THQ: Buying Used Games Is "Cheating"

THQ's Cory Ledesma has delivered a blunt message to consumers buying used copies of his company's games: they're cheating the publisher out of money.

"I don't think we really care whether used game buyers are upset because new game buyers get everything," THQ's creative director for wrestling titles told Gamasutra. "So if used game buyers are upset they don't get the online feature set I don't really have much sympathy for them."

"That's a little blunt but we hope it doesn't disappoint people. We hope people understand that when the game's bought used we get cheated."

Little risky going after the consumer with this argument. Target GameStop all you want for making the industry so dependent on used game sales, but Average Joe buying the things just wants a cheaper game. Who knows, maybe - heaven forbid - he can't afford $US50-60 for a video game!

THQ: Buying Preowned 'Cheats' Game Makers [Gamasutra]


Comments

    What a Jerk. Do car companies tut-tut customers who buy used cars? Does Hasbro have a bitch when you sell your old Transformers at a Garage sale? He also fails to see the bigger picture. Lets have a look at it this way:

    You buy Mass Effect. You play through it and you love it, but it being a singleplayer RPG gives it less replay value you trade it in.

    Mass Effect 2 comes out some time later. You buy it. Johnny Everyman walks into EBgames. He see's your traded in copy of Mass Effect, marked down to a mere $30 AUD. He figures what the heck and picks it up. It turns out he loves it so much that he buys Mass Effect 2.

    This scenario happens a lot more often than you'd think. No-one is going to pay full price for Mass Effect 1 when Mass Effect 2 has just come out, but they might consider a discounted trade-in.

    Corporate greed is stupid sometimes.

      you make an exellent point, nice one.

      I bought Mass Effect 1 at the start of this year new for AUD$20! In fact the thing I've noticed about Pre-Owned games from this gen is that they're almost full price anyway - you just wait a year and the price of the game new drops as it is!

      The analogy isn't quite the same - when you buy a used car, Ford/Holden/Toyota don't have to pay for road maintenance.

      This only holds for online multiplayer, but when the developer has to pay for server upkeep, used games buyers using that service have contributed nothing to that cost.

        "The analogy isn’t quite the same – when you buy a used car, Ford/Holden/Toyota don’t have to pay for road maintenance.

        This only holds for online multiplayer, but when the developer has to pay for server upkeep, used games buyers using that service have contributed nothing to that cost."

        when the company sold the game to the original owner, part of the price went to server upkeep. so those server costs are paid for already.

          But wouldn't the publisher budget for the original owner to play online for a certain amount of time? That is, for example, a publisher would know that the average gamer plays Game X online for 3 months after purchase. When this gamer trades in Game X and a second gamer buys that used copy, the second gamer is (on average) going to play online for 3 months. Thus, the publisher has to maintain the server for twice as long. But that second gamer is not paying the publisher to do that.

            I see your point, but there's probably a number of players like me that buy new games but don't care about multi-player and never touch it, so there's no server costs. Besides if they're worried about server costs they should stop demanding online activation or permanent online connections like UbiDRMHELLsoft.

            So if the original owner keeps the game and plays online for a really long time, is he then cheating THQ? I must send Gabe Newell a few bucks 'cos i've been playing TF2 for years now.

        Okay Cuz. You are hard to follow without confusion. See Facebook Annmarie Redsell. David Redsell. Just trying to get in touch before the big day. Cheers.

    So i guess buying a used car is cheating car company out of money? are these people stupid?

    Q-freaking-Q guys. All other forms of media have dealt with this for many many years. Ever bought a used book, or heaven forbid, gone to a library? What about Blockbuster video?

    You can't be part of the market economy as a business, then call no fair when someone fills a market gap that you're not willing to.

      Yeah but you also can't complain when the company finds a way to recoup some of the loss via a valid way like this...

    That's a terrible logic and a perfect way to piss off your customers. Car companies don't disable a few cylinders and prevent you from using your air-conditioning just because you bought their car used.

      I bet they would if they could get away with it

      No, but you don't get the new car warranty.

      Charging for DLC that has already been used is fair. The company dictates the terms of use for their product and if some content is made available on a one off basis, thats their call, and good on them for figuring out a way to get some revenue from preowned sales.

      But calling customers cheats is a dick move.

    Who honestly gives a crap? He would make enough money as it is. The consumer are only trying to save some money in buying pre-owned games, while the publisher are only trying to make more money for nothing.

    Hold on THQ, let me back up the Waaahmbulance.

    As a guy on a low budget, the only reason I get your games is because they drop from the HUGE starting price to something reasonable, usually second hand.

    You hardly have a right to DEMAND we buy your shit brand new when we can barely afford it.

