Used Games Sales and the Future: Still Needed?

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Nov 21, 2013.

?

With the advent of cloud gaming, is it beneficial to migrate over to the cloud?

  1. Yes

    13.4%
  2. No

    86.6%
  1. Ryukouki
    OP

    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

    Member
    4,949
    2,614
    Jan 31, 2008
    United States
    [​IMG]
    Hey guys, sorry for being missing in action for a bit. Anyway, the next generation of gaming is here (...at least, it is here in the United States). The Sony Playstation 4 has launched for North America as of last Friday, and the Microsoft XBOX One console has launched as of today for us. As far as the subject at hand, it is going to be about used games. Used games used to be a decent part of my video gaming past. I was unwilling to buy some games right out the door on day one, so that usually meant waiting for my local GameStop store to start selling them used. On one hand, buying games used meant that I, a consumer, could save a bit of cash on the side. On the other hand, the games industry would be hurt, although not by a large amount. What I want to explore here are the benefits of buying games used, and whether they are necessarily needed nowadays, with gaming taking to the cloud. ​
    Used game sales are both nice and at the same time bad to have. We can see developers sometimes not wanting to develop games because they could end up sold in the used game stores. They do also end up vocally complaining about used games. As I mentioned a little earlier, it can also be nice for people to buy games at a slightly lower price. According to an article on Cinema Blend, a study was conducted in 2012 by the NPD Group and the results found that used game sales are on the decline, while microtransactions and downloadable content (DLC) were on the rise. Key figures include digital download games going up by 33%, with four key markets netting in ten billion dollars alone. This study also noted that retail sales are on the decline, again indicating that the cloud gaming is the new future. Another point of interest is in mobile gaming, which can appear to be a powerhouse on first glance, but it turns out only 27% of Americans are interested in dishing out cash for their phone adventures. In Europe, this number is about 40%. What happens though if games are bought in bulk as new, but advertised as used?​
    In some cases, used games can be very difficult to find. As a result of some games being rare to find, prices for them start to rise. A great example of this is the popular Nintendo Wii title Xenoblade Chronicles, a popular role-playing game in Japan. The release in North America was rather small and contained, as the only way to pick up the game was online or in-store at GameStop. Copies went quickly, and after a few months, it was rumored that GameStop had ordered several thousand copies without shrink wrap, and began selling them as used. Unfortunately, customers found that the game was basically brand new, and had unused Club Nintendo codes. These games sold for as much as $90. There was a minor uproar about the situation as consumers accused GameStop of selling the game in an attempt to increase the marginal sales of the title. More detail could be found here, courtesy of the website The PA Report. I find it interesting that new titles somehow end up either "Used" or "Preowned" two weeks after release (this happened when I ran to pick up the XBOX 360 title Dead or Alive 5), at a slight discount. The game felt perfectly new to me, the instruction manual felt unopened. Is it practical to sell games that basically feel brand new, as used? The PA Report article mentioned price agreements, and marking the game used would cause prices to increase as a way to skirt the language of the price agreement, but is this technically considered unethical? And, with the release of the XBOX One and Playstation 4, which marks a migration towards gaming in the cloud, are used game sales still needed? What may happen to used game sellers like GameStop as a result of this switching of gears?​
    Gaming is starting to move towards the cloud. We see this in a lot of gaming mediums nowadays, with examples including Steam or the Nintendo eShop. With these eShop titles sometimes ending up cheaper than their retail counterparts, what purposes do retail and use game stores serve nowadays? Is cloud gaming that much better than physical hardware? We can easily say cloud gaming is detrimental as it would require a lot of online updating to make the game as best as it can be, which can be problematic for those with slower internet access, not to mention storage limitations. An instance of digital games going on the cheap happening was with Phoenix Wright Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies for the Nintendo 3DS, which was an eShop downloadable title that failed to appear in retail due to declining sales for the franchise, a poor mistake, in my opinion, despite the price discount. I feel that in this case, restricting the game to a specific medium only ended up hurting sales. As gaming moves more towards the cloud, is price gouging on used titles still needed? Used game sales are obviously going to be hurt, which was analyzed by an article posted on Gamasutra. A lot more of the number crunching details are given in the article. Gamasutra has argued that with this drop in sales, the position of GameStop's usefulness are going to be gravely diminished, and I cannot disagree here as more and more systems move towards the cloud. It becomes a lot easier in a lot of ways: the lack of having to carry physical media around, having to pay less money for the same content, and being able to do so from the comfort of the home are just minor benefits here. There are plenty more. ​
    [​IMG]
    As far as this table is concerned, the New Hardware and Software part are pretty self-explanatory, but the Used Product and Other might need a bit more explanation. Used Product, according to the Gamasutra data, consists of the catch-all for the products that GameStop resells, including software, hardware, and accessories. The Other category indicates PC software, digital content, cards for online services, new and refurbished devices, and subscriptions for the GameStop related magazine. Based on the trends illustrated above, we can notice that used software is on a slight decline, with more interest in the Other category. ​
    I am awfully verbose tonight. I am going to close out this article by asking the broad question about whether we as gamers still need used game sales, and whether or not it is safe to completely migrate over to cloud gaming. What do you find are the benefits and disadvantages of used games? Do you find instances in which you wish used games have hurt your overall experience? Feel free to discuss below. Also, if you have any ideas as to what you want me to write about, feel free to PM me with your idea(s). I will run it by and be happy to give you feedback as to whether or not I would like to pursue an article about said idea(s). ​
     
