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Used games

Pre-owned consoles photo
Pre-owned consoles

Want a used console? Buy directly from the manufacturer


You could score a better deal with refurbished units straight from the source
Apr 30
// Tony Ponce
The biggest argument against pre-owned game and hardware sales is that the publisher or manufacturer doesn't see a single cent of that revenue. One solution is for the original companies to start selling used goods themselves...

Bethesda versus freemium multiplayer sequels

Apr 15 // Jim Sterling
"I’m not sure I know the answer to that," confessed vice president Pete Hines in conversation. "It might be that we were simply set up as a different type of company. Our origins were as a boutique-type developer, not a massive publisher with huge overhead and thousands and thousands of employees. We come at things from a different perspective, having gotten into this as a developer that published its own games." Though it may have started small, Bethesda's projects these days are large in scale, and as risky as any release from the likes of Electronic Arts or Ubisoft. Despite this, the company has enjoyed major success with games that other companies are too afraid to touch. Dishonored, if we believe the words of Bethesda's peers, should have failed. It's a brand new IP, a single-player game, without an online pass to protect it from the scourge of GameStop. What's more, it's a linear experience, with a running time some would call too short to maintain player interest. And yet, the game sold quite well, with Bethesda going so far as to call it the beginning of a new series.  Hines admits there is some truth to the belief that it's difficult to sell a game like Dishonored this late in the generation. There is a gamble at play, but ultimately, it can be even less of a risk to just let passionate developers work on the projects they want to work on, rather than force them to do something else.  "There is certainly some truth to the premise. It is more difficult to establish a new IP than it is to go with something people know. It adds risk. And when you're talking about development budgets as big as they are now for these releases -- plus all the support that goes along with that -- from QA, Sales, Marketing, Legal, Finance -- a lot of people are gonna spend a lot of time working to make that game a success. "In listening to the kinds of comments you're talking about, what I really hear is people talking about the risk. You're taking a bigger chance that all that work by all those people is going to pay off. And going with an established IP helps reduce that risk and better ensures success. "With a game like Dishonored, you're talking about a talented, experienced developer like Arkane, with two industry vets -- Raf and Harvey -- leading the project, and they're making the kind of game they know and love; a game they'd always wanted to make, but never had the chance," Hines continues. "From my perspective, it's less risky to let them do that and put that passion in to something they believe in, even if it's new IP, than to tell them to go make a game based on some IP we own that they don't have that same passion for. Or if we made them include some kind of multiplayer because that's what market research says we need. But that wasn't the game they wanted to make. Talented people making something they love and believe in is where, I think, success happens." But surely, single-player gaming is dead, no matter how passionate a developer is. Why is Dishonored surviving in the face of that stark reality? The Bethesda camp believes it's not so much reality as it is people skewing the narrative based on their own interests.  "It's important to note that quite a few people who tend to say those kinds of things do so because it's not what they're doing," explains the VP. "No publisher or developer making single-player games ever comes out and says single-player games won't work. Guys that do mobile games predict that console gaming as we know it is dying. People that do console-only games proclaim that PC is dead. Funny how people don't predict failure for the thing it is they're making or doing. They make those statements to build up or defend what they're doing and tear down what they aren't doing. "Or, they just don't know what the hell they're talking about." Hines remains adamant that solo experiences still have plenty of life left.  "Single-player games aren't going anywhere. Bethesda Softworks has been making single-player games for all of our 25+ years in the industry. We're still here, we're still making them, and people are still buying them. Dishonored was single-player and people really loved it, and it sold well. Skyrim was a complete success. A single-player RPG. There's practically a cottage industry dedicated to talking about how that isn't possible or why that won't succeed. Console fans won't get a game like that. Has to have multiplayer of some kind. PC gaming is dead. It's gotta be a shooter. RPGs are a niche. Etc. "People like fun games. They have games they like to play by themselves, they have games they like to play with others. Every game doesn't have to be all things to all people. And so the Skyrims and Fallout 3s and Bioshock Infinites and Walking Deads of the world aren't going anywhere. Just stop already." A quality solo experience can be achieved with dedication and resources, but often the narrative campaign has to share space with a multiplayer mode, often suggested to be crucial to any game's success these days. That in mind, I was curious as to whether or not Bethesda felt Skyrim could have benefited from an online mode, whether it indeed could have led to the game selling better.  "Given how well it did I'm not sure that's possible," Hines informed me. "Actually, I'm pretty positive the opposite is true. The time and energy we would have put into adding online/co-op/whatever functionality to Skyrim would have taken away from the single-player experience. I don't think the game would have been as good. We'd spend a lot more time working on how it all works when one person is playing versus two people, and the end result would have been a lesser game. "Todd Howard has explicitly said this in the past, so I'm gonna go with what he thinks. I think multiplayer really helps when multiplayer is important to the game experience the developer wants to create. If it's not important, leave it out." Some publishers seem to have an ulterior motive for sidelining solo experiences, with some of them quite open about their fear of single-player games being beaten and traded in. The used game market is a long-running boogieman of the industry, replacing rental services like Blockbuster after the nineties. Again, Bethesda concedes that secondhand games are a concern, and may not have an answer, but companies can try to combat them by offering quality products.  "Absolutely it's a concern," said Hines. "We have tried to mitigate it by creating games that offer replayability, by supporting them with DLC that's worth hanging onto the game for, or offering tools that let them take things further. "There's no doubt that being a videogamer is expensive. Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make, and people are looking for ways to keep it affordable. I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves." Bethesda is not a dyed-in-the-wool customer hero, it has to be said. The company has had its fair share of difficulties with the game buying public, one of the earliest being the notorious Horse Armor DLC -- a useless downloadable purchase for Oblivion that, well, added armor to a horse. It's funny, however, that what was once such a controversy has become a norm. Many games ship with silly cosmetic content that can be downloaded at launch, for a price. Sometimes, the content's even on the disc itself, demanding cash for an unlock.  These days, Bethesda's DLC plans aren't quite so obnoxious, and have certainly taken a step back from the kind of practices seen in games like Dead Space 3.  "Horse Armor was really the first time anyone had tried any real DLC, and was us taking a shot in the dark as far as what DLC might look like or include. We obviously evolved from there both in terms of what we offered, and more importantly what we charged for it. So I think it was partly what the very first one happened to be and how everyone reacted to the very idea of any DLC. If the first DLC had been "Fighter's Stronghold," we probably still would have seen a reaction, but I don't know if it would have been the same kind of reaction. "As you said, we do like to try to make DLC a bit more substantial and haven't done the things a lot of other folks have tried that you mentioned. There are a lot of ways to do DLC, we've tried to stick with what feels right, what fits the game, and what can be successful. Every game is different and the size of the DLC and timing is always going to change based on what the team wants to do, how long that will take, what other project(s) they need to move onto, etc. I can't say what will or won't work for anyone else, just that we're very pleased with the reaction to the DLC we've done over the years and we're going to continue to try to do things that fans want and enjoy." In the mainstream market space, Bethesda remains something of an anomaly. In a way, its recent library of lengthy solo role-playing games and linear, narrative-driven first-person shooters may look old fashioned, even archaic. Its bread and butter is a stable of games rooted in the past of the industry -- its established franchises are venerable, its new ones informed by the design of past generations. In a world where every other publisher is grasping at the new in total uniformity, however, Bethesda's seasoned approach comes off as positively fresh.  Bethesda isn't perfect. Its history with the PlayStation 3 could certainly have been better, and its games regularly pay for their huge size with many documented flaws. When it comes to the business of making and selling games, however, it's one of the few large publishers left I can respect. Even as The Elder Scrolls experiments with an MMO spin-off, and the company prepares to announce a free-to-play title by way of Battlecry Studios, I am consistently pleased by Bethesda's desire to demonstrate success with games other companies are terrified of failing with.  You did good, Bethesda. Keep doing that. 
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How Dishonored, Skyrim and Fallout find success where none should be
The game industry tells us many things in order to justify its various activities. Multiplayer is added to so many games because solo experiences are dying. Online passes are needed because used games are killing creativity. ...