    Especially when the older customers here know just how much your name was tied to crap games in the SNES era.
    (Home Alone anyone? Seaquest DSV maybe? Or perhaps Lawnmower Man? Or even...WAYNE'S WORLD!)

    You OWE us for your past misdeeds. Even if you just STFU about second hand games.

    I have always thought of used games sales the same as piracy, from the perspective of the development team.

    While I have bought used games previously and as most gamers are, am VERY careful where every one of my gaming dollars goes. You see though that I actually don't disagree with the message being said within this article.

    As I am sure you all will, I will continue to shop around for the best deal i can get. While i don't disagree that used games will hurt developers, as a consumer, I don't often think of them. Ultimately when I have bills etc, I want a game I will look for the cheapest price and thats that.

    I would actually support a model that resulted in games themselves being cheaper as an entry point to the game, but with after sales features, either DLC or multiplayer available at an extra cost.

    Used games ultimately equals reduced profit for the developer. Reduced profit will result in new projects getting canned because they will not be profitable, or smaller budgets resulting in poorer quality products.

    I also agree with the above comments, that games are expensive, with a cheap new release setting you back $80. As a result, especially as some aer worth much more than that while others dissapoint, it is a big investment for a consumer who may ultimately not like the game.

    I think that companies would go a long way to resolve this issue by having lower prices. More units would sell as a result, people would be less likely to buy used, and i would expect that the total revenue would increase. As a disc is only worth a few cents, the lower price point would potentially eliminate a chunk of the used sales.

    I have heard about some companies viewing piracy as full featured demos and I know people who have pirated a game, liked it and bought it. This only occurs however where multiplayer/online is involved.

    Used games can also be viewed like this. Sure the dev team see no cash from subsequent used sales, but with appropriately priced DLC and online services, this would result in some revenue for the dev team who would otherwise see nothing.

    The catch is that the orginal game should be much cheaper to start with, so that those who do reward the dev team with an original purchase, are not penalised for their effort.

    Take a look at Alan Wake, a full priced retail game (and it was good) but this also shipped with a free DLC code. Not much, but at least it offers some form of incentive for non used purchase. very few other games offer any incentive.

    If any of the above was taken into consideration, the devs would start to see that instead of raising prices or just complaining that gamers are cheating you out of money, you need to adjust your pricing and marketing models to accomodate the current market.

    Just my 2c worth.

      They did this with Transformers War for Cybertron - that game was incredibly cheap on release ($65 was the highest price I saw - I got it for $49) and a month after release they brought on DLC for 800pts (~ $13)

    THIS IS SOME BULLSHIT, i only read this article because the pic caught my eye, but hey...no michael.
    Oh, and the thq dudes a douche, plus his company has released more games with crappy controls than any other in the history of game design.
    WHY CAN I ONLY BODY SLAM HIM SOMETIMES????
    WHY CANT I PERFORM A SUBMISSION WHEN I DO WHAT YOU HAVE TOLD ME TO MR GAMASUTRA???

    Funny how it's THQ saying this.
    I was expecting Activision.

    I'm not one who buys used games all the time but I still don't see why pre-owned games owners should be penalised for buying used games.

    Anywho, I'm not particularly interested in THQ games anyway. :|

    Oh, they want us to pirate more? Okay!

      are you an idiot by any chance? not funny and makes no sense.

    I care about cheating developers out of money than cheating publishers out of money (as in I don't want to cheat the developers out of money).

    Personally i have only ever bought one second hand game before in my life - that would be a game i couldn't find anywhere new. I completely agree with what the guy is saying but the language, tone and really just an all out attack on the consumers was the absolute wrong way to go about it.

    What if I can't find a new copy anywhere? Is that still stealing? What if it's been out of 'print' for years?

    Harsh words, yeah, but he didn't even attempt to make it seem sensible.

    I cant bring myself to buy used just feels dirty to me idk why. And I'd gladly pay $US60 (at time of writing $AUS68-69) but Im much happyer living in a less populated nation, though still 5 times bigger then where I came from.

    Dear Cory Ledesma (or in fact, all of THQ),

    Make something worth paying for. I can't even think of the last title that was in-house dev'd by your rag-tag team of degenerates, and the list of titles that you've distro'd in recent years leaves a lot to be desired (so I'm not buying them first- or second-hand).

    I should more imagine that the studio's start taking a long hard look at themselves, why are people trading their games so readily?

    I still have in fact every Mega Drive II game I ever bought and recently dragged a few out to play again.

    Gaming publishers and developers are always talking about "the connection people will have with the characters", "providing engaging story lines" and "Offering gamers a unique experience to be treasured".

