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Livingstone: Used Games "No Benefit"

$40 For That Old Thing? How Used Games Are Priced on Kotaku.AU looks at how used games are priced, talking with several used game vendors, though industry leader GameStop was not willing to comment for their article. The simple economics of supply and demand are still in play, of course, and they examine how this is determined. On a related note, Retailers 'limit UK games market' on the BBC is a GamesCom conversation with a couple of publishers about games at retail and the secondary market (thanks GamesIndustry.biz). Koch Media's Georg Larch tells them digital distribution will help publishers deal with used game sales, while Eidos' Ian Livingstone says they still want to work with retailers because: "These aren't just shops, they are a marketing tool, a window into our world where software houses can display their wares." Of course some gamers buy games at full price only because they know they can later recoup some of that cost by selling games, and many gamers use the proceeds from selling their old games to buy new ones, but apparently Livingstone sees no value in this, saying: "The pre-owned market is a serious problem, because there is no benefit to developers or publishers."

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81 Replies. 5 pages. Viewing page 1.
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81. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 22, 2009, 22:08 Tumbler
 
Eventually everything will be DLC.

We are screwed.

I think in the end prices will drop considerably except for a handful of titles. (The AAA franchises) Publishers imagine a system where you can literally only purchase from them directly, there is no 2nd hand market and they can go this way but it's going to mean massive changes in the amount of people buying software at $60 a pop. People simply won't have enough money to keep throwing $60 at each game that comes out and we'll probably see the total sales of all games plummet when they move to this system. Which will cause prices to fall, games will start selling for $49, then $39, and they'll keep falling until the price is inline with what people can afford.

I think people can afford $30. It's just a hunch but if you look at what someone has to spend out of pocket to get the newest console game week after week with trade in's, I imagine it is near $30. You suddenly double that and make it $60 well either that person starts buying 1 game every 2 weeks or he stops buying games because he or she thinks it's a rip off. Either way your sales drop by at least 50% initially and hopefully the sustained numbers over the long term will make up for that...but that's a big gamble. If you don't get people to buy your game right off the bat...what are the chances that 2 weeks down the road they'll still want it?

 
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80. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 22, 2009, 21:04 xXBatmanXx
 
Eventually everything will be DLC.

We are screwed.
 
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79. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 21, 2009, 08:38 Verno
 
Yeah, that's totally true for consoles at least. Even the shittiest DLC is usually still full price and it goes without saying that Games on Demand has sucked so far in terms of pricing. $40.00USD for Saints Row 1? Uhhh no, thanks Wal-Mart for fucking us.  
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78. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 21, 2009, 07:13 dryden555
 
pricing will be even more set in stone with digital downloads. And that's not good for the consumer.  
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77. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 21, 2009, 06:48 Z9000
 
I can see the industry did not learn from DRM and is destined to continue to harm itself. Oh well, glad this affects me less than DRM in the short term. I have already accepted the fact I will be giving this hobby up as far as new purchases at some point.  
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76. Re: Livingstone: Used Games Aug 21, 2009, 04:09 DrEvil
 
@Mick:

Sorry, but there is a little thing called the 'Free Market' and 'First-Sale Doctrine'.

I don't buy games from GameStop because I hate their guts, but what they're doing is perfectly legal and legitimate.

If you want to make more money, sell addons or upgrades (DLCs as an example) directly to the consumer.

You get money from the First Sale only, and that is all you should be entitled to. Anything beyond that is an abuse of copyright *privileges* assigned to you through law and the Constitution of the respective country (indirectly).

As far as I'm concerned Game Developers should be working to fix the broken relationship they have between their publishers first, then concentrate on improving their customer relationships, and then work at expanding their market opportunities.

Attacking second-hand sales is greedy, stupid, and WRONG.

This comment was edited on Aug 21, 2009, 04:10.
 
