I Should Be Able To Buy Used Video Games, That's My Right

You buy a car. You buy a brand new car. It's expensive. Your friends call you an idiot, but who cares. You love cars. You love that new car smell.

But imagine if, when it came time to buy a new car, you weren't allowed to sell your old one. That car you bought brand new a few years back? You can't trade it in for a new model. Now take things a little further: imagine if, from the second you plunked your buttocks in the seat and gripped the steering wheel, only you could drive the car you just bought from the moment it left the showroom till the day it hit the scrap yard.


Here's another example.

Imagine you could only buy brand new houses. Imagine if, in a moment of collective madness, the Australian government passed new legislation stating that — in response to a flagging economy, and issues with the broader building industry's sustainability — you could no longer sell the house you own to other human beings.

If you want to live in a new house you have to leave your current property empty and build a brand new one. Because, screw you, the building industry is finding things a little tricky right now and you have to subsidise it.



Yesterday a couple of things happened. To begin with, a new leak stated the new Xbox may limit the consumer's ability to play used games. Then, in response to this Luke Hopewell, my super cool colleague over at Gizmodo wrote this. Luke claimed he will never buy a used game again, citing the demise of THQ and great franchises like Darksiders as the reason why. When you buy a used video game, he said, you are not supporting the people who developed that game. You're giving them nipple cripples; removing their ability to feed their starving children. Every time you buy a used game Jesus strangles a lolcat with a controller cord.

But everyone seems to be forgetting a harsh but simple truth: as a producer you only get to sell the thing you make once. You don't get to have your cake and eat it. You just don't. And as a producer of things you don't get to dictate what is done with your product once you sell it. And you certainly don't get to punish the consumers that prop up your industry. That — again — is insanity.


But let's take a step back. This is purely speculative. At this point we have no real idea whether or not the new Xbox actually will stop users from playing used games but if it does then your rights as a consumer are being seriously stamped on. No other consumer industry does this. And if they did you can best bet it would not fly. Not for a second.

Here is a problem: and it's a real one. Somewhere along the track video game consumers — the early adopters, the type that queue up on launch day — have either been convinced, or have somehow convinced themselves, that it is their responsibility to help rescue the games industry. We're passionate and enthusiastic to the point where some of us actually feel bad for buying used games, and that is being reinforced by a narrative that claims we're somehow responsible for the continued existence of an industry that really should be taking responsibility for itself.

Here's another harsh truth: you make the video games, and then we buy the video games. That's where the relationship should end. If you're not making money, we the consumer are not the ones that need to be punished. We are not responsible and we sure as hell shouldn't be held accountable. You, the producer of these goods, need to find a way to make video games profitable. It really is as simple as that.

————- As gamers we're already being asked to subsidize the industry. We're already being asked to give back. Day one DLC, online passes, pointless pre-order bonuses, 'collector's' editions. We're being asked to pay more and content is already being withheld from us. I'm willing to forgive that. It's a band-aid response to a gaping wound of a problem but it's a relatively honest response and I can respect that. It's the equivalent of a warranty you don't need, or the extras on your car. It's an overpriced conservatory tacked on to the back of your house. There is still an exchange of cash for services rendered. That's fair.

But putting the kibosh on used games? Punishing the consumers that keep your business afloat? Not fair. Not even close.

Lifehacker's Chris Jager also discussed the issue of used games here, but he has a completely different reason for not buying them.


    It (the industry) seems to be moving towards the apple app style of business. if game prices are halved, it may be less unreasonable

      But its only a matter of time before prices would creep back up when they realise they could get away with it.

      Look at how micro transactions are now a part of 90 dollar games.

    Heck yes. I agree very muchly, sir.

      I disagree with Mr Serrels

      Why do people automatically use car analogies? Sorry but games and cars (and houses) are two different things. Sure you buy them and you own them, BUT cars and houses are once in a while purchases, In other words in 10 years most consumers would purchase a car or house once. Games on the other hand are purchased more frequently (in ten years you could buy more then 100 games). Im sure car and house prices are already heavily inflated to compensate for used market as are games. If you couldnt buy old house/ used cars, im sure new house and car prices would also drop significantly. Same with games, no used games market would mean new games prices should drop too. Its the only reason why this would be done. If thats true (ie cheap games) then that would be beneficial for gamers too right?

      You should have used Bluray and DVD sales for your analogy.

      I do agree that we shouldnt feel obliged to save the games industry BUT if we do want to keep the games as we know them we have no option but to keep supporting them. I for one wont want us to go the way of tablet smart phone gaming especially the games that practically force you to keep using real money to buy ingame items to get the most out of games. This method f**king sucks. And yes i have been suckered by a game like this (I dont intend to do this ever again). I prefer to buy full games. So i will keep supporting them to keep this type of gaming alive and kicking.

      BTW i have no interest in buying a ps4 or 720 (whatever they are called) but i cant fault this (locking used games) if there is a real benefit for consumers (significantly cheaper new games prices).

      Also i have only bought a few used games (1 or 2) ever so losing used games market for me wont be a big loss.

        If you couldn't buy second hand houses, the prices would skyrocket, as the land needed to build them became more sought after. How is the price inflated for used sales of housing anyhow? There are no large house companies like there are with consumers electronics. Literally anyone with the know-how and license can build a house and sell it. Hell, I've built several and I'm a school teacher. You pay a person or company to perform a labour-intensive task and you pay them for their effort, time and materials. How does selling the house years later factor into that?

