This is in response to Michael Kyle’s piece about why he’s OK with a block on pre-owned games.
Hey Mike! Can I call you, ‘Mike?’ I hope so because I want to keep this informal. Anyway, I enjoyed reading your stance on why you think blocking used games is OK. I actually don’t disagree with your philosophy. I thought you laid your points out very well. However, I do want to address the rubric you used to formulate your stance as I feel there were a few fundamental flaws in your calculus.
First, The assumption that everyone is willing and able to make the transition to buying games and consoles online (read amazon in your editorial) is overstating the situation a bit. Check out this infographic . Even though numbers are steadily slipping year-over-year, still, very few consoles are purchased online when compared to how many are purchased from brick-and-mortar stores (read highstreet stores). Therefore, assuming that we – or more importantly – console developers no longer need Gamestop and other retailers is not correct. Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo still very much need physical sales from places like Gamestop.
Publishers still need Gamestop (and other retailers) too. If I had to guess, this whole “we may block used games” feint nonsense is at best, a half-baked chess move to make Gamestop consider cutting publishers in on that 33% revenue you spoke about. Keep in mind that without publishers, consoles don’t exist. They (the publishers) are probably pressuring Sony & company to make some type of move because they can have a much greater impact on retailers than individual publishers crying foul. I truly believe there is no way a full-on ban will go down. As I said, I believe they are just playing chess here.
And make no mistake, the games industry is not “suffering.” Publishers and developers who’ve made bad decisions might be, but the global Video game Industry is valued at over $60B, if I’m not mistaken. And consoles are still a significant piece of that $60B.
The other piece that I never see factored into this used-game argument is the fact that the folks who are willing to wait months for significant price drops are not early adopters. These same people will probably evolve into the people that just flat out avoid a particular game if Sony & company block their ability to buy it cheap. They’re essentially willing to play a certain game, but don’t believe it’s worth the full sticker price. If you force them to pay full price, they will probably walk. So, in simple terms, cutting off their ability to buy used still may not benefit the publishers in the long run.
Blocking used games will affect me, but more because I use creative trades to lower or eliminate the cost of future purchases. But in the end, if they do block used games, I’ll just wait for price drops or not buy the games I feel are not worth the sticker price. I think other gamers trying to be wise with their money will do the same.