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Published on November 12th, 2008 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder

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Want to Solve the Used Game Dilemma? Here's How to Do It.

Wow. Just wow. Every time I get more hyped about where the game industry is headed, I read something that makes me sick to my stomach. For every NXE announcement, there’s a negative digital distribution article. For every celebration, there are articles like these to remind us of what the power players in the industry are thinking behind closed doors.

The latest of these articles is from videogaming247, where Mike Capps, President of Epic Games, mentions how big a problem the used game market is in the United States – and the lengths in which some developers are considering to curb the used game dilemma. Here’s an excerpt of what those developers were suggesting:

I’ve talked to some developers who are saying ‘If you want to fight the final boss you go online and pay USD $20, but if you bought the retail version you got it for free’. We don’t make any money when someone rents it, and we don’t make any money when someone buys it used – way more than twice as many people played Gears than bought it.”

Having read the paragraph many times, there’s either two possibilities here:

  1. Mike only brought this up to gauge gamers’ reactions toward this concept. Needless to say, we are not pleased.
  2. Some developers are really considering this to be an option.

If I honestly believed the first option to be true, you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Of course, this brings about questions. What happens if users don’t have broadband internet? What happens if someone rents a game for $7 – are they then expected to spend another $20 to finish the game?

The idea of that is ridiculous, and would cause a collapse of the industry worse than the crash of 1983 if adopted across the board. Let me say this again:

If this policy of charging to finish the game is adopted across the board, you will kill the industry.

Of that, there is no doubt in my mind. This isn’t idle chat or speculation, this will hurt the industry more than help it. Before you say it, I’ll beat you to the punch: Yes, I know this was speculation on the part of developers, but the fact remains that a bit of change couldn’t hurt.

There’s more than meets the eye though, so click “Page 2” to read more.

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About the Author

Deejay has been a gamer since the Atari 2600, has wrestled–and defeated–alligators with only his toes, and once aligned all the planets in the Solar System by uttering the words "Coo Coo Ka-Choo". In his sleep. He currently bides his time behind the scenes here at GAMINGtruth.com, streaming at http://www.twitch.tv/deejayknight and teaching.



  • Assassin

    Awesome write up DeeJay! Burnout Paradise is by far the perfect example. More DLC keeps us coming back for more and gives us a reason to keep our games.

  • Assassin

    Awesome write up DeeJay! Burnout Paradise is by far the perfect example. More DLC keeps us coming back for more and gives us a reason to keep our games.

  • sedington86

    Very good work! Something probably does need to happen. These people who work like crazy to create these games need to be compensated. Some may argue that used movies get sold, and no one worries this much, but a video game doesn't have a theater release… Burnout Paradise with their free DLC and Gears 2 with the download cards are great examples. Rock Band 2 also had a similar thing for 20 free downloadable tracks.

  • sedington86

    Very good work! Something probably does need to happen. These people who work like crazy to create these games need to be compensated. Some may argue that used movies get sold, and no one worries this much, but a video game doesn't have a theater release… Burnout Paradise with their free DLC and Gears 2 with the download cards are great examples. Rock Band 2 also had a similar thing for 20 free downloadable tracks.

  • DeejayKnight

    Thanks a lot for the comments, guys! Replies like those are the reason I came up with these suggestions in the first place! Now, the question is, who's going to step up to the plate and make it happen?

  • DeejayKnight

    Thanks a lot for the comments, guys! Replies like those are the reason I came up with these suggestions in the first place! Now, the question is, who's going to step up to the plate and make it happen?

  • ?? ?? ??

    The problem with free content is paying people to continue cranking out content. If the game isn't good, you can't afford to pay people to continue to work on the game. I don't understand why it took console devs so long to realize they should be creating add-ons / download content while giving the user the ability to do the same. This has been almost standard for pc games now, and the only console game to do this right is Little Big Planet. But how many people are willing to stop making cookie cutter games that will sell to the masses (Saints Row, and all the other GTA rehashes) vs people who will make a high quality game and create a fanbase to sell to (Halo, MGS4, etc).

  • ?? ?? ??