        Now as far as the games go, this logic makes no sense at all. The market is set at what it is because we have shown we will pay it. There is no reason other than that. None. It is never, ever the place of the buyer to keep the seller in business. If I have a restaurant and my food is expensive, you have no obligation to eat there instead of cooking at home. If I go out of business it's because I have a shitty business model selling a product that people aren't willing to pay that amount for. You wouldn't keep going to a restaurant that sold shitty food, or a bar that charged you extra for a clean glass, so why do you feel the need to protect multi-million dollar profits from comapnies that are trying to weasel as much cash out of you as possible? Don't support their shitty business model.

        Even though frequency of purchase makes zero difference to the argument, let's change it to something more frequently sold: clothing. If you could never lend or borrow an aritcle of clothing, if you could never pick something up from the salvos because you can't afford new clothing... what right does the manufacturer have to stop that? None. Ever. Not ever.

        The manufacturer can't tell you what you are allowed to do with the thing you bought. I bought this thing... it is mine. I exchanged money for it. There was a fair and equitable exchange of goods for currency. You now own my money and I can't tell you how to spend it. I know own your product and you can't tell me how to use it. It really is that simple. I can't sell you a tshirt and then tell you it can never, ever be worn by anyone else, or that you can't sell it to the salvos, or that you can't wear it on a rainy day because the colours won't look right.

          My main point is that you cant simply look at another market and imply they run on the same principles. Games and cars/houses sell differently. Maybe keeping houses in my argument was silly because housing also includes location (desirable locations will equate to higher prices) and land considerations (limited land), something cars and games do not have. However if the only way you could get a car is to buy brand new (ie no used car market) then that means more potential sales for car makers thus more profits and the ability to sell new cars cheaper. After all they no longer have to compete with the used car market for sales. If someone needed a car they need to buy new (im talking hypothetically). So the same for games (well thats the theory). Im not saying that it SHOULD be the way things run, however if doing so reduces the games prices significantly then why is this a bad thing. For eg if we are paying $80 for a game now, if by applying this system to the next xbox or playstation games drop to $40 isnt that beneficial (with larger potential for price drops too).

          As far as im aware games prices take many things into consideration, including potential sales loss from piracy and the used game market. Look how much a company like Gamestop makes of the used games market, the mere rumor of this happening sent their share price falling. Why? the used games market makes Gamestop significant profits, which developers and publishers wont see a cent of. Profits that could have been be plowed back into developing games that we love. I for one prefer my money going back to the developers. I never (well 2 games out of maybe 400-500 games plus i never sell my games either) buy used and dont intend to.

          Why do i take this stance? I am a fan of the Steam model. I like the idea of paying less for games and in the process lose my right to sell or buy used versions of steam games. Im not a hypocrite. If Microsoft or Sony do this i cant all of the sudden say its a bad idea just because its from companies that i dont intend to buy my consoles from. Its a good idea who ever does it IMO. What about ios and android. They employ the same thing to apps and games. Why isnt there a bitch about that? The model exists everywhere lets not complain about it if the potential for advantage exist. Like i said i prefer the system because the games prices should be cheaper and the developers gets all the profits. The current model new games prices are more expensive (although there is the cheaper used game market), and the developers dont get all the profits of their work. How is that a great system?

          Guess what i own a Wii U, so im not bias. I could buy and sell used games but i dont. I stick to my principles. I buy new only and dont sell my games. If Nintendo did this i would have no problem with that either. Im not a hypocrite. As i said i am a big fan of steam and have over 300 games for cheap thanks to the system which microsoft or sony are thinking of employing. Thats more games then i will probably ever have time for. Thanks to this system i get more and the developer gets more and im happy with that.

          Your analogy of clothes much better represents the dynamic of game sales better then Mark Serrels Car analogy. That is one way of looking at the equation and a valid way of looking at it. However its not how i see it. You are perfectly entitled to prefer the Used games market, im perfectly entitled to assume the removal of the games market. Its a matter of opinion. However if your a person that has steam or a smart phone or tablet you have accepted this model as acceptable so why complain if someone else does it? You see i have no such problem with consistency. I like the model no matter what

          So if anyone here that has steam (or other digital distribution) and or a smartphone/tablet then you really dont have a leg to stand on (argument wise). You cant complain about this.

            I feel we do have a leg to stand on, Microsoft has a digital store right now and they charge more than if I bought the physical, resell-able version.

            Does anyone honestly believe they would charge less for a game if they removed all ways to resell it? They would absolutely just pocket the extra cash money.

            They should try to convince us with the carrot rather than the stick.

              Really? I have Steam and about one month after Borderlands 2 launch they had a sale which made the game only $28 bucks ( $100 something for the 4 pack). Borderlands 2 launched on steam for $80. One month (or so) later the game dropped by that much? Do you see that happening on physical games? Hell no (im talking AAA titles).

              Just note that Steam and other digital distribution method they will always charge full retail price for the games at launch. Why?

              A) Because they can, after all the competition is physical media and they cant drop the price any lower,
              B) They can earn massive profits by selling full retail price for digital games as long as possible

              Why microsoft is still charging full price for games? Well they need profits. The 360 was a money pit. A money pit that hasnt fully paid off. Guess what they have a new console in the pipeline (as we all know) and the 360s profits aint paying for that (its coming out of microsofts own pockets). So if they arent cutting the price of digital games their just trying to get as much profits as they can milk from the 360 before the next console comes out.

              If there was no other option then digital or new games then yes the games would be lower. Steam proves that. Sure they charge full retail at launch but if you wait a bit or know how to proxy (and get US games prices!) then you can get a bargain. If the only way you can get a game is new then yes the games should be cheaper. If it doesnt then sure people have cause to complain.

