David Braben in anti 'pre-owned games' rant

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CraigGrannell
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Post by CraigGrannell » Mon Nov 03, 2008 7:13 am

Matt_B wrote:I think there is a slight distinction between pre-owned games and, say, second hand books. It's relatively easy to make a "backup copy" of a game prior to the sale, whilst not too many people are likely to go to the trouble of copying a book before they pass on.
That said, book copyright infringement is now absolutely rampant. The last two books I wrote are available on dozens of file-sharing networks as OCRd PDFs, and, judging by my royalty statements, this has nuked my royalties by around 50%. I doubt there are too many home users copying and reselling yet, but it's only a matter of time (and people definitely already are doing this with comics, which per page are far more expensive than a typical book).

Overall, I agree with Dudley here. I don't see why the games industry should have more protection than most, just because its output is somewhat easier to rip-off.
Last edited by CraigGrannell on Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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EnglishRob
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Post by EnglishRob » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:25 pm

Just read through the article and all the comments... some things I'd say to what he says...
On HMV's move into selling pre-owned titles - the first non-specialist retailer to do so - Braben said: "That is shocking, and I think the games industry has to do something about it soon."
HMV isn't the first. Woolies in Torquay was selling pre-owned games about a year ago. I don't think they do not but they were taking in trades of PS2, GBA, DS, Wii and XBOX 360 games.
"There are a lot of studies that suggest it's anywhere between 8 and 12 or 15 times a pre-owned game goes round. If you think that the industry's getting a tiny percentage of those 12 or 15 sales - typically from the sale of a GBP 40 game, the industry only gets GBP 20 anyway, in round figures. That is lost to the system," he said.
Surely if there's lots of studies out there then he could at least list some of them. It's the same in the hardware industry. For instance, if Dell sell a PC and then it gets sold on, Dell don't make anything more from the PC.
Instead, he argues that the games industry should move to a similar model to that used by the film industry for DVD and video sales. "They brought out rental copies, and copies not for resale or rental. That distinction is really important in the video market, and all of the chains honour it because they know it's more than their life's worth not to," he said.

"My argument is that for every game there are two versions. One is personal, not for resale and it's made abundantly clear you can't sell it. And it's made available for something like GBP 25. And a resale and rental copy, which in film is actually about GBP 80."
Riiiiiight. So he's not bee into Blockbuster then and checked out the pre-owned DVDs and ex-Rental DVDs for sale then?

I can't remember the last full price game I bought (actually, thinking back, I think it was GTA Vice City on the PS2). I've bought games since but I generally don't buy them when they're first released. I'll wait a month or two or whatever it takes until the price drops to something more reasonable (say 2 for £40 offers on new games). I do also occasionally buy second hand games, the last one I got was Sonic and the Secret Rings on the Wii for £12, the disc and case was immaculate, looked brand new, in fact I wouldn't be surprised if it was new. I wasn't impressed with the game though, I thought the controls were crap.

At the end of the day, with digital downloads now these software companies are making us re-buy games anyway. For instance, I had Super Mario World for my SNES back in the 90's, I also bought Zelda. I've re-purchased them as VC games on the Wii. I sure bet that if Sega re-released some of the old Mega CD/Saturn classics on the VC they wouldn't allow us to use our CDs on the Wii instead of purchasing the game again.

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Dudley
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Post by Dudley » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:41 pm

Instead, he argues that the games industry should move to a similar model to that used by the film industry for DVD and video sales. "They brought out rental copies, and copies not for resale or rental. That distinction is really important in the video market, and all of the chains honour it because they know it's more than their life's worth not to," he said.

"My argument is that for every game there are two versions. One is personal, not for resale and it's made abundantly clear you can't sell it. And it's made available for something like GBP 25. And a resale and rental copy, which in film is actually about GBP 80."
Right. 99% of this is lies.

1) They can say "Not for resale" all they like, first sale doctrine still applies. Gamestation, CEX and Blockbuster will all take those retail DVDs for trade and pre-owned sale. It's entirely legal to do so. They don't "honour it" even slightly. And even if they did that's not stopping ebay.

2) No-one buys a retail film for £25 even though that's the RRP. Call it £10.

3) It's true to say rental copies are more expensive (although not be any means in all cases, High Fliers for instance tended to charge the same), but it's usually more in the range of £35 or £45. That's a single copy, Blockbuster pay next to butt all and will be reselling them as preowned from 4 weeks after release.
psj3809 wrote:I dont know the exact figures for this year, perhaps because of the credit crunch its not so good but past years i always heard/read that games were selling by the bucketload ?

