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Lolthien's blog

2:07 PM on 07.16.2009

What can used games sales tell us?

These recent stories about a rebellion against used games from the various game makers has gotten me thinking. Why are used game sales so bad from a producer's standpoint? Why are so many used games being sold? Is there anything that can be done to resolve the conflict there?

The first question is pretty easy to answer. Basically Game Publishers, and by extension the development companies that rely on the publishers for their royalties, only get money from the first sale of any particular game. And they get a large portion of it too. A retailer may only see a dollar or maybe two in profit on new game sales, the rest of our $60 goes straight to the publisher, and from there a portion goes on to developers, marketers, etc. Therefore, they see each used game sale (from which they receive NO money at all) as a lost sale. After all, if a used version of RTS Shooter 10, is not available, then a customer would simply pay full price for a new copy, and thus for each used copy that is bought, one less new copy is sold.

Obviously from this goes our second question, why are so many being sold. Obviously retailers are pushing used games hard because they receive 100% of the profit on that used game themselves. The only cost is the pittance they pay those who turn in used games, and instead of the one or two dollar profit they would see on a new game, they might see twenty, thirty, or possibly forty dollars in profit from the sale. Therefore any retailer would be crazy not to push used games as much as possible.

To the consumer, the choice is obvious. If the game plays the same, and is indistinguishable from a new retail copy except that it is five or ten dollars cheaper, what kind of person would pay full price?

And I think therein lies the solution. Price. If games cost $30 instead of $60, how many more new copies would be sold during the first week before any used were available? In my head I can already hear some of you saying, "Twice as many.. duh".. out there in internetland. But from some basic research already done on the Steam Network suggests that the increase in sales could be ten times or more. As many other non-video-game experiments with markets forces suggest, there is a threshold most people have in their head relating to disposable income. Anything below that mark doesn't seem to register as money even worth counting as spent. (Yours for only $19.99 anyone?)

In fact, 2K games tried this YEARS ago with their last officially endorsed NFL game NFL 2K5. And not only was that game well up to any measurable standards of the time, it is widely considered the best of any of the NFL 2K games, and enjoyed a huge surge in sales large enough to scare EA into signing an exclusive deal with the NFL, effectively shutting down 2K Sports football franchise.

Reduced pricing for games really is the only option for these game publishers to short circuit the chain of used game sales being exploited by Gamestop and others is to lower the retail cost of new games when they are still brand new. Obviously, the executives and stockholder boards at these companies are scared pantsless that lowering the initial cost will make their rampant profits over the past decade or so go up in smoke... and I'm no economist so that might be true. But it seems to me, that if there is a market for lower priced games (not necessarily USED games) they would be fools to not find a way into that market.

So that's my challenge to the game publishers: EA.. make the next Madden cost $19.99! Ubisoft.. make the next Splinter Cell priced at $19.99! What is the worst that would happen? You only make one third the profits if the exact same number of people buy your game. And yes, that would be bad, but if TEN TIMES the number of people buy your game, then you've increased sales by more than three times. And profits come pouring in from there.

So, I invite comment from the Dtoid community, am I crazy? What have I forgotten? Is this the best idea ever and you happen to be president of EA and want to offer me a job as VP of Marketing??? Just let me know below!   read

2:28 PM on 01.05.2009

Question out there for people who know about Netflix on 360


My connection is apparently right on the edge of HD-speed on the Netflix streaming dealio. If I'm watching an HD flick or show, I can watch the first five minutes or so before the buffering starts and it kicks me down to a lower res...

So my question: If I start the movie or show, and then pause it for a while, will the buffer build up? If I let it sit for 10, 15, 20 minutes or so, will it make a difference and possibly let me watch the whole show in HD?

What say ye?   read

2:50 PM on 12.22.2008

Probably getting CoD:WaW 5 extra shooty game for Christmas. Worth it?

Is it really worth playing? Half my friends list is playing it every night, and while I love me some Left4Dead, it can be a bit difficult to find a game with four people I can stand to listen to (counting myself). But I played the beta for World at War and pretty much put it away in disgust after a few days because it simply wasn't anything other than CoD4 with crappy guns, different skins, and dogs (which are somehow more effective than hovering attack choppers).

Can someone out there give me some reason not to turn this game in for store credit, completely unopened the day after Christmas? I miss playing with all my friend's list pals, but I'd hate to open the game, just to play it once and then put it up on after puking a little.

I'm all for advice.   read

2:28 PM on 12.15.2008

Ok.. XNE/Netflix vs PS3 Home.. really??

I've seen several articles, notably on CNN (from it's no doubt robust gaming news department) suggesting that these two things are effectively competing products.

This strikes me as absolutely ludicrous. Has anyone in the gaming community made this comparison? Do any of you out there feel like this is a valid comparison? One is a method for streaming movies and DVDs to your television and the other is.. a.. place to .. you know... chill... with homies... virtually.

Regardless, do these two products really have competing target markets? Are there really people who have to decide between Netflix on 360 vs Home on the PS3? Netflix costs money, along with the Live subscription (which at $50 a year, I am assured repeatedly is tantamount to anal rape) and the Home program is free...

I just cannot see how these two products are at all comparable other than they hit the scene at about the same time, and isn't Home still just an open beta?

I'm looking for some input out there? Anyone have any opinions on this?   read

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