              The only problem i see is that microsoft and sony are going to absorb massive losses for each console sold. If that is the case (like the ps3 was for sony at launch) then this may be a way to keep prices the same (as full retail) and profit bigger to pay off the losses quicker. That is possible (so you could be right), and if that is the case it would be a problem. Buy hey im not buying the next playstation or xbox. So its not bothering me. Im maintaining that i am happy to maintain this model if the developers get all the profits and the games are cheaper. If both are not achieved i will reject it. You are free to reject it too. Steam is the standard i refer too. I am perfectly happy with it. Like i said despite me not getting either sony or microsofts next consoles i agree with them if they did this (only if it meant cheaper games).

              Do you have a current smart phone or tablet? Then you accept this model. Thus you have no reason to complain if it were to be implemented by sony or microsoft, unless they do not allow for cheaper games.

                Read his first post again, you're missing the point. Again and again.

                You can't use Steam on an Xbox.

                  Do you have a smartphone, tablet or Ipod? If so your argument is invalid. Thankyou

            @terrak your wrong! The Steam analogy is different to consoles at least until the steam box comes out. With a PC just because you buy from Steam does not limit your options to buy from other places. The console market is much more controlled. If a PC publisher wants to sell a game for $5 they can do it. If a console publisher wants to sell all their downloads for $200 they can do it. If the developer disagrees the game won't be sold on that console, they just can't run to another distributor. If the customer does not like it too bad, they are left with a paper weight cause they can't purchase games for console A to work on console B. It's like windows only running Microsoft programs and Microsoft having complete control on cost, what, how much and how each program your computer ran.

            Just cause you like the way a business model works for one area does not mean that's the only one you should support. Not supporting fanboy stupidity does not make you a hypocrite.

              Do you have a smartphone, tablet or Ipod? You cant sell your itunes or google play purchases either so why complain of microsoft or sony do it?

              If you dont like this system sell your iphone/android phone/ipad/Android tablet/ipod/Windows phone/Surface/Blackberry. After all thats how their games and apps work. You wont? Then dont complain.

              Like i said i have no problem with them implementing this if

              a) it means significantly cheaper new games prices. I mean Significant
              b) developers get a bigger slice of the action.

              If these conditions arent met then of course i reject it. But like i said i have no intention of getting the next xbox or playstation but i will voice my support of a system that i feel may offer some real advantages as i have mentioned above.

                i can give my friends my itune account (login details )so that he can LOGIN to so that he can play games on his phone that account ID lock ..

                new console is going to be hardware lock .. i dont think ur "Do you have a smartphone, tablet or Ipod?" argument is invalid here !!

          If I go out of business it's because I have a shitty business model selling a product that people aren't willing to pay that amount for.

          Here's the difference: consumers are willing to pay that amount, but what they like to selectively forget time after time is that none of that money goes to the developer. But they're okay with this, because as long as they have their game to play, they are perfectly happy to let somebody else handle the problem.

          The cycle of business is simple: manfacturer, to middle man, to consumer. The consumer is aware that buying Used contributes to the long term problem, but are willing to turn a blind eye. And then they get snippy when the manufacturer responds unfavourably.

          Well, boo-hoo.

          If I have a restaurant and my food is expensive, you have no obligation to eat there instead of cooking at home.

          You also have zero right to complain since the expenses are your problem and your problem alone. There are plenty of people willing to contribute to the industry by buying new, because they actually want to support the games they want to play.

          If you don't like the price you have to pay to be a gamer, then kindly piss off.

          The manufacturer can't tell you what you are allowed to do with the thing you bought. I bought this thing... it is mine. I exchanged money for it. There was a fair and equitable exchange of goods for currency. You now own my money and I can't tell you how to spend it. I know own your product and you can't tell me how to use it.

          Yes, you bought it, and it's yours. You wanna sell it? Great! Go ahead. If there are any people interested in buying blu-ray discs so that they can, I dunno... use it to make a piece of art for example, the manufacturers can't and won't stop you from selling it.

          After all, it's your product. Do what you will with it.

          And yes, you can't tell them how to spend the money you gave them, you're absolutely right. So, if I'm the company, I'm going to spend this on a console which prevents users from playing used games. Oh, you don't agree? Well then, good luck to you.

          so why do you feel the need to protect multi-million dollar profits from comapnies that are trying to weasel as much cash out of you as possible? Don't support their shitty business model.

          Ohhh, everybody watch out for the Big Bad Companies!! they steal into your room in the night and steal your monies! WooOOOoooOOOoo!

            The poor defenseless companies are scared of the big bad kid selling the game he paid 90 bucks for so he can afford the next 90 dollar 4 hour campaign.

              Str8 over their heads... :P Two people missed the point entirely :/

          Hit the nail on the head, @Pokedad

            You do realize that many developers (and sometimes publishers) are going out of business right? A Publisher as big as THQ just went under recently right? Your perfectly happy to stay with a model that profits the middle man (like gamespot) that dont make the games rather then the developer thats working hard to make the games you love? Well if your happy with that fine, but dont expect all those games you want to survive. I for one dont want this to happen. Gamespot or retailers like that can go under for all i care (if the used market disappears). I would buy direct from the developer if i could so all the money goes to them and they can make more of the games i want.

            Its funny gamers want the latest and greatest block buster game but they dont want to contribute to make those games. The used market profits the middle man. Why do you want this useless part of the equation reap all the profits when it should all be going to developers who actually makes the games?

            Do you by any chance have a smart phone, tablet or ipod (who doesnt these days)?

