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snowmanZOMG

Microsoft and the Xbox One. Thoughts?

268 posts in this topic

 

 

Why should anyone pay the developer/publisher twice for the same disc?

 

Well, why should anyone pay gamestop (twice for the same disc) ?

 

 

 

It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air.

 

But that is exactly what happens when a game enters the second hand market, an extra used copy suddenly appears out of thin air, and if it's sold again, another used copy, each time being played by somebody who could have just bought the game through a channel that supports the development of that product.

 

 

Gamestop doesn't make copies out of thin air, they buy used games and resell them. It's perfectly normal and legal to be able to do that. A game that you buy off the shelves is a product, not a service. Going to the theater is a service. The game developper and publisher should not get anything for second-hand games. The only difference between the game industry and any other industry is that they have the means to try and prevent second-hand, which in my opinion should be illegal.

 

Please tell me again why I can sell my movies in VHS / DVD form, but games in DVD should be forbidden ?

 

^This +1. Chindril makes many great points that I definitely agree with. If it's not a game, why should someone be able to buy/resell them, but as soon as it's a game stupid DRMs kick in to try and prevent it?

I understand piracy is a HUGE problem and that there aren't many ways to handle it. But the truth is, there will ALWAYS be a way to get around any DRM. People can copy files, hack into servers, steal keys and and do all sorts of stuff. For example, the game The Settlers 7 was a game that featured always-online DRM, much to the rage of fans of the series. Within a couple of months, there was a cracked version you could get through torrents. The DRM was quickly defeated and many people downloaded the game for free, thanks to the various tutorials on sites like YouTube. 

There are better ways to handle DRM, and being always-online is a ridiculous, unattractive solution. Having to check-in every 24 hours is a ridiculous and almost worse solution, because it means you essentially don't own the game if you can't connect to the web, and you certainly can't play it if you can't connect.

I'm sorry, but anyone who truly supports Microsoft's decision and calls it "the future of gaming"? You aren't a true gamer, and don't understand the basic wants of the consumer of game consoles. The technology doesn't yet fully support "cloud gaming", as not everyone has even a decent internet connection. I certainly can't utilize any cloud gaming features, as my connection through Charter is fairly poor when compared to services in California. Until everyone has a connection like Google Fiber, cloud gaming shouldn't exist. 

It's basically like a luxury item for the rich at this point. And Microsoft apparently doesn't give a crap to the "middle class" of gamers who don't have a reliable connection. 

#PS4TheWin

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But that is exactly what happens when a game enters the second hand market, an extra used copy suddenly appears out of thin air, and if it's sold again, another used copy, each time being played by somebody who could have just bought the game through a channel that supports the development of that product.

No, it's the same as a book. There's only one copy. Only one person can be playing/reading it at a time.
 

I bought an album on iTunes. Then my GF said she wanted that album. So I emailed a copy to her. Then a couple of my friends mentioned they would also like to hear it. So I setup a local ftp repository and point everyone there to download it. I don't see what the big deal is, iTunes still has my money. So what if ten people ended up with it from one original sale, right?

That's completely different. You're duplicating the album so that all 4 of you can be listening to it at the same time in different places.
 

People make all sorts of comparisons with current products, ie I bought the car so i can sell the car. But that argument is only valid because of the physical nature of the product, and also that the product immediately begins devaluing.

Have you ever bought a used game? They're almost always scratched, often so badly that they don't even work and have to be returned.
They do devalue greatly, and they are a physical thing.
e.g.

I've lost probably half a dozen games due to kids scratching discs beyond recovery

 
Consoles have always treated games as a physical thing that you have, you put in the machine, and you play.
PC's have evolved into the iTunes/Steam model, and consoles have also partially done this... but the culture of "the disc is the game" is still very ingrained and very strong. Tonnes of people lend each other games, and to them it's just as natural as lending a book or a DVD.
 
Suddenly switching over to treating the disk as a one-time--key and installer is a huge cultural change (not to mention the sudden requirement for daily Internet  which is also a huge cultural change for many...), where suddenly an xbox jewel case is no longer the same as a dvd jewel case or a book, and it's acceptable/predictable for many people to be confused, outraged and angry at the source of this cultural change. Imagine if PVR's suddenly couldn't record TV, or DVD's didn't suddenly work at your friends house, or your book collection suddenly padlocked themselves only to be used when supervised by a reading authority... You'd be angry and confused, which is how many mainstream gamers feel about their physical game copies not being a physical thing any more.
 