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Office Chat

Assassin's Creed pirates and the safety of used games


Another casual discussion from the Dtoid news room
Feb 27
// Conrad Zimmerman
In this latest installment of Office Chat, I'm joined by Jim Sterling and Jordan Devore to discuss rumors that Assassin's Creed IV will center around piracy on the high seas and express hope for the continued existence of a used games market. Plus, we have a lovely discussion on variable pricing models for games, which pretty much boils down thinking there probably ought to be some of that.
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Sony will 'do the right thing' with PS4 and used games


Worryingly vague statements? Yes please!
Feb 26
// Jim Sterling
Sony's stance on the used game issue seemed fairly straightforward when Shuhei Yoshida said the PlayStation 4 would not block them. However, his exact wording seemed to unnerve some pundits, and the latest from Worldwide Stud...
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In other news, Gamefly just soiled itself
Eidos co-founder Ian Livingston doesn't see a digital-only system this generation, but he suggests the next Xbox will require an always-on internet connection and will feature marked discs that prevent sharing games across sy...

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Sony: PS4 won't block used games


Trade-ins looking likely for the next generation
Feb 21
// Jim Sterling
Sony has gone on record as saying the PlayStation 4 will not block used games, becoming the first of itself and Microsoft to dismiss rumors of console-locked discs. Shuhei Yoshida spilled the beans in a Eurogamer intervi...
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EA wants used games gone, but admits their benefits


Healthy retailers make for healthy game industries, after all
Feb 13
// Jim Sterling
Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen has admitted that his company would be quite happy to see the back of the used game market. While that's a hardly a surprising sentiment, the executive did raise an eyebrow with an hon...
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GameStop: Next Xbox will hurt if it blocks used games


North American retailer addresses Xbox rumors
Feb 08
// Jim Sterling
GameStop, North America's most powerful games retailer, has addressed rumors of the "Next Xbox" shutting out the used game market. The seller of secondhand games believes Microsoft's next system will hurt if it introduces cod...
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Next Xbox always online? Blocks used games? Not buying it


Latest rumors seem too suicidal to be true
Feb 06
// Jim Sterling
More rumors are surfacing surrounding Microsoft's next generation Xbox system, fittingly nicknamed Next Xbox. Once again, the new gossip spells gloom and doom for fans of used games, suggesting Next Xbox will demand an always...
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Valve sued over Steam's inability to sell pre-owned games


German consumer group takes secondhand games seriously
Feb 03
// Jim Sterling
The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZVB) doesn't entertain the long-standing idea of digital games remaining bound to the customer. The consumer group is taking a stand and suing Valve over Steam's refusal to le...
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The DTOID Show: The Walking Dead, Bioshock & Evil Patents


Man, I forgot we even had a show.
Jan 04
// Max Scoville
Happy New Year! We're back, and boy did we miss you! We have a lot of news today, starting with that semi-legit fan-trailer of The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct that probably made it look a lot worse that it'll actually be....
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Pre-owned Wii U systems can download last user's games


Secondhand buyers able to nab some freebies
Jan 04
// Jim Sterling
Nintendo's obsession with tying game purchases to hardware may have bitten it in the keister, with word that secondhand Wii U systems are able to redownload software purchased by the previous owner. Oh Nintendo, you so Ninten...
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Company of awful ideas has awful idea
We're only a few days into 2013, but Sony's already vying for the Asshole of the Year award in a competitive fashion. It's been discovered that the company has patented a method of "tagging" games played on multiple systems, ...

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Online passes scrapped for Hitman: Absolution


Rotten little habit, pleasantly broken
Nov 19
// Jim Sterling
Square Enix has decided that an online pass will no longer be required to play Hitman: Absolution's Contracts multiplayer mode. Even though there will exist copies of the game containing a code, it will not be required to acc...
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GameStop says 70% of used games income goes to new games


Aug 06
// Dale North
GameStop gets a lot of heat from game publishers for selling used games, but it seems that the money the company makes for selling used games goes right back into purchasing new games. GameStop boss Paul Raines revealed ...
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GameStop 'interested' in creating a digital used market


Jul 27
// Jim Sterling
Whether you think it's immoral or justified, GameStop makes its money from used games. Publishers don't like it, which is why they love digital distribution. However, following a recent European Court ruling, and emerging tec...
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The Court of Justice of the European Union has struck a blow to the ego of publishers who believe they're entitled to retain ownership of the games they sell, ruling that consumers have a right to resell digitally distributed...