              THQ didn't go under because of used sales. You've mentioned them repeatedly in your comments, and its irrelevant. We know exactly why they went under (read statements by their CEO): they invested heavily in two massively under performing games (UDraw and Homefront). Not enough people played the games at all to start worrying about whether the people who bought them might have resold them.

              Its far too simple to blame the middleman. They take a really tiny slice of the pie from first time sales. The publisher takes the biggest chunk, and then the developer. Some of the major game shop chains have collapsed already, and most of the others are on the brink. Those that have survived are on record that their profit is almost entirely from second hand sales.

              As some other people have said, when you take away the ability to resell, your removing value from the product. That applies to people who buy new, because they can't recoup some of their purchase price, particularly if the game is crap. Are the publishers going to drop prices accordingly? Valve did with Steam, but EA, MS and Sony don't seem to be interested at all. They'd rather just keep the cash.

              I've been buying games since 1990. There was a second-hand market back then too. The game industry continued to increase into a multi-billion dollar industry. Despite this fact.
              Also. You miss the point of the article entirely. The subject is not market economics. It's the fact that Big Brother now want's to control an item after the point of sale. You could say, companies want control of your personal assets. How far will this attitude go if it continues? Will everything we buy & own become just a licence to use? If everything becomes just an asset of the company/corp that produces an item. Then that will mean, eventually, we will no longer be able to actually have personal assets.

                Was there a smartphone tablet market fighting for your entertainment dollar back all those years ago? I dont think so. Consoles arent the only gaming devices around nowdays. Competition is only gonna get tougher. Not only that development costs are going to rise with more powerful consoles and PCs and games prices are staying the same. How can developers hope to keep developing those big budget AAA titles that gamers are demanding? I believe by removing the used game market more profits can flow back to developers so they can do what we as gamers demand of them. If this method does that of course i am all for it. I dont care if game sellers go out of business if the used games market is stopped by the next playstation or xbox. Thats harsh sure but they dont make the games i want, they only sell them. I could always buy the games i want online or from a department store so i wont be effected. But what will affect me is developers not developing the games i want. Thats how i feel if you feel differently thats up to you.

                Wait a second do you people have smartphone, tablet or ipod? You do realise you cant resell any games or apps or music tied to your device either right? You dont have a choice to buy retail versions of these products either and sell them at your leisure? Ok so if you do then dont complain. I notice you both ignore this. So if you do have any of the devices i mentioned or devices similar you already have said this form of non resalable games/apps is ok. So why is it not ok for Microsoft or Sony to do it?

                BTW to not sound like a hypocrite you must not own any device like i mentioned.

                Last edited 10/02/13 2:49 pm

                  >>Wait a second do you people have smartphone, tablet or ipod? You do realise you cant resell any games or apps or music tied to your device either right?

                  Terrak, I'm not sure what country you live in (maybe the USA where EULA's are assumed to be legally binding under very dubious and ambiguous circuit precedents) though in other places on the planet, EU, UK, CAN, NZ, AU, to name a few you actually have the absolute legal right to resell those works as long as you do not keep them at the same time.

                  Licenses are unconscionable under contract law (and also unenforceable) if they state that you cannot on sell for any reason. Software companies like Autodesk found this out very fast in Australia. Basically for this hypothetical situation with XBOX 720 (since it is just a rumour) MS is in a bit of a problematic field within Australia since if they state that you cannot resell the physical product or non-physical license you purchased then they fall foul of contract and trade laws.

                  As for your premise that you cannot resell music you purchased that is a fallacy under current law and not something the content owners really want to talk about here as long as you declare that you have destroyed all copies of that music with the sale. Also now that the EU is currently looking seriously at this exact issue of music which would also affect resell of software licences (games) there seems to be a lot of legal and social problems for Sony and MS to contemplate especially in regards to there major markets (the USA is not the major market anymore) and whether they really want to fall foul of regulators and also the customers themselves since there are more consoles about to hit soon that will affect the current triumvirate (or duopoly if you don't think of Nintendo) that is currently in play.

                  Last edited 10/02/13 7:09 pm

                  I have a modded Sony Xperia Play, Thanks! Tablets and phones are not the same experience as console and PC. Not even in the same ballpark.

    The part about this that is really sad to me is that if a closed platform like a game console goes down this path, it means once they stop manufacturing the games, no new players will be able to get a copy. Excuse the language, but thats just f*cked.

    The only reason I think people have been kind of okay with PC games going down this path is that its so easy to get around the copy protection when things get too draconian.

      I'm wondering if there's a solution somewhere in here, about publishers keeping their old titles "in print" in cheap editions, but I have to keep thinking it through. (I suspect the relative expense of producing a run of Blu-Rays might make this difficult, but digital could be a possibility.)

      I would say someone will find a work around this as well. Console cracking has a pretty strong community as far as I can tell.

      It will be interesting to see the retailer response to this decision. The industry might make this decision regardless but they are still somewhat reliant on retail to push their consoles out the door. Gamestop/EB are pretty big. Plus the only gaming console I can think to attempt this so far was the PSP Go and look how successful that was in Australia.

      I think Mark has a strong point. There was a discussion video on IGN yesterday disussing this issue and some really good points were made http://au.ign.com/videos/2013/02/06/game-scoop-the-pros-cons-of-an-always-connected-console.

      If you don't like something, vote with your wallet.


    I agree 100% with this, especially the weird mentality gamers have adopted of late. It'll get to the point where an EA rep has to kick down your door, grab you by the ankles and shake you upside down so that the change falls out of your pockets before people will start questioning whether or not we're getting scammed.

