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EU to Allow Digital Software Resales?

This document (Adobe Acrobat format) outlines a legal ruing in the EU that seems to open the door for resale of digitally distributed software (thanks Joao). Here's a bit:

Where the copyright holder makes available to his customer a copy tangible or intangible and at the same time concludes, in return form payment of a fee, a licence agreement granting the customer the right to use that copy for an unlimited period, that rightholder sells the copy to the customer and thus exhausts his exclusive distribution right. Such a transaction involves a transfer of the right of ownership of the copy. Therefore, even if the licence agreement prohibits a further transfer, the rightholder can no longer oppose the resale of that copy.

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98. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 5, 2012, 22:07 Jerykk
 
This is a technicality. Bethesda was always its own publisher, published its own games. But unlike Looking Glass Studios, who had only some distribution deals with Eidos, they were smart enough to handle the publishing part of this business. LG folded, Beth prospered.

All the ressources they poured into Skyrim was earned by selfpublished, selfdeveloped games. Beth does what some indies do want in the long run. Make yourself independent AND make grandios games with lots of production value.

This is just plain wrong. Zenimax Media/Bethesda Softworks has published lots of games that weren't developed internally.

Examples:

Rogue Warrior
Call of Cthulu: Dark Corners of the Earth
Hunted: The Demon's Forge
Brink
Fallout: New Vegas

Bethesda Game Studios has also developed games that weren't published by Bethesda Softworks.

See this for the full list of third-party games they've published: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Bethesda_Softworks_games

And here's info on ZeniMax: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZeniMax_Media

You act like Bethesda is the same as Valve. It isn't. Bethesda Softworks is a publisher like EA, Activision, 2K, Ubisoft, Capcom, etc. All of those publishers have their own internal development studios, just like Bethesda Softworks has.

Sure, and the first time you end up with a game that's not a financial hit, your company folds. The advantage of having a publisher is that (theoretically of course) they have the ability to balance out failures with other successes.

Exactly. If a game flops, the publisher is the only one that loses anything. The developer already got paid during development. Without a publisher, developers accept the burden of failure.

I hate publishers as much as anyone else but I understand that they are necessary if you want to make certain types of games. When a genuinely independent developer can make a game like Skyrim, Arkham City, Battlefield 3, GTA4, Saints Row 3, Fallout New Vegas, Deus Ex: Human Revolution, etc, without any publisher involvement, let me know and I'll gladly reconsider my argument.

This comment was edited on Jul 5, 2012, 22:14.
 
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97. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 5, 2012, 08:54 Bhruic
 
Kajetan wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 08:17:
Really, you dont need to have publishers anymore. Start small, be effective, dont grow too fast, keep small & effective teams, keep a focused developement schedule. Make money with your first game, make the second game a little bit bigger. Grow organic, do not explode.

Sure, and the first time you end up with a game that's not a financial hit, your company folds. The advantage of having a publisher is that (theoretically of course) they have the ability to balance out failures with other successes.
 
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96. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 5, 2012, 08:32 Kajetan
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 06:29:
Sigh. Bethesda Softworks (aka Zenimax Media) is a publisher. Bethesda Game Studios is a developer. They are not the same thing.
This is a technicality. Bethesda was always its own publisher, published its own games. But unlike Looking Glass Studios, who had only some distribution deals with Eidos, they were smart enough to handle the publishing part of this business. LG folded, Beth prospered.

All the ressources they poured into Skyrim was earned by selfpublished, selfdeveloped games. Beth does what some indies do want in the long run. Make yourself independent AND make grandios games with lots of production value.

I repeat: You dont need publishers anymore. You only have to stay focused and get your fucking games on the most popular download plattforms.
 
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95. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 5, 2012, 06:29 Jerykk
 
Kajetan wrote on Jul 5, 2012, 03:36:
Jerykk wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 19:53:
Bethesda IS a publisher.
I know. Isn't this the beauty of it? Bethesda is, like Valve, in the comfortable position to finance and distribute their own games. They do not need EA or sme other major. Beth and Valve are ... independent!

So, Skyrim is an indie game, not requiring any involvement of a big publisher at all. Just look at that ...

Sigh. Bethesda Softworks (aka Zenimax Media) is a publisher. Bethesda Game Studios is a developer. They are not the same thing. Just replace Bethesda Softworks with EA and Bethesda Game Studios with Visceral Games/Criterion Games/any other developer that EA owns. Bethesda Game Studios (developer) is not an independent developer because they are owned by Bethesda Softworks/Zenimax Media (publisher). That's the exact opposite of being independent. Once again, Bethesda Game Studios != Bethesda Softworks. Hopefully you understand now.

