Blitz: Used game market worse than piracy

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In a recent interview with Develop, Blitz’s Andrew Oliver discussed some of the main issues currently plaguing the gaming industry as a whole. While many believe that piracy has been running rampant and is the driving force behind millions of dollars of loss revenue, Oliver believes that one other form of game’s sales is a bigger threat to the industry itself. Oliver is of course talking about the used game market.

“Arguably the bigger problem on consoles now is the trading in of games,” he said.

“I understand why players do this. Games are expensive, and after a few weeks of playing you’ve either beaten it, or got bored of it so trading it back in to help pay for the next seems sensible when people are short of cash.”

Though understanding the reasoning behind the decisions gamers make and completely agreeing with them to an extent, Oliver adds: “money going back up the chain is a fraction of what it was only a few years ago.

“This is a much bigger problem than piracy on the main consoles.”

Whether or not this is true and used games have become more detrimental than piracy is hard to prove. However, with companies like GameStop, eBay and Amazon making so many sales in that very market, it’s hard to argue otherwise. Though Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 saw a ridiculous amount of piracy, it’s safe to say that not many other games run that high in downloads as well.

Do you guys think the used game market is making this much of a dent or no?

Readers Comments (30)

  1. The let him buy me a games…Cuz some of the games deserved to be bought when they are already used.

  2. I only purchase used games that are no longer sold as brand new like psone games or old ps2 games, snes, nes etc. All my ps3 games I’ve purchased on day one or when their price has dropped. I assume many people do the same.

  3. i did nodice a lot of my friends pirate or buy used games,
    i myself dont just hack the first game i come acros
    i rather make a calculated purchase decision(basicly educate myself about the game to see what price its worth, or if at all)
    like me, you dont hawe to pirate or buy used games cuz the new copies are 2 expencive, some games are worth twice than what they are being sold for, you just hawe to take some time to educate youreself about a game and if its the game for you,

    (that dosent mean you should buy a good reviewed game, cuz review scores this days make litle or no sense)

  4. @Reigen
    I agree. Many games don’t deserve the sixty dollar price tag. I also buy few games at full price(I always wait for a price drop). I’ve only purchased 3 games this gen. Killzone 2, Demon’s Souls and God of War III. Good thing my friend lends me every other new game that gets released.

  5. I absolutely believe that the used game marked drains a lot of money from the industry, but from what I know, there is a simple solution.

    I was once told by staff at GAME that they required a license from Sony/Nintendo/Microsoft in order to re-sell the games, and that was the reason you couldn’t trade in PC games – there was no single license holder for them to approach in order to get permission.

    If this is indeed the case, then it would seem that the simple solution would be for Sony/Microsoft/Nintendo to call time on those licenses and so kill the used game market.

    Individual people would still be able to sell their copies directly on sites like eBay, but preventing it from happening on an industrial scale could help direct a lot of cash back into the industry, as more people would need to buy games new in the first place.

  6. I think the used game market isn’t great for the industry, but it’s hardly worse than piracy.

  7. Pirating on console isn’t exactly easy and not something most people know how to do. Everyone knows about used games and where to get them, making them worse and piracy.

  8. @Ryan
    I bought Spawn Armageddon for fifty five dollars when it was first released. What a terrible game. I felt robbed. I spent a few weeks saving up for it too. This was before I started reading game reviews. We all get screwed over at least once.

  9. @ Ryan
    If someone buys a game brand new and then sells it to you, they’ll earn a profit but the company who created the game will not, unless your seller goes and buys another copy of the game. This is part of what’s called a “money multiplier,” and always buying used games is bad for a gaming market.

  10. Moocows111111 May 12, 2010 @ 16:33

    I don’t like buying used games at all. I think its actually pretty stupid. I go to trade in my assassin’s creed 2 and guess what eb games/ GameStop offered me? 7 dollars… & god damn dollars for a $70 game that I paid with my own money, and then to think that they would probably sell it for $40

  11. Oh just EFF off! Yeah, granted it’s not the most beneficial for the devs/pubs. but at least someone, somewhere actually bought the game (at least once).

    It’s NOT worse than piracy.

    Next they’re gonna be saying “prices are not high enough for games – worse than piracy and terrorism”.

    More money grubbing words and techniques.

  12. btw, I was telling A.Oliver/the article to “EFF off” and not any poster, lol!

  13. Even i dont like buying Used game. I buy used game only if i miss the game or have a huge backlog to fill, normally i buy all my games in its first release month. although i do sell some of the games, which is contributing to used game market 😉

  14. Resale value is why I don’t tend to buy download games like via Steam.

  15. @Tokyo_GorePolice: Your point?

    Maybe they should stop blaming the consumer and reflect on themselves a bit here.

    Maybe if they didn’t make just another FPS, Strategy, RPG or what ever game type and actually go outside the box a little.. Maybe just maybe with a little time and effort they will create a game worth holding onto. Or they can shit out games left and right all day long and complain about people trading in their 5 hour campaign game for another 5 hour game with unlimited grind fest online play.