    The problem with free content is paying people to continue cranking out content. If the game isn't good, you can't afford to pay people to continue to work on the game. I don't understand why it took console devs so long to realize they should be creating add-ons / download content while giving the user the ability to do the same. This has been almost standard for pc games now, and the only console game to do this right is Little Big Planet. But how many people are willing to stop making cookie cutter games that will sell to the masses (Saints Row, and all the other GTA rehashes) vs people who will make a high quality game and create a fanbase to sell to (Halo, MGS4, etc).

  • tr3Ks

    IMO i think that the gaming industry needs to open its eyes and see that for 60$ players want their moneys worth. they want to feel like there is a supreme reason to purchase the game as new. I was very impressed with the GoW2 DLC that shipped with the new games….eventually once even more titles sell you will start to see less people with the distinguishable golden weapons and that will be great for people, not to mention the map packs etc. I would love to see games drop to 50$ at title, that would make me so happy. But look at microsofts few titles that have recently been coming out….I'm not talking about their big games, Im talking about Viva Pinata and Banjo Kazooie. Microsoft has been trying to get game devs to drop their prices on new releases to make games more available. When I think of a hardcore market i think of people that are willing to buy games as new @ 60-70-80$ a pop. But for the low income gamer, they miss out on so many great titles that they have to depend on used games in order to find out what they miss out on., its terrible…. I believe that if gaming companies launched their titles with DLC/Limited Content to weigh in a few extra bucks then it makes it worth it to get that game at release date, and if they would drop the price within 2 months/3months when purchasing drops, I bet they would see more dramatic changes in purchasing due to the fact that Gamestop uses the same style of system, except they seem to base it on how popular the game is coming off of their shelves… I agree that I feel his statement was to tread water with this idea and see how the gaming community will react. And I don't think that it will happen anytime soon. Oh – and could you imagine if they actually did…Guarantee that Movie companies/computer software companies would immediately follow suit. – whats that? you want to render out in 3D studio max? 80$ buddy….or you want to slice this into website pieces? 250$ man. UGGGG This will never happen. there will be riots in the streets.

  • tr3Ks

    IMO i think that the gaming industry needs to open its eyes and see that for 60$ players want their moneys worth. they want to feel like there is a supreme reason to purchase the game as new. I was very impressed with the GoW2 DLC that shipped with the new games….eventually once even more titles sell you will start to see less people with the distinguishable golden weapons and that will be great for people, not to mention the map packs etc. I would love to see games drop to 50$ at title, that would make me so happy. But look at microsofts few titles that have recently been coming out….I'm not talking about their big games, Im talking about Viva Pinata and Banjo Kazooie. Microsoft has been trying to get game devs to drop their prices on new releases to make games more available. When I think of a hardcore market i think of people that are willing to buy games as new @ 60-70-80$ a pop. But for the low income gamer, they miss out on so many great titles that they have to depend on used games in order to find out what they miss out on., its terrible…. I believe that if gaming companies launched their titles with DLC/Limited Content to weigh in a few extra bucks then it makes it worth it to get that game at release date, and if they would drop the price within 2 months/3months when purchasing drops, I bet they would see more dramatic changes in purchasing due to the fact that Gamestop uses the same style of system, except they seem to base it on how popular the game is coming off of their shelves… I agree that I feel his statement was to tread water with this idea and see how the gaming community will react. And I don't think that it will happen anytime soon. Oh – and could you imagine if they actually did…Guarantee that Movie companies/computer software companies would immediately follow suit. – whats that? you want to render out in 3D studio max? 80$ buddy….or you want to slice this into website pieces? 250$ man. UGGGG This will never happen. there will be riots in the streets.

  • DeejayKnight

    Tony, First off, thanks for the comment. I completely understand what you mean on the creation end of the spectrum. It does have to be paid for, and if more titles were profitable those companies could afford to keep that DLC pumping. On that same note of profitability, more companies would make a profit on their games if all of the uber-major hits weren't released in the final three months of the year. Within the past month, I've seen no less than five games that I'm interested in buying, but I can barely afford to pay for one. I'd go more into depth about THAT problem, but that's an editorial for another day entirely… Again, thanks for the comment. These are the kinds of conversations I'm trying to bring about, so keep it up!

