Designer: Don't Worry About Used Sales, Just Make Good Games

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Designer: Don't Worry About Used Sales, Just Make Good Games

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The lead designer of F1 2010 says that designers shouldn't bother attacking the sales of used games.

Stuart Hood, design lead on the newly released racing sim F1 2010, told CVG that instead of focusing on reducing the market for used games through gimmicks like EA's Project Ten Dollar, game designers should focus on making great games that consumers don't want to trade in the first place.

"People who didn't plug into the hype or didn't follow what was going on, when they are looking for the game and they find a pre-owned one, they'll probably go for the pre-owned," Hood said. "Let's face it, we're not making any money from that."

The sales of used games are a problem for gamemakers, because all of that revenue goes to the retail outlet instead of the people who actually made the game. Hood points out that is because used games are priced cheaper, but that it's up to the designers to make a game worth playing.

"I don't think it's enough for developers to go round whinging about cutting that market up because you get rid of a game when you're tired of it or you want to move on to something else," said Hood (I imagine in an English accent). "So first and foremost, it should be our attempt to get the game more entertaining over the long-term."

So Hood's idea to reduce the used game market is to make great games that people would never want to part with at all. Sounds great in theory, but isn't that what all game designers have been doing since the industry began? I'm not sure that this is some big new revelation, or if focusing on making good games isn't what most developers already do.

Source: CVG

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Well then. Someone in the gaming industry has a good idea.

strum4h:
Well then. Someone in the gaming industry has a good idea.

Oh. My. God. The apocalypse is coming! Run!

oh shit, someone in the industry has common scense to hold off on releaseing a shit game and working on it some more to make it good.

It may be a known fact, but sometimes known facts need to be harped upon anyway because people lose sight of them. And I, for one, am in complete agreement with Stuart Hood, English accent or no.

I know I've rung this particular bell plenty of times in the past, but I'll go ahead and ring it again. Do you want your game to last well beyond the "flash in the pan" lifespan so many other games run into? Release Mod tools for your game's community. People are still releasing Fan Missions for the first two Thief games (released 12 and 10 years ago, respectively) and Mods for Half-Life 1 (also released 12 years ago) and Morrowind (8 years ago). And gamers are still buying these games via digitial distribution channels, which equals PROFIT. (Just ask Valve how many older and independent games I've bought on Steam.)

It's a fact: Even the most awesome, innovative game will eventually become played-out and boring. But if you allow the game's community to mix things up, it can stay fresh for years beyond what you might have expected.

Assassin Xaero:

strum4h:
Well then. Someone in the gaming industry has a good idea.

Oh. My. God. The apocalypse is coming! Run!

Well valve has been sticking to that idea for a while. I think the apocalypse will be when Ubisoft releases games for free. Then we will see the fire and brimstone falling from the sky.

making games more long term? isnt that called multiplayer?

(or if your older, splitscreen?)

Amen.

Let this sort itself out. I'm sure it will.

Calumon: Jack bought a game used, should we do something?

Good advice, that's what Troika did!

I agree with this guy I don't usually getting rid of games I like.

Nicely said! I love the games I have, and, I usually keep what I get myself anyway =D

epic games never get traded in here, all my mgs, all my gta games, batman AA, deus ex, dungeon keeper, etc.

but yea some people will trade in games just because maybe they need quick cash for that new game. maybe they never replay anything. game makers if they lowered the retail price of their games would go a long way to solving the resale market.

I don't think I'd buy a game about F1 racing new or used, but his point is valid.

strum4h:
Well then. Someone in the gaming industry has a good idea.

Not possible! I must be dreaming or have been injected with some weird drugs!

In seriousness, I want all developers to listen to him.

strum4h:

Assassin Xaero:

strum4h:
Well then. Someone in the gaming industry has a good idea.

Oh. My. God. The apocalypse is coming! Run!

Well valve has been sticking to that idea for a while. I think the apocalypse will be when Ubisoft releases games for free. Then we will see the fire and brimstone falling from the sky.

That or Duke Nukem Forever actually coming out...

This seems like a case of stating the obvious....but apparently it needs to be said!

Sometimes, games are so freakin' good you might buy it new. Twice. It happens. I love Fallout 3, and bought it new for the 360. When I got my new super PC earlier this year, I went out and bought the GOTY edition for it and am now on my third run through of that game.

There are plenty of games that I see and go, "Meh, I'll buy that when it is either used or discounted." Those are not games that would entice meto pay $60 if they were unavailable used or discounted....I simply wouldn't get them to begin with.

For every 360 release* or Steam game I pick up for new price, there are 10 that I might snag simply out of curiosity if I find them ultra cheap used or on a Steam sale. They are almost never games that I later think, "Gosh I'd have paid $60 for that."

If publishers want to compete with the used market, it's very, very easy: make games worth the asking price (as this guy says) or make them competitively priced with the used market.

*Until last week when my 360 died. 4th RROD event in a year and a half. I am done with Xbox now. I don't care if I can't finish Reach, I can't take the failure rate anymore!!!! /rant

Sounds like someone on the other side of this mess actually have brains. Does car companies worry about used cars? No! And game companies shouldn't either!

Well, I disagree with him. Mainly because there are quite a few people who only play games for the single player, and there are good games that only have a single player mode. For the most part, games that aren't huge RPGs like Fallout 3 or Oblivion with only a single player will only last so long before it gets dull. The same thing can be said for those who buy games just for the single player, such as myself.

Basically, I'm just trying to say that things will always be traded in, no matter how good they are. Yes, it might not be right away, but one will eventually get bored with the single and/or multiplayer and prefer to just have the cash that selling it gives.