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75. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 21, 2009, 03:49 Reemul
 
I have to disagree with this, in my local stores this isn't so. 99% of the games in there are the crap ones, the best stuff is hardly there within the first week or two. However even great games, if too short appear pretty quickly, any game no matter how good if it only lasts for 5 hours and has no replay valus is going to appear in second hand shops very quickly.
 
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74. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 22:34 The PC Warrior
 
Gamestop is the ultimate expression of the variation of worth of games. Shitty games come back fast, good games don't

Where does this flawed premise come from? I was in Gamestop tonight and saw most of the top PS3/360 games available in used form. There will always be people with buyers remorse or who want to play a ton of games. Unfortunately for the gaming industry there are more than enough of those people around to fill out the used games inventories in most stores.
 
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73. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 21:40 Jason
 
Gamestop is the ultimate expression of the variation of worth of games. Shitty games come back fast, good games don't. Reviews suck. Reviews are bought, reviewers are nice to advertisers even if special money doesn't change hands. Gamestops stock level however, doesn't lie.

Gamestop mostly affects the sales at the point where I'd have loaned my disk to my mates anyway, but unlike swapping disks with my mates, it can free some capital to buy a new game with.

Ultimately, since some new game buyers now have an outlet to escape shitty games, they can redispose their capital towards good games. More than anything else, Gamestop actually retains those guys as game buyers. I've got no idea why the gaming industry is so dead keen on shafting the minority of their consumers who actually fucking buy stuff... Every time you remove an option for consumers, you convert some of them into pirates.
 
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72. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 19:12 The PC Warrior
 
Haha well fair enough  
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71. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 18:55 shponglefan
 
No one is getting uppity, if anything you seem to be. I don't think we need a detailed study to see that the gaming industry is preparing to throw away a 20 year old revenue model over the five years and their primary reason is used game sales. People don't do that kind of thing lightly and I'm sure they've done detailed studies on the subject. You won't however find them in this thread so if you truely want the data then good luck and let us know when you find it.

I'm getting a very Colbert-esque vibe from this thread. People seem to want truthiness over facts.
 
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70. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 18:39 Mead
 
And there are more GameStops in the US than pawnshops, offering more used merchandise and making a much higher volume of sales.

8 seconds in Google finds...

Gamestop stores in the world: 4500

Pawn shops in the United States: 14000
 
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69. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 18:21 The PC Warrior
 
I'm not the one complaining about used games sales though. All I'm asking is for someone to support the assertion that used games hurt new games with facts. Why are people getting so uppity about this?

No one is getting uppity, if anything you seem to be. I don't think we need a detailed study to see that the gaming industry is preparing to throw away a 20 year old revenue model over the five years and their primary reason is used game sales. People don't do that kind of thing lightly and I'm sure they've done detailed studies on the subject. You won't however find them in this thread so if you truely want the data then good luck and let us know when you find it.

Discussion isn't moot just due to the absence of it. It's quite possible to have discussions about a topic without mountains of data laying around within arm's reach. This is after all not a publishers forum but an enthusiast site.

Ok?
 
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68. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 18:05 shponglefan
 
No one said they were stupid. You're dreaming up strawmen here.

You're right, the word used was "idiots" not "stupid". My apologies.

I have no idea, ask a publisher. Use google. Call some of the firms that do studies for the industry. This thread isn't the right place to find it and you're basically trying to shut down discussion which is kind of irksome. You want data? It's a big world out there, go crazy.

I'm not the one complaining about used games sales though. All I'm asking is for someone to support the assertion that used games hurt new games with facts. Why are people getting so uppity about this?
 
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67. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 17:56 The PC Warrior
 
Right, some people are willing to pay a premium for convenience. That doesn't make them stupid, and dismissing them as such doesn't begin to solve the problem.

No one said they were stupid. You're dreaming up strawmen here. It's easy to see why people go to Gamestop and it has nothing to do with intelligence.

My alternative is simple: show me the data. Until there is data on the table, everything is moot.