  2. UltraMew
    This message by UltraMew has been removed from public view by Depravo, Nov 21, 2013, Reason: Both stupid and unwanted. ~Dep.
    Nov 21, 2013


  3. GameWinner

    GameWinner Take your heart

    Member
    4,190
    1,689
    Jun 14, 2009
    United States
    Conflicted on used games. On one hand, it does save me a lot of money. But on the other hand, it feels like I'm not supporting the game industry. :/
    Edit: Adding on to this, I want also support smaller niche companies by not buying their games used.
     
  4. Ryukouki
    OP

    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

    Member
    4,949
    2,614
    Jan 31, 2008
    United States

    I kind of feel the same way. :(
     
  5. UltraMew
    This message by UltraMew has been removed from public view by Depravo, Nov 21, 2013.
    Nov 21, 2013
  6. Blaze163

    Blaze163 The White Phoenix's purifying flame.

    Member
    3,769
    789
    Nov 19, 2008
    Coventry, UK
    Truly worthy of a spot on your CV.

    Personally, I think there should always be a market for used games. While I'm doing ok in life and I earn enough money to see my bills paid and my daughter looked after, it's pretty rare that I have the money to buy a full price new release. When I'm not sure about a game I generally try to pick it up pre-owned. The used games market exists so that people who don't always have enough to get brand new games can still enjoy the latest titles by trading in their old games or picking up the new releases slightly cheaper. If the used games market disappears, then gaming becomes a little too elitist for my tastes. It would alienate people who are just trying to amuse themselves on a low budget, who are arguably the people that need gaming the most. By all means explore the Cloud for those that can afford it, but don't cut off a huge chunk of your audience and therefore profits by putting games out of reach for the presumably fairly sizable percentage of the gaming community that operate on those lower budgets.
     
  7. Monty Kensicle

    Monty Kensicle Yay!

    Member
    1,156
    276
    Aug 4, 2008
    United States
    Commonwealth of Virginia
    If I was a game developer (Not the big wigs who hire programmers to make them lots of money) but one of the crew who personally worked on a game, I'd be more concerned if my time and effort was appreciated by someone enjoying my work. I'm sure a lot of folks in the field want to make money but if that's your only concern then you're making games for the wrong reasons.

    I never would have seen some truly great games because my budget would not allow me to buy the new version. Same for consoles too, I usually buy used and a generation behind unless it's an MMO like Pokemon. That I splurged for.

