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News THQ: No sympathy for second hand game buyers

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by CardJoe, 24 Aug 2010.

  1. GiantStickMan

    GiantStickMan What's a Dremel?

    14 Feb 2010
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    I think this is a valid point, I'll often pay more for a collectors/special edition if it comes with extra stuff that interest me, things like maps or art books or even figurines etc (the Dead Rising 2 SE is a good example of a collectors edition done well) and you can guarantee I will pay extra for that and there is a much greater chance I will hang on to it rather than sell it second hand.
    This approach won't work for everyone but it is food for thought.
  2. fingerbob69

    fingerbob69 Minimodder

    5 Jul 2009
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    It really is quite simple.

    PunterA buys new game $50 ...that's $50 to THQ.

    PunterA sells game for $30 to punter B.

    PunterA adds $20 to that $30 and buys another new game for $50 ...that's another $50 to THQ.

    PunterB's $30 was never going to be THQ's $30 because punter B doesn't buy brand new $50 games.

    THQ have not lost $30 but gained a further $50 on another game.

    THQ should officially patch the original Red Faction for win7 ...the lazy SOB's!
    Pete J likes this.
  3. liratheal

    liratheal Sharing is Caring

    20 Nov 2005
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    This is going to be a long one.

    The issue isn't a cut of the resale. It's the fact that they often release things DLC wise for next to nothing, the man hours involved in creating these pieces of DLC breaks down what we pay them on an individual basis to pennies an hour, and it's only the sale of the items en-mass that make them worthwhile. Providing them cheaply isn't often an issue because they've received a payment for the majority of their work. This is simply not true for second hand sales, they're still providing their DLC for next to nothing if not free, and there are people consuming the additional content without passing a penny to the developer. This is where it becomes a problem.

    The user is consuming and not paying the developer, for the developer it is not a financially viable option to be supporting the consumer with cheap/free DLC on the strong chance that the copy of the game is second hand, and therefore, the user hasn't paid the developer for their work.

    Either the cost of DLC has to go up (Good luck getting that past game consumers today, who for the most part are baying for blood the very instant someone mentions DLC that costs money), or they have to start generating revenue to make up for the deficit.

    FYI: I'm not taking any of this personally ;)

    Agreed. I've burned thousands on my gaming equipment in my time, and I still find the cash for games I want.

    It's not special protection.

    If you go to Ford with a second hand car, and ask them to add something that, compared to the work involved, is damn near free (DLC) they are going to tell you to stick it right up your backside, and probably laugh like madmen.

    If you go to IBM and say "My RS/6000 needs more RAM, I want it for a cost so small it's not really worth charging me" They're going to tell you where to stick your request.

    If you go to Nvidia and say "My Fermi isn't fast enough, make it faster for free or next to free" they're going to think you've flipped and try to have you sectioned.

    However, if you do the same to a game developer, they usually have DLC for next to nothing.

    What I know of Glaxo SmithKline, they aren't going to give you the slightest hint of additional anything for cheap or free.

    As far as the developer's concerned, the people buying second hand might as well pirate it, the developer gets exactly the same big fat doughnut of a return on it.

    They're not talking about gimping the game here, neither is "Project ten dollar", but charging you an additional fee for online features and DLC that come with the bog standard new game.

    You ask how they tell the difference?

    One time use codes.

    You talk about cost of continued support as if the developer created the patches ahead of time - Often it takes hours and hours of multiple peoples time to work out a patch, even longer for DLC (Well, unless you're Capcom and the game's RE5). It costs next to nothing to distribute, but they're not charging for the distribution costs.

    It's only a multi-million pound sector because of people buying new games. Stop buying new games, income dries up, sector dies. It's not rocket science.

    Try getting that builder to add something to the house for next to no money at all. Not. Going. To. Happen.

    This isn't just about the resale of the game. It's about the fact that DLC is often offered dirt cheap, and the amount of work put into that is often not even close to how much the DLC eventually costs (Thanks to people crying foul at the price as it is, let alone how it could be).

    Your argument that the developer does no work after sale is a silly one, and shows that you are simply not paying attention to what the developers are saying. They're losing money through the second hand market because they're supporting the game with DLC and so on, at the prices we demanded as gamers because, apparently, as a collective we're cheapskates.

    It's not the license, is the continued addition of nearly free DLC. The license doesn't make a difference, it's merely the fact that DLC costs so much in time to build compared to how much we pay for it, it's not worth them selling it to anyone who's not paid them for anything up until that point.

    To continue a theme.

    A builder builds a house, sells it for £200,000. Buyer wants another room putting on. Builder does not charge a few hundred quid for this, builder charges a few thousand, because despite being paid for the house (Product A) the buyer now wants Product B adding to Product A.

    In the games industry, DLC is dirt cheap simply because there is a horrible outcry the moment DLC approaches a cost that reflects the time invested.

    Second hand sales should not be banned. If the second hand buyer wants the same service (In terms of cheap DLC) then the developer should get a nominal fee for providing it so dirt cheap.