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Pokemon Conquest features a Dratini Pass


Jun 03
// Jim Sterling
Pokemon Conquest arrived yesterday (just in time for E3 travel!) and, while rifling through the game's bundle of packaging material, I found this little pass code. The code, which is good for only one use, unlocks Dratini as ...
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Jimquisition: Videogames Are A Luxury


May 14
// Jim Sterling
A common argument used to defend the videogame industry from accusation of anti-consumerism is that games are a luxury, therefore nobody is entitled to them. A fair enough suggestion, but one that misconstrues a number of re...
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Sony boss opposes hardware that blocks used games


May 14
// Jim Sterling
Amid rumors that the next Xbox and PlayStation would feature technology designed to block used games, analyst Michael Pachter has delivered an interesting little fact -- Sony America boss Jack Tretton is actually opposed to a...
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Pachter: Orbis/PS4 to suffer if it blocks used games


Mar 30
// Jim Sterling
Industry analyst Michael "Bumblecrumbs" Pachter has responded to rumors that Sony's next generation PlayStation will block used games, believing that the pros are far outweighed by the cons. According to the smooth opera...
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Dyack: used games threaten the industry as we know it


Mar 28
// Jim Sterling
Not long after David Braben had his semi-annual whinge about used games, Denis Dyack has joined the party and declared that used games will destroy the videogame industry as we know it. Sigh.  "I would argue that used ga...
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GameStop no longer wants your GameCube trade-ins


Mar 24
// Kyle MacGregor
Looks like your friendly neighborhood GameStop will no longer be accepting your last-gen Nintendo merchandise. Following a similar move in 2009 for the original Xbox, the retailer will be suspending their trade-in p...
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Braben: used games are killing single-player games


Mar 20
// Jim Sterling
Frontier Developments boss David Braben has been attacking used games for years, and he's still going strong with his claims. Today, he has blamed the used game market for the death of single-player games, tragically missing ...
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Ninja Gaiden 3 online passes not working (Update)


Mar 20
// Jim Sterling
[Update: I've been informed that the passes will go live for the PS3 version between 2pm and 5pm PT. Tecmo Koei is currently trying to hear back from Microsoft about the Xbox 360 version. Apparently they were supposed to be r...
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You can still earn Trophies on pre-owned PS Vita games


Feb 29
// Jim Sterling
Sony is trying all it can to combat used sales of PS Vita games. A few SCEA-published titles are already rocking online passes, but there's a more insidious trick that I didn't even know existed -- Vita carts that s...
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Volition dev would love a console that kills used games


Feb 06
// Jim Sterling
The idea of a new Xbox that refuses to play used games may sound like a problematic, consumer-unfriendly, potentially suicidal idea to reasonable people who are capable of long-term thought, but some people are right behind i...

GameStop's Retro Game Vault is ridiculously stupid

Feb 03 // Tony Ponce
Every so often, GameStop runs a special promotion where you can earn extra points on top of whatever transaction you make that day, but let's be real. Reaching the lofty point totals that GameStop has set for its retro catalog is no simple feat. The only people who could hope to earn enough points are the ones who live and die by GameStop's services, who trade in every damn game they ever buy as if GameStop was some glorified rental chain, or who are so loose with their money that they would gladly spend thousands upon thousands of dollars per year on games alone. Even then, because of the high point values of the Vault items, those people probably couldn't order more than two games anyway. I haven't even talked about the selection yet! As of this moment, the only games available are Super Mario Bros., Double Dragon, and Quake III Arena for the Dreamcast. Everything else is either "sold out" or "coming soon." Double Dragon and Quake III are both 32,500 points, while Mario is 43,250. Of the unavailable games, the only one with a price tag is Sim City, and it's marked at 32,440. How on Earth is GameStop even arriving at these values? Who is going to bend over backwards for a fuckin' loose copy of Mario when it can be found on eBay for the price of a family-size bag of Cheetos? And there doesn't seem to be any semblance of consistency when it comes to which games will be made available down the road. In all likelihood, these games are just the leftover shit from the earlier days, but instead of tossing them out, giving them away to employees, or -- God forbid -- selling them, GameStop opted to devise a ridiculous "incentive" program in the hopes that consumers would drive even more business to the store for the sake of "gifts" that could be acquired infinitely more easily and more cheaply anywhere else! Seriously, fuck these guys.
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Hey, guys! Remember when GameStop used to sell legacy games and hardware? Atari, Genesis, you name it. Those were the days, before the company began swallowing up the competition and ditched the retro wares in favor of almost...

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Syndicate will NOT be using an online pass


Feb 01
// Jim Sterling
While even EA's single-player games have found excuses to slip in an online pass, the co-op fueled Syndicate is confirmed to NOT use one at all. According to EA, it's all about encouraging gamers to play it ... what an innova...
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Early Prototype 2 buyers to get 'Radnet Edition' upgrade


Jan 31
// Jim Sterling
Activision is one of the few big publishers to shy away from putting online passes in its games, but with Prototype 2, it would seem the company is definitely looking to maximize brand new purchases. Early adopters of the ga...

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