    I like the persistence of physical media, I'm not afraid that someday my Super Nintendo will die and have all my games go with it. Not to mention no DRM hoops to jump through, so much fun trying to prove over the phone that you owned a copy of The Sims 2 after your hard drive had died.
     
    calmwaters likes this.
  8. GameWinner

    GameWinner Take your heart

    Member
    4,190
    1,689
    Jun 14, 2009
    United States
    This post reminds me of the guy behind Hotline Miami. He didn't really mind people pirating his game as long as they were enjoying his work.
     
    Monty Kensicle likes this.
  9. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

    Member
    22,067
    10,387
    Apr 29, 2011
    United States
    Dr. Wahwee's castle
    If I ever get used games, it sure as hell won't be through Gamestop. The games I get now are brand new since I don't want to spend $50 for a new game.
     
    calmwaters likes this.
  10. Armadillo

    Armadillo GBAtemp Psycho!

    Member
    3,592
    1,554
    Aug 28, 2003
    United Kingdom
    Too bad for them. Everyone else has to put up with used sales. Game devs are not a special flower that needs protecting.

    As for not needing used games because of digital services. Of course we still need physical used games, at least on the console side. New consoles, no backwards compatibility, all your digital purchases from previous gen, not playable on new consoles, no telling how long they will be willing to keep that content up for.

    We go all digital, want to play something once the servers are gone or content is removed. Too bad. Don't even have to wait that long, license issues can get stuff pulled. TMNT games on 360 (not sure which ones) got pulled and won't be coming back. Anyone who wants to play them & doesn't have them, too bad. At least with physical, if something like that happens, while new copies would not be printed, old used copies would still exist.
     
    stanleyopar2000 likes this.
  11. urbanman2004

    urbanman2004 GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    136
    16
    Jan 10, 2013
    United States
    I rather catch games on a discount instead of buying them new especially since some people can be careless with their game discs: I'll wait on Amazon to drop the prices after a few months.
     
    the_randomizer likes this.
  12. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

    Member
    10,254
    17,403
    Aug 5, 2011
    United States
    New Jersey
    I think it'd be better to say that we are reaching for the cloud, but our feet are still touching the ground. We're heading in that direction, sure, but we're still a long ways away.

    Honestly, the criticism of used game sales is vastly overblown. They might hurt, sure, but used sales are a reality in just about every industry. Car companies don't fold because of used car dealerships, used furniture hasn't crippled the home furnishings market, Hollywood still exists despite used sales and bootlegs, etc. Like piracy, used game sales are an easy scapegoat for publishers to run behind (and, really, if you're so frightened of used game sales, maybe you shouldn't give retailers an unreasonably low profit margin on new merchandise in the first place).

    Just because someone is willing to buy a cheap used copy doesn't mean they would've been willing to buy it new if that was the only option. If your game is good, then you'll win over a new fan who might be willing to buy your next title. If you produce DLC that's actually worthwhile and reasonably priced, you can still get some money. A used sale isn't the be-all, end-all.

    And honestly, I do think we need used games for the consoles because they provide at least some competition. PC gaming's pretty much wiped out used games, but PC is an open platform; even Steam has a bunch of other services and stores to keep it from complacency. You don't technically own your games (for the most part), but the extremely cheap pricing more than makes up for it. Consoles, however, are closed platforms; the online store is going to be run by Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo and no one else. Digital prices on console games are bad enough as is; removing used games from the equation isn't going to help. Retail probably wouldn't look much better, either.

    Plus, there's something to be said for having the freedom to share or trade a game with friends. Until Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo can make me a better offer, I'd rather hold on to that.
     
    RPG_Lover, Lestworth and Ryukouki like this.
  13. Lestworth

    Lestworth GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    127
    42
    May 16, 2013
    United States
    What Gahars said.

    If a game company creates a game im very excited for, because i know of their past and this game interests me. I will probably buy it new. However, if a game i have heard about being pretty good but im skeptical, i use to rent it before i even thought about buying it. Now since renting has been fazed out, i have moved on to buy games used a big discount to try them out. I have also become a smarter person with my choices after renting games was fazed out.

