David Braben in anti 'pre-owned games' rant

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Vir_Lucis
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Post by Vir_Lucis » Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:50 am

Matt_B wrote: As such, sales of pre-owned games are potentially piracy by the back door. That's not to say that everyone who re-sells their games will have kept a copy, but I'm sure that enough people do for it to be a significant factor.
i don't agree with this in the slightest - for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, the people you are talking about bought the game in the first place and made a copy. So the developers got their money. By then passing on the real copy to a game store, the game store makes more money reselling it at a discounted rate. Which means the game stores make more money and have more money to market NEW games. Note that brand new pre-owned games very rarely have much of a discount, if any...and for one or two pounds almost everyone i know would buy new rather than pre-owned.

Second, pirates will always just find another means. Most people who use copied games (although i don't know anyone who does so for this generation of games i have to say) download files through torrents. They don't need the physical disc at any stage...only one person needs to upload a torrent and thousands can access it in days. Chances are that person rented the game anyway, much cheaper to do it that way.

Stopping pre-owned game selling will not, in my opinion, change the amount of piracy one single iota. It won't make any difference at all. The only kinds of pirates that would do so in such a manner are ones that are pumping money into the 'system' anyway - in the sense that they are buying full priced games, and then letting game stores resell used games.
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David
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Post by David » Fri Oct 31, 2008 7:53 am

What a t*t

once you buy a product it is yours to do with as you please. If you want to sell it on for someone else to buy, then it's f*ck all to do with him.

Should we do the same with the property and car markets? If I buy a new house should I not be able to sell it to someone else without the builders getting paid again?

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Dudley
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Post by Dudley » Fri Oct 31, 2008 8:08 am

Coopdevil wrote:The old problem that doesn't want to go away - they want to sell you a license to use their software, you want to buy an item you own.

There's no justification for a mass-market consumer good to be "licensed"

Coop
Until the disk gets scratched of course, when suddenly they decide you did buy the disk and not the licence.

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.

As such, sales of pre-owned games are potentially piracy by the back door. That's not to say that everyone who re-sells their games will have kept a copy, but I'm sure that enough people do for it to be a significant factor.
I really, really doubt that happens much. If you can play backup copies of 360 games you'd not have bought them in the first place, you'd have rented or downloaded.
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Oh not again!
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Post by Oh not again! » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:25 am

I notice Braben uses the age old technique of making claims and then failing to substantiate them in any way, shape or form! Where's the evidence that second hand sales are "destroying" the industry?

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Post by Matt_B » Fri Oct 31, 2008 9:57 am

GarryG wrote:
Matt_B wrote:As such, sales of pre-owned games are potentially piracy by the back door. That's not to say that everyone who re-sells their games will have kept a copy, but I'm sure that enough people do for it to be a significant factor.
Surely not so much of an argument for retro games, that arn't commercialy available anyway, and much of which is on cartridge. Making it a bit above the ability of the average bedroom forger to copy!
Probably not, but something tells me that Braben is rather more bothered about current games being resold than ten year old ones.

Also, come on guys, if you think that the ability to buy a game new, copy it, and have it back on sale inside a week is not going to affect the revenues for games developers, what are you smoking? Remember that the developer is only going to get a cut of the new sales, and that the profits from re-selling will be entirely for the retailers.

Perhaps a way around this would be to guarantee the developers a cut of any re-selling through commercial premises for the first six months or so after a game is launched.

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Post by GarryG » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:24 am

Matt_B wrote:Perhaps a way around this would be to guarantee the developers a cut of any re-selling through commercial premises for the first six months or so after a game is launched.
Surely it's only a very very small percentage of new games that are bought and up for sale witin the first Six months anyway?

So I honestly can't see any big problem, any money lost in this scenario must be miniscule.
Indeed you can argue that the shop gets almost twice the money from that one game; as they've probably paid relatively little to get the game back and will be selling it for a few pounds less than the full selling price!

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Post by PSXPlayer » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:41 am

EA/UBI/Sony/MS/Nintendo could setup their own retail stores. :)

No second hand stuff, but...

£0.50p to step in the carpeted area.
£1.50 to talk to the cashier.
£0.50 to view the wall posters.
£1.00 to able to hear a different store track.

On all new releases, you could wait around, buy the game, then just as you are leaving they would snatch it away from you and force you to wait another 60minutes while they update it.

And some days the shop would just close with no warning.

Also, on some-days, the staff could be really slow, and give up on any request made, and faint, with no warning at all.. Hold on, Game is like that ;)

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Matt_B
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Post by Matt_B » Fri Oct 31, 2008 10:48 am

GarryG wrote:
Matt_B wrote:Perhaps a way around this would be to guarantee the developers a cut of any re-selling through commercial premises for the first six months or so after a game is launched.
Surely it's only a very very small percentage of new games that are bought and up for sale witin the first Six months anyway?
Now here's where it would be interesting to see some actual figures. At the moment, since most of the big retailers only stock new games, and to get a second hand one you've got to shop at an independent store or online, I'd agree that it probably isn't a very big percentage.

However, if just about every store is selling second hand copies at a cheaper price than new ones, there'd be a serious chance of things flipping over the other way.
So I honestly can't see any big problem, any money lost in this scenario must be miniscule.
Indeed you can argue that the shop gets almost twice the money from that one game; as they've probably paid relatively little to get the game back and will be selling it for a few pounds less than the full selling price!
Yeah, the shops will do very nicely out of it. However, the developers could get utterly shafted and seeing as they're the ones who actually make the games, I'm sure we'd all sooner see them making the money.

