Used games, physical discs, and DRM.



  • Allright, I started thinking about this last week. Currently with the used games market, you trade in a game with a disc and get $X for it. Usually $X + $Y if you get store credit. Digital games, of course, don't have this at all. When you buy a game it's yours forever. The reasoning for this is that publishers and developers want more money of course so they really dislike the used game industry itself.

    Of course it doesn't have to be that way. These two systems are really the same, the only difference is whether the key is digital or physical. It's actually interesting the uproar that occurred when Microsoft tried to go digital only (your physical game disc was locked to your console after you installed) now that I think about it (even though I still don't agree with it). The only major disadvantage to what they were trying to do is that you were prevented from selling games. Something you haven't been able to do with PCs for ~10 years now (I'm not sure how many games were still only using install keys after HL2 dropped in 2004 because I wasn't buying them then). This brought me to trying to figure out in what way it would make sense to be able to trade/sell games when you're done with them if you have a digital key.

    Really, Gamestop, et al. is just a middle man between buyers and sellers, gaining profit from the spread because it's easier to sell to them than it is to find someone to sell to. I'm sure publishers would love to get money from this instead of letting someone else have it. Implementing a system like this would cause them to profit less on each individual sale in the short term though. In the long term though, I assume it would work out to be more profit. Gamestop is running fine even though they have boxes upon boxes of PS2 games no one wants anymore (Have they said they're going to throw them away yet? I wouldn't be surprised if they would and just write them off as a loss.)

    Then there's the problem of pricing the copy. Should someone who played for fifty hours get less money back than someone that played for one? They got more utility out of the purchase. What about when its sold? Surely a game is worth less when demand is down a year and a half past release than on the day of release.

    Even when you price the copy, how do you perform the transaction. Do you sell to another user with the publisher and developer getting a cut of the sale? Honestly I think what makes more sense from a publisher's point of view is to "buy back" the key and give credit that can be used on one of the publisher's games in the future. How do you manage that though? Does that money come out of the publisher's share of the revenue? Does money get taken back or reserved for the developer when that happens. When the new sale occurs does the new developer get a portion of the credit from the publisher or does their portion only come from the new money flowing in?

    Sorry if it seems I'm rambling a little. I just thought I'd do a brain dump of what I was thinking about. I can't really affect the industry in any real way, so most of this ends up as a moot point anyway.

    Wow. So many :words:. I hate writing too O___O


  • BINNED

    I think a marketplace matching buyers to sellers would be the most sensible way to do used digital game management. Developer/publisher/console manufacturer (or Valve if this was on Steam) would take a cut and prices would be a matter of listing it for what you think you can get and searching for something at the price you want



  • I may be going slightly off topic, but why is it that buying games digitally for consoles and handhelds costs the same amount or more as buying retail copies?

    If I'm paying full price for a game (that likely has a mandatory HDD install these days), I want a disc/cartridge copy I can sell back if I decide I don't like it.

    This is especially egregious for Nintendo, as they tie your games to the console/handheld they were purchased on and not to the account that bought them. Despite said account being required in order to buy them digitally.

    On the flip side, this is why Steam does so well on the PC side... With 500+ games on my Steam account, I can count the number of times I've paid full price for something just by removing any gloves, shoes, and socks I'm wearing.



  • @Jaloopa said:

    listing it for what you think you can get and searching for something at the price you want

    Wouldn't you agree that someone who has played through the entire game deserves to get less money than someone who has only played through one tenth? I understand that games aren't really a consumable commodity and playing through a portion of it doesn't prevent someone else from doing the same thing. I'm really just trying to play devil's advocate with this point.

    @powerlord said:

    why is it that buying games digitally for consoles and handhelds costs the same amount or more as buying retail copies?

    Because they're literally the same thing. They are both keys that unlock the game, it just happens that one of the keys can be sold. This whole topic is about there not being a way to be compensated by selling a game to someone else after you're done with it.

    @powerlord said:

    This is especially egregious for Nintendo, as they tie your games to the console/handheld they were purchased on and not to the account that bought them. Despite said account being required in order to buy them digitally.

    Yeah, this is bullshit by Nintendo.