      I really wish people would stop misusing that word.

        We're entitled to abuse the English language as we see fit!

        Witch word?

      Yep its pretty backwards these days, say anything negative about a game company pulling dodgy practices to squeeze every scent and suddenly your the bad guy cos they are a business and just trying to make money.

      Its like most gamers seem to have Stockholm syndrome and its crazy, people seem to think on disc "DLC" is okay, that having online passes is okay and that $20 for 3 maps on a mutiplayer is okay shit people even think this pre order bonus bs is fair game now. Well you know what its not.

      When i buy a game i expect ALL my content on the disc to be MINE, i dont want to be forced to buy from a shitty retailer like EB just so i can have a cool skin that should be free. I sure as hell should not have to pay for cheat codes.

      So now they expect us to roll over and take it when they remove used games (Even ifs it not happening we all know they would love to do it). Fuck that, gamers need to grow some back bones. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, yet here we are letting the likes of EA and capcom slowly nibble our fingers down to stubs.

        If they keep squeezing me the only "scent" they'll get with be from my arse into their hopefully open mouth. :)
        I am a crotchety gamer who hates DLC, micro transactions, DRM and all the other crap game companies inflict on us. It's not just games companies though, most software companies are greedy control freaks.

        A lot of those people are PR agents too, it's crazy how many people they can turn into proxy agents as well!

      Also known as the 'Largo Embargo' http://youtu.be/VN8Cqxurmds

    Haha, you're funny Mr Serrels. Strangled lolcats indeed.

      It's true, didn't you hear Longcat died yesterday? Was it you? Did you buy a used game?

    But everyone seems to be forgetting a harsh but simple truth: as a producer you only get to sell the thing you make once. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it. You just don’t. And as a producer of things you don’t get to dictate what is done with your product once you sell it.

    Thank you. This really needs to be pointed out more often.

    Also, all that Day one DLC, preorder bonuses and crap? That will not go away even if used games go away. They make lots of money off it. The genie is out of the bottle and you can't stuff him back in. Getting rid of used games eliminates the need to compete with said used games for sales. It means that games won't have to be discounted after a month or two when everyone's trading back in. And that will result in higher prices for games in general.

      And as a producer of things you don’t get to dictate what is done with your product once you sell it.

      Apple seems to disagree with that.

        Just as well most governments don't agree with Apple. Yet. They still need to buy some extra politicians in the US so they can get the law changed then force their laws onto everyone else through secret treaties like usual. :\

      I agree with that quote so much I'm going to republish this article on my blog...

      I won't bother crediting @markserrels though, after all he only gets to publish it once.

        That's different. You're stealing his work.
        If he sold it to you, then you own it and therefore can put it on your blog or sell it to someone else.

          Begging your pardon, but they are both forms of stealing.

          I am profiting off of some one else work.
          Selling used games is no different to piracy.

            So everyone who has ever sold their car or house is also stealing those things?


            "Selling used games is no different to piracy."

            Wrong. Piracy is an illegal act. Second hand sales are perfectly legal.

            Furthermore, to use literature without the name of the source is called plagiarism. And plagiarism is a different form of crime altogether.

            Go look it up in a dictionary.

              I buy a game.
              I make copies of said game and sell those for the EB Games second hand price of roughly 3 dollars less than full retail.
              I may have paid for my game... but I'm now making money of the original purchase by selling someones work. They shall receive profits from only the original sale... not the subsequent on sales.
              Second hand games may not be copies... but it's the same damn principle.

              "Definition: to use another person's idea or a part of their work and pretend that it is your own"
              The point about republishing Marks work; I didn't say I'd pass it off as my own work it... merely that he wouldn't receive any credit for it.

                I don't think it is even close to the same thing, Mark isn't charging for this and people link to other websites all the time republish what someone else has written then provide a link at the bottom to the source.

                I wish games could be funded by a donation model then when they come out they are free for everyone to enjoy.

                Can we talk about how Piracy is Stealing as well so we can say selling a used game is the same as stealing?

                "I may have paid for my game"

                It is not your game. You have a purchased a copy of the game. The copy comes with a license and entitles you to the play that copy of the game within the bounds of the EULA.

                If you sell the game to someone else, the license transfers from you to the person.

                But what you have described is a piracy: where you violate the EULA and create duplicate and sell them.

                In a second hand marker, the article is not duplicated: the article traded in is the article that is sold off again.

                Ergo, again second hand sales are not the same as piracy. The role of the publisher ended at the cashier of the first sale.

                That is how it has been since the dawn of commerce.

                Please do not resell any products you ever purchase, also based on your philosophy of ownership you should also refrain from destroying, which includes depositing in the garbage, any product you have purchased , or will purchase in the future since this would equate you to being a criminal in your own mind.

                If you have already destroyed any property please make your way to your nearest Local Area Command and report yourself to the police officer at the front desk though be aware that they might instead of charging you schedule you to the nearest mental health ward instead.

              You shouldn't debate things just by saying "Its Illegal". You should argue them based on what you think is right and why.

              In a few years someone like James Mac could make buying and selling second hand games illegal.

            Neither of them are stealing, nor larceny, nor theft, nor conversion nor any other legal term.

            Though placing his article on your blog without crediting is very likely a breach of copyright with all the civil liabilities that go along with it,

            Whereas reselling used games like reselling used books, used CD's, used [insert ANY legal product here] is absolutely unequivocally both legal and lawful. Whereas to deny that is ethically and legally wrong.

