GWJ Conference Call Episode 277

Conference Call


Video Games, Used Games & The Used Games Market, Your Emails and more!

This week the guys talk about video games and explore some topic or another. This description is amazing because I wasn't on the show and I've been on a plane all day. Hurray!

To contact us, email [email protected]! Send us your thoughts on the show, pressing issues you want to talk about or whatever else is on your mind. You can even send a 30 second audio question or comment (MP3 format please) if you're so inclined.

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Show credits

Music credits: 

Intro/Outtro Music - Ian Dorsch, Willowtree Audioworks

Coactive (BigBot Audio Drop) - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 25:02

And All That Between (BigBot Audio Drop) - SGX - http://sgxmusic.com/ - 43:32

Comments

Game producers recognize there is a large economic opportunity in the used game market and respond by trying to shut it down. Instead why not try capitalize on that market themselves? Set up a 3rd party venture between themselves where people can sell back their games in order to get credit to buy new games from those partners that own the joint venture. The used games can then be sold online to easily offset the costs of those discounts..

Now THAT is an idea I've not heard. Interesting.

BaconIsTheCure wrote:
Game producers recognize there is a large economic opportunity in the used game market and respond by trying to shut it down. Instead why not try capitalize on that market themselves? Set up a 3rd party venture between themselves where people can sell back their games in order to get credit to buy new games from those partners that own the joint venture. The used games can then be sold online to easily offset the costs of those discounts..

Good idea, but I imagine the logistics of trying to mail physical media back and forth would be a nightmare so people would just use the convienence of Gamestop anyway. And if it were digital distribution, they'd just do what Steam does and discount older games.

PC games have no secondary market, and the number of $60 games has been increasing, not decreasing. And while we're all spoiled on sales from digital download stores, it's easy to forget that PC game price drops at retail stores (GameStop, Target, WalMart) are glacially slow.

Nevin73 wrote:
BaconIsTheCure wrote:
Game producers recognize there is a large economic opportunity in the used game market and respond by trying to shut it down. Instead why not try capitalize on that market themselves? Set up a 3rd party venture between themselves where people can sell back their games in order to get credit to buy new games from those partners that own the joint venture. The used games can then be sold online to easily offset the costs of those discounts..

Good idea, but I imagine the logistics of trying to mail physical media back and forth would be a nightmare so people would just use the convienence of Gamestop anyway. And if it were digital distribution, they'd just do what Steam does and discount older games.

This.

The solutions keep becoming more and more convoluted. Now we have a suggestion that the publishers each set up used game systems that cost money to not only run, but market in competition with Gamestop. How much money to we want Gamestop to cost the publishers of games we love?

It's really why the current strategies they are using works. They encourage new games sales, while giving used customers an opportunity to support the publisher. If they move to a digital front, then you get a full on Steam environment and much more aggressive pricing.

The moral issue is simple. Publishers have a right to sell games in any manner they wish, and customers have a right to not buy anything sold in manner they do not care for. Period.

A publishers drive to make a profit will coincide with gamers desire to play games, and the market will be fed.

Nevin73 wrote:
BaconIsTheCure wrote:
Game producers recognize there is a large economic opportunity in the used game market and respond by trying to shut it down. Instead why not try capitalize on that market themselves? Set up a 3rd party venture between themselves where people can sell back their games in order to get credit to buy new games from those partners that own the joint venture. The used games can then be sold online to easily offset the costs of those discounts..

Good idea, but I imagine the logistics of trying to mail physical media back and forth would be a nightmare so people would just use the convienence of Gamestop anyway. And if it were digital distribution, they'd just do what Steam does and discount older games.

Is it any more difficult than Netflix DVDs? Send someone an box, they drop it in the mail and on verification they get credit. On the buying a new game side it's no different than buying a game online now you just have a credit towards that game.

Interesting article on used digital music sales. Perhaps digital video game downloads are not the answer for publishers.

Judge denies EMI's bid to halt resale of digital music
http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-57372464-261/judge-denies-emis-bid-to-halt-resale-of-digital-music/

BaconIsTheCure wrote:
Interesting article on used digital music sales. Perhaps digital video game downloads are not the answer for publishers.

Judge denies EMI's bid to halt resale of digital music
http://news.cnet.com/8301-31001_3-57372464-261/judge-denies-emis-bid-to-halt-resale-of-digital-music/

While journos tend to make a bigger deal than they should about rulings in motion practice, I'd like to see that one go to trial myself. We need more case law repeating that digital content isn't so fundamentally different from analog that it shouldn't generally hold to the same laws. Email ~ post, book ~ ebook, etc. I really dislike the claims that these things can't be treated the same.

If they do rule that way, then wouldn't the geniuses in the music industry stop selling DRM-free content?

Quintin_Stone wrote:
PC games have no secondary market, and the number of $60 games has been increasing, not decreasing. And while we're all spoiled on sales from digital download stores, it's easy to forget that PC game price drops at retail stores (GameStop, Target, WalMart) are glacially slow.

This is one of the many reasons why I haven't bought a physical copy of a PC game since, like, Medieval Total War.

