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GameStop: 'Publishers Can Participate' In Used Biz Via DLC
GameStop: 'Publishers Can Participate' In Used Biz Via DLC Exclusive
March 18, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

Although some publishers have used downloadable content and unlockables to discourage used game sales, retailer GameStop sees itself as a publisher partner in the DLC biz.

CEO Dan DeMatteo doesn't believe DLC opportunities are much of a deterrent to used game buyers, anyway: "Through our years in the used business, we have learned that the second-hand user is a value-oriented consumer... we don't believe that a $10 add-on piece of DLC is compelling to a used game buyer," he said on the company's call to analysts alongside its 2009 financial results today.

"Publishers can participate in our used business by offering add-on content for the most popular used titles, creating a win-win situation for publishers, retailers and consumers," he adds.

GameStop announced late last year that it will also begin offering console DLC downloads in its stores, and DeMatteo says that's another upside for publishers.

"We can market and execute DLC sales right in-store," he says. "There's a tremendous opportunity for us to encourage software developers and publishers to create DLC because we'll be able to market it. It's very difficult to discover, find... add-on content with the tools available [currently]."

DeMatteo envisages DLC being part of the regular add-on upsell GameStop employees are obligated to push at checkout. Store staff will take responsibility for educating consumers on available DLC for individual games, and on encouraging them to purchase the downloadables that go with the games they're buying in-store.

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Joe Woynillowicz
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One interesting aspect (and likely a big reason for the push to partner with publishers) is that developers/publishers are starting to use DLC to promote the purchase of new games rather than buying used. It is yet to be seen how much of an impact this will make on the used games market but theoretically it could cripple it, especially in the major titles segment which generates most of the profit in used games.

An example is how EA/DICE has included a "VIP Code" with the 360/PS3 versions of Battlefield Bad Company 2. This code gives you access to maps that are "Day 1 DLC" and you are only able to redeem this once. If someone purchases Bad Company 2 used from a reseller such as GameStop they will not be getting the full multiplayer experience, compared to someone who has purchased a new copy. You can purchase a "VIP Code" for $15 to add the additional features, therefore not hurting the player who purchased the used copy as they can still upgrade to a full version.

It would be great to see things move in this direction but gamers need to be aware that such systems exist. So the choice is to either purchase a new "full" copy of the game or a used copy that is missing some features. If we consider the $15 cost to add the maps, in theory the used price of Bad Company 2 should be a minimum of $15 cheaper than a new copy (compared to the $5 discount that is normally given on new hit titles), although economically this will only happen if gamers realize that a used copy is crippled.

Hopefully this type of strategy works and all titles start moving to this model in the future which would force retailers selling used games to sell them at "used prices". Currently we don't see this as the used prices have inflated over time (Remember when used titles sold for less than 50% of the price of a new title?) and now almost mirror new, and the reason is obviously because the software does not degrade and therefore purchasing used is the same as new to the consumer. Now with DLC developers and publishers are able to add the concept of degradation to a title and therefore differentiate between new and used copies.

Tim Huntsman
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Agreed. Developers should get some residual or royalty based off of any commercial/retail transaction. It really sucks when you're standing in line to buy a new game, and the salesperson continues to try to talk you into 'saving 5 bux' by buying their used version--one that they purchased for $10-$20 and then double or quintiple the markup. Rather disingenious practices, if you ask me.

And for those who say, 'well, I'm not interested enough in the game to pay full retail,' I say, 'no problem--but the people who made the game should still get a cut...'

Ed Macauley
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"Publishers can participate in our used business by offering add-on content for the most popular used titles, creating a win-win situation for publishers, retailers and consumers"

That's a win for publishers and GameStop and a big lose for consumers. If GameStop starts offering decent trade in values to gamers and starts pricing used games at the "used" price level that Joe is talking about in the comment above, well maybe then it's a win for consumers.

We're already talking about getting on shaky legal ground if the future of console titles really will "cripple" the game for used buyers. Let's not go crazy and demand money we're not entitiled to on those used sales.

Tiago Costa
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@Adam Coate

Why should they? Do car re sellers offer a cut to car manufacturers? I don't known about the US but in my country they do not. When you buy a second hand house do you pay the constructor a cut?

The perceived value of a game as gone downhill in the last 10 years, we've teach society to consume the next fad as fast as they can because there's another one coming. People just don't value their entertainment enough.

I didn't buy Uncharted 2, a friend of mine bought it and I had it in my house for a couple of days and I finished the game getting (before the DLC) 82% of the Trophies (Crushing mode end missing and a couple of treasures). It was a great experience but surely not worth the 40£ price at launch, not for 12 hours of gameplay. The same for goes for GoW3.

I mean 10 hours and almost zero re playability for the average joe gamer? Why should they keep those games. Why come back to them? Unless you are a die har fan.