And do you know how much money the developer makes on each used sale? Zilch.
This new system is much better for developers and it will be better for people who actually buy a lot of new games.

You've been misled. You know how much the developer makes off any sale, be it retail or one of these new license-transfers? Zilch.
The publisher has the rights to publish (i.e. sell) the game, that's why they're called the publisher.
The developer is paid to make the game initially. The publisher then gets paid by selling the game.
If a developer is lucky, he might negotiate to get a 1% royalty on every sale after (if or when) the first $n-million profit has been made...

So no, license transfers don't directly help out developers.

Edited by Hodgman
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So if I give my friend Doom CD, I (or my friend) should have to pay iD for doing so? That's nuts.

 

Someone buys a game and sells that game to Gamestop. That developer/publisher still has that money. Now someone else buys the game from Gamestop. Why should anyone pay the developer/publisher twice for the same disc? Plus, when that person buys the used game, they still have to pay for downloadable content, online access. It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air.

Good point. I bought an album on iTunes. Then my GF said she wanted that album. So I emailed a copy to her. Then a couple of my friends mentioned they would also like to hear it. So I setup a local ftp repository and point everyone there to download it. I don't see what the big deal is, iTunes still has my money. So what if ten people ended up with it from one original sale, right?

 

 

I'll repeat myself: It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air. Like Hodgman said, it's one copy, one user. Only one person can use that disc and play that game at a time.

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So no, license transfers don't directly help out developers.


Maybe not directly but is the publisher is making X% on a game licence transfer it makes it easier to repay that Y-million the developer got paid which makes it more likely the developer will see some form of payment.
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I'll repeat myself: It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air. Like Hodgman said, it's one copy, one user. Only one person can use that disc and play that game at a time.

 

Which changes as soon as the disc no longer represents the game. You can play Xbox One games without the media. So if they made that change alone, and nothing else, it would be exactly like the iTunes example where everyone could install a copy and keep on playing. Personally I think this is a worthwhile line of development. Just like I no longer rent / buy DVDs, I don't want to rent/buy game media. I want it to all be streamed to my console.

 

People complained about Steam for quite a while, but now they are pretty much the gold standard for PC game distribution. There is pretty much no difference between the Xbox One model and the Steam model except that with the Xbox One you can still resell your games.

 

Guess I'm not a true gamer

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Well I guess my mom and dad are the target market for the Xbox One more than me... too bad they own a DVR and iPads.

 

Seriously, as much as I've tried to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, I think they're damaging their core consumers more than they need to in trying to push out into new markets. So far it just seems like a big, stupid, poorly executed gamble- at least so far.

 

The thing is, they aren't really pushing out into a new market. The Xbox 360 is already used more to watch movies and tv than it is to play games. Not much of a gamble when more and more people are ditching cable and streaming content from internet services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. We haven't had cable TV for about six months now and all of our TV viewing happens on the Xbox. From what I've seen, the biggest problem so far is the price point. I'll still buy one on launch day, but I'd like to see them match the PS4 launch price.

 

 

 

Do you know one person that would buy a console just for those services.  roku boxes are $50 and give you all the same services.  Why pay 10 times that for the same thing.  They are jumping into a new market at a price point way higher than just about any of the other devices in that market.  Even many smart tvs are cheaper than xbox one.

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I do actually agree with the property-rights/first-sale-doctrine view of things, and the problem, really, is the share of the pie that publishers give to studios and the size of budgets these days, not so much the amount of pie that the publisher collects.

 

But keep in mind again, this whole DRM/license transfer really is necessary for the distribution model Microsoft has chosen -- discs are no longer the thing you play, they're merely a means of distribution, on equal footing with digital downloads. There are advantages as long as they don't go entirely draconian, and they've done a terrible job messaging what those are, but I have no reason to think they'll do it in a way that's harmful to their business. The whole thing makes a lot more sense when you look at the disc as an alternative to download, rather than comparing it to disc-based games of yore. In fact, if you do have this kind of distribution model, then this DRM (or similar) is a *requirement* to be able to trade and sell games.

 

The worst bit of it in my mind is the 24-hour check-in. I think a better way would be to require that a new game be activated within the first 24/48 hours, and thereafter a license to play them is stored on the console. The stored license shouldn't expire, but could be revoked if you've transferred it to someone else. That way you could always play without being online, but still preserve trading/selling, and not allow one game sale to be duplicated over and over.

