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EA on "Pirates As A Marketplace"

"I Think Of Pirates As A Marketplace" is the grabber headline of an interview with John Riccitiello on Kotaku, where the EA CEO discusses the growing trend of using DLC as a fulcrum to prevent piracy and curtail used-game sales. He says "They can steal the disc, but they can't steal the DLC," though a later update acknowledges that piracy of DLC is not actually unheard of. "I don't think anybody should pirate anything," Riccitiello clarifies. "I believe in the artistry of the people who build [the games industry.] I profoundly believe that. And when you steal from us, you steal from them. Having said that, there's a lot of people who do."

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155. Re: Pirates Dec 18, 2009, 23:41 Jerykk
 
Whoops, sorry for the late response. Forgot about this thread for a while. Anyway, here goes:

You argue that some used sales help fund new sales. Okay. Sure, why not? You then argue that piracy doesn't fund new sales. Orly? I've bought quite a few games only because I pirated them first and was surprised by how good they were. Since your argument is based entirely on anecdotal evidence, I guess my personal buying habits just proved that piracy helps fund new sales. Therefore, in accordance with your logic, a used sale and piracy can both result in sales of new games.

Thanks for playing.

This comment was edited on Dec 18, 2009, 23:42.
 
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154. Re: Pirates Dec 17, 2009, 02:39 shponglefan
 
You haven't refuted a damn thing. This is your whole argument: Used sales help people buy new games.

That's it. There's nothing else to it. You have no statistical evidence to support that claim. Nada.

Yup. And as I said, I'm qualifying the differences between piracy and used games, not quantifying them. Your cry for statistics is a red herring.

Your position relies on the idea that most of the people who sell games use that profit to buy new games.

No it doesn't. Once again, you are setting up a strawman for a beating.

Again (my point for the millionth time) is that some money from the used market helps fund the new market. That's it.

If most people use that profit to buy used games, your position is lost because the market ultimately loses money.

This is only the case if used games sales are directly cannibilizing new sales. Like I said, there are no numbers available for this and I don't think such a study exists.

But that's entirely seperate argument from qualifying the difference between piracy and used games sales. Something which you still don't seem to understand.

How convenient and completely missing the point. I don't give a damn about the "markets."

Apparently you don't give a damn about many things (including the law, ethics, cash flows, markets, staying on topic, difference between qualification and quantification... have I missed anything?)

Oh, the irony. Never once in this argument have I stated that used game markets and piracy are the same. My position has consistently been that buying a used game is the same as a downloading a pirated one because the developer of said game sees no money from either.

Now this is just silly. Looking at things in extreme isolation like that ignores the fact that situations vary. What really matters is the collective difference, which is what I've been talking about the whole time.

Your claim: Used sales help finance the market as a whole.

Yes.

My claim: Publishers and developers don't see a penny from used sales of their games, just like they don't see a penny from pirated copies.

Which is not true. Financing can be indirect (and in the majority of sales in either market this is going to be the case). Unless one buys everything directly from the developer, cash is flowing through intermediaries. The source of that cash is what you seem to be confused about.

My claim requires only logic. As such, it cannot be refuted. You keep presenting your claim as if it somehow refutes mine but it doesn't. It's a different argument, one that you have failed to support with the necessary facts.

Dude, your argument is god-awful. I don't even think you understand what you are even trying to argue for anymore.

1) You already admitted that some people buy new games by trading in used games. So this point is already accepted. Which was basically my entire point to begin with. So you've just been backpeddling like crazy since and getting nowhere.

2) I agree with this, but this is besides the point. I'm not making an argument over whether the used market is beneficial or detrimental, just that used game sales are not the same as piracy.

3) This assumption is not part of my argument. It's both a strawman and red herring all rolled into one!

4) I'm not sure what this has to do with anything other than calling yourself cheap. Which is all I was really looking for to begin with.

At the end of the day, I think the real gap here is you just don't understand the concept of financing a transaction via funds from a prior transaction. You're not thinking cash flows, you're thinking isolated transactions.

I think this argument is dead. I've proved my point, you already (previously) accepted it, and the rest of this is just a bunch of handwaving and general noise.