And yet the world will keep on spinning despite what you think is moot, including this situation.

So where is the data? If the publishers are trying to convince the gaming public that used game sales hurt their bottom lines, why aren't they forthcoming with some data to back this up?

I have no idea, ask a publisher. Use google. Call some of the firms that do studies for the industry. This thread isn't the right place to find it and you're basically trying to shut down discussion which is kind of irksome. You want data? It's a big world out there, go crazy.
 
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66. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 17:51 shponglefan
 
Ultimately people like Gamestop because they walk in with something and walk out with money, right there and then. It's instant gratification and doesn't take a genius to see the formula behind their success.

Right, some people are willing to pay a premium for convenience. That doesn't make them stupid, and dismissing them as such doesn't begin to solve the problem.

Believe what you like but you haven't really provided a logical alternative to what's been brought up.

My alternative is simple: show me the data. Until there is data on the table, everything is moot.

For all I know that's already been done. I think it's pretty naive to think a multi-billion dollar industry hasn't had studies done on buyer behavior.

So where is the data? If the publishers are trying to convince the gaming public that used game sales hurt their bottom lines, why aren't they forthcoming with some data to back this up?

This comment was edited on Aug 20, 2009, 17:51.
 
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65. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 17:45 The PC Warrior
 
Ebay's just one example, there are literally hundreds of ways to make more money from your used games and end up with more than what Gamestop offers. Ultimately people like Gamestop because they walk in with something and walk out with money, right there and then. It's instant gratification and doesn't take a genius to see the formula behind their success.

Sorry, but he's wrong. Without data, all we have is speculation. That ain't good enough.

Believe what you like but you haven't really provided a logical alternative to what's been brought up.

What we need is to understand buyer behavior. A comprehensive survey of gamers and their spending habits should be enough to provide a basis for crunching the numbers.

For all I know that's already been done. I think it's pretty naive to think a multi-billion dollar industry hasn't had studies done on buyer behavior.

This comment was edited on Aug 20, 2009, 17:48.
 
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64. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 17:44 shponglefan
 
Sorry but he's right, you don't need any data to understand what's going on here.

Sorry, but he's wrong. Without data, all we have is speculation. That ain't good enough.

There's no way Gamestop would co-operate with something like this in the first place.

GameStop is irrelevant. What we need is to understand buyer behavior. A comprehensive survey of gamers and their spending habits should be enough to provide a basis for crunching the numbers.

This comment was edited on Aug 20, 2009, 17:45.
 
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63. Re: Livingstone: Used Games Aug 20, 2009, 17:43 shponglefan
 
But GameStop kills this, too. Sellers will get more money on ebay. Buyers will get lower prices. Yet idiots still go to GameStop.

But eBay comes with its own hassles and risks. For example, maybe I can get $40 selling a game on eBay, but only $20 at GameStop. But to eBay the game, I have to set up an account, put the thing up for auction, take a risk I won't get defrauded by a buyer, pay eBay fees, ship the game out... Maybe that's just not worth $20 to me.
 
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62. Re: Used Games No Benefit Aug 20, 2009, 17:38 The PC Warrior
 
Not speculating, merely stating that whether or not the used market financially benefits publishers depends on the data. Again, if cash flow from the secondary market through the primary market (to fund new game purchases) exceeds canibilization of new games sales (via used game sales), then the secondary market ultimately helps the publishers.

There would be no big fuss over all of this if that were the case. When selling used games wasn't the primary focus of most retailers that's the way it used to be. Now they actually work to sell used titles before newer titles. Sorry but he's right, you don't need any data to understand what's going on here. If the publishers were making any big money through trickle down they wouldn't be crying over it or at least not so much as to build alternative revenue streams that seek to cut out the middle man.

Which is why people need to stop speculating over this. Somebody (be in publishers or whoever) should come out with some real data.

There's no way Gamestop would co-operate with something like this in the first place.

This comment was edited on Aug 20, 2009, 17:43.
 
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