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I'll repeat myself: It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air. Like Hodgman said, it's one copy, one user. Only one person can use that disc and play that game at a time.

 

Which changes as soon as the disc no longer represents the game. You can play Xbox One games without the media. So if they made that change alone, and nothing else, it would be exactly like the iTunes example where everyone could install a copy and keep on playing. Personally I think this is a worthwhile line of development. Just like I no longer rent / buy DVDs, I don't want to rent/buy game media. I want it to all be streamed to my console.

 

People complained about Steam for quite a while, but now they are pretty much the gold standard for PC game distribution. There is pretty much no difference between the Xbox One model and the Steam model except that with the Xbox One you can still resell your games.

 

Guess I'm not a true gamer

 

 

If the streaming of games is as good as you say it is, then there's no reason for the used games lockout, is there? Frankly, if I really wanted my games streamed, downloaded, or in the cloud, I would just skip the X1 and just get an OnLive console and be done with it.

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Well I guess my mom and dad are the target market for the Xbox One more than me... too bad they own a DVR and iPads.

 

Seriously, as much as I've tried to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt, I think they're damaging their core consumers more than they need to in trying to push out into new markets. So far it just seems like a big, stupid, poorly executed gamble- at least so far.

 

The thing is, they aren't really pushing out into a new market. The Xbox 360 is already used more to watch movies and tv than it is to play games. Not much of a gamble when more and more people are ditching cable and streaming content from internet services like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. We haven't had cable TV for about six months now and all of our TV viewing happens on the Xbox. From what I've seen, the biggest problem so far is the price point. I'll still buy one on launch day, but I'd like to see them match the PS4 launch price.

 

 

 

Do you know one person that would buy a console just for those services.  roku boxes are $50 and give you all the same services.  Why pay 10 times that for the same thing.  They are jumping into a new market at a price point way higher than just about any of the other devices in that market.  Even many smart tvs are cheaper than xbox one.

 

 

I also use my Xbox to watch video at least as much as I use it to play games, and I don't have cable either, which is why the emphasis on Cable TV is so mystifying. The whole reveal might as well have been telling me it has fantastic integration with my land-line phone I also don't have.

 

What they should have done if they wanted to appeal to people like us is provide better functionality that integrates streaming services. But no, have a DVR without the ability to record anything. Super great.

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What they should have done if they wanted to appeal to people like us is provide better functionality that integrates streaming services. But no, have a DVR without the ability to record anything. Super great.

 

 

This is what I'm hoping will show. If I can search across multiple streaming services that would be an insta-buy for me. Considering that sort of functionality is getting closer on Windows 8 (Search across multiple apps), I have high hopes for the Xbox One.

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I'll repeat myself: It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air. Like Hodgman said, it's one copy, one user. Only one person can use that disc and play that game at a time.

 

In fairness, you're right there is a difference. Used games are actually worse than piracy if we use money here.

 

New game sale: $50

Used game sales total: $175

Total sales: $225

Publisher profit: $25

Gamestop profit: $125

 

So Gamestop makes 5x as much as the publisher. Now let's imagine that instead of buying used games, the people pirate %50 of their games and buy 1/2 new.

 

New game sale: $150

Used game sales total: $0

Total sales: $150

Publisher profit: $75

Gamestop profit: $30

 

Well, I see how that sucks for Gamestop, but even people pirating %50 of their content is better than having a used market. The publisher makes 3x more if people pirate half of their games than if they get them used. Bear in mind, the average used game passes through six owners over the course of its life.

 

It's pretty darn difficult to defend used games.

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I'll repeat myself: It's not like I sell my game to Gamestop and suddenly 5 used copies appear out of thin air. Like Hodgman said, it's one copy, one user. Only one person can use that disc and play that game at a time.

 

In fairness, you're right there is a difference. Used games are actually worse than piracy if we use money here.

 

New game sale: $50

Used game sales total: $175

Total sales: $225

Publisher profit: $25

Gamestop profit: $125

 

So Gamestop makes 5x as much as the publisher. Now let's imagine that instead of buying used games, the people pirate %50 of their games and buy 1/2 new.

 

New game sale: $150

Used game sales total: $0

Total sales: $150

Publisher profit: $75

Gamestop profit: $30

 

Well, I see how that sucks for Gamestop, but even people pirating %50 of their content is better than having a used market. The publisher makes 3x more if people pirate half of their games than if they get them used. Bear in mind, the average used game passes through six owners over the course of its life.

 

It's pretty darn difficult to defend used games.