  • Anyway, to get back on topic, there were rumors a while back that one of the major digital stores (Steam I think) was going to introduce a marketplace to sell used games. Not sure exactly how that would work, though.

    Then again, it never actually happened.



  • @JazzyJosh said:

    Because they're literally the same thing.

    Except they've found a form factor in digital downloads that doesn't lend itself to obvious application of the first sale doctrine. Instead you get the convenience of immediate downloads.


  • BINNED

    @JazzyJosh said:

    Wouldn't you agree that someone who has played through the entire game deserves to get less money than someone who has only played through one tenth?

    I don't think I would, no. If I've watched a DVD 100 times it's worth just as much as my friend's DVD that's sat on the shelf gathering dust (assuming my player hasn't scratched it, a situation that the all-digital version doesn't really have an analogy for)



  • Something I left out of my post as well is if you do base the price you can sell a game at by progress through a game, how do you measure it? Achievements? Checkpoints in the game? What if it's an open world game or a sandbox? Hours? What if you left the game open without playing it? Really simple to do with the Xbox too because it doesn't seem to close the game unless a different game requiring sufficient memory is loaded.



  • @JazzyJosh said:

    Something I left out of my post as well is if you do base the price you can sell a game at by progress through a game, how do you measure it?

    I don't see why a buyer would care how much you played the game, unless they had to continue from where you left off.



  • A buyer wouldn't. A publisher might would if there wasn't a secondary market and you "sold back" your game directly to them



  • @JazzyJosh said:

    A publisher might would if there wasn't a secondary market and you "sold back" your game directly to them

    Why would a publisher ever do this?



  • Not sure. I didn't really flesh that out well. I think I was actually thinking along the lines of a secondary market controlled by the publisher where they would set the price of a "used key" based on what they were sold back and the progress through the game. Really it's an awful idea when thinking about it. Probably why I didn't give it much thought.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @JazzyJosh said:

    Sorry if it seems I'm rambling a little.

    Frankly, this entire thing is obnoxious--not your post, the way the system works now. These asshole publishers think they deserve a cut of resales, or else want to ban them completely. It's like they haven't heard of the first sale doctrine. Only with video games and a few assholes in the music industry do producers think they deserve a cut forever.

    The buyer doesn't pay General Motors or Kia or whoever if you sell your car.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @JazzyJosh said:

    Wouldn't you agree that someone who has played through the entire game deserves to get less money than someone who has only played through one tenth?

    I wouldn't necessarily agree with that at all. The reason a car that's older or more worn resells for less money than an otherwise-equivalent one that's in better shape is entirely due to that--it's worn out more. A video game isn't going to get scratched or dented regardless of how much it's been played--a "copy" that's been played for 10 minutes is identical to one that's been played for 500 hours and should sell for exactly the same price.



  • @FrostCat said:

    a "copy" that's been played for 10 minutes is identical to one that's been played for 500 hours and should sell for exactly the same price.

    Ooh, can I sell my old Doom II CD for $65 then? :trollface:


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @JazzyJosh said:

    Something I left out of my post as well is if you do base the price you can sell a game at by progress through a game, how do you measure it? Achievements? Checkpoints in the game? [etc]

    The only way that makes any sense at all is if you are selling your save file as well.

    Back in the day, people would sell Ultima Online accounts. One with a house or a number of 700-stat (equivalent, roughly, to a level 100 character in WoW) would command a premium price (in fact, there wouldn't be much reason to buy an account at all if it didn't have that kind of stuff.) You would be buying the work put into the game.

    Theoretically you could probably do that with modern MMOs but the details would be tricky, and the TOS might forbid it.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @mott555 said:

    Ooh, can I sell my old Doom II CD for $65 then?

    If you can find someone who will pay that much I have no objection. Good luck.

    You know how that's different.



  • @mott555 said:

    Ooh, can I sell my old Doom II CD for $65 then? :trollface:

    If you can find a buyer for that price, go for it. But I think what he's getting at is that if you played Doom 2 for hours upon hours, 100%'d the single player, did multiplayer etc, that doesn't make it worth less in resale than someone who bought it, played it once and forgot about it.