    If a company has earned my hard earned dollar with a purchase of a new game, its probably because it will be of a very good quality. Sometimes i get burned, but more times then not they have earned that dollar. I treat the used market as a chance to "Try games you normally wouldn't pick up". Or even get games you skipped over because you were busy with others.

    I just cant see the used market being fazed out because it holds the integrity of the market in check. Without it we could see games jumping up to $100 a piece. Ppl will argue why hasnt the pc market done this yet? because of console .. and also Steam !!!.

    If a company gets me to get a game used, and i like it, odds are im gonna spend money on the DLC's for that game if offered. Its why the DLC market has EXPLODED.
     
  14. stanleyopar2000

    stanleyopar2000 The Official GBATEMP Thread Killer. No Mercy.

    Member
    3,979
    600
    Jun 22, 2007
    United States
    screw this "controlled cloud" shit. Give me physical copy any day. I like having my physical disk rights. not these DRM or "license" crap which these giants view down on the consumer as having a "privilege" or a "service" from them
     
  15. Ryukouki
    OP

    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

    Member
    4,949
    2,614
    Jan 31, 2008
    United States
    Heh, I'm not saying that used games are an entirely horrible practice that needs to be abolished by any means, but I was more interested in the commentary about whether or not there are alternatives that can help salvage an already declining market. Are there things that can be done to help make used sales more appealing at this point in time, or is it too late with the fact that the cloud is quite literally right over our head?
     
  16. Chocolina

    Chocolina GBAtemp Fan

    Member
    450
    84
    May 28, 2012
    United States
    I never saw used games as an issue that works against the gaming industry because used-everything-else isn't an issue.

    The basis of the producers/developers' arguments is that their copyrights, trademarks, and other legal jargon, in their opinion, entitles them to and endless cycle of profits through trading. The problem with thinking like that is: well what about every fucking other thing thats been made, trademarked, and sold of the last 100 years?

    If EA sells a copy of Need for Speed, and then further demands a cut when someone resells that same copy of Need for Speed, then whats to say that Ford can't demand a payment from you selling your used car, or GE demanding something from you for selling a used fridge? All different type of products, but the same issue. It doesn't matter who made and sold whatever product to you, if you pay for it, then you should own what you pay for, and have reasonable amount of rights when it comes to ownership and what you should and should not be allowed to do.

    The only thing that sets video games and other digital media apart from other industries is how digital content can be replicated and distributed for free, and then when that happens, the used game arguement is thrown out the window and shifts towards piracy.

    The video game industry, as well as movie, music, television, and other forms of media are just plain greedy, because after they sell their content/products, they throw fits about what people do with the property they now own. Meanwhile other trademarked and copyrighted things in the world are sold and traded all over the world all the time, and no one cares.

    I wouldn't have a problem with cloud if I actually owned the digital content I bought, and I always had a working internet connection. I dont know about other people, but my internet often goes down unexpectedly for hours at a time, and during those moments, the only access to entertainment I have are physical objects or content stored locally.
     
    RPG_Lover likes this.
  17. DinohScene

    DinohScene Capture the Dino

    Member
    GBAtemp Patron
    DinohScene is a Patron of GBAtemp and is helping us stay independent!

    Our Patreon
    16,047
    12,558
    Oct 11, 2011
    Antarctica
    В небо
    Cloud, neat invention if you have a permanent/stable/highspeed internet connection.
    You can't play games on the move then nor can you play them when your internet is down.

    No, I'll stick with traditional media.
     
    Maxternal likes this.
  18. Lestworth

    Lestworth GBAtemp Regular

    Member
    127
    42
    May 16, 2013
    United States

    In all honesty we got a hint of it when Xbone attempted to force feed it to the community. Obviously we rejected it. I cant sit here and say "we are for sure gonna get it next gen even if we hate it", but obviously the ground work has been created for it.

    I love having a physical copy, because i feel like i own it. A digital copy is different, and can be ripped from you once it has stopped being supported. Used sales will almost never be appealing to the publisher because they all view it as a loss for the business. The only way they would view it as good, is if they get a cut of the sales, that would cut into the profit margin of all business that sell used. It would also make the used market online take a small hit, as they would be dealing with those business now on their spreadsheet.
     
