Used Gamers Are the New Software Pirates
The issue of used game sales has been in video game news for a bit, now with debates of whether or not it’s okay for companies to add the one-time use cards to play online. If you’re unfamiliar with this tactic, it’s a way for a company to make a profit off of used game sales by charging you to play on their servers. There’s also a card that effect multiplayer by giving new copies a DLC card that allows you to gain access to all the levels in a game.
The debates on both sides are compelling. The companies that make these games deserve to make money, which I agree. The problem is they are making money, all across the board, they’re making money. In today’s market, if they’re not breaking records with sales, then these publishers and developers (now) are saying they didn’t make enough. They’ve been attacking the industry with frustrating DRM methods, such as the PC gaming market and it’s infamous limited install DRM. But since the fake piracy scare didn’t work, they finally came out and said what’s really been eating them: used game purchasers. How dare they buy the product and get to enjoy it!
At this point, the industry is basically saying that people that buy used games are no better than software pirates. Is there a difference? Absolutely, but here’s what you’re lead to believe: If you buy a used game, you are not contributing to the pockets, much like a software pirate, who doesn’t buy it one way or the other, contributes nothing to their pockets. This, my friends, is a non sequitur in it’s finest form. Or a very stupid argument.
The difference is that while a pirate doesn’t make a purchase, and the developers/publishers never see a dime of that non-existing money. The used game purchaser may not be contributing to their wallets, but they are contributing to someone’s wallet. The bigger picture is, like any other product (and let’s not kid ourselves, video games are no different than any other product), when a game is purchased, the developers and publishers made their money on that copy. When the original user sells the copy, it doesn’t matter one bit, since the developers and publishers still made their money.
This is greed. I just blogged about greed. Funny, another greedy subject is on hand. Does this reflect the industry. (Yes.)
Think of a used game like a used car or movie or anything else. If you buy a Blu-Ray movie, there’s a feature called Blu-Ray Live. This feature logs into servers and allows you to download special features not contained on the disc to your Blu-Ray player. If I buy my copy on Amazon, used, I still get this feature. Same with a car. If I buy a used car, the car manufacturer doesn’t deny me a warranty for my car if it’s under the original car warranty. So, again, why are we so idiotic we think these greed-bags deserve more than they deserve?
Some people buy used because the game is iffy. I don’t really rely on reviews (except my own), and there’s been a few times that relying on a review has lead to a palm-to-face expression. When I buy used, and I really enjoy the game, I usually end up buying DLC to support the game (if it’s worth it). I rarely buy used games in the first place, mainly if I missed them and just wanted to play catch up on an old game that looks interesting. But I understand why people buy used. It’s not always just money. Sometimes it’s the fact that you might end up with a shabby product and guess what: you can’t return it, so you’re just stuck with a $60 piece of crap.
A simple solution would be to allow them to do this. Allow game companies to keep their one-time download cards for new users. But give a little! Let non-server users who still want to play your game online, let them use a private server, peer to peer, LAN, anything! It’s pretty annoying to want to play an older sports title and have it blocked by “Server is offline”. This would fix that annoyance as well. Even though this is a simple solution, do you want to know the real reason they’re not going to do this? Greed. It forces you to buy the “latest and greatest” yearly.