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S0LID B0SS avatar 11:31 PM on 07.07.2013
Bobservations: I'd Buy That For a Dollar



USED GAMES ARE EVIL! How many times have we heard this?  Just ask Cliffy B.  He'll be happy to tell you all about it.  He and a lot of other folks in the industry have varying viewpoints on the subject on both sides of the fence, so I'm going to add my two cents.

First of all, lets examine the relationship between consumer and seller.  In the simplest terms, the consumer wants to get a product for the lowest price possible and the seller wants to sell for the highest price they can get.  Sellers need consumers to survive and will try to increase their customer share by undercutting other sellers, even if only by a few bucks.  That's competition and competition is good.

Now apply this to game retailers.  In general there's no competition when it comes to new games because if a game is $60 new at Gamestop, it's also $60 new at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and everywhere else.  How do you get an edge over the competition?  Allow consumers to turn games in for some store credit and sell the turn-in at a reduced price.  Used to be, mainly hole in the wall/mom and pop shops did this sort of thing and generally no one cared.  Then one day, someone had the bright idea to buy up all the Funcoland's and their ilk and become Gamestop.  Now it's one of the biggest retail chains in the US.  They make a lot of their money on the buying and selling of used games and thus it has become a problem.

Why is it a problem?  The main argument is because Gamestop gets all the money from a used sale and the developer and publisher get none.  This is the crux of Cliffy B's argument and I could see where this is a problem  If devs don't make money, they can't make more games and we don't want that, but we also don't want to pay $60 for a game if we can get it for even $55.  That's still $5 saved.

Then there's the other issue.  When consumers do trade games in, they get a fraction of what the game is going to be resold for.  You may get as much as $30 for particular titles but they're just going to turn around sell it used for $55.  Sticking to the consumer getting the most bang for their buck, it seems better to sell the games via private sale over eBay or Glyde and you can get what you want for it (provided someone else isn't undercutting you by $1).  Again, we're coming back to the argument as well that devs aren't seeing money off those sales.

The solution to this vicious cycle suggested by some in the industry has been to ban the trade and sale of used games outright.  Xbox One recently showed us how consumers will react to this solution and rightly so.  As I've stated previously, if I buy a physical product, I should be able to do what I want with it.

My suggestion would require some responsibility on the part of the consumer and the seller.  Direct sales.  If a dev/pub is worried about making money on every sale, new or used, open a way for people to buy and sell directly with them.

"But Bob," you say, "that could put Gamestop out of business."  I disagree.  Gamestop will want to stay afloat so they will find a way to compete either by giving consumers sweeter deals or by giving devs/pubs a cut of that used game money so maybe they won't want to try the direct sale route.

"But Bob," you shout "if we let devs/pubs sell to us directly, they'll control the price and gouge us to death."  Here's where the responsibility comes in on the part of the consumer.  If you feel the price of a new game is too high DO NOT BUY IT.  As long as you continue to pay the price they're asking, they'll keep asking for it.  If enough people stop paying it, the price will come down.  Supply and demand is your friend.

"But Bob" you cry "if devs didn't charge so much money, they wouldn't be able to keep making awesome games."  I'm gonna call flat-out bullshit on that one.  You do not need a crazy budget and thus a $60 price tag to make an awesome game.  If anyone is demanding cinematic graphics and big set pieces, it's because the devs/pubs have raised consumers to think that way.  We've been trained to think that a games biggest merit is how pretty (or gritty) it looks.  Also as I've stated previously, somewhere along the line we've forgotten that games are first and foremost about having FUN.  Not polygons and emotions (lol, David Cage joke, lol).

Ultimately as long as used games continue to give the consumer a better price, they will continue exist.  If I can find a game for the cheapest price, regardless of who's selling it, I'd buy that for a dollar.

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