    They don't care about second hand buyers because second hand buyers have not given them a single reason to. They haven't supported them financially, and the cost of running a dev house, this is a very important thing. No income, no dev house, no games.
  4. SlowMotionSuicide

    SlowMotionSuicide Come Hell or High Water

    16 May 2009
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    +1 on these, and have some rep eddtox mate for bravely putting up with that simply astonishing amount of ignorance this thread has sported so far.
  5. minimad127

    minimad127 CPC Refugee

    24 Apr 2009
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    not really going down the right or wrong ideas that these types of things bring up,

    just sat here thinking that this is yet another step towards the Steam type system for consoles where every game you buy will get linked to your 'console of choice' profile so you will then not be able to sell them on at all, and then they will offer the digital distrobution just like steam

    and how wonderful would this be for the makers of consoles since it would kill off high street games stores and then they could get an extra cut of the profits from actually providing the distrobution method of the game
  6. Blademrk

    Blademrk Why so serious?

    21 Nov 2003
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    +1, tbh.

    The game is sold as a license that (usually) only 1 person can use at a time (online multiplayer games obviously (with the odd exception), offline co-op/multiplayer allow as many as the game supports - and pub/dev still sees no extra cash for those extra players). The dev/pub has already been paid to support that copy of the game, it should not matter if it's the initial purchaser or someone thay have passed their copy on to.

    As an aside, look at the value certain early games now go for on ebay. There is a whole world of classic gaming that would go up in smoke without the second hand market ('cos god only knows how impossible it is to get some of those games new now)

    Also what about when games are out of print? no 2nd hand market would make it harder to track down those games.
  7. Phil Rhodes

    Phil Rhodes Hypernobber

    27 Jul 2006
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    Y...yep, that's a console owner.

    Somewhere on the internet is a picture emphasising the tininess of the distance between the alphabetic and punctuation keys - please imagine I've inserted it here.

  8. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg What's a Dremel?

    26 May 2005
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    But they have been paid, they were paid the first time round whether they support the initial purchaser or the second user is completely irrelevant the same work is required.

    ORL? If you own a used gfx card are you not entitled to free continued support from driver updates? We all know software is at least as important and as costly as the hardware? Ditto from IBM in firmware updates. But any way to imply that gaming should be protected form the second hand market is protection.

    My point over glaxxo is they have orders of magnitude more at stake over a failure.

    If the second purchaser pirates it the primary purchaser wouldn't be able to sell it there for the second hand market is reduced and there for the primary might decide the game is too expensive if they can't punt it on and not buy it, again there is a lost sale.

    Again they have been paid primary or secondary they still need to support only one user.

    And people can only buy used games if some one buys new ones, equally not rocket science but fairly basic economics. The exact same comment is applicable to any thing other than food and is basically irrelevant to this conversation. Ford is only a multimillion pound car company becuase people by cars, they also buy used ones and have done for a while.

    see single user argument above


    see single user argument above

    Look at it this way, why are they entitled to a share of the second sale? What are they doing for the second user they don't have to do for the first?
    Last edited: 25 Aug 2010
  9. Flibblebot

    Flibblebot Smile with me

    19 Apr 2005
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    Absolutely. This is the point so many people are missing. From the publisher's/developer's point of view, the transfer of ownership is transparent: there is always just one person playing that particular copy of the game (i.e. the nett change is zero).

    So, if the nett change in total users is zero, why should it cost the developer any more? It's not as though they're supporting any additional users.
  10. AcidJiles

    AcidJiles Minimodder

    19 Jun 2006
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    Congrats on bothering to both read and then correct his flawed arguments. I would, but given how many times the point has been spelled out by other people more eloquent than me and he doesn't get I don’t think he will.
  11. l3v1ck

    l3v1ck Fueling the world, one oil well at a time.

    23 Apr 2009
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    Two things popped into my head when I read that story:
    1) If people know they can't sell on games as 2nd hand, they won't be prepared to pay as much for them in the first place.
    2) Games publishers wanting a cut from 2nd hand sales is a bit like Toyota coming to me and saying they want a cut when I sell my car on. It's just not on.
  12. eddtox

    eddtox Homo Interneticus

    7 Jan 2006
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    I hope you don't mind if I break your post down into a couple of basic assertions, so we can analyse them more easily.

    Assertion 1: The developers release DLC for 'next to nothing'

    Typically, DLC packs cost around £5 (AFAIK) each. On a £30-50 game that equates to 10-15% extra revenue - that is 10-15% of the price of a FULL GAME (which typically accounts for everything from engine development to artwork, distribution, advertising, 2+ years tech support and online services etc) for what is usually a few new maps, maybe a new character or two, and a couple of weapons.

    That is most certainly NOT 'next to nothing'.

    Whether the DLC is worth it to the consumer is a separate issue, but the publishers would not undertake the extra work if the returns didn't warrant the investment.

    Not to mention that most DLC is not transferable (AFAIK), so the second hand buyer has to re-purchase the DLC, even though the dev/pub has already been paid once for it.

    Assertion 2: They have received no money from the second owner

    As I (and others) have mentioned repeatedly throughout this thread, the pub/dev has been paid for 1 copy of the game. Whoever plays that game, and however many times it changes hands, the pub/dev only ever has to support 1 user at a time - which is exactly what thy have been paid to do.