  • @JazzyJosh said:

    The only major disadvantage to what they were trying to do is that you were prevented from selling games. Something you haven't been able to do with PCs for ~10 years now (I'm not sure how many games were still only using install keys after HL2 dropped in 2004 because I wasn't buying them then).
    Many Indie games are DRM-free (maybe even most), and the occasional AAA game even has been. The physical Mass Effect 2 edition had only a disc check for DRM; that's the only one of the series I bought at full price, and that's most of why I did for ME2 and not for 3.



  • I was ignoring the indie game market in that regard. I don't think many indie devs who sell DRM free actually care if you sell it to a friend and they aren't looking for the profit in that.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @hungrier said:

    If you can find a buyer for that price, go for it. But I think what he's getting at is that if you played Doom 2 for hours upon hours, 100%'d the single player, did multiplayer etc, that doesn't make it worth less in resale than someone who bought it, played it once and forgot about it.

    I'm assuming no whoosh here, because I'm not feeling snarky at this particular moment.

    But yeah. Steam says I have 646 hours in Terraria, and that's not counting probably a couple hundred more when I was playing offline. That key is worth just as much as a key from someone who's played 1 hour.



  • @JazzyJosh said:

    It's actually interesting the uproar that occurred when Microsoft tried to go digital only (your physical game disc was locked to your console after you installed) now that I think about it (even though I still don't agree with it).

    I'm still pissed that because of narrow-thinking idiots, I still have to swap disks in my Xbox One to go from Battlefield 4 to Call of Duty. Microsoft's original proposed system was much better, IMO.

    ... I didn't read the rest of the words.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Back in the day, people would sell Ultima Online accounts. One with a house or a number of 700-stat (equivalent, roughly, to a level 100 character in WoW) would command a premium price (in fact, there wouldn't be much reason to buy an account at all if it didn't have that kind of stuff.) You would be buying the work put into the game.

    Theoretically you could probably do that with modern MMOs but the details would be tricky, and the TOS might forbid it.

    Character trading is alive, well, and quite legitimate in Eve Online -- there are some RP-related reasons I generally don't do it, but those are neither here nor there. OTOH -- selling accounts is against the rules, but there's no reason to with character trading being legit, anyway.



  • @tarunik said:

    RP-related reasons I generally don't do it

    OT:

    lolwut

    CVA?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I've never heard of an MMO--obviously other than EVE--that would let you move a character across accounts.



  • This post is deleted!


  • @JazzyJosh said:

    OT:

    lolwut

    CVA?

    Negative -- closest I came to that ball of wax was the time PIE was in Provi for a little while, taking a breather from the Amarr/Minmatar warfront because FW was messed up seven ways 'til Sunday. Although they were one of the original co-founders of CVA...

    (Also -- my FW alt got shot at by a Provibloc jumpbridge POS while she was down there. Made for some mildly interesting diplomatic feather-ruffling...)

    I've since decided FW's not for me, though -- too much internal paranoia, and too many logistical hassles (I hate having important stuff strung out across a long list of stations). Besides, FW spacerich is a real nasty timesink with all the button-spinning and LP cashout logistics involved, and the PvP isn't nearly as fun because most of the things you meet while out on the prowl are already in the process of running away from you by the time you can get to them. Defensive kills are better/nicer because you don't have people fleeing, but usually if someone sees you set up in a FW complex, they will be fetching friends...

    @FrostCat said:

    I've never heard of an MMO--obviously other than EVE--that would let you move a character across accounts.

    I've done that between two accounts of my own before -- it's not an exotic operation in Eve, albeit one they charge a small-ish fee for.

    In other MMOs? It's technically possible -- not all games implement a system for it, though (the other MMO-like I play requires you to kindly petition a server admin to have this operation carried out).


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tarunik said:

    In other MMOs? It's technically possible

    Oh, of course, I'm just saying I've never heard of it actually being available before. Since most commercial MMOs frown on sales of things they can't take a cut of, they have no motivation to add the feature.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Since most commercial MMOs frown on sales of things they can't take a cut of, they have no motivation to add the feature.

    I'll have to ask some of my Eve corpmates if CCP takes a cut on character sales -- I know the exchanges are done in ingame currency to avoid running afoul of the RMT rules.



  • Yes. It's $20 USD/EUR or 1 PLEX (~900M ISK in game, can also be bought directly from CCP 1/$20, 2/$35, 6/$105, etc.) to do a transfer.

