Thursday, 23 June 2011

What? I have to buy what I already brought?



fish[2]I recently wrote a blog about how I thought the pre owned market should be of a bigger concern to publishers than piracy. Well it seems that at least one publisher agrees with me.

It seems that THQ aren't fond of the pre owned/rental/lending a game to a friend, and have taken to shipping their new games with an unlock code for part of their game. I have seen this in Homefront (you couldn't level a multiplayer character past level 5 without entering a code) and Red Faction Armageddon (code needed to unlocked the destruction mode Ruin). Now if you don't have a code, because you brought the game second red-faction-armageddon-ruin-nsghand or you rented it, then thq will kindly sell you one for a few pounds.

Now previously EA has attempted to get you to buy new by putting codes for exclusive content or dlc in the game boxes. However THQ has clearly taken this to the next level, and I am not really sure how I feel about it. I can understand that they are ultimately spending millions of pounds on making their games, and within weeks, or even days, people are buying their games used, and they don't see a penny of that money. So I guess when some smart executive suggested the idea, it must have seen like genius. I guess it is something of a halfway house towards free to play, as large portions of the game are still available for your pre owned /rental. I should also point out that we are not talking massive amounts here, 6 pounds for Homefront and 3 for Red Faction, and usually just after a game launches the pre owned price is only a couple of pounds less then brand new, so I assumed THQ would hope that you just buy a new copy.

Humm that was me being quite understanding, wasn't it? You see I get it entirely, hell I even sympathise with game developers, who spend years on making a game. In many cases a game is a labour of love, so when a lot of people get to enjoy your creative efforts, and give you back nothing at all in return, it must be aggravating at best. However I don't like being told what I can and can't have.

20070725Imagine going into a library, taking out a murder mystery novel and finding that the last few pages are missing and you have to log onto the publishers website and pay a few pence to find out who did it. That doesn't happen of course, and we are perfectly free to buy previously owned books, music and films, without restrictions.

But books, films and music are all significantly cheaper too buy than games. It seems to me that the only way to make everyone happy is to make games significantly cheaper, probably to half their current costs. That way there will be a lot less incentive to buy pre owned, you would probably make so little back on trade in's that a lot off people wouldn't bother and game companies would hopefully sell a lot more games. Though that plan requires one brave publisher to step up and take that chance.

All in all, I can't bring myself to hate THQ for the steps they have taken. I thinkKaos_Studios they are wrong, but a business is there to make money and grow. The games industry has a lot of money in it, but it is still a perilous environment. Hell just ask the makers of Homefront, Kaos Studios, ah right you can't because they were shut down a couple of weeks ago.


Token said...

The retail pre-owned sections are a joke, it wont take much incentive for people to stop buying from them. Mass effect 2 in game right now is 25 quid, I just bought my copy on ebay for 3 quid. Oh and I wont be shedding any tears for Kaos that engine of mediocrity.

Laird Hex said...

NO no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no ..... do you understand now?


Okay let me use sentences. Video games and movies have similar budget's and even production cycles are similar. if i had to punch in a code when i watched a movie i picked up cheap at blockbuster video (they sell many pre-owned movies, you can buy like 3 for £5) i could kick some ass and scream about my statuary rights to purchase products in a free market economy.

The record industry are also morons however i can take a CD i have had for ages and sell it on e-bay if i want, even thought i would probably only get a penny for it the person who brought it would have all the music i had on it.

if i buy movies/music or even games over the internet through digital services i understand and really 'get' that i cant sell it on if i want, but that's part of the deal with digital distribution.

I can pirate movies if i want, i can pirate music if i want. i can pirate games if i want, no matter what those people on the news websites seam to think, HA DRM my backside!

I don't pirate things, i like to own DVD's and i have loads of old albums on vinyl. I buy my games (mostly off Steam to be honest, but that's my choice)

I can see why it appears that video games suffer more than other industries from pre-owned sales and pirates but its their own fault and thats what they get.

why do i feel like that?

well, think about it, Minecraft was £8 when i brought it and its made its developer (Notch) into a rich man and something of a geek superstar

Project Zomboid is doing great and is set to be the next indie success story.

every say when Steam put a game on sale it shoots like a rocket to the top sellers list on the service.

these things have one thing in common, PRICE.

I brought Portal 2 recently at full price and I got about 9 hours enjoyment out of it... 9 hours.

for £30 i could buy a whole season of a TV show on DVD brand new.

I could buy take out food for my whole family, AND pick up a cheap movie to watch

I could even buy a microwave (not a great one granted)

I could buy some jeans. good ones too.

I could buy many things better than 9 hours worth of game.

So, how about we stop sympathising with developers and publishers for spending silly amounts of money on a game and having to / wanting to charge what is quite a bit of money for them.

cut the cost of games, make more smaller titles and let people trade what they like. its their game disk let them do whatever with it.

Make games cheaper. see less trade-in's see more people BUYING them rather than copying them.

and rememberer, the revolution will not be televised.

Laird Hex said...

yeah. i was a little ranty, and lost my point but yeah, i think it was a resounding agreement.... i think