Question of the Day, August 28, 2010

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When you buy the game, it's yours. Not the developers, not the stores, yours. Once you've bought it you can play it, sell it or insert it rectally and they can't do jack shit about it because it's not theirs; it's yours to do as you please. With piracy you've copied the disc and broken the law and have to be punished for it. So, it isn't at all wrong because it's just business and it's completely legal. You aren't punished for buying anything else used, why should we be punished for buying used games?

And am I right in saying that most game developers get paid by the hour or on a salary and not by commission. So really they only need to care about the game making a profit so they all keep their jobs, right?

Continuity:
there are people who are media junkies and dedicated pirates, people who without piracy would spend thousands on buying new and yet with piracy never buy new... these people do exist, I know one for a start.

Thats a somewhat self-defeating point, don't you think? Everyone knows at least one person like that. The one I know has zero disposable income. Thus, despite his voracious appetite for all forms of media, in the absence of piracy, he'd still not be anyone's customer.

The Unworthy Gentleman:
When you buy the game, it's yours. Not the developers, not the stores, yours. Once you've bought it you can play it, sell it or insert it rectally and they can't do jack shit about it because it's not theirs; it's yours to do as you please.

and thats all well and good. Until you enter gamestop into the equation. They exploit the everloving shit out of first sale doctrine, to buy games off people at a fifth to a tenth of what they'll sell for. Often refusing to carry any new copies of a game (new copies are carried on consignment).

And am I right in saying that most game developers get paid by the hour or on a salary and not by commission. So really they only need to care about the game making a profit so they all keep their jobs, right?

... and... where do you think that money comes from? The moon?

anyGould:
Wow, that poll isn't biased at all... I can be a dirty pirate or a cheapskate. Nice.

Agreed. I mean, yes, if I'm buying a game second hand it should be decreased in price, but yes, I also believe the developers should get a piece of their games' sales from Retail stores. Obviously there's no way to curtail the exchange of games in between friends, or just people putting out an add and selling games they own. Here's the thing: I don't see anyone actively complaining about movies being bought second-hand, and I'd hazard a guess that they're being pirated more than games are. I'd need to see some numbers, like how much developers are losing as a result of second-hand purchases.

About To Crash:
I don't see anyone actively complaining about movies being bought second-hand, and I'd hazard a guess that they're being pirated more than games are. I'd need to see some numbers, like how much developers are losing as a result of second-hand purchases.

The reason you don't hear a lot about this is you can't pirate a or sell a used cinema.

You could steal the reels and take pictures of each film cell, you could bring a camera and record the whole movie, but those will be pale imitations of even (il)legitimate home copies.

Also, since most of the money in film is in cinema... Not a whole lot to complain about there.

I hope that this issue gets resolved in a way that benefits both the consumer and the developers while taking as little as possible from the middlemen. But I'm part of the problem, not the solution; 80+% of my game purchases are used and the new ones are generally severely marked down (for instance I buy games from Wal-Mart's $20 bin sometimes). I'd like to apologize to any game developers that are reading this but I'm also not going to change my habits until a reasonable solution to this problem is realized.

...but at least I don't pirate games. That's a plus, eh?

Their money is more important then our freedom!! Never forget it.

Pre-owned is not piracy. Someone bought the game therefore it is their property they own it now the Devs. Once it leaves and goes to retialer even it does not belong to the Devs anymore. Once the retailer buys it they can pop them out of their case and stick all their stock in the microwave if they please. The devs have no say in what happens to the games bar say breach of copyright laws by putting it on torrent sites. Anything short of breaking copyright you can do. That includes reselling it.

I'm an environmentalist student and i support used games as much as i support used anything.
When i'm done with the newspaper my neighbours get it.
If i'm buying a new pc, a friend with no cash gets the old one.
So why shouldn't i buy or sell a used game if it would be a novelty dust-collector otherwise?
We already consume more then we can carry and its a waste of resources to buy everything brand new and let it rot on a shelf after we get bored with it.
The same reason i'd rather buy a small portion of edibles and eat abit less than buy a family pack and throw most of it away.
Humans are greedy s's 'o b's and if we continue to go on the way we do there won't be a world left to play games in at all.

I simply cannot afford to shell out for new games, I have other things to do, such as eat, live and all that other stuff you have to do with your money. Used games allow me to play games cheap. If there's a new game I must have I will save and buy it new, but so little of value is actually released these days that I haven't had to save for some time.

AvsJoe:
...but at least I don't pirate games. That's a plus, eh?

Not really. They'd probably prefer it to bloating out gamestop. The larger that particular cancer gets, the more power it has at the negotiating table, the more money it can claim from each new sale, the more important it can claim it is to the entire industry. All while sucking it dry.

