The Ninjabot

First Person Views – Used Game Market

Posted on June 17, 2013 at 12:11 pm by Stephen Janes

The used game market has always had an interesting place with gamers. For those with tight budgets (like myself), purchasing a used game for a fraction of the cost is a great way to catch up on all the games you’ve missed, while developers and publishers fail to receive a single penny from your pocket. Recently we’ve seen several attempts to try and limit the used game market’s outreach but it is often met with opposition and unsatisfactory results.

The next generation consoles couldn’t be more different when it comes to stances on the used game market. On one hand, Microsoft is trying a new approach with home consoles by restricting which games the Xbox One can accept. When you buy a game, you use the disc to install the data on your hard drive like a PC game. The disc can then be given or “gifted” to a friend already on your Xbox Friends List but only once per game is this allowed. The idea of a friend borrowing a game for a few days is currently unavailable for the Xbox One, but it sounds like Microsoft is looking at possibilities post-launch. This is all simply for games published by Microsoft Studios, this process is completely different for third-party publishers.

Sony, on the other hand, has adopted a different and more favorable approach, or lack thereof. Plain and simple, the PlayStation 4 will not restrict any used games and will not limit the amount of times a game disc can be passed around. Indie developers have the option to add restrictions to their games, however, but it is up to the developers themselves and not Sony. Sony’s acceptance of used games is certainly a favorable approach for the budget friendly gamer but some developers have already expressed their disconcert for the used game market entirely.

Game designer Cliff Bleszinski recently stepped up and supported the Xbox One’s stance on used games, as well as the ‘always’ online requirement of the console. Bleszinski went to twitter to say, “You cannot have game and marketing budgets this high while also having used and rental games existing. The numbers do NOT work people.” Bleszinski continued on twitter to remind gamers that games like Assassin’s Creed, “…are made by thousands of devs” and how the cost to develop a quality game is constantly going up. Throw those in with the ever rising price of developer console kits and Bleszinski certainly has a point. While my opinion certainly will never have the same level of meaning, I do feel that the used game market has value with gamers for the exact same reason that Bleszinski mentions; cost.

Many people think that gaming is more expensive today than it was twenty years ago when in actuality, it’s the opposite. In 1986, The Legend of Zelda was released for a mere $49.99, which doesn’t seem too bad. Adjusted for inflation based on today’s financial situation, however, and that same gold cartridge becomes a $109 purchase plus tax, where most games are released for about $60 today. When you go to purchase something, you always want to find the best price available, which makes purchasing a used game so attractive. When the old EB Games opened up near my house and I discovered their pre-owned section, my allowance money shot up in value as I was now able to purchase games in a more frequent manner.

I try to see the gaming market for what’s real. With that being said, I understand the negativity surrounding the used game market and why developers want to strafe away from it in an attempt to maximize their profits. Then again, when you purchase a product such as a game, you should be fully entitled to the rights of that game to do what you will. This will always be a subject of great debate, no doubt. I like what Sony is doing and not restricting the gamer on what they can or can’t play, but Microsoft’s model makes the most sense from a developer’s stance. Then again, there is a very good chance neither of these models will matter in a few years if some new development changes the way we play games.

What do you Geeks think? Solely based on their stance with used games, which company do you stand with, Sony or Microsoft? Do you have a better idea with how to handle used games? Express your opinion in the comments below.

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