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In the Swirling Seas of Used Game Sales, PC Market Could be the Guide

To most mainstream videogame publishers, used games sales are the equivalent of Charybdis, the giant whirlpool/monster that set the seas into chaos, taking ships into the depths. The used game market emerges from the deep, engulfing the vast majority of games in the surf of trade-in deals and Gamestop platinum memberships, leaving publishers’ profits deep in the nether regions of the dark, cold abyss.

If early rumors about the next generation of consoles are any indication, Microsoft and Sony may be getting on the bandwagon. Early indications from a variety of sources point to anti-used games technologies, ranging from solid state cartridges to digital download-only tactics. It is worth noting however that none of these ideas have any level of confirmation or certainty; they are simply the usual rumor swill that pops up early in a console’s development cycle. It’s kind of like how Nintendo’s Revolution was supposed to have an augmented reality projector that, combined with beyond-Kinect level motion sensing, allowed gamers to interact with the projected world around them. Instead, we got the Wii wand; really cool at the time, little more than a gimmick today.

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catfrog2327d ago

i think pc gaming is a great way to view the no-used-game-sales debate, for many pc games there are no used game sales because of an always on connection, and each game only allows one person to play per purchase, destroying used game sales.

some of these games, such as starcraft 2, have been out for about a year and are still $60. how can any publisher expect us to believe that they would lower the price on their games if they didnt have used sales taking their revenue when another publisher is sitting there without used games sales eating into their revenue with a game at full price a year later?

Saladfax2327d ago (Edited 2327d ago )

Blizzard is one of those exceptions; they don't seem to understand that not dropping the price or offering sales actually prevents more people from buying the game. A ten year old game in Diablo II + LoD costs 20 bucks on the Blizzard site. Yeah, some people will buy it, but do you really want your primary market to be nostalgists who want to play the game but lost their CD Key 5 years ago?

Yeah, Blizz is doing just fine, but they're missing out on a decent chunk of the market by keeping their prices so high. Instead of a model which relies on a blockbuster release style of millions and millions, you have the base price for the must-haves/early adopters. Then, in 3-6 months, you'll have a sale or some kind of price drop which will snag a bunch of people who waffling on the purchase.

Then, in 1-2 years, you can have a mega sale, offering the game for something like 75% off, then suddenly you get a huge crowd of impulse buyers.

This system is working *insanely* well for Valve with Steam, but Blizzard seems to have succumbed to a moderate amount of the Activision greed which seems to eternally fear sale pricing.

STONEY42327d ago (Edited 2327d ago )

Always-on connection DRM is really rare, and tends to cause a PC community outrage. What destroys used game sales on PC is the CD key system, and the fact that almost everyone uses digital distribution (Steam).

For physicaI discs, I like the idea of a CD key that is only needed for installation/online play more than the idea of an online pass that gets permanently tied to an account, since you can play it on any PC you have with no hassle, or even let a friend borrow it they'll have everything you had and won't be locked out of core features. I see why this can't work for consoles though, since online stats and such are tied to a universal account instead of just that CD key. Steam works like the console system, but you never have to deal with an online pass.

Another thing, Steam sales basically take the place of the lower price of used games, and they still end up cheaper, without being omitted from things for buying used. I doubt you could find Dead Space 2 used on consoles for only $5 last year, plus you wouldn't be able to access the multiplayer. Yet Steam had a sale that did just that last year.

Consoles should keep the used games system though. The games are expensive as is, and digital distribution is still a way off since not everyone with a console has internet, or is paying for XBL in the case of the 360. The online pass business needs to stop though.

Saladfax2327d ago (Edited 2327d ago )

Yeah. I think they should begin to encourage more use in digital distribution. Doing so, for the obvious reasons, will actually take care of a lot of the problems of the used market. They should do it gradually; offer really good pricing and convenience but not limiting anything.

Forcing the issue is a baaaad idea. As you mentioned, consoles aren't ready for wider use of digital (not to mention they haven't figured out how to price properly yet), and crapping on your fanbase really isn't a good idea for any company.