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[PATV] Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - Extra Credits Season 6, Ep. 17: Used Games

DogDog Registered User, Administrator, Vanilla Staff admin
edited July 2013 in The Penny Arcade Hub

image[PATV] Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - Extra Credits Season 6, Ep. 17: Used Games

This week, we talk some more about the used games issue. You can watch our other episodes on the subject here and here. Come discuss this topic in the forums!

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    subliminalmansubliminalman Registered User new member
    The Google Play app market allows you to return your purchased app within a certain amount of time. I don't see why more app stores dont do this.

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    RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    I thought Steam and iTunes were put up with because on a whole their prices are a lot cheaper. The default price for a Newish game on PSN for example is £49.99 (When I can get a new physical copy from Amazon at £35-£40), so I'd never buy from there, but when PS+ gives it to me for free, I have no complaints, even when it's tied to an account that can theoretically have the plug pulled on it at any time. The missing element in this episode's discussion is if the industry decides that games are ultimately just leased or rented, should we still expect to pay $60 or £40 upfront? And then we swing it back to the discussion of why development costs are so high and so on.

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    xyceresxyceres Registered User regular
    I believe the time out on google play returns is 24 hours. It makes a lot of sense on android too as some apps will have issues with certain hardware (I once returned an app that flat out didn't work on my phone despite the fact hardware wise I was up to spec). it's a nice little feature I wish more digital goods stores used it.

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    The_MormegilThe_Mormegil Registered User regular
    Digital ownership is a tricky issue. Can you really possess information packets? There's odd restrictions in the market based on copyright laws and such. It's actually quite odd: for most non-digital goods I don't pay for the right to personally use something that is accessible to others. Things are a lot trickier when you are paying for a right to do something than when you are paying for someone to do something for you.

    I do believe in a certain way, games are services. I think of them like a pool: you go to the pool to swim, but you have to pay to get in. What are you paying for? The pool is already there, why can't you just use it? You are paying for maintenance and for the production cost (and for the revenue of investors). Games are like that because the game is already there, in a sense, but you still have to pay for maintenance and for the production cost. It's not the same as, say, an orange, because you aren't paying for something you can consume.

    However, you don't own a pool. You are buying the right to go swim in the pool. In order to actually own a pool, you have to pay lots of money for people to build one for you exclusively, and at that point you can share it (maybe for profit) or just use it personally. I don't see people fighting over pools, and they're nothing really new, but I agree that the trading and regulamentation of information is something that feels a bit odd. Still, as long as I think of iTunes as a public swimming pool service, I'm pretty good with it.

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    Raven67Raven67 Registered User new member
    Actually, Jimqusition on escapist exsplains used games. He has an entire episode on steam and why it gets a pass.

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    RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    That's the other question, The_Mormegil: Is software a product or a license to use it? Are games products or services? This hasn't been establish by law or court, so I feel right now that the Games industry treats them as either whenever it's advantageous to do so. It would be nice to get a definition enshrined into law.

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    gtademgtadem Registered User regular
    "They feel they need to reclaim that money if they're going to continue making the big budget titles we all know and love."

    1) If you spend $X to make a product and take in < $X in sales of that product, you've made a bad product. This is not an indication of "bad consumers."
    2) You do not need a big budget to make a good game.
    3) Resale of any other product is not talked about in this fashion. If I sell you my used car, nobody but me makes a dime off of it and yet the manufacturer and original dealership it sold from remains in business.

    The suggestion for a publisher to set the level to credit somebody for turning in a used game is flawed. Not only would it likely lead to future games being inflated in price to absorb this "credit," but it would also take away purchasing power from the consumer by forcing their "dollars" to be usable only in a comparatively limited section. You sold your old Ford, so now you can only buy a Ford or you can go buy a Chevy, whose prices are now inflated to offset the people getting credits for selling in their old Chevys.

    You marginalized your concern over this by citing the "free market" in the same video that you reference "the law" twice and in a third instance, mention a supreme court ruling. That is not the free market, but rather a heavily regulated one. Just ask Adam Swartz. While you're trying to get in touch with him, consider the sentence he was facing contrasted to that of a violent rapist for example.

    Look, I realize that because you guys have an intelligent voice in this conversation as well as a desire to bridge the gaps (very commendable by the way), that you're going to be looking out for the developers and publishers, but you cannot escape the one, important, incontrovertible truth: There is NO job in this world that is without competition. If you worked for GM and GM made an inferior product and/or was managed poorly, you would lose money or your job. At least that's how it would happen in a truly free market (ahem, no bailouts funded by theft of the poor to ensure the continued profits of CEOs). Which you were correct to point to free market as the accurate balancer. Sadly, we don't have a free market available to us and in a heavily regulated market, the big money holders (developers and publishers, at least in contrast to the consumers) are the ones that manipulate those regulations to stack the deck in their favor by force rather than providing the superior product/service at competitive prices.