You're correct about Valve technically being indie, though. However, Valve also happens to own the biggest digital distribution service out there, providing them with a constant (and significant) revenue stream. Other independent developers don't have this luxury and thus can't afford the resources required to create games with large scopes and high production values.

This comment was edited on Jul 5, 2012, 06:39.
 
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94. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 5, 2012, 03:36 Kajetan
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 19:53:
Bethesda IS a publisher.
I know. Isn't this the beauty of it? Bethesda is, like Valve, in the comfortable position to finance and distribute their own games. They do not need EA or sme other major. Beth and Valve are ... independent!

So, Skyrim is an indie game, not requiring any involvement of a big publisher at all. Just look at that ...
 
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93. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 19:53 Jerykk
 
Kajetan wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 08:17:
Jerykk wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 06:37:
Good luck making games like Skyrim, Arkham City, Deus Ex, GTA, etc, without a publisher.
Bethesda was able to make Morrowind and Oblivion and Skyrim without a typical publisher, who prefinanced the whole shebang.

Really, you dont need to have publishers anymore. Start small, be effective, dont grow too fast, keep small & effective teams, keep a focused developement schedule. Make money with your first game, make the second game a little bit bigger. Grow organic, do not explode.

Look at Runic and the production values of TL2. No need for any fucking publisher at all. Look at Hard Reset and it gorgeous destruction orgy. Publisher are on the way out, there are and will be more and more far better alternatives to make a profit with even huge games like GTA.

Bethesda IS a publisher. Bethesda Softworks is the publisher, Bethesda Game Studios is the development studio that makes the ES games. Bethesda Softworks has published many games, including all the ES games. So again, no, you can't make a game like Morrowind, Oblivion or Skyrim without a publisher.

And are you really comparing Torchlight and Hard Reset to Skyrim? Skyrim has higher production values and a significantly larger scope than both games combined. Big, complex games with high production values require lots of assets, scripting and code. Those things require large teams if you want to finish development within 3 years. Therefore, publishers are still necessary.
 
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92. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 10:07 StaticRandomNumber
 
Although games may be a prime candidate for resell, think about all the companies that have business software, and then of course there is all the smartphone apps.

Now that would really make for an interesting marketplace.
 
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91. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 08:17 Kajetan
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 06:37:
Good luck making games like Skyrim, Arkham City, Deus Ex, GTA, etc, without a publisher.
Bethesda was able to make Morrowind and Oblivion and Skyrim without a typical publisher, who prefinanced the whole shebang.

Really, you dont need to have publishers anymore. Start small, be effective, dont grow too fast, keep small & effective teams, keep a focused developement schedule. Make money with your first game, make the second game a little bit bigger. Grow organic, do not explode.

Look at Runic and the production values of TL2. No need for any fucking publisher at all. Look at Hard Reset and it gorgeous destruction orgy. Publisher are on the way out, there are and will be more and more far better alternatives to make a profit with even huge games like GTA.
 
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90. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 06:37 Jerykk
 
Acleacius wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 03:39:
Publishers are being pushed out of the picture as they should be. If they are not, they will continue destroying the industry by extorting and bleeding dry of any creativity.

As others have mentioned, publishers are a necessary evil for certain types of games. Good luck making games like Skyrim, Arkham City, Deus Ex, GTA, etc, without a publisher.
 
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89. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 03:39 Acleacius
 
Publishers are being pushed out of the picture as they should be. If they are not, they will continue destroying the industry by extorting and bleeding dry of any creativity.  
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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88. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 02:33 Jerykk
 
A game costs 40$? Nahh, let's wait for a sale. Only 20$? Nahh, let's wait for 10$. Steam devalues games in the long run. And i dont know if thats what the majors really want.

The difference is that Steam sales don't happen as soon as a game is released. Steam sales are generally only offered on games that have been out for months and are well past their peak sales. Used sales devalue games immediately. When a game's first month profits determine whether or not a dev gets another contract or a game gets any patches or support, initial pricing is more important than late pricing.
 
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87. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 01:52 Kajetan
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 22:47:
One of the big reasons why publishers are supporting digital distribution is the lack of used sales.
And how does Steam, biggest distribution plattform with digital games lure the customer into buying games the customer cannot resell?

With heavy price drops.

A game costs 40$? Nahh, let's wait for a sale. Only 20$? Nahh, let's wait for 10$. Steam devalues games in the long run. And i dont know if thats what the majors really want.

The purchasing power of the customers stays roughly the same. You cannot spend more on games only because the publisher want that to happen. You resell your old games to free some of your purchasing power to buy new games or you wait for budget releases or sales to buy games for a very low price. Thats how the economy principles and the available purchasing power dictate your consumer behaviour. You cannot spend more than you have. You, the customer, are not the Federal Bank or a state, who can just print more money.

But heck, just fight the reselling market if you, the publisher and stupid dev think you have to do that. Best luck in coping with the consequences.