Someone mentioned up above that the car industry paradigm fits here. I thought about my time in a car dealership and realized that it really doesn't. Dealerships pay "floorplan" to the manufacturers which is really interest on the new cars that haven't sold yet. So when you buy a used vehicle, part of that profit still goes to the manufacturer. In addition, regardless of where you buy your used car, most of the parts for vehicles also directly come from the manufacturers. So the auto manufacturers still get a revenue stream, even from used sales.

hbi2k wrote:
I think used sales definitely do cater to a portion of the market that is never going to drop $60 on a brand new game. Viewed that way, publishers are not actually losing out on a $60 when someone buys used, because that person was never going to spend $60 on the game anyway.

The problem is that the publisher would like to have that person's money too; maybe not sixty bones, but SOME of it. I don't think it's horrible and wrong for them to want that, but it's problematic for them to try to go after it.


What publishers want to do is to sell games at $60 to people who are willing to pay $60, and at $40 to people who want to pay $40, and $5,000 to people who can pay $5,000. Just like every other business. The current regime is the closest they can get to that world. So the market isn't perfectly efficient... yet... waaah.

All this talk about the used market feels to me like advance PR work getting gamers to like it when the Xbox 720 ships without a physical media reader.

Then again, maybe the game industry took a look at what a more efficient marketplace would look like and didn't like what they saw - $0.99 games.

Fedaykin98 wrote:
If they do rule that way, then wouldn't the geniuses in the music industry stop selling DRM-free content?

Honestly, I think that sort of ruling is made more probable because of the lack of effective DRM. DRM is central to counter-arguments against the notions both that bytes on a home PC can be controlled by the PC's owner, and that bytes are at least as transferrable as any physical medium.

Padmewan wrote:
What publishers want to do is to sell games at $60 to people who are willing to pay $60, and at $40 to people who want to pay $40, and $5,000 to people who can pay $5,000. Just like every other business. The current regime is the closest they can get to that world. So the market isn't perfectly efficient... yet... waaah.

I think you're partially right. They should sell a game for $60 to the person that will pay $60 and $40 to a person that will pay $40 at anything above the break even mark. Playing with the supply & demand curve like we see on Steam seems to be the best way yet to do this. I bought Shogun 2 - Total War on sale for cheap and never would have at full market price because it wouldn't have provided enough value to me (I knew I wanted to try it but may not and have not played it that much). I'll be interested to see when Steam starts to have not mass market sales but rather personal sales. Based on my buying patterns and the games my friends have they can (and should) price different games accordingly. If they see that you've bought every MW and have 100 friends playing it there is no reason to discount that price. I on the other hand who maybe have 5-6 friends playing and have no purchase history of that game but do for Monday Night Combat should perhaps recieve %43 off.

We're probably saying the same thing I just think that it's not the game that changes it's the price point at which they get diferent people to buy.

If I hadn't said it yet (in this thread), I live for the day that the console market looks like Steam. I would buy more games, no question. I would buy second copies of games that I enjoyed on PC but would rather/also play on the couch.

Dear GWJ,

While I love your show I do have to say that I disagree with your assessment about used games. While new games are great for the publisher, they aren't always the best thing for me. The used game market offers me a very distinct option: the ability to return a game if I don't like it.

Over the years I have realized something about myself; I don't like the same things that gaming podcasts/critics like. While a game like Fallout 3, Deus Ex, or Skyrim may get rave reviews and entrance thousands of gamers; I didn't like any of them. And so when a retailer like Gamestop offers me the option to return a game to them within seven days of purchase if I don't like it as long as it is a used game is amazing. I returned Fallout 3 for Ghostbusters (which I enjoyed), Deus Ex for Condemned (I also enjoyed), and only borrowed Skyrim from a friend.

I know I'm not alone in this. I'm willing to buy a game like Dragonage 1 or 2 new, because the demo for each blew me away, but for every Dragonage I find three acclaimed titles that I can't bother to put more than an hour into. If the games industry wants me to not buy used games, then they need to put out comprehensive demos for me to download onto my Xbox. If I try the game and I find myself blown away like I was with Dragonage 2, then I will gladly shell out $60. On the flip side it will also let me dodge a game like Catherine, which I didn't like.

So I would pose the answer to this problems is demos, not DLC.

Sugarlessllama wrote:
Dear GWJ,

While I love your show I do have to say that I disagree with your assessment about used games. While new games are great for the publisher, they aren't always the best thing for me. The used game market offers me a very distinct option: the ability to return a game if I don't like it.

So I would pose the answer to this problems is demos, not DLC.


I couldn't agree more, the ability to return a sh*tty game is great. There have been plenty of games I've been burned on but since they were new I couldn't return them.

Though not a bad game, Beyond Good and Evil was ridiculously short. I finished it in one day, and loved it. Though if I had bought it new I would be upset I just blew $20. Instead I took it back to the LameStop and traded it for Ratchet and Clank (this just goes to show how long ago this was) and I loved it. I became a fan of Ratchet and Clank and bought quite a few of the titles new.

Had it not been for the option of used games, Sony would've missed out on the profit of 5 new games instead of just one. I realize this is purely anecdotal, but I can't be the only person willing to try something new when the risk is low.

You gotta love a guy that extols the virtues of Gamestop's used game return policy, but still takes a shot at the company, calling it Lamestop. I'm sure businesses are falling all over themselves trying to win your business.