    So much so that they've gotten us to ask the wrong questions for so long that we approach the topic from the wrong angle from the very start. By that I mean that almost everybody reading this, whether they've pirated or not, likely assumes that "copyright" is valid. If we understood that copyright is force, regulation, and restriction, then this episode couldn't even exist. The free market benefits from competition and inspires innovation. Let us consider World of Warcraft.

    I've played WoW for years now and it was the first game that I've played that was online and therefore could change. This is significant given that in the past, I'd take a game and play it, replay it, replay some more, write efficiency walkthroughs, etc. The change was a turnoff from the very start. So much so that not long ago, I decided to give private servers a try to relive the nostalgia of gaming aspects of WoW that were lost in time. You know what I found? Even though we were talking free versus $15 a month, the innovations that WoW has incorporated over the years actually works to compete against pirated versions of itself! It's instructive.

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    mamlazmamlaz Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    Sales of AAA games are rising, not dropping, total sales are actually rising. Market is over saturated and games are way too expensive when made and advertised with today's mentality and it's because of those reasons publishers are not meeting their hyper inflated goals.

    Frankly, this is nothing new. Same thing happen to movie industry and music industry and guess what, market didn't budge. Industry had to change to adapt to new market conditions. We shouldn't budge on used games sales for physical media one inch. Digital is different ballgame since it does not deteriorate over time which makes it a whole different ballgame but event there. Inheritance shouldn't be ever be allowed to come in question and also, should never be allowed to be taxed by publishers/creators., As for resale and gifting, that mus be allowed too but terms are negotiable. To tie non-essential parts of game to a fresh copy is one way to deal with it for example. Not a best solution but one of solutions. But that is only for purely digital media and only for non-essential parts of game (still can be rather important to lore for example, like Javik i ME3) that would have to be purchased separately for a modes price (anything over 10% of a price of a new game is not modest)

    If we allow publishers to treat products as service, we have made a case for other products to follow. In facts, they would be pretty stupid not to. It's free money. Imagine if you had to pay Ford for purchasing 20 years old Escort? Or jeweler for inheriting family ring. Or publisher for old vinyl records. Game that does not require constant interventions from second party is product and not service (WoW is service, CoD is product), and product means ownership. If I OWN something I'm entitled to do what I want with that product. Destroy it, sell it, borrow it or give it away. Nothing what so ever should allowed to stand in a way of consumer to exercise those rights.

    Look at it this way. Even Aston Martin and Ferrari make cars for a wide range of customers. From those who are willing to spend 80000 to those who are willing to spend 500000. Most manufacturers have much wider range of products with only few exclusive brands. In gaming industry everyone is either Aston Martin or Tata. There is no middle ground and that means that it's not market that has a problem, it's industry and they should change. Any message like you put out is actually really damaging for us consumers.

    mamlaz on
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    gonzofishgonzofish Registered User new member
    This episodes supposed "middle ground" is unacceptable. Why on earth should we consent to being given a gift certificate for one publishers lakes instead of putting it toward any game I want? that is hardly any better.

    The fact is there is no middle ground here. You either retain your right to own your property or you are allowing the industry to steal that right from you.

    I don't mind buying games on Steam or iTunes because I have the option of going out and buying a physical copy. I still consider my digital games to be something I own, but if I want something which is easier to lend or resell I always have the option to buy a physical copy.

    This was something the Xbox one was ready to deny us, and that I will not abide. My property is MY PROPERTY and if publishers do not like it, we'll, I have some ideas where they can shove it.

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    cB557cB557 voOOP Registered User regular
    I was wondering when you were going to update that title.

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    darkhogdarkhog Registered User regular
    About strength of steam drm: That's bullshit. I've seen so many steam-only games on TPB for years to know that much.

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    Fixer40000Fixer40000 Registered User regular
    When someone sells or trades in their game, they have funds to put towards a new game.

    So the games industry still gets a piece of the pie, even if places like Gamestop take a massive cut.

    Have left PA forums.
    If this community believes that hating someone based soley upon their gender is acceptable and understandable, I have no interest in being a part of it.
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    BarthedaBartheda Registered User regular
    oooh I like the new art style, I also want to put my 2cents worth into a topic they raised. There is no way in hell I would take credit towards another game released by the same publisher on a game I found out was not for me (I just about wrote crap but it could just be a matter of opinion). I don't like the idea of this for several reasons but the one that pokes out the most to me is that I enjoy certain kinds of games, immersive story driven action games, anything that tells a good tale. I do get others like platformers & beat-em-ups just for the fun of them but the idea that a publisher would have all these games sitting around that I wanted is madness. I can't think of any publisher that has this now & with the next gen consoles coming out the library is about to get really REALLY small for awhile.
    That's my 2cents anyway
    Cheers

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    jedidethfreakjedidethfreak Registered User regular
    "When someone sells or trades in their game, they have funds to put towards a new game.

    So the games industry still gets a piece of the pie, even if places like Gamestop take a massive cut."

    Not if that cash goes to buy used games, since GameStop sells FAR more used games than new, and sells used copies of particular games within 24-48 hours of said game's launch.