The problem with retail is it's built entirely around the idea, the insistence it is the only way anyone can do business. It is necessary and ubiquitous and any attempt to bypass it will simply hurt everyone's wallets. The biggest problem is as it's inevitable obsolescence approaches, it becomes more and more desperate to survive at all. Right now, gamestop is threatening to take down the entire industry with it.

Patton662:
Their money is more important then our freedom!! Never forget it.

You realize you're basically saying, "its my right to get conned by gamestop?"

Glademaster:
Pre-owned is not piracy. Someone bought the game therefore it is their property they own it now the Devs. Once it leaves and goes to retialer even it does not belong to the Devs anymore. Once the retailer buys it they can pop them out of their case and stick all their stock in the microwave if they please. The devs have no say in what happens to the games bar say breach of copyright laws by putting it on torrent sites. Anything short of breaking copyright you can do. That includes reselling it.

Well, lets put it another way. If every copy of a game is sold used an average of two times, that means the publishers and developers only see a return for a third of a game's sales. How is that right? Especially with gamestop pricing used copies at five or ten percent less than new copies?

I agree that used game sales are worse then Piracy because if someone pirates a game, they are likely to then go and buy a copy if they like it, but that would never happen when someone buys a new game. Anyway, I'm biased in this as being primerily a PC gamer I havent been able to buy used for a decade.

Cynical skeptic:

Patton662:
Their money is more important then our freedom!! Never forget it.

You realize you're basically saying, "its my right to get conned by gamestop?"

Who said anything about gamestop ? Never been to the place in my life, mainly because I don't live in USA. There are other places that sell used software and hardware.

thenamelessloser:

How are there movies, TV shows, and music CDs at the library then? I mean if it is all about books being able to be borrowed from the library because it has been that way culturally for a long time, then how is those other newer forms of entertainment and art at them?

We can actually borrow video games from most of our libraries here in Denmark. Not that you can count on them to have a title released a week ago, but pretty recent. I haven't heard any complaints about it in the media. Maybe Denmark is too insignifigant, heh.

Duh, the retailers get some money to run their bussined and to buy new games to be sold to the masses.

where's the 'it's worse' option?

Of course it's not piracy.

Once the game has been bought, the property right to the disc belongs to the consumer, who can do with it whatever he/she want inside the law.

If anyone buys a gardening table to use for 1 season, then sell it to whomever they want, the table manufacturer will still have gotten his share of profits on that table; that he didn't get to sell another table, because the need for one was met otherwise, doesn't change that. Exact same thing for games, even if their completion time is significantly less.

Once a specimen is sold, where it goes is absolutely no business of the copyright holder, unless it demand in the sales contract that the product cannot be resold, and such practise is permitted by the law. Instead of trying to hollow out consumer rights, how about making games people will want to hold on to?

Xaryn Mar:
...and in fact the EULA are not a legally binding document in Denmark at least. Since you sign it after having paid and therefore it is not a known part of the deal and is void.

I believe that whether and to what extent these kind of after-the-fact "Shrink Wrap"-agreements are binding isn't fully clarified in the legal theory. Very common or for the product predictable terms could be binding if the customer had to know that some kind of EULA was to be expected, even if they haven't entirely become a standard recognized practise (yet), and the EULA may be given some weight in interpreting the finer details of such terms. Your view is definitely the (very-hard-to-move-out-from) point of departure though.

Cynical skeptic:
Well, lets put it another way. If every copy of a game is sold used an average of two times, that means the publishers and developers only see a return for a third of a game's sales. How is that right? Especially with gamestop pricing used copies at five or ten percent less than new copies?

Well I'm but that is not acceptable on the devs side. If Steam can do seasonal sales with up to 90% off games the lowest being around 30% I think devs have more than enough money to slash the price of older games a bit. Also FFXIII still goes for around 40euro used. The only games where there is a significant drop in price is games over a year or two old. So this is an acceptable loss. As if devs think they can still charge the same price a couple of years later they really need a wake up call. So I don't think a drop of about 5 euro is really that much from a new game you'd be better of getting the new game if that was the case.

Also you are going on certain assumptions. First that someone has even bought the game and thus has become preowned which they are well within their rights to do. Then said game has been bought by 2 other people. I for one have only ever returned a game to sell off as preowned that was utterly shit or that I was completely finished with it. Now from a better enivormental view this is good it is called recycling. The sooner we can move onto Digital Distribution the better when it comes to waste. What you are basically saying is that it is overall better for me to fuck my finished games in the bin than sell them on.

