purchase is a customer in a DIRECT sales contract with the publisher or developer. A developer is in a contract with the publisher, and the publisher is in a contract with the distributor/retailer. When you buy a game, you go into a contract with the retailer to pay for the product. And if you think that the EULA is the contract, think again. The EULA is not considered a legal contract, nor is it a sales contract. It is a usage agreement, with no bearing of law behind it.


    The companies whining about wanting to get their piece of the pie have to consider that their games have been sold more than once by  the time it reaches the customer. This is simply them being greedy and trying to squeeze more money out of their user base by trying to claim number they never accounted for anyway.

  42. Good Lord says:

    Thank god you don’t make those decisions, then. Your company would be out of business in the blink of an eye.

  43. ZippyDSMlee says:

    We got DSL(and digi cable) in last year as in the regoin, its 200KBPS for 60 a month plus it has down tiem issues, befor that dailup was the only option, 200KBPS is not enough for much,HQ streaming is nearly out of the question.


    I say consoels run a 5 year time frame, avrage it out then add in when the new consel is relased as its the focus of the market, just becuse a system is supported in some form for a long peroid of time dose not mean the market supports it.

    I think the next 2 genreations of consoles will be a mix of Offline and online, past 10 years its anyone guess but I think prehaps you’ll have a TVcard like setup you buy a game with and have it palced on youer or a prodived memroy device you swipe youer system card the game is loaded with youer account info,you take it home you paly it, you can byit online for the same, I think we will still have B&M sales they will just be diffreant than they are now.
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  44. sqlrob says:

    Gamestop is  *NOT* the main point of sale for games (used probably, new, no), that title belongs to Wal-mart.

    I agree, the price that gamestop pays for games is ridiculous. But anyone selling can vote with their feet. They’re perfectly free to not sell. I won’t sell to gamestop, it’s not worth it. I’ve only sold a handful of games to them, ones that really weren’t worth keeping (Stretch Panic, I’m looking at you). In my life I’ve sold very few games. I’ve sold ones with the computer I was selling, where I’d be unable to run them any more, I’ve sold in tag sales when I’ve been broke.

    I’ll rarely buy recent games new, $5 off isn’t worth it. Of course, I also consider that most of the games that only get that much off aren’t worth the full price either. I consider very, very few games worth $49.99/$59.99.


  45. ZippyDSMlee says:

    THe time is not right for it right now it will be in the next 20 years, in the next 5 we have to get rid of DRM as we know it and have a solid foundation of consoles that can fully support whole new game downloads, so the next 5 years this will be dealt with, in the next 5 years we need more people on the net and a overall faster net the more people on a faster and wider spread net the more consumers you can sale to in this time you start weening the public off normal physical media, past 10 years is when more than likely DD will be as common place as  10MBPS connections. People are not going to wait on a film to load, where goes hollywood is where the rest of media goes, phiscail distribution is here to stay for at least 8more years and with discs cable able of holding 500GB-1TB it might well be another 5, but I think flash media might do it if it can hit 100GB in the next 5-10.

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  46. ecco6t9 says:

    Ebay flat out sucks now with the "Buyer always gets postive feedback" rule.


    But more importantly lets say I go to Sam’s Club and buy baking supplies for Holiday Pies should Sam’s get a cut off of my pies since I’m stealing sales of Pies from the bakery section of their store?

    While food is a need a dessert is a treat/want?


    I think I’m going to look back at which companies ******* about this and kick them out of my collection.

    First up to go N+.


    And the swoop is a better offer for consumers, it really is no different from eBay and going with a cheaper aution.

  47. Pseudonym says:

    Okay, I don’t think a lot of you understand the problem with used games.

    The problem is that the retail stores are constantly cockblocking new game sales. I can’t count the amount of times I or someone else in the store has been told "Hey you can buy this used for $5 cheaper!", which is basically swooping in on someone elses sale and stealing it from under their nose. The developer, publishers and distributers were just about to make money from a sale, then Gamestop swoops in and goes "Nah we want this one".

