Electronic Arts keeping price of games artificially high

Electronic Arts always seem to get the [email protected] end of the stick when being discussed in the gaming community. Not least because of their aggressive buyout of top developers such as Pandemic, Bullfrog and such like, but also the tendency for them to invest huge amounts of money in acquiring licenses only to produce a bunch of shovelware that sits atop the festive gaming charts year in year out.

As if that wasn't bad enough - EA are now beginning to attempt to 'strangle' the second hand games market.

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Bleem3604426d ago

if this sort of thing goes on in the US too?

frostquake4426d ago

I knew this was coming. Publishers hate that their games are re-sold at places like Gamestop in the USA. Insiders have told me that publishers have been working diligently trying to come up with an agreement with Game stores that sell used games, but to no avail. What I strongly believe will happen, and the fact that it is happening now, is that publishers are going to start releasing games on the consoles only as Downloadable. We are already seeing this with Siren Blood Curse in the USA. In fact Criterion has announced that they will be offering Full Download of Burnout Paradise with all the goodies.

Unless Big Gaming stores and Publishers can reach some sort of profit agreement with used game sales, I think games will start heading to download only.

I know the general public will not be willing to pay almost full price for used games, but that is what will have to happen if publishers start taking a slice of the pie as well.

Bleem3604426d ago

Yeah I agree that publishers will move more towards digital distribution, but in reality I think they are going to be held back by infrastructure concerns.

Certainly here in the UK, broadband speeds are nowhere near good enough to allow users to download say MGS4 or Gear 2 without a very long wait. My connection, like the majority of the UK is one of those "up to 8meg" but in truth I only ever get 4meg maximum out of it.

Once the infrastructure is in place to deliver 100mb connections to homes, I think we'll see digital dist really take off. I think lack of infrastructure is what killed off the Phantom console idea..

frostquake4426d ago

Here in the USA there is a push by the publishers for a more robust infrastructure, and in fact behind the scenes, publishers are starting to use their weight( push for stronger more diverse infrastructure.
What is really interesting is that this fall we will start to see a release of TV's with hard-drives incorporated into them as standard. This would eliminate the need for Tivo type devices, but an ancillary result of this would be your Television Networks pushing for a larger more intense network that would start delivering product to the consumer, which in fact could create that more robust network and have a direct impact on the ability to deliver video game content to consoles.
I really think we are on the precipice of change, and those puny 60-80 gig hard drives are going to fill up rapidly, and those TeraByte hard drives will become the norm.
I really see the future of used game sales being dropped all together.

titntin4426d ago

Games to be downloadable only? Certainly not in this generation, or I suspect, the next.

MS sells more arcade models than any other sku. No hard drive. Most 360's with a drive have a 20 gig one with just 15 gig available for storage, as I do. Thats just two full games, and not enough for even one JRPG.

The PS3 situation isn't much better. At least they all have hard drives, but the bulk of them are 40 gig drive with about 35 gig available. A game like Siren takes 10 gig of that. A game like MGS4 wouldn't even fit on it.Yes I know its easy to upgrade and I have 320gig drive in mine, but your average consumer does not want this.

At least 40% of users are not even online with these machines, so releasing games as 'download only' is hideously restrictive in terms of your potential audience. It will definitely not be the norm for this generation for full games.

This kind of restriction of second hand pricing and sales, has been much discussed in the games dev world for many years. Indeed its been nearly 8 years since I last worked for EA and it was a topic for debate then. Commercial law dictates they have no say in the sale of used items, and cannot influence it in any way. If this report is not simply FUD, and Game have really entered an agreement with E.A. it is totally illegal.
Can you imagine if music studios demanded a cut of every second hand CD sold, or film studios demanded a cut of every second hand DVD? It can never happen.