    Everything else is the buyer paying the seller for the transfer, which is in PLEX or ISK. To be completely clear, although scamming is very prevalent in EVE, you are not allowed to scam character sales. You will be banned.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @JazzyJosh said:

    although scamming is very prevalent in EVE

    Fortunately, every time I start thinking about trying EVE, someone comes along to keep me from doing it.



  • @FrostCat said:

    Fortunately, every time I start thinking about trying EVE, someone comes along to keep me from doing it.

    @JazzyJosh said:

    although scamming is very prevalent in EVE

    It's really not that big a deal -- stay away from the spam in tradehub local chatter, and you're 90% of the way there for day-to-day shopping; on the other hand, buying a supercapital takes a lot more work and research, of course...


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    Well, also, the thing is, I mostly like WoW. I'd like something with better graphics and a bit less grindiness. What little I've seen of EVE just doesn't seem to appeal to me.



  • @tarunik said:

    I've done that between two accounts of my own before -- it's not an exotic operation in Eve, albeit one they charge a small-ish fee for.

    WoW allows this as long as both accounts are being paid for by the same person already (i.e. same credit card). The idea for this is presumably to allows parents to transfer their kids characters to separate accounts if/when they get them.

    Paid with game cards? lol, nope, can't transfer!

    @FrostCat said:

    Well, also, the thing is, I mostly like WoW. I'd like something with better graphics and a bit less grindiness. What little I've seen of EVE just doesn't seem to appeal to me.

    Well, how about...

    ...oh wait, every other MMO I've tried is around the same grindiness as WoW. Or worse.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @powerlord said:

    WoW allows this as long as both accounts are being paid for by the same person already

    I did NOT know that.

    Of course, I'm a bit irritated that I paid to transfer a character off a PvP server, but couldn't put it on the server I wanted to because someone already had that name. So I went to the joined server instead (Whisperwind instead of Dentarg) which meant it didn't practically matter.

    But then I found out that I own the blocking character, on my son's old account, which has toons above level 20 on it, so I can't reactivate it for free so I can delete the character, not that it matters now that I've moved the other one.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @powerlord said:

    oh wait, every other MMO I've tried is around the same grindiness as WoW

    Penny Arcade mentioned one earlier this year that they said wasn't as grindy but I CBA to look for the name.



  • @powerlord said:

    Well, how about...

    ...oh wait, every other MMO I've tried is around the same grindiness as WoW. Or worse.

    It depends on which grind you're concerned with -- EVE replaces the "grind to max level" with a steady tick-tock sound of training that goes on, even when you're at work, asleep, or on vacation. However, if it's grinding for currency that you're objecting to, you won't find that much solace in EVE: there are many cases in the game where you need money to make money, and you'll have to do a fair bit of grinding to get the seed capital needed to bootstrap passive income and/or a more bursty/less grindy active income source.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tarunik said:

    It depends on which grind you're concerned

    In my case, it's roughly the kind of grind it takes to, let's say, get a number of pokemon to very high level. Fire and forget isn't really what I'd consider grindy.

    Oh, also actions that are tedious. In WoW, gathering professions are like that. Click the mineral node, wait a couple seconds, click all the items in it. Or, kill animal, loot junk, skin, look hide. Then do it a hundred more times. Bleah.



  • @FrostCat said:

    In my case, it's roughly the kind of grind it takes to, let's say, get a number of pokemon to very high level. Fire and forget isn't really what I'd consider grindy.

    Tick-of-the-clock training shouldn't be an issue for you then; I have seen a few folks object to not being able to grind up skills as fast as humanly possible, oddly enough, though.

    @FrostCat said:

    Oh, also actions that are tedious. In WoW, gathering professions are like that. Click the mineral node, wait a couple seconds, click all the items in it. Or, kill animal, loot junk, skin, look hide. Then do it a hundred more times. Bleah.

    EVE's resource-acquisition professions vary -- mining is just as boring as WoW albeit with nowhere near the need to sit there poking a button (set up a Retriever on a large rock in hisec, do homework/read a book/watch a movie). Planetary Interaction and moon mining are both (semi-)passive creatures, on the other hand -- all you need to do is set them up and swing by with a hauler every now and then to pick up the fruits of those labors.

