Psychonauts and the Tragedy of Used Games

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Of course, this all started with worrying about EB getting the profit and the expense of DoubleFine. Well, we know where the designer at least ended up... Why not split the difference between what you paid pre-owned (ah, I miss the days when it was OK to say second hand...) and the full retail price and send it off to the deserving toe rags to distribute as they see fit.

P.S. Yahtzee conclusively proves that it is possible to be reincarnated while you are still alive, and only the fact that we share the same spirited sense of humour prevents me from sueing me, er... him, uh... I

Oh you know what I/he/me means.

It's interesting to look back on this argument now that Xbox Originals has launched and people can now download Xbox titles like "Pyschonauts" straight onto their Xbox 360. Sure, the amount Microsoft is charging for the games is a bit much considering the majority of titles could be found in a "Used Games" section for less than $10, but it's a step closer to completely digital distribution.

As for me, personally, I buy used games because:
-cost; me like less pay
-I can find games that would be hard to get elsewhere
-the thrill of finding a sweet deal in one of those overflowing bins

However, unlike most people, I very, very rarely sell my games because I feel I would regret my decision (I just know that 5 months later, I'll get that itch to play Prince of Persia once again) and the fact that you get a measly amount for your offerings, anyway. I suppose, in that sense, I am preventing more people from using my copy, and therefore I am the good guy (obviously).

*EDIT* Terribly sorry for the huge bump, but this article just caught my eye and I felt like responding. Besides, this ongoing argument is fun to think about.

Indeed, and, would've missed this article if not for that, thanks ;)

I buy used games all the time, and, if the store is stu....easy about it, they'll sometimes put a game up in the previously owned section for far less than what it's actually worth, usually I've only seen this in video stores etc. that don't primarily sell video/computer games.

As for PC titles, I've always been under the impression it was a bad thing to buy a used PC title, as, you are I understood, running the risk of a virus or worse whenever you install it. Maybe I'm wrong, and have missed a lot of titles I could have got cheaper, or at least cheaper than Explosiv, Sold Out Software, PC Gamer Presents etc. But, it just seems that the content with PC games is just...easier to manipulate somehow, that you don't really know what you're getting...

A very well written article, and I agree with many of its points.

I've been a manager for 2 different games companies in the UK over the past 6 years. One of them was a big chain, and I currently manage a store for an independent company.

In my opinon (I've got no access to the company's financial information or anything like that), the independent company that I run a store for now, might not be open if it wasn't for the preowned games market. Either that or they wouldn't be doing as well. New games don't make all that much profit for the smaller companies, as they cannot buy in bulk as much as the larger chains and supermarkets do. And some publishers are notorious for having high cost prices on games, and only offering discount to companies buying a bazillion copies for their 300+ shops.

Here's an example. A new game is released on the 360, and the cost price to the independent retailer is £32, seeing as they may be buying 30 copies (depends on the popularity of the title/amount of shops they have). First of all, since we're in the UK, we have to add VAT on to that before looking at any sort of profit. VAT's 17.5%. So already we're up to £37.60. The game goes out on shelf at £49.99, looking to make the independent retailer £12.40. Nice one, you may think.

However, the chain stores and the supermarkets have already gotten a better deal on the game, and are able to put it out on shelf at £39.99 and still make a half decent profit, seeing as they're buying thousands of copies. From this one of two things will happen, either the indie has to lower their shelf price in order to stop people just walking down the road and buying it, making them a paltry £2.40 profit. Or, they leave it at that price, and it sits there until eventually they're forced to drop it further and sell it for a loss just to get rid of it.

Now I know I've used a costly example, and to be fair it's the "worst case" scenario. Though you can still apply the same logic to any cost price - if it's £25 for the indie then the chains will still get it cheaper, it just means it may be a game that has an SRP of £34.99 instead. And, a lot of companies (mainly supermarkets, but some of the larger chain stores too) will put out a game on shelf that they're making pittance on, in a bid to get the customer into the store in the hope that while the customer's there, they'll spend more money on other things with a higher profit margin.

Preowned games are a good money-maker for the smaller companies like the one I work for. Also, I do agree that a lot of people can't afford to go out and buy a brand new game, so they'll either buy the preowned one or just not bother.

What I see a lot of too, is people coming across an older title (say, Rainbow Six Vegas, just for example) for around £15, and buying it because it's cheap and they want to give it a go. Then, that customer comes back a few weeks later a preorders a brand new copy of Rainbow Six Vegas 2 because they like the first one so much. Then they branch out into other Tom Clancy games like Ghost Recon and the likes.

Preowned games do a lot less harm to the industry than most people think. As I've said in a previous thread, I remember trading in Mega Drive games about 14 years ago to get the latest one, and have been trading in games ever since. If the games industry is doing as well as it is, after at least 14 years of trade-ins and preowned games being around, then it certainly can't be a bad thing.

Lastly, apologies for the huge post...I tend to ramble a little...

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