frostquake4426d ago

Where I lived a few years back there were well over 25 stores that popped up overnight to sell used Music CD's, now there is only one chain, Hasting's Superstores.
In fact my primary job over 10 years ago was being a music buyer for a major chain. The industry took a huge hit with music DLC. In fact I left my job just in time, because 6 months later the company downsized and eliminated several position's, including the one I had. I felt sorry for the guy who took my job, because he held out till they day they let him go.
The comparison of music industry to the used video game market has its points but also includes all its weakness's as well. Really everyone currently has some sort of portable MP3 player, like i-pod or zune or just some generic one. In fact many record labels are testing their clients on download services like i-tunes to see if the investment of mass producing CD's is warranted.
I think the niche for hard copy content is dwindling, and Giants like Sony, and Microsoft love this. Both companies would much rather you buy a copy of the movie "Cloverfield" on their systems DLC, rather then going into your local retail box or even purchasing it used.
Making a video game available for only download, does limit you to only those who can access it, but also cuts out the middle-man as well as the cost of producing hard-copies.
I do agree and think we are at the beginning of this push, but it is happening, and it is not some concept. Many things will have to happen before entire games are down load only and are truly successful, but I still think it will happen sooner then you think.
The selling of used games is just one piece of the puzzle that publishers are trying to control.
So I totally agree with you comments relating to Used CD's because I witnessed the demise of hard copy CD's first hand, partly brought on by Music Giants not wanting their CD's sold as used, and them not getting a cut of the profits. What resulted was a push to control the content and get a cut of the used sales, but instead resulted in in the downfall of their very business model, but the surge of down load portals like i-tunes.

titntin4426d ago

Whilst I concede you are making some good generic points, this article is purely about an attempt by a publisher to grab a slice of the pie from second hand sales of physical goods, and I re-state that they simply cannot do this.

Your assertion that this would lead to full games becoming download only, seemed to suggest this was going to start happening now, when in fact, this will certainly not happen in this generation, and unless theres a huge pipeline increase in the next few years will not happen in the next gen either.

I think we can both agree that this will be the preferred model for distribution in the future, not just for games but for all media! We just disagree about when that might happen.
I contend that the technology in this gen of machines is simply not adequate for the storage demands, and that the bandwidth requirements are not even in place in high tech countries like the states, never mind the rest of the world, much of which has populations still using 'dial-up', if theres any connectivity at all. It will be very a long time before the majority of the world is on a pipe big enough to distribute 'big' media - and I suggest that it is you who will surprised by just how long it takes for this availability to be universal enough as to become the primary distribution model.

The dowloadable music scenario does indeed point the way to what can happen once there is enough bandwidth to support the media concerned. In the case of music of course, its a tiny file in comparison to the ever increasing game sizes and uncompressed high Def 1080P films. Even in this market though, there is a still a considerable amount of hard copies being purchased - about 60 million just in the states last year. As a quality whore, I can't stand MP3's except for appraisal, so I'm one of the people who still buys full quality CD's , though I download a lot of albums at 320kb/s to appraise if I'm gonna like it first!

Anyhow, thanks for your thoughts and having a reasoned debate! Its getting harder to have a reasoned debate on here these days, so its always appreciated when people do make the effort to explain their views properly!

Bleem3604426d ago


Bubbles for you squire!

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 4426d ago
Bleem3604426d ago

Not sure I need a TV with a built in HDD, well not for the forseeable future anyway.

I'm sure there are folks out there though who'd enjoy having such a thing though, I just don't see the takeup being there for it right now though.

Smacktard4426d ago

I don't want download-only games. I like my hard copies, and I will be pissed if everything goes digital.

I'm afraid of change!

BrotherNick4426d ago

Holographic data storage captures information using an optical inference pattern within a thick, photosensitive optical material. In 2006, InPhase technologies published a white paper reporting an achievement of 500 Gb/in.

Holographic data storage can provide companies a method to preserve and archive information. The write-once, read many (WORM) approach to data storage would ensure content security, preventing the information from being overwritten or modified.

I think this would work for the 360 but with sony blu-ray the games are huge...I don't know what they'd do.

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