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Second-hand Games, And Piracy


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Realised the other day that a Gamestation has opened up not too far from me, so I took a trip there on Saturday. It's the first time I've been in one of these stores and I went a bit purchase-happy in the second-hand section: picked up Beyond Good & Evil (PS2), Champions of Norrath (PS2) and Space Channel 5 for the DC. Went away feeling pleased with my (very reasonably priced) purchases, and they are indeed great games from what I've seen so far.

Now, in all my years of gaming I've never ever bought anything second-hand, apart from the odd purchase from a friend. Mostly this is because GAME's prices are such a rip-off, but Gamestation seems like a much better bet. I'm even considering offloading some of my older games to fund further purchases.

But then I started thinking. I've just bought three games, at least one of which (BG&E) was criminally underlooked at retail and deserved more success than it got. Not one penny of what I spent went to the developers. Not one extra sale was registered. The only people that have made anything out of this are the people in the shop where I bought these games.

In other words, for all the good this has done, I might have well have just downloaded them... I've effectively funded a shop that makes its living out of ripping off developers, and by buying second-hand software I've pretty much done the same. Haven't I?

/is confused

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But then I started thinking.

Alone? Are you crazy?

I've just bought three games, at least one of which (BG&E) was criminally underlooked at retail and deserved more success than it got.

Yea...

Not one penny of what I spent went to the developers.

Yea it did, when it was sold originally.

Not one extra sale was registered.

No extra copies have been sold, a extra unit didn't just magically appear -- it was already in circulation.

The only people that have made anything out of this are the people in the shop where I bought these games.

They're the only people that have managed said item of stock since it came back into circulation as a second hand item.

If you can't live with yourself after making a second hand purchase, you know what to do...

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Here's a reply I added to one of the many topics about second-hand games: -

(Gabe)

Hmm, I know the current trend is to label those who buy second-hand games being as bad as a pirate in the eyes of a developer/publisher, but I just don't agree.

True, buying second-hand does not directly benefit the publisher or developer, but it is still money earned, admittedly by an distant relative of the industry.

Taking a broader view, if Game/Gamestation stopped selling second-hand titles it is unlikey that they would do as much business at the current price point of games, leading to shops closing down. Shops closing down would lead to less high-street exposure for games, pushing internet sales/piracy/declining interest. Would this be good for the industry? I don't know.

I would imagine though, that because of their massive buying-power, Game in a way helps keep prices as stable as they are - in real terms they have gone down in price, and certainly haven't risen in line with inflation or wages (unlike price increases to DVDs, CDs, cinema, etc).

So I certainly don't equate second-hand purchasers to being as bad a a pirate; at least some money goes somewhere when buying second-hand.

So in conclusion, how can getting something for free be the same as paying for it?

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heh... here's the solution:

Not one penny of what I spent went to the developers.

When a game is "traded in", we should take the money from publisher (The developer has been paid, unless they're getting royalties, which I doubt) as it's almost the same as returning the game. This should cover the cost of handling the item by the retailer. When the game is sold again, some money goes back to the publisher, no doubt a smaller percentage than the original but who cares... your concious is clear, right?

ROLLYING MY GOD DAMN EYEZ!!!111!

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When I trade-in it usually is to fund a new release. Would I buy as many new games without trading? Probably not.

Another point is, when I have finished a title it starts to collect dust in most instances so what should I do with it?

Trading is an effective way of freshening your collection and it also releases titles that others may want onto the market at a reduced price.

The practices of some shops in this area is something that requires closer scrutiny as they really are starting to take the piss on prices.

Piracy is people copying software for free and no-one in the industry receives any money, very different to trading.

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:P This is something which only crops up in game forums. Look, none of you have a duty to keep developers in jobs, it's really not your problem. When I buy a game for £40 I'm perfectly entitled to sell it to whomever I want, it's my property. It's done with cars, furniture, clothing, CDs, bikes etc. Guys, when you've bought a title for £40 then you've more than paid your dues to the developers, just chill out.

As for buying, it's your responsability as a consumer to buy things from legal outlets at the cheapest possibe price. This ensures that prices don't inflate. Remember, supply and demmand. If people keep forking out £45 for a game then that's how much they will charge.