    They've choked on their own bullshit for too long, mainstream publishers have overdosed on franchising and more recently have begun the cardboard cutout yearly release cycle. I got the below list from wikipedia unsure on it's accuracy but it can't be far off.

    The top ten Xbox 360 games. (dec 2009)
    Halo 3
    Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2
    Gears of War
    Gears of War 2
    Grand Theft Auto IV
    Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare
    Call of Duty: World at War
    Halo 3: ODST
    Forza Motorsport 2
    Fable II

    One title of the top ten Gears of War isn't a sequel, ONE for this whole generation. The Sony top ten tells a similar tale, in a lesser capacity so does the wii list. This tell me two things, one, we've bought into the franchise model where each successful title will end in a drawn out series of games that become sucked dry by the end. Two this cheapening of game development and drawn out process will end in more and more titles being played and traded, in a rinse and repeat.

    Give me a quality title and some decent support and maybe I'll keep the game. Team Fortress 2, Counterstrike Source are prime examples of game supported long after release for free, who's sales still continue to this day. Imagine if Modern Warfare II's DLC was free, say once a month new content was released for free, who'd sell the game knowing you'd be getting more soon. Heck with the tied down DLC model you can't even invoke community support to provide more content. What makes all this worse is any form of re-playability in multiplay is further lost in those titles where publishers turn off the matchmaking servers.

    That fact is between high gaming costs, shallower titles, poor post sale support, and the uncertainty of the future of your titles multiplayer lifespan there's no reason to keep a game. Publishers are feeding into the hands of places like gamestop, funny when you create a problem that people will move to profit off it.

    hang on a second, if consumers are buying their games in the first place, doesn't that already mean that they are making a huge profit to start with? I'm sure when a game company is ready to distribute the final product they look at previous sales data and will mass produce what they think will sell plus obviously extra copies in case they've got a hit on their hands? Eventually a game will become older and companies will stop producing these games and will than rely on consumers to keep the name of the game going by selling it second hand/used! I know a lot of older games are quite hard to find now days in shops as they are no longer produced and I rely on finding second hand copies to go back to past titles that I may have missed. Companies such as THQ should really shut their mouths and appreciate that they have a loyal customer base to begin with who are willing to go out of their way to buy games that may be harder to find or weren't able to afford when they first came out due to the massive mark up by game distributors.

    Just curious...but, why havent any game developer/ publishers discovered that if they sold their games at half to 2/3 the price they are selling them at now, they would get a lot more sales, and there would be less need to buy games second hand? Hmm, maybe they will figure it out one day.....

    THQ’s Cory Ledesma is an idiot, thats what I think. Seriously, I dont care if I get it new or used; I just want it for a decent price.

    This is stupid, If they are so desperate for a cut of the used game action, they can spend money to set up shop and buy/sell used games just like EB or any random second hand store.

    THQ fails.

    This is a pretty flawed point he's making... think about it, what would make someone buy a used game? A new copy might be too expensive, the game itself mightn't have gotten great reviews, you might be able to complete the game in one sitting... all comes down to the fault of the developer/publisher, not the consumer. Rather than just blaming people and demonising used game sales, they should try to address the problem where it starts.

    The point this guy is trying to make is stupid..
    Make better games and people wont trade them.

    Have a look at what EA are now doing THQ if you are they miffed about it.

    I not long ago picked up an Xbox 360 Elite since they were cheap with the new slim coming out.
    I have been slowly building up a bit of a collection of titles most of which have been purchased at EB and GAME sales.

    There are a few second-hand titles in my collection.
    I have also picked up a few games off EBay.
    Last week I had mass effect 2 turn up in the post from an EBay purchase. Now I have ME2 on the PC and have finished it. But have always wanted to play it on a controller so I can enjoy the game on my lounge. Now when you load the game up you can't connect to the Cerberus with out a code... Since the code I had was already activated by the previous owner I had to pony up some XBL points to gain access... To me this seems like a better way to get money out of used game buyers. Sure I can play the game start to finish with out needing to connect to the Cerberus network but I want all the new weapons and missions in DLC so I have to pay and I am ok with this model. Because if I don’t like the game after I have purchased it second hand I won’t pay for the trimmings and just trade it for something else.

    That funny THQ. How about giving the game studios who develop your games more time and money. Then they don't get bent over the table and have to constantly work under pressure and get cheated themselves.

    What's with the aggro, it makes perfect sense.

    The problem with human nature is that everyone is too selfish. I won't go to JB or EB to buy a new game costing $120 when I can get the same game new (or slighly used) on Ebay from overseas for less than half price. I would do this even if games were $60 originally, and people would still sell the games.

    This is why we are moving towards a more internet based gaming experience. Eg. Starcraft 2

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