    And the thing is, selling used games through there is a complete rip-off, too. $20 for a game you’re going to sell at $5 less than retail? That’s rediculous.

    I don’t have a problem with used game sales. I DO, however, have a problem with Gamestop and its ilk ripping off customers, and then snatching legitimate sales for their own greedy purposes. They sell used games? Fine. Forcing sales staff to meet a used game quota which means they take away from proper sales? That’s fucked. ESPECIALLY when you consider that these stores are the main point of sale for games; it’s not like you’d ever walk into a Wal-Mart and get told you could save $2 on your toaster by buying used.

    Also, one final thing, to anyone that believes in ‘voting with your wallet’; if you buy used you’re basically submitting a donkey vote. If you find a game that you love and want to encourage the development of, by buying used the publisher will never see those sales and you’ve basically contributed nothing to the further development of these games.

    And, for the case of full disclosure, I am a developer. However I can tell you now that the sales of games I’ve worked on really doesn’t affect me in any meaningful way, I don’t get royalties or anything like that so it doesn’t factor into my comments here.

  48. sqlrob says:

    Your game is (probably) getting built with Visual Studio, and wouldn’t be possible without Windows.

    Are you giving Microsoft its cut of each sale?

  49. sqlrob says:

    I don’t think it should even be tied to the life of the creator at all. X years, period. The original term, with one renewal was reasonable. It’s completely asinine now.



  50. Spartan says:

    No doubt. Hell just today I spent over $200 on titles from Valve.


    "The most difficult pain a man can suffer is to have knowledge of much and power over little" – Herodotus

  51. JC says:

    It is also hard to have fast loading on large HDDs unless they have high speeds, but even then they seem to fail more the more they spin than being used to archive something. Also in that time we take to make DD available for this generation, won’t we have content owners pushing for super-hd content and we may not have the infrastructure to support the SuperHD era, whatever it is (4kx6k? or something).

  52. JC says:

    Ebay is becoming a pain to sell through, they raise the prices on their cut pretty high. You can get significantly more than trading in at GS though. We don’t know how much of this goes towards another game sale though. You can at least consider that some of that in-store credit goes towards some new titles.

  53. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Ture ture the only thing I can really really see past life of creator is if you have a team of creators….


    Also I think distrobution should be tossed out of CP and have CP profit focsued, it should be profit rights and not mere "copy rights".

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  54. ZippyDSMlee says:

    They also fail more and with HD you would need 5 or 6 HDs to hold a full library plus a ton of time to download it all so no its going to take another 10 years for the infrastructure to lay the foundation for a tangible DD market, also hopefully by then flash or tis offspring would have replaced platter driven hard drives making the hardware hold up to the constant strain of media viewing, we don;t have the right mix to sustain full on DD right now and we most likly wont have it in 5.

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  55. dukrous says:

     Simple math…

    You buy a game for $100 (makes the math easier to see, God forbid we get prices that high).  Let’s assume that of that, the retailer gets $90, which he paid $80 for a distributor, which paid $70 to the publisher, who paid $60 to a developer.  Of those $60, you can usually assume $5 is profit reinvested in the company.  Everyone else gets a $10 cut and thats reinvested into their company.

    You go to Gamestop, trade in your game…they give you $50, and they place it on the shelf for $90.  It’s cheaper than new, but now they’ll make $40.  Why should Gamestop even sell new games for a $10 cut when they can make $40 on used sales?  They know they shouldn’t, and thus make it as difficult as possible for you to buy a new game.  This is the problem with the used game industry…companies building their strategies around cutting off future potential profit for the people making the game.

    If you wanted to go and sell the game for $90 on eBay, more power to you…you lost $10, which is a reasonable amount to pay for the experience in which you don’t keep the disc.  For $90, you’ve reliquished your hold on that product and can now raise the remaining $10 to buy something new.

    I’m all for a used games market, as long as you’re not chumped by a company who has turned their stores in digital pawn shops.  Trading at Gamestop is a rip-off for the consumer and the producer of video game content.  Sell it yourself and get real cash back!