    Wind Fish in name only, for it is neither.
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    jedidethfreakjedidethfreak Registered User regular
    "That's the other question, The_Mormegil: Is software a product or a license to use it? Are games products or services? This hasn't been establish by law or court, so I feel right now that the Games industry treats them as either whenever it's advantageous to do so. It would be nice to get a definition enshrined into law."

    That would be nice. However, thanks to the mentioned iTunes lawsuit, you can bet your ass that, at least in America, it's going to be a license, and you don't own it.

    Wind Fish in name only, for it is neither.
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    RMS OceanicRMS Oceanic Registered User regular
    "That's the other question, The_Mormegil: Is software a product or a license to use it? Are games products or services? This hasn't been establish by law or court, so I feel right now that the Games industry treats them as either whenever it's advantageous to do so. It would be nice to get a definition enshrined into law."

    That would be nice. However, thanks to the mentioned iTunes lawsuit, you can bet your ass that, at least in America, it's going to be a license, and you don't own it.

    Yeah you're right, but it would still be nice to have a definitive position so the industry cuts out having it both ways.

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    discriderdiscrider Registered User regular
    Games as a service only makes sense if the game is actually a service. If the publisher/developer actively supports and enhances the game, then a no player ownership of a game stance makes sense. The new (or existing with subscriptions/F2P) players are paying to keep the game running, and there is a justifiable benefit to the consumer for sacrificing this right.

    But if they are not actively supporting the game, then it is a product. Specifically the license to use the game is a product and the buyer should be able to transfer that license as they see fit. At the very least this has to be true, as otherwise there is nothing to stop buyers from looking for cheaper substitutes as opposed to buying older verified copies. There is no point stopping used games just so people can go and find pirated or knock-off versions that are just as good for a lower price. Taking away the right can only lead to less consumer loyalty, and doing so when you had no reason to and when it was not costing you any money in the first place is just silly.

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    galgal Registered User new member
    if i buy a house when i sell it i don't need to pay money to the real estate agent how sold me the house nor do i need to pay the construction workers how built it i can only sell a used game if i bought it its mine i use steam for comfort it gives me something back and more importantly i trust steam and i am not forced to use steam i can choose to buy the game from any of the many retailers out there what you are describing will force loyalty on me whether i want it or not taking away the choice to invest my money on what i want the fact is if a AAA game fails to met expectations maybe they were too high to begin with

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    Albino BunnyAlbino Bunny Jackie Registered User regular
    I thought Steam and iTunes were put up with because on a whole their prices are a lot cheaper. The default price for a Newish game on PSN for example is £49.99 (When I can get a new physical copy from Amazon at £35-£40), so I'd never buy from there, but when PS+ gives it to me for free, I have no complaints, even when it's tied to an account that can theoretically have the plug pulled on it at any time. The missing element in this episode's discussion is if the industry decides that games are ultimately just leased or rented, should we still expect to pay $60 or £40 upfront? And then we swing it back to the discussion of why development costs are so high and so on.

    Jimquisition did an episode on this over on the Escapist. The main reason that we 'trust' Steam and Itunes with digital shit is that they have so much competition that it's tough for them to pull anything unreasonable.

    With consoles however it's a closed system that costs a couple hundred pounds to get access to which often means once you've brought one you're 'locked in' to whatever bullshit they throw because the upfront cost of getting the other console is a put off.

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    Game VyseGame Vyse Registered User regular
    just to add, steam is getting some kind of trade/trade in/lend usedgame program as people found some of it code in one of the updates, but i think this links back to a case where they was told they had add to add a way for people to trade games online, for the EU anyway.

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    oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    The suggestion to give publishers a piece of trade-ins seems like an overwrought approach for something the market should be able to handle on its own.

    A game that is licensed and cannot be resold has less value than a game that is purchased and can be resold. It stands to reason that consumers who value the ability to resell games will be less inclined to pay the same price to license games that they would to buy games. Customers who actively resell their games will also have less money to spend on new games. Therefore, consumers will buy fewer games at full retail price.

    If publishers want to maintain revenue, they will either have to give other incentives, or revist their pricing structure.

    One of the biggest benefits of used games is that competition from the used game market forces publishers to lower the price of games more quickly than they probably would otherwise. If you give publishers control over the resell price, then they have greater flexibility to keep prices elevated for longer periods of time. If consumers are less willing and able to purchase games at full price, then publishers have an incentive to lower the prices of games at a quicker rate, to meet the price points consumers are willing to pay.

    Ultimately the used games market generates revenue for game industry by bringing in consumers who would otherwise be priced out of buying games. If publishers take away our ability to resell and want to keep that revenue in the industry, they will either have to give greater incentives to purchase games so that people are willing to spend more, or lower prices to capture consumers who would be priced out.

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    Fixer40000Fixer40000 Registered User regular
    Not if that cash goes to buy used games, since GameStop sells FAR more used games than new, and sells used copies of particular games within 24-48 hours of said game's launch.