    DLC is an additional commercial endeavour which is costed separately and undertaken voluntarily as a separate (but linked) venture. It is a low-risk strategy for making additional profit by 'piggybacking' onto an already successful product. (OR, in some cases a PR exercise designed to increase good will in the customer base by giving them 'something for nothing' - but it is a carefully considered investment which does pay off)

    Take books as an analogy: producing a film based on a popular novel is not additional work done for the people who purchased the book, it is additional work undertaken voluntarily by the rights holder and producers as a separate avenue of pursuing a revenue stream which will be paid for by it's own box office and dvd revenue. It does not benefit the person who bought the book in any way - therefore they are in no way liable for those costs.

  13. lacuna

    lacuna Minimodder

    9 Aug 2004
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    I have no problem with admitting to that. I have a lot of patience and Im happy to wait until the price is right (i.e. cheap). If this is killing the gaming industry then 'meh' -there are plenty existing games out there that I haven't played yet and if games ceased to exist then I just do something else with my time.
  14. Pete J

    Pete J Employed scum

    28 Sep 2009
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    That is actually really good logic! +REP :)

    Plus it isn't a wallpost, so I can be bothered to read it :p .
  15. Tsung

    Tsung What's a Dremel?

    20 Nov 2008
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    Your not, simple.. Driver updates are a given and almost expect; but you have no entitlement to them (nor are the people who buy the card brand new). ATi/Nvida update their drivers every month, we are lucky they choose to do that.

    I get that idea entirely; makes sense except... The developer is not supporting 1 customer per sale anymore, they are supporting one customer and several non-customers (to them) per sale. Time is not free, for every re-sale the cost of service increases with each new user as you are increasing the time you have to supply the service. The service may be tech support/multiplayer servers/persistant stats/websites/hosting/forums/maintaining patch available. It all costs money, the only ways to cover these costs are :-
    a. Plan for it and charge for it in the full price product.
    b. Charge users of the additional services.
    c. Create lots of DLC to keep paying customers onboard. (or monthly charges)
    d. Decide a cut-off point and stop services then.

    I'm not against the 2nd hand market, however I do think if people are using a service they should pay for it.
  16. Fingers66

    Fingers66 Kiwi in London

    30 Apr 2010
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    But eddtox's point is simple, when a game is sold second hand, the number of users doesn't increase, it stays the same - what additional support costs does the second hand user incur that weren't already being incurred by the original game buyer (who is no longer using the service)?

    The individual person behind the keyboard may change but it is still one user per game unit. It doesn't stop the developer cutting off services at a future point in time or are you saying that games should have a finite and planned life span that makes them unusable at the end of that life span (decided by the developer)?
  17. steveo_mcg

    steveo_mcg What's a Dremel?

    26 May 2005
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    Quite right, entitled was too strong a term. Though its not luck its a business decision to keep up with each other and to make sure that the next card you buy will be theirs due to the on-going support. If after you buy the card you only get one update you might just go to the other guy, the same goes for "normal" software. Also just becuase this copy/card is used doesn't mean next time i'll not buy it new due to the fantastic support.

    Again this is not about customers its about licences. What ever happens after the original sale the dev is still only supporting the same user base. So i'll ask once more: why are they entitled to a share of the second sale? What are they doing for the second user they don't have to do for the first?
  18. Elledan

    Elledan What's a Dremel?

    4 Feb 2009
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    Artists (or rather their labels and managers) get paid a license fee every time their music is played. Authors of books get paid a fee every time you borrow a book at the library.

    At least these groups seem to have little to worry about when it comes to the second hand market. Now if they could just stop people from not spending their money on other things than their products and services... :)
  19. veato

    veato I should be working

    15 Jan 2010
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    I agree 100% with this.

    The (misplaced) argument from the devs though is that they're missing out on a sale as user 'B' bought the game preowned. Is it so difficult for the devs to understand though that:

    1) user 'B' would never have bought the game new - and as above - by passing the game on is costing nothing extra
    2) user 'A' now has more money to contribute to buying another new game
  20. Tsung

    Tsung What's a Dremel?

    20 Nov 2008
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    It's time, lets say as a publisher thinks the game has a life with the original purchaser of 3 months. After 3 months* of playing the game, they will have completed it and moved on (remember software is consumed). The game is sold based on this 3 month assumption however in reality every copy sold gets resold another 3 times. Sure your user base hasn't increased, but the time you have supported them will do (12 months).

    All the publishers are saying is.. If you use the additional services you pay for them; that to me doesn't seem unreasonable. Another way of them selling this is to sell the full price game with it clearly marked on the box "Additional services require additional payment" . When you buy the game, you can opt to pay the additional payment. Everything is very clear then. Second hand sales are unaffected becuase the box will still be clearly marked.

    *3 months is just an example.In the case of Fifa games I guess 1 -> 2 years is realistic. We have been spoilt by the likes of Blizzard who still support their games years after the original release (Starcraft/WC3). But now I notice even they are starting to lock CD keys to accounts (thro' battle.net).
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