  56. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Oy I ment under produced…but whatever…. LOL

    Games like all disposable media lose value fast its just games have further to fall price wise,  and on some rare instances lose little value when they become used.
    The trouble is media is disposable, its consumed and traded like anything else by removing its value to the market you remove money from the market that buys products from the industry in volume that no number of single consumers can easily replace.


    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  57. JC says:

    Limiting and limiting to pure minorities is a problem if you want to stay afloat unless you’re a very small team and self-publish. Yes, I’m a minority since I don’t like constant connections, but what if that beomes a majority view in the future for people that don’t like online-connections for X reason? Would you listen to your paying customers at removing the lock or would you damage the customer relations for future titles? I don’t think you’d try to keep up relations since you already got your money from them. I can only hope that money lasts for a while over time.

  58. sqlrob says:

    The day that games become 100% download distribution is the day I quit gaming

    Ditto. My backlog is enough I could keep going for a long, long time.


  59. SpiralGray says:

    The book publishing industry whined about this…

    The music industry whined about this…

    The movie industry whined about this…

    And now the game industry is whining about this…

    Get over it. Aftermarket sales will happen, whether it be at GameStop or on eBay.

    If the industry wiped out used game sales overnight, do you think the price for new games would go down tomorrow? By rights they should, because now there’s nothing cutting into the publisher’s potential sales. But they won’t. They’ll just report even more obscene profits.

    The day that games become 100% download distribution is the day I quit gaming. If I can’t get any value back from my game after I’m done playing it then I’m not interested in coming to the party anymore.

  60. sqlrob says:

    Why even plus? Read the Constitution. The purpose of copyright is to promote the arts. How does keeping things stagnant promote anything?


  61. ZippyDSMlee says:

    The only way to do it right is via a tax or ban of all 2nd hand media, either witch unlikely and a tax would only get 20-40% of the value to the dev, which in msot cases would go though the publisher…its just a messy idea thats a imposablity.

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  62. NovaBlack says:



    hence i can buy command and conquer 1 for about $3 now. Or you can buy ‘platinum’ ps2 games or ‘bugdget’ games. 

    Look around at games that have had any kind of sequel.. would you pay the same for halo 1 , 2 and 3 now? 

    exactly! I would argue , with evidence that games cllearly DO lose value.

    Otherwise why do people see a new release and say ‘Ah its too expensive, ill wait for it to come down in price’ if it never comes down in price?

  63. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its simple limit it to the life of the creator +, hell give the creator more inflaucne over his works and ensure the creator a 10% of all profit for his life and force works into public domain acoupel decades after their death, one can still make money off public domain works all you need is a quality brand to make it under, would it hurt Disney if they lost absolute CP control over Snow white,Mmouse,ect, hell no they are a brand franchise and have a loyal fanbase . Mew thinks they forget what CP is for……to give you a short term advantage over competition before the work is let lose on the public domain and imitators try their hand at kncok offs, because it costs ahell of alot more to do TV/film there will not be alot of competition there in merchandising maybe but he brand and its quality will shine through and if not you have something better to replace it.
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  64. JC says:

    Some developers only care if their game gets sold new so they get money to feed theirselves. Some won’t support past receiving the money for the title which is sad, but true in many cases.

    I can’t really blame them, but it goes both ways that consumers may not care if developers/publishers go under if they can save some money theirselves or do something illicit to get what they demand what they want from a title. Fact is that, when it comes to piracy, it preserves many titles in their original state of playability and can last longer than many other means and that is great for archivers (library) or collectors that want to preserve what they consider treasure.

    It isn’t necessarily something I condone, but when you compare the value of a pirate copy to an official copy it far outweighs its value over time to be enjoyed throughout the ages but companies won’t have that because they want you to repay in the future, should they decide to republish it, not if you a lone consumer wants to. This is a problem and I doubt both [consumer & publisher] will ever see eye to eye on that issue.