      I lament the days of truly, Special, ''Special-Editions'' :(

    I think part of the problem is that, for the most part, there's no "decay" built into a second-hand game. If you buy a car second-hand, you accept that it's got some miles on it and there's a stain in the back seat that's never coming out; if you buy a house second-hand there's that awkward corner that's a pain to clean and one of the doors creaks a little whenever there's rain.

    But if I go out now and buy a second-hand copy of, I don't know, Borderlands 2 or something, I'm still getting a fundamentally identical experience to if I'd bought it new. There's no real reason for me to not buy it pre-owned, unless I've got a problem with other people having touched my games.

    I think this is why I'm not opposed to something like an online pass - the first person gets it included, and then the next person after (and any subsequent people in the chain) get a copy with a little less "stuff" in it but they can always pay someone to put that stuff back.

    I, um, don't know what the point of this comment was. Just been thinking about it a bit lately, with the news Amazon have a patent on "used" ebooks.

      Well what is your opinion on buying a DVD second hand? How would you feel when the MPAA has decided all our purchased movies should be locked to a single account and non transferable?

      Are DVDs and Vidya Games the same?

        The MPAA did not do this because DVDs were fairly susceptible to scratches. Blu-Rays have a polymer coating which prevents scratches from ever occurring (I mean, unless you intentionally tried, of course). They also didn't do this because when people bought DVDs they tend to keep them for a long time.

        Compared to video games which get bought on launch day for like $90 for example and are returned within the next week or so, which allows the store to sell it for $5 less and convince consumers to save a few bucks by buying used.

      But why should we be appending unnecessary restrictions onto our property in the first place? I mean, if you invented a $20 aftermarket accessory for a car which magically stopped all wear and tear and devaluing, do you think that should be illegal?

        I think after the first few were sold and the Auto Industry realised your magic gizmo worked, the legality of it would be the least of your problems. Dodging the wave attacks of Nissan/Ford/Holden driving Ninja Assasins would be more the issue...oh those and patent trolls..and Apple..

      If you play single player, yes. For multiplayer games the size of the player base is a significant component of the value proposition, and for many such games this diminishes over time.

      The reason why used games are typically cheaper is that there is a perceived chance that something may be wrong with it, not that there would be any difference in experience. That risk is quite low, which is why its only usually a $10 difference.

      Or in other words:

      Games are like Books... that's all I got :P

    I think gamers demand collectors edition more than it being used as a tool to subsidize the publishers/developers.

    Where's my collector's edition!

    But yes I do agree that we should have transferable rights for our products we purchase not to mention trade-ins as mostly used to acquire funds to purchase new games I see no problem with that.

    The industry certainly is changing, and many of the larger corporations are simply stuck in their old ways and not keeping up with the masses. Look at games like Tribes Ascend, Planetside 2, League of Legends, all fantastic games with large communities supporting them. Difference is these games are FREE, how does that work. Riot Games posting record profits with LoL through micro-transactions. I do understand many games and gaming companies cannot use this model as I cannot see the next Assassins Creed game coming out with "pay $5 for weapon upgrades", but for many companies this is working with great success.

    On the other hand you have Blizzard, and the disgrace that is Diablo III. A prime example of where micro-transactions should work, but failed horribly.

    What was i on about again? Oh yeah, Used games... Perhaps Xbox might have it right? Buy a used game and have to pay $5 or $10 to activate it on your machine. Your still saving money buying second hand, someone else is making 30% more profit selling second hand than new, and the producing companies can still pocket the occasion $5 when someone buys used.

    Half the enjoyment of playing a console is sitting in a room with your mates playing, do you really want to have to carry YOU'RE own xbox and all your games to a mates place for a night of fun, and have to switch consoles over when wanting to play one of his games? hell no.

    the Car analogy will get hammered, people seem to beleive that games are IP and that the consumers never actually own the game, just the right to play it, which is BS.

    The industry is in trouble because it keeps making bad decisions, DLC, rehashed games.
    Stop trying to make money, try making games, great games and you will make money.

    couln't agree more that its not the consumers fault your company is going under.

      you login on the controller

      each account 1 per controlla

    A fair argument, but I don't see too many complaining about the fact they can't sell/trade their games that they bought through Steam / XBL / PSN / App stores etc, and it's still the same principle. You bought it, you own it, why shouldn't you be able to sell it / trade it / give it away when you no longer want it?

    I guess for me the one big difference between physical and digital is the space issue. I never buy used games, but I do occasionally trade in my old games. Not because I can't afford to buy new games without offsetting the cost by trading the old ones, but simply because I only have a limited amount of space in my lounge room at home. After a while, the shelf piles up with games that I've bought, played, finished and will probably never go back to. So I trade them just to get rid of them. Take that away and what am I supposed to do? It seems that throwing them in the bin is the only option I'd have open to me?

    If the games industry wants to stop used games then they should bit the bullet and go to all-digital distribution. Or at the very least, start offering full retail releases on day 1 for digital sale as well as physical and, crucially, MAKE IT SIGNIFICANTLY CHEAPER. The current situation on PSN and XBL is just laughable where they want you to pay $20-$30 MORE for a digital copy of the game than you can pay for the physical copy at JB or whatever, and then you can't trade it in later. Until they do something about that situation, they're not going to get much sympathy from me when they complain about used games, because that possible solution is staring them right in the face and they won't even try it.

      A fair argument, but I don't see too many complaining about the fact they can't sell/trade their games that they bought through Steam / XBL / PSN / App stores etc, and it's still the same principle.
      They are in Germany. (http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130131/10292021839/valve-sued-germany-over-right-to-resell-games.shtml)

        That is totally insane! Whatever happen to the responsibility of the consumer?

        on a side note,
        If someone sold you a license to use a house and permitted that you cannot resale it. Then you are stupid for buying that license at the same value as a house you can resale in the first place!