(I may be looking back with rose tinted glasses, but my genesis games were smaller but with lots of re-playability or am I mistaken?)

Get people to hang on to those games (and paid DLC that should be part of the original game does not count), and the reused market will drop.

Also why can I pay 20 bucks for an indie game (Gratuitous Space Battles, Eets, Immortal defence, come to mind) and I think its a fair price, while I'm not able to pay 60$ for any AAA game? I actually wait for a price drop and buy them at 10$-20$ since I get less game from the AAA then I get from the indie scene, something is really twisted when this happens.

Tiago Costa
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@richard ericksen

That depends when you sell your car, and a house may even go up in price.

And for the rest I agree with you.

Also I dont like GameStop used market model.

Alan Wilson
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I think the point is that Gamestop seem to want to have it all ways - re-selling used games AND getting a piece of the DLC. My view would be that they can have a piece of the DLC, if WE get a piece of the game re-sale price. At the moment it seems that "win-win" for Gamestop means that they win on the ability to be able to sell the same game multiple times - and now they want to win by selling extra DLC at the checkout too. Not sure where the "win" is for us poor developers...

E Zachary Knight
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I am with Tiago on the "should Gamestop share used revenue" No other industry in the US gains revenue from the used sale of their products. The US has a thing called the First Sale Doctrine that states that once the publisher makes that initial sale, they lose all rights related to that copy of their copyrighted works. This has been defended numerous times in film, literature and music. Games are no different.

You can complain all you want about the trade in values and resale prices of Gamestop, but the fact of the matter is that no one has to deal with them.

The main reasons, I think, people do deal with them are as follows: Convenience and Ignorance. Some people are ignorant of their options and go to Gamestop because of it. If they knew of other options they might do that. Other people just like the convenience of going to a place they know and trading there rather than something else that is conceivably more difficult such as Craigslist. Convenience also plays a part because they get an immediate return rather than having to wait for weeks hoping for a sale.

Fiore Iantosca
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I really still can not fathom for the life of my why anyone in their right sane mind would buy a used game from GameStop!

Craiglist/Amazon always offer cheaper versions for used games. Sometimes I can find new titles CHEAPER on Amazon!

Tiago Costa
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Dont get me wrong, as a Game developer myself I hear you, and agree that GameStop should not prefer to sell their used games over new ones and even at the same price.

But lets face it, between a used car for $55,000 used for a week with low millage (comparing to a used game, ZERO MILLAGE) and a certified guarantee that its in mint conditions, and a $60,000 new car, most people would jump at the used car.

This is what's happening to games, people finish the games in the same day that they receive the game. Where's the value for them?

I'm not saying that GameStop is right, I'm saying the whole game industry is wrong.

On a second note, how many used copies of Wii Resort can you find in gamestop? (I dont know Im from Portugal and we have like 2 Gamestops here if that many).

Joshua McDonald
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Joe touched on this point, but I'd like to push it a little to the forefront. Once people begin to recognize the used game as inferior because it's missing a "new-game only" feature, used price will drop dramatically.

I could actually see the incentive to buy new backfiring because these particular games may become MUCH cheaper used. If I'm only going to save $5. I'll buy new and support the developers. If I'm going to save $25 (with the option to buy the extra feature only if I end up liking the game well enough to want to continue playing), I'm a lot more likely to buy used.

On a related note, game developers do get some residual benefits from used sales, though indirectly. I explain that in detail here:

E Zachary Knight
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That is not a loop hole. that is Copyright law. You can argue all you want that you are only selling a license, but the fact remains that you are selling a physical good and it is treated as such according to law.

Dave Sodee
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I do not use steam often for the simple reason when I complete a game I am stuck with it. When I buy a game unless it has some draconian drm on it I can sell it and recoup some cash for my next game. Things are getting tougher nowadays though with how they are making it more difficult for the consumer to get some value out of a finished game. All it does in my home is ....I buy less games. I passed on Ubisoft altogether with what they went to. I have only a few steam games when they have a mega sale and it won't matter that I can not resell it after.

I tend to buy rpgs and large games that keep me entertained a longtime. I pass on the short but sweet games or ones that focus more on multiplayer MW2 for me.

I support Stardock and developers that treat a gaming consumer as valuable ...not like we gamers are pirates cutting their bottom lines. We are the reason they have a bottom line !

Andrew Vanden Bossche
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@Alan Wilson

I could be wrong about this as I haven't bought a DLC chained game from GameFly yet, but isn't this what they're already doing? With GameFly, you rent the game and if you decide to buy it they send you the box and presumably the codes with it.

Of course the lengthy turnaround time with GameFly is the one place where Gamestop will always beat them until they invent teleportation(or more likely, download based renting).