In terms of buying a 2nd hand game being like piracy, well only in terms of the developer not getting a cut, but that's a really twisted way of thinking. Do developers stay up at night worrying about consumers being cheated? No, not at all. Are you commiting a crime? No. It's just masochistic to want to pay more.

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For a copy of a second-hand game to be available to be sold, someone must buy a game, play it, get bored of it outside of the returns period, and take it somewhere to flog it.

For a pirate game to be available to be sold, someone must simply buy a DVD burner and a bunch of DVD-Rs.

Not quite the same IMO.

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Apparently GAME give all the money they make from 2nd hand games back to the respective publishers.

Can anyone confirm this? As far as I'm aware, and I could be wrong, they don't have to. For instance, every Xbox game I own has the following message on its box: "Unauthorised copying, reverse engineering, transmission, public performance, rental, pay for play, or circumvention of copy protection is strictly prohibited" - no mention of re-sale whatsoever.

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For a copy of a second-hand game to be available to be sold, someone must buy a game, play it, get bored of it outside of the returns period, and take it somewhere to flog it.

= No money for devs, after first time.

For a pirate game to be available to be sold, someone must simply buy a DVD burner and a bunch of DVD-Rs.

= No money for devs, after first time.

Not quite the same IMO.

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Apparently GAME give all the money they make from 2nd hand games back to the respective publishers.

:lol:

So what is GAME's incentive to spend so much time, advertising, floorspace etc. on second-hand games? They give ALL the money they make on second hand games back to the publisher? And this is at the same time as they're trying to sell NEW copies of the same games to consumers, too?

I'm in awe of the loss-leading public service they're providing there then.....

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All this bollocks that's starting to spread around the industry about how the second hand market is harming the industry is really starting to piss me off.

Boo fucking hoo.

Really, what the fuck are they moaning about???

Do you see Ford complaining that Garages are selling second hand Fords? No.

It's a fucking joke and shows just how far up its own arse this industry is. It needs to grow up quickly and adapt to the market, not sit around moaning about how its so fucking hard done by.

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In other words, for all the good this has done, I might have well have just downloaded them... I've effectively funded a shop that makes its living out of ripping off developers, and by buying second-hand software I've pretty much done the same. Haven't I?

You couldn't be any further from the truth. Retailers, by nature, have absolutely nothing to do with the production of games and also the success of games. They are merely there to deliver the medium. You have to remember a retailer purchases a product (games) in bulk and pays the publisher off first. Think of this transaction as where games are successful or not. The amount of units retailers purchase on the first bulk transaction usually symbolises the games commercial potential or the amount of enthusiasm the retailer has and is therefore willing to invest.

Imagine a carpenter who makes say a wooden mallet. Now that particular mallet is sold to a customer. The customer uses it, and then lets someone borrow it. The carpenter made a tangible solid product. He/she sold that product. The product has no foreseeable commercial value (from the carpenters’ point of view) after that transaction. It is no longer the carpenters’ property. What you seem to propose is to turn the industry into a service orientated industry. Where the carpenter would not sell his product but let it out. That currently is not the case and therefore downloading (provided you have no money to buy) and purchasing second copies do not affect the developers. To say without the facility to download or purchase second hand copies would be short-sighted and definitely not the case.

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All this bollocks that's starting to spread around the industry about how the second hand market is harming the industry is really starting to piss me off.

Boo fucking hoo.

Really, what the fuck are they moaning about???

Do you see Ford complaining that Garages are selling second hand Fords? No.

It's a fucking joke and shows just how far up its own arse this industry is. It needs to grow up quickly and adapt to the market, not sit around moaning about how its so fucking hard done by.

Cars probably aren't the best comparison. Since cars wear out over time / have the potential to get damaged in crashes etc., if I had no need for my Ford car anymore (say I get a wage rise and purchase a Porsche), Ford would much prefer I sold my car to someone else who can use it rather than leaving it doing nothing in my garage (the equivalent of leaving a completed game on my shelf rather than selling it to someone else), because Ford can make money from the new owner, selling him spare parts, servicing the car etc.

This is in contrast to a videogame publisher, who, on a simple level, will make no future revenue from someone buying a particular second-hand game off me.

Of course, this probably isn't true when the deeper picture is considered, since I may use the money to purchase a brand new game, which I otherwise wouldn't have afforded, and the buyer of my game may like the game so much he buys the sequel to it at full-price, or purchases an official playing guide for it, etc.

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