I am Scum, the secondhand gamer.
I am the scum of the Earth, I am Satanic, I am the devil worshiper, I am the person single handedly killing the game industry.
I'm a secondhand gamer and I'm proud to say this aloud. So, a recent article on N4G has triggered me into typing this. Although the article was semi-unrelated, I feel this has to be typed. I am being fed up of the game industry seeing me as scum and an inconvenience, this constant labeling in the game industry media is disheartening and annoying as an average gamer.
Everyone knows most the western world has been caught up in a recession, but of course, the game industry has to find someone to blame why they aren't making the sales they intended. This scapegoat my friend, always appears to be the secondhand gamer.
Value and patience
The fact is, if someone waits long enough, most the time, things become cheaper unless they are low in number, rare, significent or of great value. That's a fact and happens incredibly fast with videogames and seems to be increasing. According to the game industry, such as Eidos and David Jaffe, I'm a cockroach that needs to be stamped out. I'm a vampire for a publisher. Now, you look at a game that came out a few months ago, compare the original price to the value now as a secondhand game, I believe that as a 'patient' person, I have the right to get a game cheaper because I have waited longer to play the game. Why in my RIGHT MIND, would I buy a copy of a game which is brand new and is EXACTLY the same minus the fact that someone played it, got bored of it and was perfectly happy to get ripped off in trade value a mere month or two later?
Rights for The Secondhand Gamer
So what am I? Am I the tramp that walks around McDonalds and tries to eat the odd french fries and bits of Big Mac that slopped out whilst biting which have dropped on the ground? Why do I get compared to a pirate which is outright STEALING? Why hasn't this ever been a 'problem' for the game industry before?
Am I to blame for the people that actually TRADE IN THE GAMES in THE FIRST PLACE?
Fact is, I give a game a new home after being unwanted for the 'next model'. I get it cheaper because I'm patient and don't rush out to the shops to buy it day one (Don't get me wrong, I still do this for a lot of developers I'm a fan of, not all my games are secondhand, but a majority are). I go to Gamestation, Game, CEX or Amazon Marketplace, I see a vast library of previous unwanted titles, exchange MONEY for the GAME and take it home/wait for it to arrive and then play it. I have rightfully made this game my property in exchanging the money for the game. I have bought it.
Behind the rising secondhand game scenario
The problem comes down to the fact that so many games are made, that people feel that they have to trade a game for a new one or get credit towards a newly released one (see recent trade of Bioshock 2 half price for one of four games released in the last 2 months at Game) . They are impatient and need to play it day one, play it, find out they complete it faster than intended or it isn't their cup of tea because they've totally FAILED TO READ REVIEWS, sell it. Solution to this problem; RENT GAMES this way the publisher still gets the profit (I'm starting to do this now since R&C:ACiT due to financial reasons and WILL do it for Heavy Rain and GoWIII).
Another part of this problem is that the game industry are claiming and are rightly true that they get no income or profit from secondhand games when sold at game shops. Solution to this one, make the games more worthwhile to keep.
Curse of the virtual reward
An additional reason of why I believe that secondhand game trade-ins are rising is the 'virtual reward', as long as someone has a record of having completed a game and collecting the 'Achievements' and 'Trophies', well, that's the game exhausted, apparently. The game gets traded, the consumer has gotten all out of the game and moves to the next one. I know that people read books, watch DVDs and COLLECT THEM, they have them on shelves so people can walk in and go, "Ah, so you like...(insert whatever here)" and owning things can be a judge of character. I keep my games that I completed as my 'trophies' as would a big game hunter with animals heads mounted on the wall the completed closed boxes of the game and the fact I can play them again at my will, is my reward.
Besides, despite the traders doing me a favour by trading in the games so I can buy them cheaper, I consider them to be idiots to willingly get ripped off by the game shops insulting trade in value or instore credit with the wacky 'stock exchange' of game titles. I remember years ago, when the PS3 was in the dark ages (Pre-Autumn 2007) I tried to trade Resistance and Motorstorm, I was offered £7, sure these games were bundled everywhere, but the fact for both of them, the then two best exclusives on PS3 were being offered for £7 was a mere insult, especially the fact that around the corner was the same game being sold brand new for 4 times the price. I have often considered trading some of my full retail purchased games and back the hell away from the counter after getting a printout.