    Online is fine, but when the game is all about online it’s replay value is purely limited to a persons will to play the same 5/10 maps over and over.

    Trophies, this might be another reason why games don’t sell as much new, people who wouldn’t buy Barbies adventure ever in a million years might see it for 15 bucks used and say FREE TROPHIES!!! Companies look and see X amount of Barbies adventures sold used and now it’s the used game markets fault that they didn’t beat out MW2 in sales.

    Economy no matter how broke a person is they still want to have some fun, 65 dollars maybe to steep and 45 dollars might be fine.. Not everyone gets to make games and play games for a living.

    Out of all 25+ games I have only a handful I would keep, these are bit hit titles and big hit titles for a reason.

    Stop sticking up for companies blaming us for their personal greed, we don’t need any more Microsofts running the world.

  16. @Ryan

    Honestly the whole topic depends on an individual’s situation and the game itself. If it’s a game that someone wants, but isn’t worth the full price, then purchasing a used copy is understandable, but waiting for a price drop is better. If they just HAVE to play it but can’t afford it (or are just iffy on whether or not to purchase it), then rent it and purchase it later if they still want it. But some people out there practically or majorly purchase used copies of all the good games, which is bad for the industry.

    The reason for this is simple. If you love certain games from certain developers, and wish for those or other developers to continue creating great games, then you need to support them by purchasing the game new (either when it launches or the price drops). Great games aren’t easy nor cheap to make, so if you want more to come then support them. It’s that simple.

  17. @O-EXTRA

    Hate to hurt all these spoiled pricks feelings, but when the world economy is in a pinch people are not going to buy a 65 dollar game because it has cellophane on it vs a copy that has a sticker on it for 54 dollars.

    What does new vs used offer?
    Games have a short value life.
    Life is fair? People read books in a book store, and don’t buy it QQ.
    They can do something they absolutely hate for a pay check too.

    I mean what kind of numbers are they really looking at, some are selling multi-million titles and what was it Mw2 made something like 1 billion, some little guys with meh titles making a big fuss because they want to be rich?

    Maybe the CEO makes 100,000 to much, this has been happening for years and years in the movie industry, but it seems that on piracy hurts them.

  18. @Ryan

    My point still stands, and you’re not hurting my feelings lol.

  19. @OEXTRA I’m not out to hurt any one persons feelings. >.>

    It is a damned if ya’ do damned if you don’t situation for us all, also yeah there are titles out there backed by great developers and yes they need to be supported and more times than not, they are.

    LBP did pretty good and created a new genre, a lot of people probably didn’t know what to think at first, I bet you the sales of part 2 blow pt1 out of the water. So where is the support lacking really?

  20. @ Ryan
    The good thing about a free market is that you get to choose, as a consumer, what you want to buy. Your points are moot, because they all pertain to individual demographics.

    -If a company puts out a similar and/or generic game every year, don’t buy it. Don’t tell them to think outside the box, they’ll just continue to do what’s best for themselves. Stop pretending you’re in some fairytale world where gaming companies are solely put on this planet to serve us.

    – Online play is a personal opinion. Replay value of an online game drastically varies from gamer to gamer. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean others feel the exact same way as you.

    -Your barbie/Trophy analogy makes no sense in its wording.

    -This point about money is another opinion. You use QQ in an example, so I’ll say QQ to people who don’t want to pay 60 dollars.If someone is hurting that much due to the economy, they shouldn’t even be considering buying a game. Feed your family. And 60 dollars is not some magic number companies pulled out of their asses. It’s an average of what a consumer will pay before considering alternative entertainment on a unit elasticity scale. Don’t blame companies, blame your fellow gamers.

    -Thanks to companies like Gamestop, you can sell all of those games you don’t think are keepers! Hooray!

    -Stop acting like you’re entitled to something you’re not. They make the games, not you, so if they want to encourage you to stop whoring their company buy buying their product without them seeing revenue, they have every right. Microsoft sells consoles that are hindered until you pay a live fee. EA is encouraging gamers to buy their game at full price, nothing higher, and even if you buy the game used after the fact and pay for the online service for the game, it’s still cheaper than the game at the new price. This is not the same thing at all, but I don’t expect the average person to get this.

  21. @Tokyo_GorePolice, It is no ones right to tell you what you can and can not do with a item you have paid for, yes you own a copy of the game not the content as in buying the games doesn’t give you rights to sell Halo, dandy! However you did buy a copy in full and you have every right to sell it, trade it or destroy it /whatever.

    Everything will eventually crash and burn…

    I think we need more shooters, more DLC let’s not forget movie to game cross overs and a remake of every game you can shake a stick at since 1987!!