 

 

There are so many things wrong with this comparison that I'm not even sure where to start, but on a fundamental level you're still ignoring the basic fact that, with used games, for each copy of the game, only one person can have it at a time. If we assume that games have, for instance, no replay value, then the comparison might start to make sense (but not your numbers; you've left enough variables undefined that they don't actually mean anything), but this is an incoherent assumption.

Here's another pointless comparison: games that can be played more than once are one million times worse than piracy.

 

I could pirate a $50 game and play it once. The publisher would (in some vague sense) be "losing" $50 dollars. But what if I bought a game only once and played it one million and one times? Then the publisher would "lose" $50 million dollars. The true criminals are those who dare to think that buying a game entitles them to play it more than once!

Now, this doesn't make any sense at all, because the price of games includes the assumption of being able to play a game more than once; a game that I could only play once after buying it would be a different (and inferior) product, so it's very likely not worth the same to any given consumer.

 

Just so with games that can be re-sold: with such games I have the option to a) keep a game and play it forever if they like it and b) give it or sell it to someone else if I don't want it anymore. This is something that I know in advance, when I'm paying for the game initially.

Remove any or both of these features and it's not the same product anymore, so we can't assume that it has the same value. Any economic comparison that doesn't factor this in doesn't actually accomplish anything.

Edited by cowsarenotevil
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only one person can have it at a time
This means nothing. You still have six people paying over $200 for a game where the publisher ends up making $25. Gamestop should not make 3x as much as the developer.

but not your numbers; you've left enough variables undefined that they don't actually mean anything

I'm using pretty well know estimates. Publishers make about %50 of the retail sale value on average. Gamestop makes about $10 on a new game. They make about $20-25 on used games.

 

I made that example to illustrate a point. Most people who buy used games use the "But I can't afford new games!" defense. Fine, but that's what pirates often say. I'm pointing out that it's better for the industry for you to never buy another used game, as they make as much money on used as piracy. That is a fact you cannot escape. Either buy new, or go grab a torrent.

 

Don't like that used games are the exact same thing as piracy? That is not my problem. The people buying used games are contributing the exact same amount of money into the publishing houses as if they just downloaded it. And when they buy used, they have less money to buy new.

 

People who say "If you can't afford to buy a game, you shouldn't play it" have a fair point. Especially when one considers the plethora of quality free games and sub $10 games on GoG and even Steam. But it applies to used just as much as piracy. Buying a used game does not one more thing for the industry. If you have $20 to buy a used game, then go hit up the year old discounted new games. Failing to do so because of a sense of "I want to play the newest stuff and screw the developers" entitlement, is a pirate mindset. 

Edited by BladeOfWraith
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cowsarenotevil ... well your name says it all, DECEIVER ! because I know damn well the true nature of cows, growing up in tipping country on the north coast of New South Wales. Oh how they stare.

 

If we assume that games have, for instance, no replay value,

 

That's a really bad assumption to have as a part of any argument. Many games have replay value, that's a given. So it's hard to draw any conclusions relying on an assumption that is plainly wrong and not useful. So I can't even understand why that assumption leads to giving strength to BladeOfWraith's comparison. And yes there are unknown variables in his comparison, but since when do we throw our hands up in the air and go 'oh well, there are unknown variables, so anything we do or say is pointless'

 

Here's another pointless comparison: games that can be played more than once are one million times worse than piracy.

 

Yes, that is a pointless comparison.

 

I could pirate a $50 game and play it once. The publisher would (in some vague sense) be "losing" $50 dollars.

 

The publisher would be "losing" $50 in a very real sense, and you would be committing a crime.

 

The license to play allows you to replay the game, I don't understand what you are going on about. I suppose you are making a hypothetical argument. It's true that I have to pay twice if I go and watch a film at the cinema twice, not that I'm personally someone who does that, though I know some people will watch a movie two or three times if they love the movie. They must pay each time.

 

This whole argument is somewhat arbitrary, there are probably a dozen different models to work within, each one maximizing the interests of one party or another. But the fact that games companies are constantly being shut down, makes me think that money is leaking from somewhere. Taking gamestop and the second hand market out of the equation would surely mean that there's more money going into the hands of the people making, and publishing these games. The digital economy allows us to remove the cost of distribution.

 

Remove any or both of these features and it's not the same product anymore, so we can't assume that it has the same value. Any economic comparison that doesn't factor this in doesn't actually accomplish anything.