    If someone is selling a game back in that short amount of time it's probably the sort of thing you'd demand a refund for.

    Have left PA forums.
    If this community believes that hating someone based soley upon their gender is acceptable and understandable, I have no interest in being a part of it.
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    UbersuperslothUbersupersloth Registered User regular
    Extra Credits guys (and girl), you really need to watch the "Jimquisition" web show series, he's more crude than you guys (and girl) and he's a lot more pro-consumer than you guys (once again, and girl). However, he does have some good points which I believe counteract well with your points. The most relevant would be: The "used games" trilogy of videos (piracy, fighting the "problem" of used games and another one. And, most importantly, "why PC gaming gets away with it".

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    marsinvadermarsinvader Registered User regular
    The old argument about publishers and developers not getting a dime from used sales. You know what, why should they? If I buy a car the manufacturer doesn't get a cut, or a book the publisher doesn't get it too, or clothes, or electronics... why the games industry thinks they are little special snowflakes that the rules doesn't apply to them?
    Maybe the digital goods are different, maybe, but if buy a physical game, it's mine and I do whatever the fuck I want with it.

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    ImmudzenImmudzen Registered User new member
    The reason I am okay with steam has a lot to do with the kinds of sales that it has. Console games drop VERY slowly in price unless the game is utterly horrible. Even buying a used copy gives a very small discount. However pretty much all games will have huge sales on steam on a pretty regular basis.

    The sales are so huge that during the christmas and summer sales many people just stock up on games. I have many games I have not had time to play yet but they where also very cheap to get. When I see a new game come up that I really want I know I can wait on steam and within 6 months at the absolute most I will be able to get it for 75% off or so.

    I can also play those games anywhere. Sure Steam is DRM but it seems to be much more friendly DRM. I can get a new computer, install Steam and just start downloading games I have bought to it. No hassles, no screwing around. I don't really have that option with physical media on consoles.

    Since going back to school to change careers money is not really plentiful and I needed a fairly powerful computer for my classes anyways so playing games on a PC saves a lot of money compared to consoles. If publishers had larger discounts from time to time on console games I would have been less likely to leave. It just seems that you can have a game like skyrim or fallout on both steam and consoles and if you wait there will be huge discounts on the steam version and you can get the game + all dlc cheaper than what just the dlc costs on the console.

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    p4riahp4riah Registered User new member
    You miss a few fundamental points. I echo a previous commenter's suggestion to examine Jim Sterling's arguments on this topic, but I'll kind of paraphrase:
    The reason PC digital distribution gets away with it is that it actually has some benefits to counteract the downsides. Constant sales and deals. Options and competition between the at least half dozen major services that sell you the games driving prices down. Some like GoG are DRM free. Steam offers a great store that has TONS of side benefits like the steam community, which as a way to connect players of games, blows every other system out of the water. (XBL, PSN, etc) It's not perfect (you mentioned the downsides that should be fixed, like return policies), but it has it's strengths.

    The reason we're up in arms about this new console DRM is that they want us to accept the downsides without ANY of the upsides. Take XBL or PSN. Terribly designed store, a single publisher controlling everything with no competition, and the sales and deals are pitiful compared to PC digital sales. The rest of the system doesn't even really offer any greater connectivity or features than Steam. Microsoft's previous plan for the Xbox One would have combined the worst elements of digital distribution with the worst elements of console exclusivity, and removed many of the benefits of each. (Competition and sales on PC, and the freedoms of physical media on console)

    Your first point in this video is also based on a few fundamental problems. You mentioned that reselling your physical goods is normal in most things, but publishers and devs need to be able to get some of that resale money to keep making AAA games. This is completely wrong-headed and warped. What publishers want to happen is to fundamentally change a very natural human behavior in economic systems, so that THEY don't have to change the way that they make games. They want to change reality itself to fit their warped vision of how the industry should work. The industry has changed, but they haven't - they want to change it back rather than change themselves.

    AAA development as it stands is completely unsustainable. You have companies spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a game because they think they have to, and so they set completely unrealistic sales expectations because that's the only way that they can justify development costs. Then the game sells something like 6-7 MILLION copies and is STILL considered a complete failure (The recent Tomb Raider game is an example of this). Then studios get closed down, IPs get abandoned, and everything gets worse, because the publisher has no idea what's wrong or how to solve it. Then you have something like Dark Souls, which was budgeted properly and realistically, and marketed to it's proper audience rather than spending millions trying to market to everyone (which always fails), and it sold a couple million copies, the company was thrilled, and they made more money than the AAA pubs saw for their last failed blockbuster.

    Several people in the industry have said things like 'Used games and AAA development cannot exist together in their current form', and 'used games need to go', and it's 'just business'. Well selling used goods will never go away, and the publishers and developers making these statements need to look closer to home for the causes and solutions to their problems. If they cannot coexist, then I know which one will be going away. AAA gaming as it stands doesn't deserve to exist, and it will crash and burn if it doesn't change itself. That's just business.