  65. Awol says:

    It really sounds like you believe developers should be paid more for their work and I can’t argue that but to keep getting money on a single product (1 game copy) over and over is stupid. So in your world does the guy working the factory line in a car plant get his share of a resale of a car, without this guy the car may not have a functional engine or something? How far do we take this? Does the creature of the bolt the car facture use in making the car get a share as well? How about the manfacturer of the machine who made the bolt? How about the steel plate who created the steel that was used in making the bolt? How far does this go back? Please tell me where it stops cause frankly it has to stop someplace and at that location someone would get screwed of money with your system.

    Relating to artwork cause you believe cars and games are different and not valid. An artist creates a painting and sells it. 1st Step. Person who created the canvas get his share of the sale. (Without the canvas there would be no painting) Person who created the paint get his share. 2nd Step. The person who created the wool for the canvas would get his share of the sale of the painting. The person who made the wood frame for the canvas would get his share. The person who created the dye used in the paint would get a share. 3rd Step. The guy who processed the wood for the canvas frame get his share. The person who processed the wool into thread get his share. (not going to keep this level going for all items) 4th Step. The person who chopped down the tree gets his share…. Hopefully you get what I saying here where does this stop? Why have all of this complexity in the system when each step the person sold a product for how ever much they wanted to sell it and was happy. If they weren’t happy with the money they recieved they should of sold it for more or look at doing something else. Same would apply for games. If they want more money to develop the game they should of asked for more and if it increases the cost of the game for buyer let them decide if its worth it. Anything is worth only so much money as someone is willing to send.

    Frankly what you are talking about get so complex so quickly most of money flowing in this world would be just to pass the share of money to someone and no one would know why. Who would be in charge of making sure the right people get the money?


  66. JC says:

    Game sizes are pushing 15~20 GB now, unless they are online installs like Steam (roughly 8 GBs). Some ISPs limit you to 20GB a month, this is the current state of connection in a large game-buying country: the US. Of course, not every ISP is like this, but not everyone has unlimited caps, and those unlimited plans look to be going extinct soon. So you limit your customer base to a consumer that only have higher caps or they may buy your new title, provided they didn’t buy anything recently for the month. The market size isn’t the same when you go DD, it is significantly smaller. The market that buys used sales may spend money on other titles that aren’t necessarily yours. The used market does contribute towards new sales and that means they likely won’t buy more in recent time.

    Outside of the US, limited caps are very common and you limit the world at large in many places removing more sales from being possible. Those people who don’t contribute also become the ones that allow those who don’t contribute to get a chance at a game. They find they can’t sell the title elsewhere, they may not purchase the title at all in the end until the price drops a bit. If games don’t sell well for a while, don’t companies downsize relatively fast? Only the lucky developers not drawn from a hat will get more profits or will they be the same? 

  67. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I dunno I see a media industry based on DD but it sales media on packaged memory crads and other impluse type deals, what we will have once the DRM phaze ends is media that can be put on many devices and enjoyed where you are not nesserly hooked up into a line, its going to take awaile but I can see it in 10-20 years.

    If I am not clear bascily what we have now in the form of illicit downlaods of for media basically its riped into any and all formats you can get it from the CP owner at a cost thats lower than what we have now and its not completely dependent on being online all the time as big media has learned that volume sales will keep them out of the poor house and laws equating downlaoding to petty crime(automatic fines like red light cams or loss in bandwith or network preivagles). all of this will make a better media age. The trouble is the companies are not ready to change and do not want to.

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  68. sqlrob says:

    This is a serious problem with books. There’s lots being lost because they aren’t being published any more, still in copyright and the original owners can’t be found.

    I think SCotUS screwed up with Eldred. Mickey Mouse was in copyright when I was born, probably will be when I die. How is that "limited times"?


  69. Flaps says:

    Yeah, pretty close to my expectation.

    The next console generation (I’m guessing about 3 years from today, but it is hard to tell since everyone is being secretive about their next console) will feature equal online vs offline offerings. You’ll be able to buy the game in the store or download it for the same price. Over the lifetime of that generation, lets just say another 7 years (I think console generations are beginning to operate on a longer cycle where 5 years feels to short) retail sales will diminsh greatly to the point were primary means of distribution will be digital at the end of that generation. The next generation after that (wild guess – 10 years from now), will thrive primarily on digital distribution but may have legacy options for retailers and for playing previous generation titles. Hopefully in 10 years broadband penetration will be at or near 100% (right now it is around 50% in the US).