Considering Braben hasnt brought out a game in about 8 years or so i dont see what his latest whinge is about. Shame.
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C=Style
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Post by C=Style » Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:51 pm

So wait a minute.... David Braben made Dog's Life?
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Post by Matt_B » Tue Nov 04, 2008 2:40 pm

C=Style wrote:So wait a minute.... David Braben made Dog's Life?
Yep.

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Dudley
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Post by Dudley » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:49 am

Probably the best thing he's done in a decade or more too.
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C=Style
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Post by C=Style » Wed Nov 05, 2008 5:58 am

Why yes you're quite right. Dogs Life was superb! 8)
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Dan1980
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Post by Dan1980 » Wed Nov 05, 2008 4:45 pm

A friend of mine that works in HMV and does the ordering says that they only pay £10 for each game and sell them for £39.99 and they make huge profits but they will buy a new music album for 7/8 pound and sell it for £9.99. :o

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Post by kiwimike » Thu Nov 06, 2008 12:47 am

Well, I can understand his frustration as he makes his crust off creating games...but...well...tough.
Second hand goods are a fact, you can't stop items of any nature being onsold, or maybe swopped even. Is he opposed to ALL second hand game selling, or just the major stores involving themselves in 'Preowned?' I didn't bother reading. Doesn't matter anyway- His job is to create and sell games. The retaillers are there to sell games. Preowns are massively popular. End of story.

Usually, I'm more likely to buy a new game that's discounted due to not selling or being a dated title/platinum range, but I totally understand families wanting to make themselves decent libraries for their gaming needs by stocking up on preowns...than reselling them and buying different ones etc.

The last game I preordered and bought brand new was Resident Evil 4 on the Cube. For the occasional 'Stunner' I will do that, but most of the time I'll wait till it's cheaper. But I don't have bootlegs. And take the same attitude with my movies. :)

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Dudley
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Post by Dudley » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:47 am

Dan1980 wrote:A friend of mine that works in HMV and does the ordering says that they only pay £10 for each game and sell them for £39.99 and they make huge profits but they will buy a new music album for 7/8 pound and sell it for £9.99. :o
New game margins aren't remotely close to that, to the point where Inide retailers were finding it cheaper to buy stock of Fifa 09 from Tesco for £30 than through their distributors.

HMV will get a better deal than that, but not that good. If games really were £10 wholesale, Tesco would have done £9.99 launch events by now.

More to the point, back in 2003, I know game were paying in the region of £23-25 for new £39.99rrp PS2 games. Since most now rrp at £49.99, even if you're not seeing that reflected on the shelves, I'd take an educated guess even GAME is not regularly beating £30.

I can believe the music CD price though, rrp on those has crept up as far as £16 or so on a lot of titles, just you could never get away with selling them for that. It's still reflected in the wholesale price of course.
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Sigma
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Post by Sigma » Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:13 am

Well they already made the money from the initial sale of the game, and you can't stop people from selling their own possessions. It's not like used car sales are killing the car industry.

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Post by Vir_Lucis » Sat Nov 08, 2008 7:50 am

Sigma wrote: It's not like used car sales are killing the car industry.
Well, maybe they are:

GM warns it will run out of cash

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Sigma
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Post by Sigma » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:11 pm

If they really want everyone to buy new they could always lower their price tags just a little.

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Post by scranusesscrunya » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:31 pm

I think that the games companies are getting really touchy about this subject.

Just look at EA with their recent SecuRom/DRM nonsense. Games like Spore, Mass Effect, Red Alert 3 etc. Will have absolutely ZERO sell on value becuase consumers don't want to buy games that may have had their activations used up.

I believe that most companies will go down this route (all at the expense of the legitimate buyer might I add), as they look to squeeze every available penny from our pockets.

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Post by kiwimike » Sat Nov 08, 2008 5:46 pm

Sigma wrote:If they really want everyone to buy new they could always lower their price tags just a little.
Agreed. There's always talk of development costs and so on...but that IMO does not justify some of the crazy new release prices.
Especially in the cases of Namco Museums, Metal Slug anthologies, and my particular pet peeve-the reissues of Resident evil 2 & 3 on the Cube at the time (which were not remade like the REmake was, or involve development like RE0). The prices of those were obscene.

Maybe Daves a completely different case to Capcom or Namco I guess though, but retail prices are a bit OTT for new releases...and why the second hand market will remain extremely popular.

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