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    CowiculaCowicula Registered User regular
    I think you missed the mark a bit when you said "the way the free market plays out on this one publishers are likely to give much higher trade-in rewards than gamestop."

    IMHO this is how it WILL go down (not much we can do to stop it):
    1) Publishers will offer much higher trade-in rewards and/or restrict trade-ins until GameStop and other retailers are out of business.
    2) Publishers will then proceed to do whatever they please, possibly including switching to a completely licensed system. Who can stop them? The retailers are dead.

    The only thing that saved us in this console generation is that only ONE of the major consoles tried to step into licensed territory. The only reason they were xboned was that their major competitor failed to play ball with the scheme.

    If any of you remember the movie "A Beautiful Mind," there is a scene where modern economics is discussed not in terms of companies competing against each other, but working with each other to compete against the consumer. This has already occurred in retail clothing, where the base price markup on certain products can reach hundreds of %, but competing retailers at the same quality level all charge the same prices so consumers have no choice but to pony up or miss out.

    If there ever comes a day where all distributors (I use this term loosely, because a game's resale can be controlled by the developer, publisher, platform i.e. steam, or console manufacturer) decide that we are only renting games, there will be little we can do to stop it short of giving them up entirely.

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    IndyComoIndyComo Registered User regular
    [walking cane] Back in my day, new games cost $30, and I was able to rent games anywhere from $4/week to $1.50/day. [/walking cane]
    I am on the side of "it's property", and while I'm all for debate people who think we shouldn't own what we pay for worry me. But if publishers want to retain ownership of their games, then I say they rent them to us. I agree with another poster below, publishers shouldn't have it both ways and pick which ever is convenient for them.
    (By the way, if you extrapolate the price structure from a long time ago, renting might be ~$21/wk. Kinda makes $50-$60 for multiple weeks 'rental' seem worth it.)

    It's own or rent, folks, pretty fraking simple.

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    pubskypubsky Registered User regular
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but the premise to your argument is that when you buy a used game, no money goes to the publisher or developer, but you are purchasing their work, and they need to get as much money as possible because the AAA game market is declining.

    The key to the argument being that any time art is purchased, the creator of said art is entitled to realize benefit from said art due their role as the "creator" or because it was their actions that created the value in the art.

    Simply put, this argument is nonsense. Are we paying the estate of Dali every time one of his pieces sell? Does Rolex get a cut of used watch sales? What about the furniture manufacturers down in North Carolina? We are destroying the furniture market by constantly reselling antique furniture and killing the new furniture market!!! I could go on but I don't think it is necessary. The idea that the creator of a piece of art is entitled to any subsequent sales has no historical foundation. We are talking about art here, a product where the best examples of the craft or the rarest examples of the craft routinely rise in value over time, with an active collectors market.

    What you want to do here is give video games enhanced market power at the expense of consumers in order to ensure more marginal creators, specifically of AAA titles are able to remain profitable. This is the exact sort of argument that makes me incredibly hesitant to support something like a "games for good" lobby in Washington DC. You took the position of the consumer in this video and dismissed it in the first 10 seconds. They bought a game, they should be able to sell it. Then you proceed to describe multiple ways that developers can make more money by cutting into consumer rights...

    DLC, supporting additional content for additional payments over time, charging for online experiences, etc, etc. These are all fine ways to monetize a title. They provide additional services for additional fees, and do not eat into my rights. Re-releasing a title on a new system, go ahead.

    Retaining even partial ownership of an item after you have sold it is immoral, anti-competitive, and retards the growth of the marketplace. When you have to dig up the arguments of the recording industry to make your case, you know you are on the wrong side of an issue. If the market wants to move to leased experiences through products like Steam that is fine, they will be competing more directly with computer games and there is competitive market there. Don't masquerade a product as though you are selling the actual game and then restrict it as though it is just a single use license though. That is deceptive and wrong. If you don't like used games, stop making games that can be reused, and stop trying to extract value from the product as though it is a game that can be reused.

    What you are inherently arguing for is the ability of publishers to have their cake and eat it too. The want to sell you the promise of a traditional game at a traditional game price, while really only providing you with a single user experience like steam or certain downloads. That is where you go off the rails. Support one model or the other.

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    pubskypubsky Registered User regular

    I would propose to you a different narrative about the decline of AAA titles.
    1.) The appeal of gaming is first and foremost about game play and artistry and not about computing power (8 bit art can and often is superior to 10,000 bit art).

    2.) In the past, expanding computing power was necessary to unlock game play mechanics and artistic expression that were not possible with lesser technology.

    3.) Currently, a significant portion of AAA title development spending is dedicated to acts that focus on utilizing graphical computing power and to enhanced marketing, not to game play design, or the artistry itself.

    4.) There are diminishing marginal returns to graphical technology in terms of how game play and art mechanics can be expanded from one generation to the next. True leaps in this area are going to be made possible moving forward by advances in user interface and computing power that enables those interfaces. (think of the stupid peripherals for NES that never worked compared to the motion control for wii that actually does work). Also notice that the playstation and x box controllers are going to reach 3 generations almost unaltered, except for the eye/kinect. Nintendo is the only company really seeking to make waves in this area, a reason they also will likely outlive their tech driven counterparts, despite a failure to capture many non-nintendo produced AAA titles due to graphical limitations of its hardware.