  70. questionmark1987 says:

    Games are made for minorities, they’re called genres. Like I said, my games probably wouldn’t appeal to everyone, but I don’t think it would concern a majority of the market either. Your problems with it (not wantign constant connection, etc.) are a minority view as well.

    As for the hard copy, some people are just more comfortabel installing from a disc then a download. I figure why not give them that option.

  71. ZippyDSMlee says:

    I do not believe in such finite compensation as I believe all art(and everything is art) is meant to seen,absorbed and pondered on and everything from that point shared and shared more to foster and grow ideas and thoughts to expand the very nature of mankind.
    In order to seek this goal out the content owners must be destroyed and a better system put in place to further the creation of new thought and protect the creator of thoughts that can be sold or traded to others.


    Yes I am a hippie kitty mmmaaannnnnnnnnnn =^^=
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  72. sqlrob says:

    90+% of development is used internally.

    Why do game devs get a break?


     And let me elaborate this even further, using only software and my personal experience.

    * I wrote software that enabled people to switch long distance carriers. Do I get a cut of each phone call? Why not?

    * I wrote testing software. Do I get a cut of the software it was used to test? Why not?

    * I wrote financial planning software, do I get a cut of each transaction it suggests? Why not?

    * I wrote security software that protects bank transactions. Do I get a cut of each transaction? Why not?

    * I wrote security software that protects online auction transactions. Do I get a cut of each transaction? Why not?

    * I wrote software that accelerates network connections. Do I get a cut of the cost of the bandwidth savings? Why not?

    All of this is copyrighted software, just as games. Why are game devs special?

    Hardware contains software. Does that mean hardware can’t be resold?

  73. hellfire7885 says:

    ….. why can’t developers just be happy people are at least enjoying their work long after the publisher stops having copies made?

    Seriously, if used game sales were done away with, even games people enjoyed greatly will vanish off the face of the earth for good.

  74. questionmark1987 says:

    Spore still made record sales even with their insane DRM which is much worse then what I proposed. Would I appeal to all gamers? Of course not, but I wouldn’t be concerned with the players who didn’t want to follow those rules.

  75. Firebird says:

    I’m all for helping pay the bills for the developers that make my favorite game.

    But then again, I don’t want to spend 60 dollars for it when I can get it for 10 dollars less, and participate in the Buy-two-get-one-free sale.

    So its really a mixed bag for the; help the 10% of games that make a profit for the developers, and for me to have the opportunity to flip the bird at EA for not giving a damn about consumers.

    I’ll buy used games, but also buy new ones that have a long shelf life (replayability),… so its really up to me.


    …and theres no damn way we are moving to digital downloads, considering we are moving from regular CDs to the inevitable change in Blu-ray format. I will support anything <4 gig line, but its really an inconvienience to download them, erase them for room, and re-download them, since I also have music and movies in my console, and I really hate to imagine the days’ wait for anything above 10 GB.

    If you have a problem with developers not making money, you have to do what I do, DEAL WITH IT!

    For now….

  76. JC says:

    Purely through DD with optional hard copy, how would you plan to advertise and how much would you spend to do so? How fast would these hard copies arrive? Would you tack on insurance to the package or would they be parcels and would they require signing or anything? 

    Is there really a point to having a hard copy when an online-log-on key is required to play? Personally, I’m not interested in having a constant connection, I like to turn off my adapater from time to time or when it isn’t in use. I try to limit my power usages, but not everyone is like me.

    You have fun only buying new copies, it is really nice having that fresh seal with lovely manuals (not many are great these days) and the typical warranty with a warning that a 1:1 copy isn’t "necessary". I’d have to point out that not every potential customer is like you though, it is a minority view.

  77. questionmark1987 says:

    Good for you. As a developer I refuse to lose profits so people like you can play. That’s my right. Like I said, games are not a right they are a privlidge. I will work under whatever decisions my bosses make, but those are the decisions I would make if I was in charge, and I wouldn’t be concerned with the small loss of players like you.