  • DeejayKnight

    Tony, First off, thanks for the comment. I completely understand what you mean on the creation end of the spectrum. It does have to be paid for, and if more titles were profitable those companies could afford to keep that DLC pumping. On that same note of profitability, more companies would make a profit on their games if all of the uber-major hits weren't released in the final three months of the year. Within the past month, I've seen no less than five games that I'm interested in buying, but I can barely afford to pay for one. I'd go more into depth about THAT problem, but that's an editorial for another day entirely… Again, thanks for the comment. These are the kinds of conversations I'm trying to bring about, so keep it up!

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  • DjDATZ

    Yep, Criterion would even get my vote for dev of the year for all the support they've been giving BP.

  • DjDATZ

    Yep, Criterion would even get my vote for dev of the year for all the support they've been giving BP.

  • DjDATZ

    Agreed. BP, GOW2 and RB2 are starting good trends. People don't care much for movies as it's usually a one way thing…the studio puts it out, and the buyer gets it. End of story. There is no real interaction between the studios and customers. Games are different however due to the fact that they last much, much longer and there usually is an interaction, however finite between the devs and the gamers. Also, games debut at a price point of $60 and movies debut at $30 or less…

  • DjDATZ

    Agreed. BP, GOW2 and RB2 are starting good trends. People don't care much for movies as it's usually a one way thing…the studio puts it out, and the buyer gets it. End of story. There is no real interaction between the studios and customers. Games are different however due to the fact that they last much, much longer and there usually is an interaction, however finite between the devs and the gamers. Also, games debut at a price point of $60 and movies debut at $30 or less…

  • DjDATZ

    Yea. That's another problem. Companies don't seem to understand that gamers are willing to get games through out the WHOLE year. If they just spaced out some of their releases throughout the year and NOT the last 4 months of the year, then they would surely get more attention and sales. Heck, there are SO many games coming out this holiday season, it's impossible to keep track of!

  • DjDATZ

    Yea. That's another problem. Companies don't seem to understand that gamers are willing to get games through out the WHOLE year. If they just spaced out some of their releases throughout the year and NOT the last 4 months of the year, then they would surely get more attention and sales. Heck, there are SO many games coming out this holiday season, it's impossible to keep track of!

  • DjDATZ
  • DjDATZ
  • DjDATZ
  • DjDATZ
  • J-R

    i say down with gamestop! i work for them and get a 10% discount on everything but new systems. 10%…???? wtf! they make so much money and thats all we get for 8 bux an hour!! plus we have to BUY an edge card for the extra discount!! i say all devs just don't release new titles at gamestop as well as the other aformentioned solutions let them just be a used game only store.

  • J-R

    i say down with gamestop! i work for them and get a 10% discount on everything but new systems. 10%…???? wtf! they make so much money and thats all we get for 8 bux an hour!! plus we have to BUY an edge card for the extra discount!! i say all devs just don't release new titles at gamestop as well as the other aformentioned solutions let them just be a used game only store.

  • J-R

    most other stores get 15-20% for got to say that hehe

  • J-R

    most other stores get 15-20% for got to say that hehe

  • AmatorySuccubus

    Or maybe game developers should charge GameStop and any other store that sales used games for rights to be able to sell their game used. That way they see some money coming back their way. Then if GameStop didn't want to pay the fee, then they won't be able to sell that game used…but if they did sell it without paying the fee, you could treat it kind of like selling an illegal copy. This could also be used with some of the points you made as well.

  • AmatorySuccubus

    Or maybe game developers should charge GameStop and any other store that sales used games for rights to be able to sell their game used. That way they see some money coming back their way. Then if GameStop didn't want to pay the fee, then they won't be able to sell that game used…but if they did sell it without paying the fee, you could treat it kind of like selling an illegal copy. This could also be used with some of the points you made as well.

  • mateo

    Haha! WOW! Keep it up game developers your starting to sound like the oil companies. Couldn't this hold true for any company manufacturing anything? Should car companies not let dealers sell used cars. This is total BS.

  • mateo

    Haha! WOW! Keep it up game developers your starting to sound like the oil companies. Couldn't this hold true for any company manufacturing anything? Should car companies not let dealers sell used cars. This is total BS.

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