    5.) Within the indie game scene and elsewhere, small and low budget teams are dedicating at least as much if not more time and effort to game play mechanics and artistry, expanding on ideas and techniques with older technology that was never fully exploited when these technologies were cutting edge or worthy of AAA attention.

    What you see today is the product of natural forces at work. Gamers like games, not tech displays that force them to bust their budget on overpriced systems and $60 games. The AAA market is dying for many of the reasons that you argue in your own episodes. They are companies frequently using techniques to exploit gamers for profit, rather than artists creating art. The indie scene is proving that what people want can be produced without massive marketing budgets, without expensive technology, and without cheap design that focuses on getting you to pay rather than play.

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    jovialbardjovialbard Registered User regular
    I just wanted to point out that there's a big difference between a car and a game. "Intellectual Property" isn't actually property. It's a "temporary" right to monopoly granted by the government for the purposes of incentivising the advancement of useful arts and sciences (a paraphrase of the constitution). That monopolistic right can be treated as a property, but the product itself is not property. When you buy a car or other physical object you are primarily paying for the labor that went into producing that physical object. When you sell a used car you are merely extending the use of a physical entity by transferring its use to another individual. The laborers have already been paid for the production of that singular physical entity, what they put into it has already been rewarded. With games and other digital IP there is no physical object. Nearly zero labor is put into creating a copy of that game. Instead all of the labor is put into the IP, the ideas and implementation that define the entity (the blueprint of the car but not the car itself). When you buy a used game you aren't merely transferring the use of a physical object that has already been paid for. There is no physical object. It is not an object of capital. You don't pay the price point of a game as a means of reimbursing the labor and materials that went into your particular copy of that game, that would be $0. No labor or materials went into your game. What you are doing is participating in a legalistic program designed to incentivise the advancement of useful arts and sciences by treating their products as an object of property. When you buy or sell used games, you are not primarily transferring a physical object, but what you are primarily doing is subverting the foundation of IP and it's intended purpose.

    Now, that said, EC makes a lot of great points here about the value of used games to the game industry. Unfortunately I don't see a single one of those points that does not also apply to pirated games. A pirated game can just as easily allow someone to play a game that is no longer published. It can just as easily create excitement for a new game by letting people experience an old game. Functionally, used games and pirated games are equivalent. Both subvert the incentivising of the advancements of useful arts and sciences in identical ways. This is not to imply that they are morally equivalent, that would be a different argument entirely, and the matter of legality would factor into that.

    A note, I understand that a car also has substantial IP invested in it, and that used cars subvert automotive innovation in the same way that used games do. However, the majority of the price tag for a car is the cost of the physical labor and materials that went into it (and profits for the investors, but that's also another matter entirely). When games were cartridges, they were a lot closer to cars, because making each cartridge did represent a substantial amount of physical labor. When they moved to cheaper discs, this became less so. And now that they are digital, the physical value, or the value of the specific object you purchase, is essentially zero.

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    JenSevJenSev Registered User regular
    Daniel, while you bring up some good points there is a major one you're missing here.
    Let's compare second hand sales from products other than games.

    Say, you want to buy a second hand car, or some antique furniture.
    Do you see the company or manufacturer that originally made that product holding up their hand on your purchase?
    If you buy a second hand car, does the original manufacturer withhold repairs or other services until you paid them a percentage of the price you bought it for?

    No, because that would be stupid.
    Why is that happening for games?

    The only ones that face reality are the ones too stupid to duck when they see it coming!
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    jaball77jaball77 Registered User regular
    For me it's a question of value for money. I don't give a crap about online multiplayer, so games like the Drake series end up being $60 for about 10 hours of play. For me, that's absolutely not worth it. If I can't resell the game on the next gen consoles, I just won't buy as many AAA games, it's as simple as that. I won't be able to afford it. I'll wait until the reviews are all in and choose my games more carefully. So the industry would get less money from my pockets.

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    pubskypubsky Registered User regular
    jovialbard,

    You are mistaken if you think that the purchase of intellectual property is a "temporary right." IP can be owned or licensed, the purchase grants permanent rights, while a license of the intellecutal property provides a temporary right. When Michael Jackson bought half of the Beetles catalogue, he permanently purchased the rights. When a commercial plays a Beetles Song, they have licensed the rights to use that IP for a specific purpose (the ad). That license limits its use to that one commercial; however it is an unlimited license for use in that commercial. In other words, they can play that commercial on as many TV shows as they would like for as many years as they would like. Millions will hear that song through a single use of the IP.

