I guess second hand books, VHS's and DVD's are just piracy as well (read: no, they're not, and people comparing the re-sale of discs to piracy are just plain wrong)
If the good is a physical object, it can be resold. That's the law. Reselling books, DVDs or PS3 games is a right that everyone has. It's a perfectly sensible and long-accepted doctrine, and it's culturally ingrained. You cannot argue against the reselling of a physical good.
Total Biscuit did an interesting video about this. He's got a bit of a bias toward digital distribution as he's mostly a PC gamer, but his argument boils down generally to books/movies having more alternate streams of income than games where games rely much more on initial sales. Also books/movies are moving away from physical also, so I'm not sure that comparison holds much water in the sense that they are moving away from it in similar fashion.
There's nothing debatable about what I posted, I was just describing the facts. Sources of income and whether business are viable or not is irrelevant to the law.
The comparison is that books, DVDs and PS3 games are all physical goods that are completely self-contained. The person who physically possesses them has the right to enjoy their contents.
Most PC games, Xbone games, ebooks and online movie rentals are not physical goods any more. They person who physically possesses their installation media may not have the right to their contents, these rights are assigned separately to physical possession.
Any of the above physical goods can be resold, whether it's a PS3 game or a PC installer disc with an already-used-up steam key (but obviously the PC disc with the used-up steam key has close to zero value, because it is not the game).
If a publisher doesn't want their games/books/movies resold, they can choose to use the second Xbone/Steam/iTunes licensing option. If they want to allow the right of resale, they can package their games up as a physical good.
If publishers want to play hard-ball with Gamestop, they can choose not to sell their products wholesale to Gamestop, and boycott their business. This doesn't happen. EA makes more money by cooperating with Gamestop rather than trying to kill them off.
People often forget that Gamestop is part of "the industry". The developers, the publishers and the retailers all make up "the industry". If physical (Gamestop) and digital (Steam) retailers all disappeared, then a link in the chain would be broken.
Developers -> Publishers -> Distributors/Wholesalers -> Retailers -> Gamers
Physical retailers are going out of business everywhere, and the only ones that are surviving are either big department stores that use games as a loss leader (many department stores sell below the wholesale price!), or specialist games stores that survive off of trade-ins. It won't be long before we don't have the option of buying games from a dedicated game retailer any more.
You can choose whether that's good, bad or meh.
If publishers want to penalise people who buy second hand, then they can choose to make the physical disc no longer represent a license, which has partially happened in console land already -- many current games use a mix of both sales options, where the possession of physical disc represents a license to access the majority of the game, but then some expansions or features are granted via a second license that isn't represented by a physical backing.
There's nothing stopping publishers from selling games PC/iTunes style on consoles if they really wanted to kill off 2nd hand sales, but none have dared face the backlash alone (besides PSN/XBLA games).
Yes you can argue about whether the right of resale of physical goods is a good thing or a bad thing, but that's a completely different discussion to what I was saying.
You can emotively say that the impacts of 2nd-hand sales are alike the impacts of piracy, that's fine if you've got the hubris to back up your asserted feelings.
But you cannot say that 2nd-hand sales are the same as piracy, because that's just factually bullshit.
Edited by Hodgman, 15 June 2013 - 04:17 AM.