    No matter what you do they will want want want, every one in the world bought brand new copies of every shitting game they made guess what? The 65 dollar price point would to low, they wouldn’t be able to “turn a profit” and the next thing you know your buying every POS 85 dollar game they make.

  22. Btw that gets hard to read because it’s 4:30am, my English sucks and I have to get ready to start my day.

  23. I never said anyone has the right to tell you what to do with something after you’ve bought it. However, I did say they’re allowed to ENCOURAGE you to buy it new.

    Comapnies will only do what they see profit in. If people want remakes of 1987 games and more shooters, that’s what a company will make. Companies don’t work like “Hey, let’s invest tens of millions of dollars into something we don’t even know if gamers are going to like or not!”

    No, the price would not go up, because videogames are elastic. There is a threshhold at which people are not willing to pay for something and will seek alternative entertainment, and this is something gaming companies will not cross. We will most likely see a price jump in the next gen as well, but it’s due to other factors. What will you say when next gen you’re going to have to pay 70 dollars for a game? Arer you going to give up gaming? Most likely not, so you’re part of this just as much as everyone else.

  24. “I never said anyone has the right to tell you what to do with something after you’ve bought it. However, I did say they’re allowed to ENCOURAGE you to buy it new.”

    In order for a game to be bought used, it had to be bought at some point in time new. If no one bought used games you could not sell them to any one because they would have zero value right? Back in the day I had very few titles of my own for the NES and even less for Sega, most of them I’d rent from a small town video store where maybe 1000 people have played 1 copy to death. How on earth did this industry grow so massive off everyone buying used, trading, and clearance bins?

    “With over two million user-created levels uploaded since the game’s release in late-2008, most believe that the game’s sales must be around that number or even lower. The fact is that not all LittleBigPlanet players created levels, which is evidenced by the game’s worldwide sales. Sony today confirmed that Media Molecule’s first PS3 game has sold over three million copies.”

    Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    “70 dollars for a game? Arer you going to give up gaming? Most likely not, so you’re part of this just as much as everyone else.”

    Probably not, however I am 1 and every one who plays video games can go out and buy all these great new titles that come out in droves. Seriously some times a few really good games come out all in the same month.

    When a game first comes out sure it’s worth 65 dollars 5 months down the road it’s not, sorry but a good game is a good game for ever but the value is opinion based and nothing more.

  25. Ironic that most of the developers and publishers have employees that own used cars that were traded in to CarStop (i.e. car dealers, carmax, etc). I don’t here them complaining about the lost money to the auto industry.

    And the cost of a car, even used, DWARFS that of any game.

    Hypocrisy my friends.

  26. @xbotman

    99 percent of people just don’ttrade in their cars for cash. They either upgrade to a newer model through a dealer or buy last years model of a car at a slightly discounted price, but the dealer is still making a profit. Cars have one of the highest depreciation rates of anything reuseable you can purchase, so companies won’t really see a loss in cars bought from lemon lots.

  27. Its a bit silly isn’t? unfortunately alot of games aren’t worth the full price.
    Used games are great if you find a new copy of a certain game.

    Can’t see why piracy would be under used in Mr Blitz threat indictor?

  28. @Ryan
    “In order for a game to be bought used, it had to be bought at some point in time new. If no one bought used games you could not sell them to any one because they would have zero value right?”
    You’re right. A game is used if it was bought before. However, EA is encouraging everyone to buy it new. If nobody bought a used game, it does not mean it has no value. It means that there is not a market for which it is available. The game is still worth how much you paid for it (60.00), but there would not be a price point at which someone would be willing to buy if from you. These are different things. If you buy a new game, EA gets paid. If you sell that game to someone else, EA does not get paid for that. They would rather have both of you buy the game new, so there would be two sales instead of one.

    “Is this a good thing or a bad thing?”
    Without taking into consideration how many people rented the game and created levels or bought the game from an outside source(friend, ebay, etc) and created levels, we cannot determine if it is good or not. The company may have sold even less games when considering these two demographics, due to the fact that gamers did not buy the game new.

    The rest of your post is incoherent.

  29. @lordalucard
    (This is a very simplified overview)
    It’s because of the rate at which both piracy and used game sales occur. Piracy is a fraction compared to the used game market, so the rate at which piracy occurs does not affect a company at the same rate as people buying a used product. Here’s an example:
    Let’s say out of 100 people, 10 people pirate a game(free). You still have 90 people paying full price for a game. Tax excluded, and with a price of $60.00, the company will earn a net profit of $5,400.
    All things equal, if 60 people buy the game new ($3600) + 40 people buying the game used at $40.00 ($1600), you now have a net profit of $5,200.(This is an adjustment assuming at least a majority will buy new).
    This may seem like an insignificant figure, but if you stretch this into the millions of consumers buying a game, and the price at which the game is sold as used varying, this gap becomes extremely large.

    So…many companies don’t see piracy as that large of a threat because it doesn’t have a widespread effect in the gaming market.

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