Still, I'd be surprised if anything actually gets worked out. They'll probably just have to bite the bullet and adapt their business models to a changing market. Providing online content that people will consider it worth their while to subscribe to is an alternative way of raising revenue that avoids them having to go cap in hand to the retailers, so I'd expect them to explore it increasingly.

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Post by Vir_Lucis » Fri Oct 31, 2008 11:39 am

Matt_B wrote: Still, I'd be surprised if anything actually gets worked out. They'll probably just have to bite the bullet and adapt their business models to a changing market.
Exactly. This industry is absolutely huge and is only going to get bigger for the near future anyway. You can't have the idea that you can keep on going with twenty year old business models where the developers (working out of their bedrooms) get most of the dosh.

There are a few issues here with the gamestores too.

For example, most gamestores (like Game and Game Station i'm talking about here) do extensive marketing for new games. Big shop window banners and catalogues. This is the most visible form of advertising on most high streets for new games. Now, i'm presuming that the stores themselves (their headquarters anyway) are the ones who pay for this marketing - thereby increasing sales of new games. So the developer is, in some small way at least, making some money from the sale of preowned games in the form of additional marketing.

i'd like to see what would happen if you banned the sale of preowned games and then the high street shops closed down (talking of game specific ones here of course), or at least some of them did. Surely this would have more of an impact on game sales?

One thing i've always wondered, which relates to this, is why don't the developers sell copies of their games through their websites? Not digital download ones, but physical copies...as an addition to normal channels of distribution.

In the end, until somebody can come up with some hard figures based on long-term data (which would be almost impossible now...) this argument is all just conjecture.
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Fightersmegamix
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Post by Fightersmegamix » Fri Oct 31, 2008 2:52 pm

Is there a ban on second hand games in Japan? I seem to remember something about it but don't know any details.

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Post by Zagrebo » Fri Oct 31, 2008 3:33 pm

It's just a stupid argument for more protectionism from an industry that increasingly seems to forget that the customer's are the ones in charge. They have to try and persuade us to buy from them, not demand that government controls the marketplace for their benefit.

By accusing second-hand sales of "stealing revenue" Braben is basically arguing that software houses should make money as some sort of right. They have no such thing, they are a part of a large, free, marketplace and their job is to make profits by selling the initial stock. What happens to the stock after that really isn't any of their business any more than what happens to a car remains the business of the manufacturer after its initial sale.

As needs to be pointed out time and time again, the free market is a good thing but corporatist capitalists like the games industry don't want a free market, they want a controlled, regulated market designed to maximise their profits at the expense of consumer choice and consumer rights.
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Post by Dudley » Fri Oct 31, 2008 4:24 pm

Matt_B wrote: Also, come on guys, if you think that the ability to buy a game new, copy it, and have it back on sale inside a week is not going to affect the revenues for games developers, what are you smoking? Remember that the developer is only going to get a cut of the new sales, and that the profits from re-selling will be entirely for the retailers.
Virtually no-one who copies bought it. They all downloaded it and almost exclusively the leak comes from inside the companies concerned. No-one buys a 360 game, copies it and trades it in. Why the hell would they spend £20 for absolutely no reason.
Perhaps a way around this would be to guarantee the developers a cut of any re-selling through commercial premises for the first six months or so after a game is launched.
Why the hell should they? It doesn't happen in any other industry. I don't send Barrat £30k is I sell a house, I didn't give Vauxhall a cut when I bought my less than 6 month old house from Enterprise.

He's asking for something no other industry gets because he can't be bothered to write good games. His latest was on sale for £20 new within 3 months of release simply because no-one wanted it. Call of Duty 4, a year old, is STILL £30 used. Why? Because it's good enough that people don't WANT to trade it.

I bought Derran Brown's book, read it and handed it to a friend. Should I have sent him another fiver?

The principle of rights is laid down in the first sale doctrine and has been good enough for every other industry for a very long time. It should be good enough for Braben too. Used games sales do nothing but drive new game sales and every used copy was new once.
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Post by Rabiteman » Fri Oct 31, 2008 6:30 pm

Fightersmegamix wrote:Is there a ban on second hand games in Japan? I seem to remember something about it but don't know any details.
I'm not 100% on this, but I seem to recall this was the case in the Nineties. I think it's since been overturned though.

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Post by Mantas » Sat Nov 01, 2008 5:54 am

I very rarely buy a new game unless it's something I really really want. I don't see the point since I know that within a month or 2 it will be at least £10 cheaper (often more). When I do end up up getting it, I will look online. At this point I'm not fussed if it's new or second hand. It's a silly aurgument but lets say that second hand sales were banned. The same hardcore gamers would buy the game but a lot of people out there wouldn't bother paying £30-£50 for it. I suspect they just would't play it at all. Plus it might just encourage people to swap games amoungst themselves.

To add more confusion to the mix....

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Post by Dudley » Sat Nov 01, 2008 6:23 am

Well I just worked out I bought 8 of my 41 360 games used (not counting the Live Arcade Unplugged Vol 2 which you can't get new without a console and Tomb Raider Legend which I bought both new and used and am counting as a new).

Not sure whether that tells anyone anything or not really.
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