    If you want more action -- you'll be into exploration sites, which are rather nice on that front as they have a nifty little embedded minigame in them, or shooting at NPCs (aka rats or red crosses), which isn't so nice in that it does get rather boring after a while -- getting stuck in the mission trap is a classical failure mode for would-be EVE players.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @tarunik said:

    I have seen a few folks object to not being able to grind up skills as fast as humanly possible, oddly enough, though.

    My objection is to tedious work; that's what I consider the grind. Fishing, in WoW, Pokémon, and Minecraft, are sort of an example. You have to wait a variable amount of time and then click at the right moment, or you miss the fish.

    Anything the UI renders tedious to do counts towards grindiness in my book, too. I use applications all day long that have stupidly obnoxious workflows. If I were a little less cheap--and didn't already have an excellent mechanical tenkeyless keyboard--I'd buy a keyboard with extra macro keys and record sequences to save effort. (I'm always appalled at people who are, for example, logging in to a web site or application, and they use the mouse to click on the userid text box, type it in, let go of the keyboard to move the mouse to the password field (HIT TAB YOU HEATHEN), type THAT in, then move the mouse again to get to the login button (SHOOT ME NOW). Even worse are the ones who do that to get through a complex data entry screen with dozens of fields.


  • sockdevs

    i have a bottle of rotgut in the car i keep for emergencies. if you have a rag and a lighter we can take care of at least one of your problem users right now. ;-)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    I have a dish towel in my office. There's probably a candle/bbq lighter down in the kitchen.


  • sockdevs

    i'll go get the rotgut then and the marshmallows.



  • Read the Alliance description that says if you're giving someone money to join you're being scammed. :smiley:

    Recruitment scamming was fun. Helped get a Carrier kill once. Made some ISK.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @FrostCat said:

    (HIT TAB YOU HEATHEN)

    Yeah, that is painful for me to watch also. Even if you tell them, they will forget before you even leave their sight.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Intercourse said:

    Even if you tell them, they will forget before you even leave their sight.

    Yeah, so I generally don't bother any more.

    No no, please, go right ahead finding that deeply-nested directory by clicking on the triangle in the treeview and then clicking on the subfolder you want, repeatedly, instead of just double-clicking it in the file view on the right.

    Aside: the customer I'm probably going to spend two hours on the phone with this morning installing software for him "because we don't install [redacted category] ourselves" didn't download the installer last night when I told him to, just the service pack, which isn't a standalone installer, but requires the base product first. So I'm watching him painfully log in to Hotmail on the server to get the download URL. At some point a few minutes ago he accidentally hung up his phone, but not before I heard someone else in his office yell something like "what's wrong with you?!" in the background. And now I see he closed the browser window and hasn't called me back yet.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    We had a short chat via Notepad. He's going to download teh rest of the software he needs and we'll try again later.



  • @FrostCat said:

    My objection is to tedious work; that's what I consider the grind. Fishing, in WoW, Pokémon, and Minecraft, are sort of an example. You have to wait a variable amount of time and then click at the right moment, or you miss the fish.

    Well -- you're in luck then -- much of the resource extraction in Eve doesn't take that much attention, and the stuff that does is the minigame-based stuff I mentioned earlier.

    @FrostCat said:

    Anything the UI renders tedious to do counts towards grindiness in my book, too.

    The EVE UI has improved vastly over the past few years: it used to be quite awkward in many places, but the developers have been very busy reworking most of the nasty parts.

    @FrostCat said:

    (I'm always appalled at people who are, for example, logging in to a web site or application, and they use the mouse to click on the userid text box, type it in, let go of the keyboard to move the mouse to the password field (HIT TAB YOU HEATHEN), type THAT in, then move the mouse again to get to the login button (SHOOT ME NOW).

    I've managed to get into a bit of trouble with my Tab key on username/password boxen due to dodgy tab ordering...



  • Tarunik, do you ever play any other video games?

    You're becoming like that really annoying guy at the party who steers every conversation to Libertarianism.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @blakeyrat said:

    You're becoming like that really annoying guy at the party who steers every conversation to Libertarianism.

    I resemble that remark.


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