This comment was edited on Jul 4, 2012, 01:59.
 
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86. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 01:44 Kajetan
 
Devinoch wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:42:
"Considerably small budget"? You're kidding, right?
No 10 to 12 mio. dollars is a hoot compared to the outcome. Then look at Bulletstorm, coming from another polish developer with dev costs around 20 mio. dollars.

AAA games are very expensive, because the majors are not able to produce games in an effective, low cost enviroment. Too much people have too much to say. There is too much work on unimportant features which add nothing to the gameplay, catering only to the checkpoints of the feature list marketing pulls out in every meeting.

THIS part of the industry has to go away, because it destroys gaming. Fortunately, it will go away.
 
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85. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 00:19 Jerykk
 
NKD wrote on Jul 4, 2012, 00:03:
Jerykk wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 22:47:
You're forgetting the convenience advantage of trading in digital products. With physical products, there are many variables to consider. The condition of the product, the quantity of the product, the size of the product, the weight of the product, etc. With digital products, you don't have to worry about any of those things. You click a couple of buttons and get credit instantly. Don't have to drive to GameStop, don't have to mail anything, don't have to advertise anything. Just a few clicks and you're done. People are much more likely to do something when it's convenient to do so and I have no doubt that used sales would be even more prevalent in the digital market than in the physical market. Publishers will recognize this and try to find other ways to maximize their profits, sacrificing many of the benefits that digital distribution once offered to consumers.

Precisely. As I said earlier, digital resale boils down to having two buttons, one of which gives you the game for a cheap price, the other that gives you the game for a full price. If there are no other differences, there will only ever be enough "new" sales to feed initial demand, and after a couple of days no one will buy new anymore unless other incentives are provided to do so.

In short, people who want digital resale are telling publishers "We don't want to buy your games anymore, please switch to free to play item shop multiplayer business model en masse. Thanks!" Maybe that's not how they really feel, but it's the only viable business model in a market where they can no longer make enough money off retail sales.

I don't know if they'd go as far as F2P but they'd certainly focus more on multiplayer and DLC. The main reason why PC has seen a resurgence over the past few years is because of digital distribution and the fact that publishers get a higher profit margin from digital sales. Digital distribution now accounts for at least 50% of PC game sales. If you allow used sales of digital games, you're taking away the biggest reason why publishers support digital distribution and therefore giving them less incentive to support PC gaming.

It's easy to say "It's my right to sell my digital games" or "Publishers should make games that I would never want to sell" but that's taking an awfully short-sighted view of the situation. You need to look at the current reality of the PC market and why it is the way it is. In the short term, used digital sales are great for PC gamers. In the long term, it's only going to hurt PC gamers.
 
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84. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 00:16 ventry
 
Devinoch wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 20:24:
Your point about money up front business model carries an expectation that a products not faulty. Define "faulty." Bug free? Then stop buying software. "Manageable bugs?" That's a fair expectation. Did you ever see a movie you didn't like? Is that "faulty" entertainment? Can you get your money back? No, you can't.

You, sir, need to have realistic expectations, or expect to see gaming go away.

Hollywood is another of those corporate scam artists who have lost sight of who the customer really is(even more so than the gaming industry)and no, I rarely go to the cinema at all and I don't buy dvd's or blu-ray's.

Gaming will NOT go away. Hyperbole there.
{soapbox mode on}
However I would not bat one eyelid if 90% of current publishers went bust because people stopped buying their bullshit. EA, Ubisoft and even Zenimax I'd like to see go bust so the message would go out that WE are the customers and if you piss on us then you lose.
I do not however hold any hope that this will happen as stupid kids will still wet themselves like over excited puppies for Modern Warfare 2,3,4,.....50,000.
Let's take Zenimax,Bethesda & Skyrim as an example......
Skyrim through Steam in Australia is STILL $90 USD!!!
Whereas it is only $60 USD if you live in the USA.
The AUD is ahead of the USD in value. There is NO shipping costs to speak of so, this is a blatant and deliberate RIP-OFF!!
I have NO sympathy for any company who does this and dies.
Let's hear how you justify that sort of shit Mr.Devinoch.
This is only one example, you need to take your head out of your arse and take off your rose colored glasses.
{soapbox mode off}

This comment was edited on Jul 4, 2012, 08:35.
 
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83. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 4, 2012, 00:03 NKD
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 22:47:
You're forgetting the convenience advantage of trading in digital products. With physical products, there are many variables to consider. The condition of the product, the quantity of the product, the size of the product, the weight of the product, etc. With digital products, you don't have to worry about any of those things. You click a couple of buttons and get credit instantly. Don't have to drive to GameStop, don't have to mail anything, don't have to advertise anything. Just a few clicks and you're done. People are much more likely to do something when it's convenient to do so and I have no doubt that used sales would be even more prevalent in the digital market than in the physical market. Publishers will recognize this and try to find other ways to maximize their profits, sacrificing many of the benefits that digital distribution once offered to consumers.