    IP is not nearly as cut and dry as you make it out to be. When I buy a physical game, I am buying a single unlimited use of the IP that is transferable. That means that as long as the IP that I purchased through that game is only ever playing ONCE at any given time, i.e. I cannot reproduce it, I can play it as many times as I want. Further by purchasing a physical copy of the disc I have purchased the right to transfer that individual license through a used game sale! There is no subversion of the IP, b/c resale was never restricted in the original licensing of the IP through the sale of a physical copy.

    Now the whole transferable piece was impractical to restrict on old technology (how to you keep somebody from re-selling a book?) But is very practical with new digital technology. When that restriction is added, you are reducing the scope of my license of the IP, and as an educated consumer I am going to respond in the marketplace accordingly by reducing the value I attribute to it.

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    sloporionsloporion Registered User regular
    I always see two major arguments against DRM, one of them is good, the other terrible.

    Good: Developers are setting the budget too high for AAA games. Someone earlier cited Tomb Raider as an example of this.

    Bad: It's my property and I own it and they shouldn't be able to take my property away.

    The budget argument is good, because it gives examples of real problems in the industry. When you think about the price of a videogame you think $60 US. The problem is that most games that cost that, aren't worth that. And games like The Last of Us might actually be worth MORE than that. But, if for example the price point for games was set at $40-50 US, developers would (or should) spend proportionally. But, when a company like Naughty Dog or Squeenix wants to go all out and make it's GOTY contender, it wouldn't be unheard of to sell for $60+. This very website shows that you can create a great videogame on the cheap, and sell it for relatively nothing, and still make money from it. The Precipice of Darknesses have always been highly entertaining and very inexpensive (downright insultingly cheap actually).

    Now, the property argument always seems to bring the car industry into it. "I can sell my own car, blah blah blah" or the housing argument (probably from someone who has never tried to actually sell a house). Let's put the car analogy to bed. No, the car manufacturer does not get a dime if you sell the car. However, considering how terribly the car industry is doing, your argument actually proves the pro-DRM point. Unless of course you want the videogame industry to fall to pieces like the automotive industry has.

    The house argument is flawed because there is no business that you can go to and simply sell your house. And yes, the contractors and the agent never see a dime of your second-hand sale. But they are not the direct equivalent to the developers/publishers. The contractors would be more like a QA team because they are hired out BY the developer/publisher to get the job done. Once the job was done, the contractors move on to other jobs (more often than not, having multiple teams doing multiple jobs at once). The agent would be exactly like Gamestop in this analogy. They are the ones you go to when you wish to get a house (or game). Now, it's entirely possible to go directly to the company to get the product, but the agent/Gamestop makes it easier to access a list of things available. The developer in this example would be more akin to a building owner (whether it be another person or a bank) who then LEASES it to a renter. They only make money while you are using their product; however, once you stop using their product, they have to find another person to pay them for their product.

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    TerezarTerezar Registered User new member
    The only issue I see with the argument that selling games is not like selling cars or houses is this: I can sell my pre owned movies, cd's and books with little to no issue, and in the case of movies, the same amount of money goes into making them as well. People are going to say that games don't get theatrical releases, and that's true, but theatrical releases are basically the movie industry equivalent to day 1 game sales, which is currently the metric publishers use to make or break franchises.

    That being said, maybe we should have game theaters where the only way to play a game on launch day is to pay 10 or 20 bucks to go to a game theater and play the game there on the theaters equipment lol.

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    sloporionsloporion Registered User regular
    @pubsky Like those in my last post, you are comparing videgames to incompatible mediums. You need to realize that digital media is different than anything physical. The idea that a videogame is akin to a watch or a chair is at best ignorant of the issue. You want to compare it to something it can actually be compared to, and since you are focusing on the art of videogames we will take a medium that can be considered a direct 1:1 correlation, the music industry.

    Anytime a song is played on a movie/tv show/commercial/radio, the artist/publisher gets money. Anytime an MP3 is purchased, the creator gets money. There's a reason Metallica sued Napster (other than they are douchey tools). It's because the music industry saw what digital media meant and knew they had to put the brakes on that as soon as they could or risk not making money.

    Now, unfortunately for the video game industry, developers can't really go out and make money on tour (like the music industry does - with the exception of Final Fantasy, since they do have actual concerts). The only way they make money is on sales and after market add-ons (which is why you see so many games coming out with the F2P model).

    What I want to know is, why does nobody complain about computer software licenses that prevent you from using someone else's copy, but FREAK OUT when consoles want to do it (PC has been doing it for years).

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    jovialbardjovialbard Registered User regular
    edited July 2013
    pubsky,

    My apologies, I seem to have created a confusion of terminology. Copyrights and Patents are "temporary". The quotes are there because we have a habit of pushing the timeframe of Copyrights and Patents back and back and back, and there seems to be a high likelyhood that we are essentially making them permanent, which they were never constitutionally intended to be. In other words, Michael Jackson should NOT have been able to buy the Beatles catalogue and own it forever. Rather, only until they become public domain (which should not be forever). However, when you buy a game you aren't actually buying the IP, or even a piece of it. You are buying an object, a copy or instance of the IP. You are just purchasing a lisence, as you say. There's no reason that the lisence you buy neccisarily allows resale, since a lisence is a legal agreement that can have any term judged as reasonable and legal. It is abhorrent for a game company's liscense to permit them to take a game away from you, but it is not outside the bounds of law or reason.