  78. Zen says:

    My response. 

    1. you’ve already limited who can or will play your game.  Not everyone has the internet, but just about everybody can get access to a store to buy a copy of a game.

    2. Wonderful.  So if your company goes under (and don’t say it isn’t possible..because it sure as hell is a posibility for ANY company), what happens if the registration or log-on servers are turned off.  Or I travel somewhere without internet.  Or hell…play the game in my CAR on a trip.  (yes..I have an LCD we hang in my mother in laws van for long family trips and some of us stay in the back playing games together). Plus I would be less interested in buying the games if I knew I was locked into a log-in for all of the games together and couldn’t remove or even give away a copy to a family member or friend without letting all of them go.  Same reason that, while I love steam, I am VERY limited on what I buy on there.

    3. What happens if you get into a situation that you need to sell your games?  I’ve had to do it once before.  It hurt doing it, but I did what I had to do to take care of my family when we were having to travel between multiple hospitals for over several months while my pre-mature daughter was trying to survive.  We would have been in real trouble if the option to sell my games and movies had not been there. 

    Zen aka Jeremy Powers
    Panama City, Fl.

  79. questionmark1987 says:

    I’m happy fairly compensating someone for their work. That’s all. If I can;t afford something, I don’t buy it. I don’t assume I deserve it regardless and find some way to work my way around paying a fair price just to ahve it. So no my values aren’t the same as other americans, and frankly I’m happy about that. A majority of the people in this country have self centered attitudes that make me sick.

    Also how am I getting less? If I still got the same game, the same bos, the same book. Hmm, to me that’s the same.

  80. sqlrob says:

    This goes back to things I’ve said before, in the DRM threads.

    For computer games, I *REFUSE* to have that computer on the net. Valve lost a sale for years because of that (finally bought Orange Box for the 360, would’ve had boxed HL2 the day it came out if it weren’t for the online requirements for single player). I also don’t have an XP computer because of those activation requirements. I’ve bought less than a handful of computer games in the past decade, but bought hundreds of console games. Yes, some of those were bought used. I wouldn’t have been driven to the console without nonsensical restrictions like what you propose, and all of those would’ve been new comptuer games. They lost a good chunk of money because of ideas like those you espouse.


  81. questionmark1987 says:

    Consoles are more on an 8 year timeline. And this is devleoping more and more quickly each year.

  82. questionmark1987 says:

    The market isn’t base don GS and EB, it’s based on consumers. If you can play a PS3 game, most likely you can download one. If you can play a computer game, most likely you can download one. You don’t even have to have an internet connection at your home to get internet access anymore.


    The market size would eb the same, the distribution of product would change. The only part of the market that would be lost would be the people who aren’t contributing any money to the developers now, so no big deal.

  83. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  84. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Games devalate as a fast rate unless its its very popular or over produced(to many copies in the market) and even then after 30ish months you can fidn it NEW for 10$, why because they print out to many games flood the market focus only on the rush window and ignore the rest the publishers are the main reason why profits are damaged…..but then again I am seeing a precived loss through mismanagement…
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  85. questionmark1987 says:

    Personally if I ever get into a position that would allow me to make these decisions I would:

    1. Only sell through DD. Whether that be my publisher or my dev company.

    2. Attach each CD (because I would be willing to print and ship CDs to customers who wanted them) to a code that is attached to an account, similar to how an MMO functions. I wouldn’t limit installs, but you would have to log-on to play, even a single player game. This way people would be less likely to resell since the log in to play and the account with the company/publisher DD would be linked.

    The only downside is you would need an internet connection to log on, I’m still trying to figure a way to work around that, maybe linking the CD directly to an account, rather then to a code. But then you could never allow the user to change passwords.

    As for what I will do, I will continue to only buy new games. I will also continue to keep all the games I buy. Unless I ever get a position of power in a company, there’s not much more I can do.