So good day to you, sir. Good day.

This comment was edited on Dec 17, 2009, 02:41.
 
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153. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 16, 2009, 12:48 Wowbagger_TIP
 
I can see how people may be opposed to used good sales because the manufacturer isn't making any money on the sale, but isn't this how our society functions? Anyone who is in the business of selling physical goods just has to deal with the fact that this is going to happen. There's always going to be people who buy new just like there's always going to be people who buy used. It all evens out in the end.
Companies that make copyrighted goods believe they are special and should be protected from things like secondary markets, aftermarket modifications, unanticipated uses, consumer protection law, etc. I don't understand why that is really. I guess they are so used to the government giving them pretty much anything they want that it's all gone to their head and they feel entitled to be guaranteed a profit and absolute control over anything they do for all eternity.

This comment was edited on Dec 16, 2009, 12:50.
 
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152. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 16, 2009, 05:13 Killswitch
 
I can see how people may be opposed to used good sales because the manufacturer isn't making any money on the sale, but isn't this how our society functions? Anyone who is in the business of selling physical goods just has to deal with the fact that this is going to happen. There's always going to be people who buy new just like there's always going to be people who buy used. It all evens out in the end.

BUT saying used game sales is like piracy--well that's like saying used car sales is equivalent to auto theft. Doesn't this also brand the financially poor as criminals when they buy from the Salvation Army and the people who make donations their accomplices?
 
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151. Re: Pirates Dec 16, 2009, 04:00 Jerykk
 
Except I've already refuted it.

You haven't refuted a damn thing. This is your whole argument: Used sales help people buy new games.

That's it. There's nothing else to it. You have no statistical evidence to support that claim. Nada.

You want it to be besides the point because it destroys your position, but it's dead on the point.

In order for it to destroy my position, you'd actually need to back it up with evidence.

As for statistical support, that's just a red herring. I've not tried to quantify the argument (merely qualify it), so statistical support is irrelevant. If I was arguing that there were $X dollars from the used market flowing to the new market, then I would need statistical support.

*facepalm*

Your position relies on the idea that most of the people who sell games use that profit to buy new games. If most people use that profit to buy used games, your position is lost because the market ultimately loses money. Therefore, if you want to maintain your position, you have to prove that most people who sell used games use that profit to buy new games. Sorry, that's how arguments work.

Again this is irrelevant because I'm talking about the markets collectively, not on a transaction by transaction basis.

How convenient and completely missing the point. I don't give a damn about the "markets." The market in general spits out crap. I only care about the developers making the games I like. If I cared about the market, I'd buy every game on the shelf regardless of quality.

It's easy enough to turn that around and say that if a person buys a copy of used Game B, then finances a purchase of new Game A, then Developer A does see money from that transaction.

Uh, what? How does that work? If you buy a new copy of Game A, Developer A makes money. The used sale of Game B is completely irrelevant because Developer A didn't make it.

These are just red herrings and do not refute the argument at hand, that used games markets and piracy are not the same and that money from used markets is used to finance purchases in the new market.

Oh, the irony. Never once in this argument have I stated that used game markets and piracy are the same. My position has consistently been that buying a used game is the same as a downloading a pirated one because the developer of said game sees no money from either. If you can actually find a quote that contradicts this, by all means, indulge me. Instead, you keep trying to dismiss my points as red herrings or strawmen or other such nonsense.

Here, I'll make this simple for you:

Your claim: Used sales help finance the market as a whole.

My claim: Publishers and developers don't see a penny from used sales of their games, just like they don't see a penny from pirated copies.

Your claim requires statistical evidence because it needs quantifiable proof that most used game sellers use that profit to buy new games. You have not provided any evidence of this whatsoever.

My claim requires only logic. As such, it cannot be refuted. You keep presenting your claim as if it somehow refutes mine but it doesn't. It's a different argument, one that you have failed to support with the necessary facts.

Hell, I think I'll destroy your specific claim again:

1) You assume that profits from sales of used games go towards purchases of new games. There is no evidence to support this and contrary to what you may think, you do actually need evidence to support your claims. Logic suggests that people who sell games are cheap and prioritize saving money above all else. Logically, these people would also be more likely to buy used games instead of new ones.