    My argument was one of the functional nature of used games, which is that it subverts the advancement of arts and sciences, which is the only reason you buy the game in the first place. You aren't buying a physical object and you aren't buying the labor that went into your copy. Neither exist in this case. Were capitalism to exist without government intervention (in the form of IP) the price of a digital good would almost always be $0, because supply is infinite and demand is finite. Creating a monopoly on the right to copy or instantiate the entity is the best means we could come up with for ensuring that creativity and innovation are funded. When buying a used car, the price you pay is the price of the physical object of the car. That does not exist with games, it is $0. Therefore, buying a used game only serves to subvert the only purpose of paying for games in the first place, which is to encourage creativity and innovation.

    Note: This is a moralist argument, and somewhat utilitarian in perspective. I'm not talking strictly about legality, but more about the functional effect of buying used. Essentially, why buy used? Just pirate. It does the same damn thing and is almost morally equivalent (In so far as breaking the law can be moral, which it isn't, so, yeah, there's that :) ). Also, that's generally a sarcastic comment because I don't find pirating to be moral in the general case, which makes buying used not only immoral but stupid, because you're spending money to do something immoral.

    jovialbard on
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    TheWill000TheWill000 Registered User new member
    In an everyday game store, selling back your game gives you money/in store credit, and the store an another copy of the game. now, imagine if the store had infinite copy's of every game. then there would be no real benefit to letting consumers sell back there merchandise. not saying its a particularly good reason, just thought add my thoughts on the 'why' matter.

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    pubskypubsky Registered User regular
    Sloporian and jovialbard,

    We need to clarify terms a little further here. With regard to a game distributed on a physical medium (disc/cartridge), there is no difference between a video game and any other form of physical art. If we consider the video game being distributed digitally in the same manner as a computer game on steam or a song on itunes, then yes we would be comparing apples and oranges.

    In either situation what we are dealing with is what rights are granted through the purchase, and the key reason why the digital vs physical medium is relevant is because of the restrictions that are possible or customary in each medium.

    As jovial said, there is no reason that the license you buy necessarily allows a resale; however, there is a custom of being able to resale physical objects and the single use IP license inherently contained in the physical object. Even if case law allows a restriction on resale of physical media, unless made very explicit, utilizing that restriction with the media is likely to be deceptive in nature. I'd want every disc to have a big "NOT FOR RESALE" on it to make it clear, think sonic for the genesis. My concern is that games will be sold with the right to resale eliminated in a deceitful manner, and these hybrid solutions proposed which effectively give developers monopoly pricing are custom designed for deceit. It is not just like any other resale, it is a heavily regulated and restricted form of resale.

    Nobody complains about digital distribution of computer games because this limitation on resale and use is understood. People adjust their willingness to pay accordingly. Nobody buys from steam expecting to be able to resell it. If you value the ability to resale or manipulate the item you bought (pixels, discs, or otherwise) you will reduce your willingness to pay accordingly. You may claim that resale is the same as pirating, except that in one case the right to resale was granted and in the other it was not. The game industry cannot claim that they are being robbed of resale value if they sell that as part of the product.

    Now you may question why this ability to resell is important? Why care if there are physical discs? Because of the nature of the experience. People buy an old NES cart when they could just download it on the virtual console because there is value in the experience, the cart, the system, with all of its flaws. I will have the same computer experience as long as I play on a computer. playing an NES game on a computer or a Wii is not the same experience.

    If I own a open physical copy of the media, I have bought the ability to download the rom, the ability to change it and adapt it, not for personal gain, but for personal fulfillment. It is a value-add just like a map editor, or the release of a game engine. My ability to keep my copy of the game in a usable state is valuable to me, while a digital download of an online game where the servers disappear in a few years is far less valuable. There is a market for these experiences, rights, and abilities. The game industry may not have valued them appropriately, but that doesn't mean that they are not there, and to take away all of those rights just to prevent used sales is short sighted and frankly rather stupid. Many avid gamers do not stop with a simple playing of a game. They interact with it in a variety of ways, look at home brews, reproduction carts of games like NES Earthbound, gamefaqs, 8 bit music bands, fan art, cosplay, competitive gaming, etc, etc.

    There are tons of ways to monetize gaming beyond the initial sale and/or resale. Many of them are made possible over time by allowing the consumers to take the product and work with it, interact with it, be inspired by it, and to create their own art. A good business would observe this behavior and continue to create and develop and build off of this interaction between the art and audience and allow the IP to evolve and grow. A stagnant business looking to kill creativity and innovation would attempt to strictly constrain the ways in which one could interact with art restrict the experience to ways in which they could sell or resell one specific experience. Its the difference between selling a painting and putting it out there in the world or making a painting but only allowing it to be experienced by paying $1 per 5 minutes to view it on a webcam.

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