  86. JC says:

    That’s more or less my point, you’re not going to gain anything by selling entirely online unless you have launched something established or has a fan-base. Penny-Arcade is an online thing, so they obviously know their fan-base has an internet connection in order to reach them. You assume that every customer has an online connection and actively seeks upcoming games. That is a minority for such the case, a majority of sales are done by parents and mainstream people. This equates to needind advertising, if you have it online only, they’d need to know about it or be an established fan-base. Most fans don’t know who makes their titles, let alone most parents so they won’t go online seeking something unless they are quite aware of finding it online.

    Also note, when it comes to rush shopping, some hate the shipping problems and rather get everything done on a visit to the store. It may not make sense, but that’s the way many of those customers are.

    Also, you saying "it isn’t a AAA" title applies to everyone, just because you see it as AAA doesn’t mean someone else does, and therein lies the problem, not everyone will have the money to buy every title they see as AAA, and may buy it used. There is still no benefit to not selling to EB/GS. Every AAA doesn’t get recognition, and limiting your potential customer base to just online consumers won’t help.

  87. ZippyDSMlee says:

    No.. since consoles work on 5 year time lines and physical media is good to go for at least 20… in 5 no that is not happening you’ll have a mix, in 10 I can see it, so thats at least 2 more console genrations.


    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  88. Zen says:

    Your happy with spending MORE money for getting LESS.  Sir, that makes no sense at all. I’m for fair prices, but fair prices don’t count at screwing the consumer too.  That’s how, and frankly WHY, Napster became so popular.  People were tired of buying the same music again on CD and paying close to $20 dollars or more with no ability, at the time, to even make "mix tapes" which were really popular back in the cassette and record days.  People were artificially limited on how they could listen to their music and what they could do with it after getting it.

  89. ZippyDSMlee says:

    Please tell me how smaller market,slower sales larger publishers lower paid and or less devs are better for the industry?
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  90. nighstalker160 says:

    Someone above argued that games are different because they don’t lose value with use.

    While that may be true in the sense that a game won’t lose physical value, the idea that games don’t depriciate in value over time is preposterous.

    In THAT case, I have a copy of the Star Wars Pod Racing for the N64 that I’m offering for sale at $50.

    Older games are NOT worth as much as newer games because they are OLD. COD4 is worth far more than COD2.

    Obviously a FEW classics or rarities might actually appreciate in value with time, but that’s true of a lot of other things to. Certain cars are worth 10x now than what they were worth when they were new.

    Games absolutely lose value over time.

  91. questionmark1987 says:

    You don’t have to, I am not saying everyone should be all happy sunshine about the idea. But fi you want the game and the option is pay this price or don’t, those are really your only options. Sure the price would probably still drop eventually, and if no one bought anythign until prices dropped the companies would probably lower starting prices, but that shiny thing comes in and a lot of people can’t help but buy it. People will pay more to get something sooner.

  92. ZippyDSMlee says:

    What the consumer sees as value will have to change I belive with a price drop, easy of use and transfer and share will be the beginning of a new golden age of media but this utopia is not for 10+ years when their will be more people world wide able to buy it, more volume means more profit and a stable profit means a lower price for the consumer.

    But without that lower price you will get no where.
    Pirates,Shearers,Lenders and downloaders are not a market that can be taped by the mainstream.
    I is fuzzy brained mew =^^=

  93. questionmark1987 says:

    Still would be better for the industry, hell everyone could sell through steam opr publishers could stay in the loop by handling DD and marketing. It still would cut out retailers and that would ease some of the fincancial strain and stop used sales.

  94. questionmark1987 says:

    Yes, and frankly I think it’s just a case of most devleopers and publishers don’t care. That’s the current state of the industry.

  95. JC says:

    Again, they have to sell remarkably well. DD doesn’t mean developers will get double profit, they are hitting a smaller market, and thus they won’t reduce the price, especially since they’ll have to market it theirselves, more expenses. More expenses won’t equate to a price drop, especially with a smaller market. They are very likely to lose more money than gain something.

    Their best bet would be something established already intead of personal stores because most companies can’t afford what you’re suggesting.

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