Overall the fact that it is better for the enviroment as it creates less waste and less pollution through delivery of copies. Other types of retail are able to slash the price of games so dramatically eg Steam. I don't see what is wrong with Pre-owned especially since devs won't drop the prices. If Valve can sell Bioshock 2 at roughly 50% the year it was released I think Devs/Retailers could drop the price of new games a bit or even a game bought new but a few years old. Until Devs/Retailers get this idea into their heads pre-owned sales will remain as they are.

Project Ten Dollar is fine with me. The content that is cut out is usually far from necessary, except in the case of Bad Company 2.

I'm fine with schemes like Project Ten Dollar. I'm a PC gamer and as such the used market isn't something I generally pay attention to - I'll only pick up a used game if I really want it (Dreamfall Collector's Edition) or if there's no other choice.

I don't think used games are equal to piracy, but the effect they have on the developer/publisher is barely different. I don't think developers/publishers have a "right" to get "extra" money on a used game as no other entertainment market really allows for that - music, literature, film & television, art, comics and so forth. They've created the product, they've released the product, end.

It's so hard to really come to a proper conclusion. If the used market instantly stopped, so many businesses would collapse and it'd be harder for people to get games (especially those with no/limited internet capabilities), and it might have a huge negative impact on the industry.

As for someone's "price reduction" point? Retailers in the UK drop prices all the time. Seen BFBC2 for half its price a few times now.

No - Its not. I can see why some people would, but we are still paying someone from it - so therfore not piracy

Isn't it obvious? For the developer, piracy means one game that's paid for becomes hundred thousand games that aren't paid for. Second-hand sales means one game that's paid for becomes one game that isn't paid for. Alright, maybe two or three if they become third- or fourth-hand. Guess what costs developers more money?

Cynical skeptic:

Continuity:
there are people who are media junkies and dedicated pirates, people who without piracy would spend thousands on buying new and yet with piracy never buy new... these people do exist, I know one for a start.

Thats a somewhat self-defeating point, don't you think? Everyone knows at least one person like that. The one I know has zero disposable income. Thus, despite his voracious appetite for all forms of media, in the absence of piracy, he'd still not be anyone's customer.

I don't think its self defeating at all, and not that its particularly important to my point but but the person I was referring to is an assistant VP offshore banker in Jersey, he gets more in bonus' a year than I have in disposable income by a factor of about 5 and I know for a fact he has about £100,000 in investments.
There are lots of pirates who don't have much disposable income, but in nearly all cases I believe they would spend more on games etc if piracy didn't exist, we may not be talking a vast sum of money individually but for the games companies that would be a different commercial landscape (i.e. a big difference).

However I'm not supporting the anti-piracy lobby nor am I advocating DRM or draconian legal measures. Personally I don't think piracy has anything like the effect on the industry that they would like to think, even so, I think it would be naive to suggest that piracy has no substantial impact on sales.

Woo flamebait poll. How we love thee.

Now the whole thing is badly phrased and greatly simplified. It's not about used games sales on person to person basis. The problem lies in retailers that get a free money form selling same game to several people. No one will mind if you buy a game form your friend that got bored with it, but when big part of market starts to be re-selling those games with fully skipping the developer/publisher it starts to be a serious issue.

Think about it. Each time you buy a new (as in relatively fresh) used game, you pretty much just save a small sum, around 10-15$. It's like saying no to those 2-3 cans of soda a month. You are really acting as a cheapskate who is willing to spend money on the game, but instead helping the studio that developed it, you just help the retailer that is happy they can take your money for free.

While piracy may be considered stealing, used games business on large scale is just plain and simple customer stupidity and in my eyes is worse than pirates. They at least don't pretend they get their games legally, while you let yourself get milked by the retailer and smile afterwards.

The software companies get their cut when a consumer buys the game new from WalMart, Best Buy, Amazon, or wherever. What the consumer does with that piece of software after the initial purchase shouldn't matter to the software companies.

If you're viewing this as "Consumers shouldn't have the option to buy used when new is available," then you need to also outlaw used CD sales, used movie sales, and you also better shut down movie/game rental companies since they're guilty of the same "denial of new game sales" crime.

No, it isn't. The game is paid for and thus property. If someone wants to sell that 2nd hand game, it's their choice to make. Good chance that the person who buys it from me or you wouldn't or couldn't buy it in the store in the first place.
Same thing goes for all the other 2nd hand things, the producer doesn't make an extra buck on it anymore. But fear not, I will sell them my 2nd hand tissues if they start to whine.

Piracy:
1: an act of robbery on the high seas; also: an act resembling such robbery
2: robbery on the high seas
3a: the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright
b: the illicit accessing of broadcast signals

Nope. There can be no argument made to suggest it is. It doesn't meet the definition, and therefore is not. Simple.

If you want to make the argument that buying used games is bad for the industry, go ahead. But don't use piracy as a launching pad - it just ensures no one takes what you say seriously.

