So, here’s an interesting post on the future of used games and Microsoft’s current approach (well, more than MS really).
If the secondhand market is not having a major detrimental effect on the primary market, then why would it need to be addressed?
If it were the case for movies and games, then yes, I’d favor similar measures by music/movie industries to protect themselves against it.
Well, this is the disconnect I guess. You admit you only hold this view because of the detrimental effects (you think) are impacting the industry. You are asserting that a fundamental aspect of property rights and consumer rights as it has existed since the beginning of trade should be adjusted and recodified on a per-industry basis, not because it’s inherently bad or unethical, but just because you think it’s a threat to the industry’s health. Which means you are essentially arguing for protectionism for corporations–consumers are free to exercise their consumer rights only up to a certain point, but if that free exercise is perceived to threaten the viability of the industry, then their rights must be limited in order to save the industry.
I don’t think I can put into words my disgust at this demeaning display of groveling at the feet of your game developer overlords. Even a die-hard laissez-faire capitalist would not be so subservient, because even a capitalist would accept that sometimes industries die and that’s the way the world works. As much as I enjoy games, there is no inherent good in this industry. The ends do not justify the means here; there is nothing that makes the gaming industry inherently worthy of preservation, not to the point that would justify carving out a special exemption for them where used games are somehow magically not OK when they are OK for every other packaged good on the planet. Just because your favored set of content producers couldn’t properly adapt does not justify rewriting the rules of what “property ownership” means and fundamentally removing the ability to preserve, inherit, pass on, lend, and share its products.
The industry does not come first; consumers do. I have no sympathy for an industry that cannot properly stumble its way around a viable secondhand market like every other mature industry in the world. Sometimes your old product just isn’t good enough, and the way you solve it is by making a better product, not by forcing consumers to adapt to your archaic and myopic business model with your dying breath. If this industry can’t find a way to make money off the primary market — even with DLC and exclusive pre-order content and HD re-releases and map packs and online passes and annualized sequels and “expanding the audience” and AAA advertising and forced multiplayer — then, if I may be so blunt, fuck it. It doesn’t deserve our money in the first place. If an entire industry has its head so far up its ass, is so focused on short-term gains, and has embraced such a catastrophically stupid blockbuster business model in the pursuit of a stagnant market of hardcore 18-34 dudebros that it thinks it has no choice but to take away our first-sale rights as its last chance of maybe, finally, creating a sustainable stream of profits, then it can go to hell. It doesn’t need your protection, it needs to be taken out back and beaten until it remembers who its real masters are.
I especially have a hard time having any sympathy because so many of the industry’s problems are of its own making. They chose to focus on shaderific HD graphics over long-lasting appeal and gameplay; they chose to focus on linear scripted cinematic B-movie imitations that were only good for one playthrough instead of replayability and open-ended design; they chose to pour so much money and marketing into military porn and fetishized violent shootbang Press A to Awesome titles, exactly the kinds of games that hardcore gamers, the most likely gamers to trade in games quickly were prone to buying and reselling; and perhaps most galling, they chose to give Gamestop loads of exclusive pre-order bonuses while they knew exactly what Gamestop would say to those customers once in the store. They kept making insanely lavish and nonsensical displays of spectacular whizz-bang, despite that being exactly the kind of game most susceptible to trading after one week because there was nothing left to do with it. And now they’re discovering that putting so many insanely expensive eggs into one fragile and easily breakable basket is maybe not the most sustainable business model ever.
So forgive me if I find myself not caring one bit when the industry complains that it’s just so hard to sell six million copies of Gears of Medal of Battle of Uncharted Angry Dudes VII in the first week and that’s why they need to take away used sales for the entire platform. No, the problem isn’t at this end.
There’s just something so precise about this rant that I can’t help but keep reading it over and over again.
It’s strange that the market is still aimed at dudebros, yet in the same breath complaining that people outside that scope won’t buy games. How selling 1 million copies of a game is seen as a failure… the problem is clearly not on our side of the equation.