2) Even if your initial assumption is correct, there's a gaping logical hole in it: publishers and developers still see more profit from sales of two new copies than one new copy and one used. They don't see any profit from a used sale. 50,000 new sales is a lot better than 25,000 new sales and 25,000 used sales.

3) You assume that were it not for used sales, many people would not be able to afford new games. However, the existence of Gamestop contradicts this. Gamestop only buys games for about 30-50% of their MSRP. Conversely, they typically sell used games for only $5-10 less than retail yet people have no problems affording this. This is why used game sales are such a huge part of Gamestop's business.

4) People are generally cheap. They want to buy things for as little as possible. Piracy is another option but many people are either A) too stupid/afraid/lazy to do it or B) they refuse to do it because of some contrived sense of consumer ethics. In the latter case, these people only buy games so they can play them. They don't care about rewarding developers. They just want to play games and buying (for as cheap as possible) or renting are the only legal options for them.

Your argument fails because there is no cash flow in your first part. In constrast, there is cash flow in a used transaction.

Yes. The cash flows from the buyer of the used game to the seller. In this case, the seller is neither the publisher nor the developer.

Look, I understand why you insist on generalizing your argument. It helps you justify buying used games or games for much lower than MSRP. I mean, hey, as long as you buy games at all (no matter the price or source), you're an ethical consumer, right? You're helping the market as a whole, even if you're screwing specific developers in the process.

This comment was edited on Dec 16, 2009, 04:29.
 
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150. Re: Pirates Dec 16, 2009, 03:36 Jerykk
 
...you save $50 when you buy a used game now?

Sure. It obviously depends on when you buy it and where you buy it from.

And you would be providing cashflow into the system by buying Game B.

That's great but I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE SYSTEM. I care about the developers making the games I like, industry be damned.

It's a legit copy sold by the publisher.

No. A game is only initially a legit copy sold by the publisher. Once you bought it and sold it again, it stopped being that. The publisher and developer don't see any profit from those used sales.

If you're already boot legging stuff wouldn't you just go buy a bootlegged copy of another product you want to sell?

If you're already selling used games, wouldn't you just go buy used games? After all, the whole point of selling your games is to save money and buying used games saves you more money than buying new games.
 
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149. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 16:10 Wowbagger_TIP
 
So if you're in a store somewhere buying a game, it doesn't look like you're rewarding devs directly unless you buy a stardock game?
Very little happens directly when you're dealing with retail. In fact many retail stores don't buy their stock outright either. They make the suppliers agree to accept returns of stock they can't sell, or make them take a price cut if the products have to be sold at a lower sale price. They also charge suppliers various fees if they don't do everything exactly right dealing with delivery of the products. With something like gaming software, I suspect online delivery is very attractive for publishers, but they just haven't gotten to the point where they can really push it. Mainly because aside from Valve and Stardock, their online delivery systems are either non-existent or just pretty horrible. They probably don't want to have trade the retailers' cut for Valve's cut, but they may end up having to do something like that. Many pubs are already selling through Valve. They probably felt like it was a temporary measure until they could build something themselves. Unless they come up with a generic system that can download/authenticate/update/etc from any publisher, then they will end up going with an established delivery app like Steam. Nobody wants a bunch of apps like that on their system.
 
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148. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 15:19 Tumbler
 
Runic Games for Torchlight. Valve for any of their products via Steam. CD Projekt RED for The Witcher. Would you like a few more examples, or have I sufficiently deflated your statement?

I know there are a few devs that self publish on the PC side with digital delivery. I think stardock is the only one that ships retail products as well? Even valve falls back on EA to deploy their games in stores.

Thanx for the info about Runic, I didn't realize you could purchase straight from them, that is very interesting. I don't think CD Projekt offers a direct purchase, for the US it routes me through the Atari website, I didn't see anyway to purchase it directly, it's possible it's there but CD Projekt looked like a distributor, maybe they are a dev as well...

Torchlight looks like it's getting a retail box through a publisher called encore software?