Digital downloads are the future!
Obviously the next stop is digital downloads. Except for a rather new company, trading secondhand digitally bought games is impossible. Now, digital downloads are a good idea, aren't they, it's a win, win situation, isn't it? WRONG. Prices will probably never drop. Against my previous prediction and statement, I have a lot of PSN games and a few XBLA titles, I like this method of distribution for small games. Valve's Steam service is a brilliant idea and the timed offers are encouraging and I guess, are the equivalent to the secondhand game.
Now, if you look at XBLA and PSN titles game from years ago, you'll notice something, a lot haven't dropped in price, do you really want a future like that? Games ALWAYS being the original retail price no matter how long they've been out? (XBLA is notorious at doing this unless you are a Gold member, followed by Wiiware which never really drop in price and PSN is rather sensible with limited price drops and offers bundles such as Warhawk, much like Steam). But heck, I like the idea of playing a 'used' game and physically own it and treat it with a level of respect, complete it and leave it to play the experience another day.
Again, I am stubborn scum. I poison the game industry and lower developers wages, I cause the chain reaction and butterfly effect of a studio to close down if enough copies of a game aren't sold, in this climate I am likely to buy a game mere months after a studio closes, according to the people out there (I won't even start with Bobby Kotick from Activision) because I choose to sometimes go game shopping at Gamestation, Game, CEX, Ebay or Amazon Marketplace. I see myself as someone with exactly the same hobby as the people that rush out in the first month, I just wait and pay less. I have the RIGHT to buy a game cheaper. If the industry have a problem with that, go and annoy the stores to hand in money to each publisher with each sale, but then that'll cause the secondhand games to go higher, because of the loss of money from the game stores, eh? So here's some words to the industry, I'm not complaining, just stop making the games so worthless that someone would play it to death, get the Achievement and Trophies and then willingly get ripped off in trading it, then PERHAPS I would find less cheap copies. I exchange money for the games in a completely legal fashion, I have the RIGHT to play them without being labeled as 'an inconvenience'. I'm not stopping anytime soon.
Who's with me?
Epilogue; List of secondhand games acquired in the last 5 years
PS3; Condemed 2, Fallout 3, The Chronicles of Riddick:AoDA, Racing Driver GRID, Mercenaries 2, Lego Star Wars: Complete Saga
PSP; God of War: CoO, Metal Slug Anthology, EA Replay, Crash Tag Team Racing, Darkstalkers Chronicles, Mega Drive Collection, Capcom Classics Collection Remixed, Capcom Classics Collection Reloaded, Medievil Resurrection, Every Extend Extra, Gitaroo Man Lives!, Crazy Tax: Fare Wars, GTA:VCS, GTA:LCS, Powerstone Collection, Burnout Legends, Gripshift, Infected, Secret Agent Clank
PS2; Tekken 5, The Warriors, Prince of Persia Trilogy, Rayman 10th Anniversary, Rogue Trooper, Timesplitters, Sly Racoon, Alter Echo, Okami, Destroy All Humans!, Destroy All Humans! 2, God of War, God of War 2, Gungrave, Timesplitters 2, Metal Arms, Soul Calibur 2, Ratchet and Clank, Ratchet and Clank 2, Ratchet and Clank 3, Ratchet Gladiator, Second Sight, Shadow of Rome, Super Monkey Ball Deluxe, The Matrix: Path of Neo, Rez, Shadow of the Colossus, Psi-Ops, Canis Canem Edit (Bully), The Suffering: TTB
360; Lost Planet, Stranglehold, Assassins Creed, Burnout Revenge, Dead Rising, Prey, Condemned, Halo 3, Fusion Frenzy 2, Crackdown, Bioshock, Gears of War, Mass Effect
Wii; Red Steel, Geometry Wars Galaxies, No More Heroes, Destroy all Humans! Big Willy Unleashed (Wii console was also secondhand with Wii Sports and Sonic Unleashed)
Some of these were also ex-rental and came without original packaging.
Thank you for your time.