 

Well to say the comparison doesn't actually accomplish anything is defeatist and I wonder how any of us get anything done, because nothing can be done perfectly. So many things that we do, we do inadequately.

 

But you're right about the changing values, if the second hand market is removed we should see a change in the value of the product. I think Steam is an example of that kind of model, why buy second hand when you can buy off Steam. I don't buy second hand games at all, I don't think I ever have.

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If we assume that games have, for instance, no replay value,
 


That's a really bad assumption to have as a part of any argument. Many games have replay value, that's a given. So it's hard to draw any conclusions relying on an assumption that is plainly wrong and not useful. So I can't even understand why that assumption leads to giving strength to BladeOfWraith's comparison. And yes there are unknown variables in his comparison, but since when do we throw our hands up in the air and go 'oh well, there are unknown variables, so anything we do or say is pointless'

 

Under that assumption (which, we both agree, is inaccurate) it is perfectly accurate to equate buying a game, playing it once, and then giving it away to buying a game, playing it once, and then giving away a copy. Without that assumption (or some other assumption), though, the two situations are no longer identical. That's all I meant by that.

 

 

 


I could pirate a $50 game and play it once. The publisher would (in some vague sense) be "losing" $50 dollars.
 


The publisher would be "losing" $50 in a very real sense, and you would be committing a crime.

 

No, and yes. No, they wouldn't actually be losing anything except relative to the case where I would otherwise have bought the game for $50. Piracy is a big deal, and no one is disputing that it's a crime. But not every act of piracy translates to lost revenue: it's perfectly possible that someone pirates a game to try it before buying it (and otherwise wouldn't have bought it at all) or simply pirates a game that they wouldn't have played at all otherwise. That doesn't make it any less illegal, but it does render useless any direct equation of piracy to lost revenue.
 

 


The license to play allows you to replay the game, I don't understand what you are going on about. I suppose you are making a hypothetical argument. It's true that I have to pay twice if I go and watch a film at the cinema twice, not that I'm personally someone who does that, though I know some people will watch a movie two or three times if they love the movie. They must pay each time.

Well, you do know what I'm going on about as evidenced in the rest of your post, and it's simply this: the license also allows you to resell the game, or at least it could/used to. In the same sense that a game that can only be played once is a different product (with different value) from a game that can be played over-and-over, a game that can be resold is a different product from one that cannot be resold, and consequently is (at least for some people) of different value.
 

 


Well to say the comparison doesn't actually accomplish anything is defeatist and I wonder how any of us get anything done, because nothing can be done perfectly. So many things that we do, we do inadequately.

 

The question is not and never has been whether the comparison can or should be made approximately. BladeOfWraith made a direct comparison that had all of these implicit assumptions, and then used very specific numbers. I did the same thing with my (very stupid) comparison regarding replayable games: the point is that if you assume equivalency where there is none, it's possible to derive anything (it's the principal of explosion, really).

It's only defeatist to give up at this point. The appropriate thing to do is to instead acknowledge that your comparison is approximate, come up with some reasonable (evidence-based) bounds for how the comparison actually works in practice, and carry this uncertainty through to the end of the derivation. Only then is it possible to (begin to) make sense of how much revenue would be gained or lost in different situations (sharable games, unsharable games, games with different kinds of piracy protection, replayable games, etc.)

 

Or, we can just assume that any arbitrary equation is always perfect, and we end up with nonsense like this:

 

 

 


Don't like that used games are the exact same thing as piracy?

Hint: they're not. To start with, one is generally illegal, and the other is not.

Edited by cowsarenotevil
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I guess second hand books, VHS's and DVD's are just piracy as well rolleyes.gif (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.

 

If you don't want your games to be resold, then you can bundle them with online activation and single-use keys in order to circumvent physical property rights.

Current console games have chosen not to do this, which means there's no reason you can't resell them.

The legal default in our society is that physical goods can be re-sold. Publishers have chosen so far to package up console games as physical goods, and thus they've chosen to give the consumer the right of resale.

 

Xbone is changing the medium so that this is no longer the case (the physical disc no longer represents the good, it's just a single-use ticket that you can redeem for the good).

That's fine, but it it's shaking up existing culture, so some negative reactions are to be expected.

 

n.b. you'll still be able to legitimately re-sell a physical xbone disc, it just won't have very much value compared to a 360/PS disc, seeing that it doesn't have as much utility (as it doesn't physically represent the game). Someone who wants it for the utility of being able to pay the license transfer fee and install the data from the disc, may still want to pay you a few dollars from your physical xbone disc tongue.png

Edited by Hodgman
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I guess second hand books, VHS's and DVD's are just piracy as well rolleyes.gif (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.