So store bought games that can be traded/resold are almost all put there by publishers from what I've seen. Even Blizzard, who obviously would make a shit ton more money if they just boxed up and sold their wow stuff themselves, still uses activision for that. So if you're in a store somewhere buying a game, it doesn't look like you're rewarding devs directly unless you buy a stardock game?
 
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147. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 14:11 Kxmode
 
I suggest you start a publishing company because they are the people who enable developers to make games. Them and them alone. How the game sells has a lot to do with marketing provided by the publisher. As a consumer you can't do dick to reward developers. Developers don't sell directly to us and neither do publishers.

Runic Games for Torchlight. Valve for any of their products via Steam. CD Projekt RED for The Witcher. Would you like a few more examples, or have I sufficiently deflated your statement?
 
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146. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 12:27 Wowbagger_TIP
 
I suggest you start a publishing company because they are the people who enable developers to make games. Them and them alone. How the game sells has a lot to do with marketing provided by the publisher. As a consumer you can't do dick to reward developers. Developers don't sell directly to us and neither do publishers. (I guess there are some exceptions...which I'd be curious to know if you own? HL2? Are there any other developers that self publish like they do?) All you can do as a consumer is support target or walmart, or whatever other store you have around you for buying copies of the game you like.
Valve and Stardock self-publish. There may be others that I can't think of right now. You still reward developers by buying their games, because when the games sell, the publisher is happy and more likely to fund another game from that dev.
 
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145. Re: Pirates Dec 15, 2009, 11:04 shponglefan
 
Actually, my claim is that buying a used game and downloading a pirated game have the exact same result: You play the game, the developer doesn't see a penny. This is irrefutable.

Except I've already refuted it.

You can argue that people selling used games use that money to buy new games or whatever, but that's really besides the point (and has no statistical evidence to support), as I've demonstrated repeatedly throughout this debate.

Except it's not. You want it to be besides the point because it destroys your position, but it's dead on the point.

As for statistical support, that's just a red herring. I've not tried to quantify the argument (merely qualify it), so statistical support is irrelevant. If I was arguing that there were $X dollars from the used market flowing to the new market, then I would need statistical support.

And again, you failed to address my point: If you buy a used copy of Game A, Developer A sees no money from that sale. If you sell that copy, Developer A sees no money from that sale. If you use the money from that sale to buy a new copy of Game B, Developer A still sees no money.

Again this is irrelevant because I'm talking about the markets collectively, not on a transaction by transaction basis. It's easy enough to turn that around and say that if a person buys a copy of used Game B, then finances a purchase of new Game A, then Developer A does see money from that transaction.

You can keep ranting on about upstream cash flow but you really have no statistical evidence whatsoever to support that claim. And you keep referring to developers in the plural, as if they are all the same. No. Buying a new game from Developer B doesn't help Developer A. If you buy or sell a used game from Developer A, you are screwing Developer A. It doesn't matter if you buy a new game from Developer B. Different developers, different games. Is this really that difficult to understand?

Apparently it is for you. These are just red herrings and do not refute the argument at hand, that used games markets and piracy are not the same and that money from used markets is used to finance purchases in the new market.

In fact, you already admitted this was true, but now you're desperately trying to backpeddle from that.

I'm sure you'll jump on that example and point out how ridiculous it is but it effectively summarizes your entire argument. Just replace "pirates" with "buys used copy of".

Your argument fails because there is no cash flow in your first part. In constrast, there is cash flow in a used transaction.

This comment was edited on Dec 15, 2009, 11:05.
 
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144. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 09:37 Tumbler
 
I guess that's where we differ. I don't buy games so I can play them. I can do that for free. I don't buy games so I can get boxes and manuals. I don't care about those. I buy games so that developers can keep making the games I like.

I suggest you start a publishing company because they are the people who enable developers to make games. Them and them alone. How the game sells has a lot to do with marketing provided by the publisher. As a consumer you can't do dick to reward developers. Developers don't sell directly to us and neither do publishers. (I guess there are some exceptions...which I'd be curious to know if you own? HL2? Are there any other developers that self publish like they do?) All you can do as a consumer is support target or walmart, or whatever other store you have around you for buying copies of the game you like.

That increases demand for used copies of those games. If people can get something for less, that's what they'll do most of the time. If used sales didn't exist, more people would buy new games.