Why does the question of the day always come after a good thread on the subject has died out?
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.228124-penny-arcade-equates-used-games-to-piracy?page=5#7869800

Also, why is the question of the day always phrased with bias?

How is it piracy? Is it piracy if i buy a game from a garage sale? No. Its not the developers or publishers game anymore. Its the persons who bought it. If I buy a car, then a year later sell it to my friend, should the dealership get a cut of that? No, because they already got paid for that transaction. Thinking buying a used game is piracy is idiotic in my opinion.

I don't see how this exchange of money makes used games sales better than piracy.

I remember that back in the day, long before broadband, there were stores that sold pirated copies of games for a fraction of the price. We were paying them money, they were giving us the game. They had already paid for the game, mind you; they needed a legit copy to start copying it.

Or what if you're "donating" to your favorite torrent site or group of crackers? They bought a legit copy, they gave it to you, you paid them.

The only difference is scale, as a previous poster said. But for the law, scale changes the penalty, it does not make something legal. Stealing 10 dollars and stealing a million is still a crime. You get reprimanded for the first, you go to jail for the second (or get elected in office, but that's another story).

Another thought: We really need to start getting away from the physical copy mentality. Things are going away from that and in a few years or more, services like Steam would be the only ones available in any platform. Owning software is not the same as owning a table...not at all. A table cannot be copied at no cost and two tables cost twice as much to be made. A game developer can "burn" 3 or a million DVDs and the cost would be about the same (since packaging is negligible).

Another thought: You do realize it is illegal to lend your copy to a friend of yours, right? How many avoid doing that for this reason, though?

What is illegal is not necessarily immoral and what is immoral is not necessarily illegal. Food for thought.

PS: I don't support piracy, in any case, but I would never stop you from doing it, though.

Cheap skate or I agree with it...Hhhmmm...

Anyway, to compare it to piracy is like comparing skateboarding with mugging. Yes, they're both bad in their own right, but skateboarding is just nothing. No one cares about skateboarders and infact some support them. Piracy/mugging though, everyone pretty much agrees it's a bad thing.

Ugh. Of course it isn't piracy. This is how capitalism works, you introduce a product into the market and once it's been sold, whoever happens to own it can do whatever the hell they want with it.

You can, and the law does, prohibit DUPLICATING the game and then distributing it, i.e. piracy.
You can't prohibit stores from offering a better deal than you. You can offer a better deal yourself. I know that if the gap between a new copy and a used one is about $5 I'd go new, but once the gap reaches about $20 I'd go used (although that is a bit iffy, since a store essentially controls the price and is going to favour it's used games over new ones, given the better profit margin).

Although I can't actually remember buying a used game (from a store) in ages, I certainly don't blame people buying used over here in Aus, given the extortionist pricing of new games. Which are probably set by the retailers.

Ultimately I don't see anything morally wrong with used games, it's just a good bit of business on the retailer's part that publishers would rather stamp out than actually put the effort into giving the customer a better deal themselves. And in many cases the $30 odd bucks that I can get from getting rid of an older game or two is a deciding factor in whether I get a new one or not, something I can't be alone in.

It's not as bad as piracy since money is still spent in the market to some degree(Even if it doesn't get back to the publishers)Which can easily be used as trade-in items to buy future used games or new games. (Which would take value for the product from the store.)Pirated copies completely remove profit from the overall business regardless of intention.

I voted for the first option because the end result of buying a used game is the same as pirating it, as far as developers are concerned, but i absolutely don't think developers should get a cut or should even feel like they should get a cut because the disc containing the game is not their property. The escapist needs to start providing straightforward unbiased answers for these polls...

You don't see car manufacturers taking dealers to court for not giving them a cut of second hand sales.
Nor do you see builders trying to extract money from houses that are sold on.
Or publishers trying to sue second hand book stores.
You don't see Phillips and Sony trying to go after second DVD sellers either.

I'm sure the games industry can come up with many arguments as to why they are somehow unique and the laws of trade do not apply to them, but the reality is the principal is no different, they're just being greedy.

Besides, with the explosion of MMOs, in game and on server advertising, there is no good reason second hand games can't make both developers and publishers a lot of money.

Cynical skeptic:
The reason you don't hear a lot about this is you can't pirate a or sell a used cinema.

You could steal the reels and take pictures of each film cell, you could bring a camera and record the whole movie, but those will be pale imitations of even (il)legitimate home copies.

Also, since most of the money in film is in cinema... Not a whole lot to complain about there.

Ah, I should have seen. Thanks.

I think second hand games should be sold, but maybe a portion of each game sold from a store, regardless of new or used quality, goes to the developers. I guess I just want the developers to succeed, publishers I care a little less about.

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