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(...)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.

 

 

I think many of us (certainly including me) have fallen into a trap of false equivalence. Buying a used game is like piracy, in that someone gets a copy of the game without the developer being paid. It's also unlike piracy, in that it has generally been legal, and it doesn't change the total number of people who own the game at any given moment. Piracy is like theft, in that it's illegal, and it causes someone to have something that they didn't pay for. It's also unlike theft, in that the pirated "object" itself continues to remain in the possession of the legitimate owner. Used games are like used movies, in that the important thing being shared is the data, not the physical media. They're also unlike used movies, for the reasons you're referring to.

The truth is that argument by analogy is not really a meaningful form of argument, in a strictly logical sense. It rests on saying that A is like B modulo membership in some set C, but if membership in set C is enough to make some claim about A, mentioning B is actually superfluous. If it isn't enough to make the claim about A, the argument is not valid. Argument by analogy is only really useful for exposing contradictions in one's thinking, e.g. believing that A has some property because it's a member of set C, while simultaneously believing that B, also a member of set C, does not have that property.

Edited by cowsarenotevil
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I guess second hand books, VHS's and DVD's are just piracy as well rolleyes.gif (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.

 

 

I disagree with that premise only because Wii and by extension the Wii U have done an excellent job selling extraordinarily old games on their systems. Plus with Steam, GoG, and Gamefly the publishers at least are still making quite a bit of money off of older games. Plus his argument to me is not an issue with used games but an issue with revenue sharing in the industry and being slow to adapt to a changing environment.

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stuff

 

stuff

 

That was a 2 sentence abreviation of a 10-20 minute video. He's got a few more points than just the bits I said.

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If you don't want your game to be resold, make a better game tongue.png  I'll never sell any of my classic RPGs!

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I guess second hand books, VHS's and DVD's are just piracy as well rolleyes.gif (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
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There are interesting points on both sides if we resist the urge to knee-jerk. As I said earlier,I tend to agree with the property-rights/first-sale doctrine view of things. On the other hand, setting aside Blades' assertion that buying a used game is equal to piracy (which I think stands, if qualified by For everyone up the sales chain: Developer, Publisher, Wholesaler, and retailers not in the used games business, if we set aside additional sales of downloadable content) he makes a compelling argument that a personal policy of buying only new games, even if it means pirating some games, is better for developers and publishers. Of course, we have to simplify even that, because it may not account for the tangential benefits that developers and publishers receive by the existence of physical retail, and a larger install base that normally buys used but occasionally buys the hot new game new.

 

I tend to think that many developers will eventually settle in one of two main camps -- one will produce smaller games that are less-costly to develop (think Summer-blockbuster vs. wide-release, not Blockbuster vs. art-house film), and the other will supplement blockbuster games with additional income through subscriptions, DLC, and micro-transactions. Of course, even today we see games in a variety of sizes succeeding on the latter model, so its really a matter of pricing scale.

 

Ultimately though, its something of a personal moral judgement about how you want to best support the developers and artists you love. For example, I listen to a lot of music on Spotify because its a great service, but I also try to see my favorite bands when they come through town (which is thankfully frequent in Seattle), buy some merchandise from their booths, and always buy their albums there. Why? Because its the best way to put money directly in their hands, and for them to continue doing what they do. Technically I've already paid for the streaming rights by subscribing to Spotify's service, but I'm still concerned that the artists themselves can't sustain themselves on their cut of streaming revenue, especially the kind of bands I listen to who don't have a mainstream audience.

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stuff

 

stuff

 

That was a 2 sentence abreviation of a 10-20 minute video. He's got a few more points than just the bits I said.

 

 

How ironic, that you condense both our posts into one word. And the same word at that. laugh.png

 

And I watched the video. I was responding to your post and his video.

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Funny, Xbox One sounds suspiciously like Xbox Won.  A play on words perhaps?  I suspect that the reason they are pushing all the features except for games is because they assume that everyone already knows that the platform can run games.  They are trying to attract a wider market by appealing to people that are not very interested in games, like the parents of all the gamers who need justification for buying this thing. They want non-gamers to take it seriously as well.  Also, by the time fall rolls around, people's TV's are going to be flooded with game ads just in time for Christmas.  They are building up anticipation by holding back for now.  

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