This seems to be the opinion of many PC developers/publishers lately. Since we can't see true sales numbers (because of digital dist sales) it's hard to say if this philosophy has helped PC gaming that much but I see a ton of developers producing console games now rather than PC games. Maybe it's an over reaction to piracy, maybe the consoles are just too popular, maybe the total PC game revenue is where it should be and money is just flowing to different areas, MMO's, digital distributions, etc. But from where I sit it looks like PC gaming is becoming a niche market as far as $50-$60 big budget games are concerned.

This comment was edited on Dec 15, 2009, 09:45.
 
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143. Re: Pirates Dec 15, 2009, 09:25 Tumbler
 
1) Joe pirates Game A and saves $50.
2) Joe uses that $50 to buy Game B.
3) Joe is providing upstream cashflow to the videogame market!

I'm sure you'll jump on that example and point out how ridiculous it is but it effectively summarizes your entire argument. Just replace "pirates" with "buys used copy of".

...you save $50 when you buy a used game now? And you would be providing cashflow into the system by buying Game B. (just not as much if you'd bought game A as well) The point you keep ignoring is that when you buy a legit copy of the game, one produced by the publisher, you are contributing to the industry. If bootleg copies were widely available and people could buy those, then almost no one would buy the legit products. (new or used)

It doesn't matter if Target sells it or Joe Schmoe. It's a legit copy sold by the publisher. When you make it a point to buy only legit copies of the game you are contributing to the industry. If you decide to make your own copies (aka piracy) or buy boot legged copies you're not contributing to the industry...assuming there aren't people who bootleg stuff just to finance their legit purchases...If you're already boot legging stuff wouldn't you just go buy a bootlegged copy of another product you want to sell?

This comment was edited on Dec 15, 2009, 09:26.
 
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142. Re: Pirates Dec 15, 2009, 04:19 Jerykk
 
My argument is that used games markets and piracy aren't the same, despite your claims to the contrary. And I've already demonstrated they aren't.

Actually, my claim is that buying a used game and downloading a pirated game have the exact same result: You play the game, the developer doesn't see a penny. This is irrefutable. You can argue that people selling used games use that money to buy new games or whatever, but that's really besides the point (and has no statistical evidence to support), as I've demonstrated repeatedly throughout this debate.

But there are upstream cash flows from the used market (collectively) which go to the primary market which in turn finance developers.

Make up your mind. Do the majority of used game sellers use that money to buy new games or not? First you say yes, then you say no, then you say maybe, now you say yes again. It's a baseless assumption in any case until you provide statistics.

And again, you failed to address my point: If you buy a used copy of Game A, Developer A sees no money from that sale. If you sell that copy, Developer A sees no money from that sale. If you use the money from that sale to buy a new copy of Game B, Developer A still sees no money.

You can keep ranting on about upstream cash flow but you really have no statistical evidence whatsoever to support that claim. And you keep referring to developers in the plural, as if they are all the same. No. Buying a new game from Developer B doesn't help Developer A. If you buy or sell a used game from Developer A, you are screwing Developer A. It doesn't matter if you buy a new game from Developer B. Different developers, different games. Is this really that difficult to understand?

Here, I'll provide an example of your questionable logic but turn it around so it supports piracy.

1) Joe pirates Game A and saves $50.
2) Joe uses that $50 to buy Game B.
3) Joe is providing upstream cashflow to the videogame market!

I'm sure you'll jump on that example and point out how ridiculous it is but it effectively summarizes your entire argument. Just replace "pirates" with "buys used copy of".

This comment was edited on Dec 15, 2009, 04:25.
 
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141. Re: Pirates Dec 15, 2009, 02:02 shponglefan
 
Uh, that doesn't work very well for your argument then. If most people don't use profits from selling used games to buy new games, your whole argument goes down the toilet.

No it doesn't. My argument is that used games markets and piracy aren't the same, despite your claims to the contrary. And I've already demonstrated they aren't.