          This. People agreed to the EULA so why do they have the right to bitch after they accepted it??? Those that complain about it after accepting the EULA should be permabanned. If you dont like the EULA then DONT F**KING SIGN/ACCEPT IT. Dont take advantage of the service that is provided if you werent happy with it from the start.

            The fact is, EULA have been abused to high heaven. You can't sign or agree to a contract that is contrary to the law. In this case, whether they agreed to the EULA or not, if consumer law is contrary to what is in the EULA than its void.

    I remember in a video from Bungie they were asked about getting into the gaming industry. Their response was, "Don't get into it for the money, get into it for the love of gaming".

    Why has that suddenly changed?

      The developers are doing it for the love.

      The publishers are doing it for the money.

        As a game developer, I can agree with that. I could be earning at least 20k more if I was doing an equivalent job in corporate IT. But I love gaming and making games, and corporate IT is boring at batsh!t.

          Sorry I have to disagree.

          batshit is interesting compared to corp IT.

            I can confirm this.

    Was thinking exactly the same thing when I read the Hopewell article. I should not have to make personal sacrifices to prop up studios. If they don't make a compelling enough game, or price a less compelling game well enough to make it desirable, that's not my problem.

    With that said, I don't think it's necessarily a "right" to buy second hand games, but certainly it's well within one's discretion to no support systems where second hand games are not available.

    In my view, a more aggressive price point is more likely to be beneficial in terms of sales, rather than putting constraints on consumers.

    I think it will be pure madness and PR suicide to block used games altogether. I can grudgingly accept the idea of each game having a one time activation code and used games needing to purchase a new one. Or perhaps the new Xbox will allow games to be installed and played from the console without a disc and hence they need some way to stop people just passing their games around to everyone for them to install, so the code is simply there so that if a different console uses your activation code then your copy will no longer work. I can get that. But straight up blocking used games is just a disaster and is basically just handing Sony the next gen crown on a platter.

      I think the would go with the one-time activation codes, like PC games have been doing for over a decade.

    Two great articles from Mark in two weeks? Am I going crazy?
    Great arguments and point of view that we, as consumers, should be taking with this industry-wide, knee jerk response

    I could not agree more. I honestly found the surprisingly vehement defense of a decision to lock out the use of used games to be staggering. As you said, no other industry would put up with this kind of treatment but gamers seem to be clamoring to agree with it. The key argument seems to be that used sales are taking money directly away from developers which is an absolute fallacy. The vast majority of developers are contracted and payed to do a job. Simple as that. When the chips are down and the games are sold it is the publishers who are taking in the profits.
    With that in mind, why is it more important to protect the profits of massive publishers who are certainly not struggling for cash (don't mention THQ, used games had nothing to do with their demise...absolutely stupid business practices did them in) as opposed to local bricks and mortar stores who simply will not survive without the used game market. I know there's alot of hate for EB games but simple fact is, they are job creators that serve a purpose (mum and dad shoppers as opposed to hardcore gamers). I can tell you for a fact that new games are very often sold at a loss in an attempt to match prices with the likes of JB Hifi (who can absorb those losses...games are a loss leader for them). Dedicated gaming stores...not so much. Profit margin needs to be made somewhere and that is in used games.

    "And as a producer of things you don’t get to dictate what is done with your product once you sell it."

    100% agree with this statement

    I want to re-sell this individual Steam game... oh WAIT.
    I want to re-sell this individual Origin game.... oh WAIT.
    I want to re-sell this GOG game... you get the point.

      Specious. There's far less point in reselling something that cost you $20 (or in the case of GOG, $4) than something that cost you $120.

        No, your reply is invalid. The price should make no difference to the rights you have. House worth $1,000,000 should be just as owned by you as a $0.95 iPhone app.

        If you disagree, why should it be different?

          I find the price point quite important, and is also why I'm fine with being unable to ever offload my steam games.

          Physical games cost far more than what I've ever bought something on steam for.
          To make this seem fair, I'm willing to make a compromise with companies. If they are willing to sell me the physical game for less than half of what they currently do (which amounts to the sort of price I pay on steam), than I will accept being unable to resell.

          Of course the price you pay affects rights - it does in virtually any commercial transaction. Currently, when you buy a game, a part of those rights is that you can resell. Publishers don't like it but there it is.

          To use your express example, in purchasing a property, you pay for the right to deal with that property for due consideration. Anyone who buys a house surely factors in resale potential as it factors in to the price of the property. If someone was selling me a property worth $1,000,000.00, but told me that I couldn't resell it, that price would have to drop markedly before I even considered purchasing it.

          Furthermore, if you don't think "the price makes any difference to the rights you have", would you pay $1,000,000.00 to rent the same house when you could purchase it? Renting and purchasing entail very different rights over property, though both confer a basic right to use said property. You pay more for greater rights in purchasing.

          In my view, if you are paying a smaller amount for a game, you can justify forgoing the resale right, just as you would forgo various rights attached to property if you were renting. In your example, there is little point reselling a $0.95 app at EB as you wouldn't even get enough to buy a postage stamp with the sale value... The petrol to get to EB would cost more. However, if the same app cost $10 and you could resell it on iTunes, some might consider that a better deal, and worthwhile doing.

          If the ability to resell is lost, then the price must be lowered, as you are paying for less. I pay far less on Steam, but know full well I can't resell. I'm ok with that, provided the price is right.

