3 comments on “Why I don’t buy used games: TotalBiscuit

  1. Allow me to introduce a vague economic concept : decay. Decaying is of two types : physical (wearing down, scratches, mileage, etc.) and moral (a newer model appears on the market). Of course video games don’t have physical decay, since either it works or doesn’t. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have moral decay. This brings me to the actual point :

    Look at steam. I’m bringing up steam because TB bought it up too. Games decay at quite a fast rate. DmC costed 60E retail, now it’s 40E and it’s starting to pop on sales. It will decay even more. L4D2 went down 10 euros two weeks after it hit retail. This is why used games are not a big deal for steam users, because the decay factor will force you to sell at a big loss to get rid of it fast.

    Now let us look at the console market. Unless the developer releases a gold edition, console games NEVER decay. I’m looking up prices right now in my country and on the PS3 shelf, Max Payne 3 is STILL 60 euros, Borderlands 2 is STILL 60 euros. Meanwhile, MP3 on steam is 30 euros, Borderlands 2 40 euros. Want something even funnier? Digital service games on consoles never decay either. Skullgirls is still 15 euros, Fez is still the same price : 15 euros.

    If console game developers actually want to combat used game sales, they need to introduce a decaying model to their prices so it’s not convenient for a retailer like Gamestop to stock up on 40$ games to sell them for 55$.

    • My only experience with digital console games is on PSN, and the games there (at least in the US region) gets price drops every now and then, not just during sale periods, but also permanently decayed price drops. Best example I can think of is Resident Evil 6, it had a noticable price drop on US PSN after about 5-6 months.

      For retail games, it really depends on whether the game shop is knowledgeable enough in the first place to decay the prices for older games. I see decaying prices all the time here in our most popular shops. I know that the costs for distributing games in places like Europe and Australia are very high, with many middlemen in-between who are trying to take a cut — so perhaps that is the reason why games in those regions don’t decay easily.

      Unfortunately, it’s not always that easy to introduce price drops. I have heard weird tales of game shops in my country that have attempted to do so, only to get “blacklisted” by the distributor and other competing shops for attempting to undercut the market. It’s very weird and bizarre.

      I bought BL2 on day one at full price, and played over 200+ hours thus far. Could I have waited for the 66%-off Steam sale to save some money? Probably. But I already got all of my enjoyment out of it since release day (200 hours is no joke). In the end (at least for Steam), it all boils down to whether we really want to play the game on day one. If not, and if we can afford to wait, just wait for the price decay and discounts. Both are totally acceptable, and the developers/publishers still earn their money.

  2. I personally think used games are a huge stimulator for market growth, and they don’t infringe terribly on new game sales. Their most important function is probably aiding B-list titles. We currently have a climate where people can’t afford to buy anything but a sure sell new. Maybe I’ll buy the newest Mario or Halo for $60 new, but it’s hard to convince myself and others to take a chance on an untested franchise or developer.

    Some people will go ahead, but other people will wait to buy used and see if this developer is worth watching out for. And that’s not a matter of a lost sale – I would *never* have bought Vanquish at retail price, and it’s turned out to be one of my favorite games this generation. It strengthened my faith in both Platinum and director Shinji Mikami, and really turned me on to the idea of buying The Evil Within, which I was very hesitant about before.

    If publishers and developers want to undercut the used game market, the onus falls on them to do so. We have a situation with the Xbox One where Microsoft is willing to give complete control of the market to publishers, potentially at great cost to consumers. But the correct course of action is not more restriction, it’s more openness. Steam doesn’t work because there’s no alternative, it works because it has some of the best deals you’ll find in gaming, on an easily accessible platform. People buy massive amounts of games on Steam that they don’t even play, all because they’re so cheap and accessible. The correct course of action for Microsoft would be to allow and encourage publishers to hold sales on their digital titles whenever they want, to undercut the used games market by just being a better platform. It brings positive attention to the games and, more importantly, positive attention to the publishers.

    We’re entering an era where publishers’ relationship with gamers is everything. Big companies like Capcom continuously undermine that relationship, and it’s hurting their sales and corporate image. People are mistrustful of their games, and they don’t know if they want to buy their games even when it’s a game they really want to play. If nothing else, sensible sales and the used game market both say to players, here, you can try this, and see if you don’t like it.

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