But which developers? If you buy Game A used, Developer A sees no money. If you you sell Game A and buy Game B new, Developer A still doesn't see any money. That's the glaring hole in your logic. I don't care about the industry as a whole. I care about the developers that make the games I like. If somebody buys a used copy of Psychonauts and then sells it so he can buy a new copy of Madden, Double Fine still gets screwed.

Again, you're missing the point of the argument. You claimed that piracy and used games sales are the same because no money goes to developers. But there are upstream cash flows from the used market (collectively) which go to the primary market which in turn finance developers. The only difference between that and new markets financing developers is an extra transaction. Therefore, piracy and used games markets are not the same thing.

This comment was edited on Dec 15, 2009, 02:03.
 
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140. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 00:34 Jerykk
 
When you buy a game at retail you do not reward developers. Retailers have purchased those games from the publishers, and the publishers have already paid the developers.

The number of new copies that a game sells makes a difference. If they sell out, they have to buy more copies. If they sell used copies, they are far less likely to sell out. The more new copies a game sells, the more likely the developer is to see a profit.

In the end we're not buying the experience of playing the game, we're buying a physical box, disc, manual, etc.

I guess that's where we differ. I don't buy games so I can play them. I can do that for free. I don't buy games so I can get boxes and manuals. I don't care about those. I buy games so that developers can keep making the games I like.

Piracy in any form, just making copies, or duplicating discs and sell those doesn't put any money back into the industry.

That's assuming that the people who sell pirated games don't use that money to buy new games. Just like assuming that people who sell used games use that money to buy new games. There are no statistics to support or refute either.

It increases demand for the new games when people see used games selling at good prices.

That increases demand for used copies of those games. If people can get something for less, that's what they'll do most of the time. If used sales didn't exist, more people would buy new games.
 
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139. Re: Pirates Dec 15, 2009, 00:27 Jerykk
 
The argument was never all or most, it was some.

Uh, that doesn't work very well for your argument then. If most people don't use profits from selling used games to buy new games, your whole argument goes down the toilet.

But in the case of a used sale financing a new sale, money is flowing to developers from that used sale.

But which developers? If you buy Game A used, Developer A sees no money. If you you sell Game A and buy Game B new, Developer A still doesn't see any money. That's the glaring hole in your logic. I don't care about the industry as a whole. I care about the developers that make the games I like. If somebody buys a used copy of Psychonauts and then sells it so he can buy a new copy of Madden, Double Fine still gets screwed.

I may need to work on my drawing skills if you still can't understand that.
 
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138. Re: Pirates a Marketplace Dec 15, 2009, 00:20 Jerykk
 
I didn't say you couldn't, in fact that's often what happens. The industry doesn't see any of that money however and this is why DLC is being used to both discourage used games sales and generate a revenue stream out of the ones that do happen. I'm discussing their points within the context of the topic itself and not just their specific argument.

I don't think you've actually been reading this argument then because you're supporting my position.
 
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137. Re: Pirates Dec 14, 2009, 20:32 Tumbler
 
It's just flowing through an intermediary (which is really no different than money flowing from customers through retailers to publishers to developers).

I was going to point this out as well. When a retailer sells a copy of game A there is no commitment for the retailer to turn around and buy another copy of the game from the publisher so even buying games in retail stores does not always send money back to the publisher/developer. The retailer pays for the goods before and if demand remains high enough he may or may not buy more. The consumers choice to purchase a game at retail does not send any money back to the publisher. The retailers need to decide to buy more copies of the game, and then the consumer can choose to buy them from the retailer. Same as a consumer selling a used copy of the game to another person.
 
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136. Re: Pirates Dec 14, 2009, 18:19 shponglefan
 
I'm not sure why you keep calling this a strawman.

Because it is.

Your logic is flawed. You assume that most people use the money they get from selling used games in order to purchase new games.

The argument was never all or most, it was some. Some people do use money from used sales to purchase new games. I've done it and I've seen others do it as well. It's a fact.

The point is that you equate used sales and piracy based on the idea that no money is flowing to developers. But in the case of a used sale financing a new sale, money is flowing to developers from that used sale. It's just flowing through an intermediary (which is really no different than money flowing from customers through retailers to publishers to developers).

At this point I think I'll need to draw a picture with crayons if you still aren't understanding this.
 
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