          Tirade and Cilantro below seem to be saying the exact same thing.

        This exactly. If the game is $4-$20, I have no issues with a one time activation code type system....but at the $80-$120 price point? Forget it.

        You pay $120 for games? For Christ sake stop buying games at EB.

          Nope, use Steam mostly. My argument still works if you replace $120 with $80 though. If I'm paying $80, I want the ability to resell. If $20, I don't give a rats.

      This discussion is about hard copy games, digital downloads are completely different only in the EU is it legal to resell your digital games - http://www.joystiq.com/2012/07/03/eu-court-rules-its-legal-to-resell-digital-games-software/

      The difference being that you are not buying a physical product. You are buying space on their servers, the right to use their service and the reasonable expectation that the service will always be available to you.

      Buying a physical object and being told how you can use it by the seller is not the same thing.

    It's going to be interesting to see how/if this clashes with the "First Sale Doctrine" of countries. Steam's already in a bit of trouble in Germany because of the First Sale Doctrine and the fact that they're not supporting it in a country where the law states that a person is able to trade software they purchased.

    A good article, but there's a couple of things which I don't agree with entirely.

    Firstly, games are a very different product to houses or cars in that the physical disc or cartridge that you purchase is simply the vessel for distributing the game files (traditionally) i.e. the value is in what the disc contains rather than the disc itself.

    Also as Zico said above, the industry is moving towards digital downloads or apps. Is it your right to sell your apps once your finished with them? Should you be able to purchase 2nd hand apps? Are you as a consumer being punished for not being able to do so?

    tl;dr 1. Games aren't houses or cars. 2. Is it really your right to sell / buy a used game?

      I was going to point out the obvious reductio ad absurdum wrt relative cost, sales volume and number of publishers/manufacturers (especially comparing games to houses), but I think you focus on a far better argument.

      The difference between a physical disc and digital download is that when you purchase them you are aware of an ability to on sell the product and usually (or at least with Steam etc.) it's slightly cheaper than buying a disc.

      Then again, I've never bought games used, and haven't bought a physical copy of a game in over three years.

      In principle, people should be able to on sell a physical disc. It's understandable there are other limitations to that with a digital version, and if a digital version is purchased, the consumer understands that limitation exists.

      (Although some programs allow you to on sell digital PC Games, GreenManGaming for one).

    "But everyone seems to be forgetting a harsh but simple truth: as a producer you only get to sell the thing you make once. You don’t get to have your cake and eat it. You just don’t. And as a producer of things you don’t get to dictate what is done with your product once you sell it."

    This. So much!

    A genie with big pockets, who grants too many wishes...
    games will be cheaper or free with micro transactions (ammo, weapons) to keep the servers running

    but you guys this is really getting mixed up with whose property it is
    you may on the CD but the intellectual property is not yours on the disk

    just like you paint a picture, or make a song, the rights are for the MAKER of the property, Right a book and someone cant copy the ideas for it

    its protection for ideas in law

    People that appreciate games wouldn't buy used games. No money goes to the people that spent years of their lives making it. How is that fair?

      But the company received the Full-Price, for that unit, when it was bought originally. All second-hand items had to be bought brand new at some point. No matter what the item.

      What is really needed is a law that put's a limit on resale value of games - then EB wouldn't be able to resell at R.R.P.

      How would anybody play and appreciate old games that are impossible to find brand new without breaking the law if used games weren't available?

    I would think that GameStop would have something to say on the topic, given that a massive percentage of their yearly revenue comes from used game sales. If they are threatened, the FCC may also weigh in.

    Platform developers have been trying to kill the second hand market for years. I'd be willing to put some money down that the new Playstation will have a similar setup to stop you from using second hand games.

    As someone who works on and off in games, I can sympathise with this to some extent. From the perspective of publishers and developers there's no difference between a second hand sale and a pirated game. Neither will net the people who worked on the title any royalties. I think people might be surprised by just how much impact second hand sales have on the amount of money that gets back to the publisher and developer that they need to continue to exist.

    On the other hand though, I don't think Mark's argument is not especially unreasonable either.
    Myself, I don't support the second hand industry. I'm not going to sit here though and tell you that you're wrong for doing so though.

      Simple difference between pirated games and second hand is that when a game is sold second hand it had to be sold new in the first place.

      There can never be more second hand games than games that were sold new. If no new games sell there can be no second hand games and if there are lots of second hand games it means lots of games sold new.

      In contrast when a game is pirated only the one game had to be purchased and is then copied and distributed to many people, pretty big difference.

      I thought that's what the online pass was for? To get the publisher / developer some money from used game sales?

        Online Passes are $10. Brand new games are (US)$60. The split is hardly equal.

          Online passes also cost about $0 to develop, manufacture, and distribute, there are no retailers adding on their margins and they don't have to compete with used online passes. So much lower costs to offset that $10 against.

            That's very true lol. For some reason when I typed that last response, it completely slipped my mind that they were just pieces of paper essentially, SMH. I blame it on the late night -.-

      I don't really do much with second hand gaming, but your comparison with second hand purchases and piracy have the same problem. They rely on the notion that if the person couldn't buy second hand, that they would purchase brand new.
      I strongly suspect this is not the case.
      If people wanted the game that much, they would buy new. If people magically can't buy second hand, and then they are left with the choice of spending more money than they are willing to spend, ... this won't end like you hope.

        When you take into account that the problem these companies have with used games are ones that are resold to consumers at $5-10 less than retail price, and consider how addictive gaming is in general, I think they'll spend the extra money.

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