    Ryukouki likes this.
  19. trumpet-205

    trumpet-205 Embrace the darkness within

    Member
    4,363
    542
    Jan 14, 2009
    United States
    When you said cloud I thought you mean game streaming such as Onlive.

    Anyway I think used market for physical release is still very important. For one games released digitally doesn't last forever. It can get delisted and you have no way of downloading it again. There is also the fact that not everyone has broadband internet that allows you to download game digitally.
     
  20. FireGrey

    FireGrey Undercover Admin

    Member
    3,920
    909
    Apr 13, 2010
    I think that game developers should have the option of whether or not retailers can sell their games used, it could be as simple as a database check.
     
  21. Rayder

    Rayder Mostly lurking lately....

    Former Staff
    6,613
    133
    Jan 14, 2007
    United States
    USA
    Clouds tend to dry up and blow away. Just look at GFWL (Game For Windows Live, just in case you didn't know....or "god-awful", which is how I always see the GFWL acronym for some bizarre reason, heh) Unless there is some sort of bypass hack or patch released for Flatout UC (disc version) I'll be screwed for playing that game (especially if I wish to save the game progress) and it's one of my all time favorite games.

    So it's not just digital purchases that could "dry up and blow away", some disk based games will eventually suffer the same fate. And they wonder why the gaming market seems to be on a decline. Oh yes, there's games being played alright, not just by gamers, but also ON the gamers. And more and more gamers are starting to figure that out all the time, hence the decline.

    As for Gamestop......who gives a rat's ass what happens to them. For every used game you've ever bought there, there is a poor shmuck who was likely given only a tiny fraction of the money YOU payed for that used game. I don't know how many times I've seen Gamestop charge only $5 less for a used version of a new release, meanwhile they charge $5 MORE for the new version than regular retail stores, so in effect, you actually payed full price for that USED game. AND THEN, you might not even get the original case. Gamestop can burn in hell.
     
    Veho and Ryukouki like this.
  22. Taleweaver

    Taleweaver Storywriter

    Member
    5,601
    1,643
    Dec 23, 2009
    Belgium
    Belgium
    Hmm...with everyone already defending the player's perspective (to which I agree), I think it's better practice if I defend the industry's side a bit as well...

    Despite what's mentioned, you can't really compare used games to used furniture or used cars. For one thing, there is diminished quality of the product over time. Software doesn't wear out as fast. A DVD/blueray is pretty sturdy, and unless there's a mechanical failure, it just keeps working (and if that happens, the product is beyond resale anyhow). It's not so much with physical goods. Used cars have a higher insurance, and usually higher maintenance. For furniture, there is also this thing about it needing to be moved and having to fit in with the rest of the furniture. These are two examples, but I'm sure for most physical goods, there is this reason. And I haven't heard anyone ever talked about not buying a used car "because I want to help out those manufacturers".

    So really, you can pretty much only compare used games to used movies and used music CD's. And it's no incidence that these categories allow for digital piracy as well. And neither is it a coincidence that these industries needed to change their way of doing things in order to survive. Hollywood improved the movie theater experience (you can't capture those effects on a hand camera), the music industry lowered their prices.

    And games? It's no wonder they're migrating away from physical copies: the used games market and piracy are simply putting too much pressure on their revenue. Some complain about that, but the actual solution (DLC and added content) is already being used. And we might like it or not, but that isn't going to change.

    Also: watch this video. It was an eye opener for me.


    EDIT: for the record: I answered 'yes' on the question, seen from the developer's eyes. Of course it's not fun that we as customers are forced to be online for offline games, or lose our games if services (GFWL) stop working. But like it or not, that is the way the future will be. Exactly because of the situation of games as they are. With humble bundles, good old games, steam deals and some of yesteryear's games being given away for FREE, how is anyone going to make a profit? Already, hundreds of people refuse to pay "full price" at retail because they know it will drop quickly in a matter of months. And they'll be right.
     
    Veho likes this.