That's the idea. Noone ever sells their fauvorite games or game they love. NEVER. People sell games because they're tired of them. Other people buy used game because they're not worth it buying new.

Greg Tito:

So Hood's idea to reduce the used game market is to make great games that people would never want to part with at all. Sounds great in theory, but isn't that what all game designers have been doing since the industry began? I'm not sure that this is some big new revelation, or if focusing on making good games isn't what most developers already do.

Do you get to play a lot of games?
There are very few that are actually worth $60.
I find it very hard to believe that devs are trying to make a AAA title every time. Most of the games out there are quite obviously shovelware that they were able to quickly throw together.

Oh, wow. Why didn't anybody think of this? It's almost as if that is the whole point of starting a project.

First Mark Lamia, now this guy. It has everything to do with consumer behaviour, sure, but its as much the consumer's fault as it is one retailer in particular. GameStop passes off price gouging for used games as a good deal, and regular people don't care to see that they are getting ripped off. 55 dollars is not that much better than 60.

In an effort to make a return against the losses caused by GameStop and its used game empire, Project Ten Dollar is becoming more popular. Quality is next to irrelevant with GameStop's price gouging now ingrained into how the industry operates, and I believe more independent developers should adopt Project Ten Dollar. Publishers take it on the chin, but independent developers that also publish their own games stand to lose a lot of money because of the used games market.

Let's combat social engineering with a flimsy solution. Sounds like something my government would come up with.

The problem isn't replay value (which is what Hood's referring to, not quality), it's the fact that new games are really, really, really, really expensive.

Not every game needs to have 50 hours of extraneous crap to do. There is a place in this world for linear, 5 hour single-player games with a polished story arc. If publishers demand that all games have infinite replay value, it will either limit the variety of games that can be made, or waste the developer's time tacking on some lackluster extras.

Just lower the price of games. Sixty dollars is ridiculous.

Furthermore, a $20 price tag for the base game would have the side benefit of making 47 day-one DLC packs feel a bit less shameless.

Ho shit. Someone with sanity and rational thought within the gaming industry

But yeah, I keep hold of several high quality games that have great replay value. They should learn from this.

What I don't get is the fact that used games have been going on for... how many years now? And suddenly they're a huge problem.

Good to see someone's trying to make better games.

Or just make a PC game that uses Steam . .

Way to go designer dude. . .!

Totally agree with this fine fellow.

Axolotl:
Good advice, that's what Troika did!

Troika games was a pretty tragic loss IMO. :-(

I'd have loved to see what kinds of games they could dish out after Vampire The Masquerade Bloodlines...

Should developers always be trying to make great games? Yes. Will that solve the issue of used games? Not in the slightest.

Actually this is a "new" revelation given the current attitudes of the industry.

Understand that the game industry is massively corperate right now, it isn't what it used to be. It's out to make the most profits it can, as quickly as it can. Simply having a good game that makes more money than it cost to produce is not enough.

To the corperate mentality they generally do not want people to have many games that can remain entertaining for hundreds or even thousands of hours, because if people are content with the games that they have, they aren't going to be running out to buy more games. The more games they can shovel out, the more money they can make.

This is a driving force (though not the sole one) behind the proliferation of shooters (heavily promoted by the industry and reviewers and such they buy), and the gradual decline of large RPG games and such. As long term gamers can point out, games are getting shorter and shorter, and more linear as time goes on. Game companies will tout replayability as a feature, but in reality it's a liability to their bottom line, which is why it's usually a token effort and most people wind up complaining that the depth companies typically claim (all these desicians and options that change things radically) are a lie.

What's more the whole DLC gimmick depends on a minimalist approach to game development. A game company wants to put the least amount of content into a game as they can, so they can sell pieces of it later as DLC. Right now you have people developing the DLC and deciding how they are going to market it right alongside the games as well.

The claims in that article represent an epiphany for the modern gaming industry. Remember what is common sense to us, is not common sense to them. Stripping down the games, or simply producing relatively short ones leads to people finishing those games, and then trading them in at a fairly prodigious rate.

Of course it can also be pointed out that despite being right about this, it also isn't the whole story. The strategy they are using about shoveling out short/linear games and DLC came about because it works. The big question is of course going to be whether going after the used game market by producing longer term games is going to net them more profits than sucking it up and continueing down this road. We'll probably see things change a bit if this idea comes on, but I can guarantee the gaming industry won't be looking towards what the customers are going to want, but the best balance between they extremes they can find from their own financial perspective. I wouldn't put it past them to find a "perfect" compromise in their minds that is a nightmare to us consumers.

At any rate, as consumers we'd like to think the attitude of making long, and worthwhile games that people wouldn't want to trade was their standard attitude. Once upon a time the industry was simply out to make *a* profit and wanted to give consumers the best possible deal for their money as the industry could and make a profit itself. Today that isn't the case anymore, and it hasn't been for a long time. Today it's all about *monster* profits, projected growth, and getting every single dime they can out of the user base.

Hurray for good games. I have three Diablo II battle chests and the no doubt thousands of hours myself and my two brothers put into the game were well worth it.

Axolotl:
Good advice, that's what Troika did!

It's a shame they could never make a game that people wanted at release.

YES! You see, that's how the free market works. You want to crush an industry, you don't do it by guilting people away from it, or lobbying the government to legislate against it, you do it by giving the consumers no reason to want the industry to exist. If you don't want people to buy used games, you need to give people a reason to stop getting rid of their games.

Yay shame I hate racing games though.

At least someone in the industry has a functioning brain.

Whoa, whoa. Someone in the game induster wants to make games with lasting appeal because he thinks fighting against the used game induster is futile by whining and sueing?

This guy is either the second coming of jesus or the anti-christ.

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