Precisely. As I said earlier, digital resale boils down to having two buttons, one of which gives you the game for a cheap price, the other that gives you the game for a full price. If there are no other differences, there will only ever be enough "new" sales to feed initial demand, and after a couple of days no one will buy new anymore unless other incentives are provided to do so.

In short, people who want digital resale are telling publishers "We don't want to buy your games anymore, please switch to free to play item shop multiplayer business model en masse. Thanks!" Maybe that's not how they really feel, but it's the only viable business model in a market where they can no longer make enough money off retail sales.
 
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If you don't like where gaming is heading, stop giving your money to the people who are taking it in that direction.
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82. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 23:25 jdreyer
 
Devinoch wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 19:54:
There has not been a "bug free" piece of software shipped in the last twenty years.

Or practically never. Almost every software has bugs. The amount of QA a piece of software needs to be bug free is astronomical. They made bug free auto pilot software for the Space Shuttle. For every hour of development, they spent three hours of QA. Imagine that. The full time QA staff was three times larger than the dev staff. Usually the ratio is the opposite of that: 1 QA per 3 devs.
 
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"Microsoft is the absent minded parent of PC gaming" - Verno
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81. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 23:00 SimplyMonk
 
Jerykk wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 22:47:
Making longer, deeper and more replayable single-player games? Not so much.

Yeah. Well, I can dream. I suppose my JRPG fetish may of skewed my opinion a bit.
 
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80. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 22:47 Jerykk
 
The question should be if you have a used digital game market, will you like how the industry adjusts to maximize profits in that market? Or you would prefer that things stay the way they are? I can promise you, though, you switch to allowing a digital used game market and the industry will change.

This. One of the big reasons why publishers are supporting digital distribution is the lack of used sales. Every digital sale results in revenue given directly to them (with a cut taken by the distributor). When you allow used sales, this benefit is largely negated. Another likely consequence is that the huge sales we all love will likely be toned down. With players able to resell their games, publishers have less incentive to offer huge discounts because players will already have credit earned by selling their games.

As someone who doesn't buy or sell used games, I'm not liking the potential ramifications of this law.

What this means is that a healthy used market will tend to push publishers into developing either game's with episodic content or games with very high replay-ability, multiplayer or long, rewarding campaigns that the buyer wants to hold onto. Short games, even good ones, would suffer greatly.

Sadly, high replayability isn't going to hinder used sales. For example, RPGs have the most replayability of any single-player genre. Hell, just one playthrough usually takes at least 20 hours. However, the vast majority of consumers don't actually finish RPGs, letalone replay them.

Used sales convince publishers to do two things: cram multiplayer into games that don't need it and pump out lots of DLC. Making longer, deeper and more replayable single-player games? Not so much.

What is really the question here is will enough of the market withhold from buying a digital copy in order to wait for resale of a "used" version, and thus make the software companies wither out and die? I doubt it. History has yet to show that happening with DVDs, console games, or VHS tapes.

You're forgetting the convenience advantage of trading in digital products. With physical products, there are many variables to consider. The condition of the product, the quantity of the product, the size of the product, the weight of the product, etc. With digital products, you don't have to worry about any of those things. You click a couple of buttons and get credit instantly. Don't have to drive to GameStop, don't have to mail anything, don't have to advertise anything. Just a few clicks and you're done. People are much more likely to do something when it's convenient to do so and I have no doubt that used sales would be even more prevalent in the digital market than in the physical market. Publishers will recognize this and try to find other ways to maximize their profits, sacrificing many of the benefits that digital distribution once offered to consumers.

This comment was edited on Jul 3, 2012, 23:04.
 
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79. Re: EU to Allow Digital Software Resales? Jul 3, 2012, 22:35 SimplyMonk
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jul 3, 2012, 22:19:
So, you do or don't agree with this?

Whether a used game market should or should not exist (you should be able to sell/gift your game or not) for digital video games isn't so much a question of whether it is "right" or "wrong", because that is bullshit in my opinion.

The question should be if you have a used digital game market, will you like how the industry adjusts to maximize profits in that market? Or you would prefer that things stay the way they are? I can promise you, though, you switch to allowing a digital used game market and the industry will change. For the better or worst.... who knows. The concept might just kill digital games entirely since a digital used game market would be thousands of times more responsive than a physical used market which has to deal with the usual hindrances of retail sales. Make one wrong move as a publisher and there is your entire digital inventory thrown into the used market, killing all new sales in a manner of minutes.


I like change for change's sake though. So sure. I agree with you. Let's mix this shit up!
 
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