Used games are the real culprit to high game prices

viernes, 28 de octubre de 2011 , Posted by admin at 12:01

Used games are the real culprit to high game prices

                           "If you really want to make enemies, try to change something."

Times are hard, and dimes are harder. The mass population wants to save a dollar around every corner. When this is applied to the video game industry, every gamer wants their games cheap. For some, this leads to skipping games, pirating, and most of all, buying used games. The second-hand game market is a monstrous presence in the industry and is also expanding it and destroying it at the same time. The used market changed the industry, and made enemies of developers and publishers who then tried to change back, but are now blamed as the bad guys. This isn't the case, and in fact, if the used market didn't exist, we could have new games cheaper then the used games we're forced with now.

A big argument that comes up is the "lesser of two evils" statement, because many see piracy as a bigger threat, but it's not. For one piracy is nowhere near as massive as the used market numbers, and the other is the consumer intent. With piracy, the consumer has no intent to spend money on the game in the first place. With used games, the intent is there full and well, but the consumer gets diverted into a used purchase, and the money literally gets swiped from in front of the publisher's and developer's face. Several publishers agree that piracy is losing a copy of their game, while a used sale is losing a copy of the game and someone else getting the money too.

Gamestop is a bigger threat than piracy

The first thing you should know is that when you buy a game used, the publisher, who would then give the developers their share, doesn't get a single penny of it. It's 100% profit, minus the value it traded in for. You would think it doesn't make a difference because you're just one person doing one purchase, but there are millions of others thinking along the exact same lines. Since the publishers are losing those sales, they are getting a smaller return on the games they make, thus giving them smaller budgets for future games. The used market has a major grip in delaying the advance of our game industry.

We can't discuss used games without mentioning Gamestop who is the global leader in the second-hand game market. Get rid of any perception that you have because Gamestop operates 100% on selling used games. They press for pre-orders and new game sales because they want those games to be traded back in as fast as possible. Their rewards card only discounts used games because that is what they are trying to sell above all. They are very smart about it too because they maximize profit by pricing games at literally a couple bucks below the new value, taking advantage of the average American interest of saving a couple bucks.

Gamestop makes a lot of money, when most of it should be the publishers

It's the same thing on the consumer side as well though, because you want to save money as much as the next guy. Sure you want to support the developers and pubishers but you can't fork up the extra bucks or feel like your 5 dollars won't make a difference. Even worse, the publishers now seem like the bad guys. It's common to see new games that have an 'online pass' that only works once per game to protect itself from the used market, but we as consumers are so invested and, dare I say, brainwashed, by the used market that we lash out against the publishers and not the retailers. It's true because at first glance, the used market appears to be trying to save you a couple bucks, while the publishers seem like they are trying to take more money with their passes.

So let's break that perception, shall we? In this day an age, a new game costs 60 dollars. You walk over to the used section of Gamestop and you see a used version for 55 dollars. Based on numerous reports offered by the NPD, Gamestop, and publishers, if we take every used copy and convert it to a new copy, we could have new games sell for 40 dollars at launch and still achieve the same profits for the publishers and developers. 40 dollars for Skyrim on day one, isn't that something fantastic to envision? And it's not just the 60 dollar price tag that would be cut. Every new price would be slashed to 67 percent of it's price today.

New games for 40 dollars? It's too good to be true!

Well if the numbers speak, then let's make the change! Unfortunately it can't happen at all because the used market is still 100% profit, so it would then just price their used games at 35 dollars and the cycle would start over. There are also naysayers who might defend their right to trade in games because they have no use anymore. Well if you buy a game for 60 dollars and trade it in for 20, you still end up with 40 anyways, it's just a different perception of the same amount of money. This could only happen in an ideal world where every gamer in the world agreed to boycott used games, every publisher would agree to from the new price point, and the used market could actually lay down and die.
For better or for worse, the world isn't ideal and several things operate nowhere near their full potential. The used video game market is hurting the industry and taking money from those who actually make the games. Anyone who tries to actually change this will simply make enemies. People will always ironically defend used games for their cheaper prices when they are actually keeping them high.

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