On the other hand, while bonuses are nice, none of the DLC EA is offering is worth anywhere close to the price they're charging for it. I would be very interested to know what sales of this sort of DLC are. I'm with Gamestop on the assumption that as annoying as it is to get less game used, customers who don't buy new are already willing to make sacrifices for a cheaper buy.

I'm skeptical about the DLC in store up-sell (as if Gamestop didn't have enough of those already). If it's day one DLC, why would the customer buy it if it didn't all add up to less than the game new? If it's post release, how will the cashiers know what DLC to sell to which customer? I guess if the customer buys the game months after it comes out it might work, but how are they going to sell it in store anyway? By putting it on a disk? That would be absolutely hilarious.

E Zachary Knight
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A loop hole is the unintended result of broad language. First Sale is no such thing.

Here is a little Case Law for you:

In 2007 AutoCAD found a man, Vernor, selling used copies of their software on ebay. They attempted a DMCA take down on him claiming he did not have the right to resell those software packages. It went to court and Vernor won under First Sale.

Now if AutoCAD, a company that strictly licenses their products, could not win a case against First Sale, what makes you think that the video game companies could? The answer is that they can't. That is why they have not even tried to stop Gamestop.

E Zachary Knight
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You still have not explained how First Sale is a loophole yet. I am waiting, but I am not holding my breath.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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People seem to be perpetually confused by this point:

When you buy a game you are buying a license. If that license is transferable it is transferable. If that license is non-transferable it is not transferable. If that license is time limited, then it is time limited. You get what you purchase, no more, no less.

Some people believe that If that license is accompanied by physical medium, it must be a transferable non-expiring license. While that is the most common type of license sold at retail there is no law requiring that to be the case. For example WOW, sold at retail is sold as a time limited, non-transferable license.

The fact remains that so long as publishers sell transferable licenses, gamers are well within their rights to resell those licenses.

E Zachary Knight
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I don't think you understand what a loophole is. Let me help you.

Loophole (via - a means of escape or evasion; a means or opportunity of evading a rule, law, etc.

First Sale Doctrine as codified in US copyright law (

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106(3), the owner of a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title, or any person authorized by such owner, is entitled, without the authority of the copyright owner, to sell or otherwise dispose of the possession of that copy or phonorecord"

Now if anyone is trying to find a loophole in copyright law it is not the consumer or Gamestop.

E Zachary Knight
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@ Adam,

Just noticed this bit in your latest post:

"The ideal situation would be that used game stores work with publishers directly instead of ignoring them completely and stealing sales from them"

That goes against the section of law I just quoted you. Used product sellers do not have to get any kind of permission from the content creators to sell said products.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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@Ephriam Thanks for the link to Blog about First Sale. Interesting read.

Let me explain why I think First Sale does not apply to Video Games.

The real question is whether or not publishers are permitted to sell licenses instead of copies of a work. I could sell you permission to use my car for the next year. I could sell you permission to use my car for the next hundred years. It would still be my car. I could sell you permission to use my car, but only up to 10,000 miles a year. If you drove it more than that, you would be using my car without permission and would be legally required to compensate me for it (above and beyond the original amount). If you want to sell that car to your friend, you can't because it's not your car. You can't transfer your permission to use my car to him either because I did not give permission for any generic person to drive my car; I gave permission to you and you specifically. I might trust your driving and thus be willing to accept the chances of you wrecking my car, but not be willing to accept the chances that your friend will wreck my car. The bottom line is, its my car to do with as I please.

If I own a video game can I not sell you permission to use it? The doctrine of First Sale allows you to resell something that you own. If I sell you a copy of a video game, you can resell that copy, but what if I am not willing to sell you a copy of my video game? What if all I am willing to sell you is permission to use my copy? I am not aware of any law that prevents me from selling you permission to use my property.

Meredith Katz
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@Sean Francis-Lyon

I think that would fall under rental legalese rather than sale legalese.

Look up 1984 and 1990 Exclusions, as well as the Clayton Act, for more information on the concerns with that.

E Zachary Knight
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Yeah, you are referring to rental and leasing. I am not renting nor leasing a game that I buy from Walmart. I am buying.

If you cannot see how that AutoCAD loss applies to games, I am sorry that you are so blind. AutoCAD claimed that because they only license their software that First Sale did not apply to them. The courts disagreed and the courts' decision trumps AutoCAD's opinion.

For more reference, UMG tried suing a man who sold Promotional CDs on ebay and lost because of First Sale:

You people can argue all you want that First Sale does not apply to video games, but the facts and law do not lie.

Doug Poston
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IANAL (and legal docs make my brain hurt), but getting back on-topic, is there anything legally wrong with denying a service? In the case of AutoCAD, First Sale allows you to re-sell the CDs, but does AutoCAD have to provide support or upgrades to the new owner?

If EA really wanted to shut down the used market, could they legally get away with only selling "Demo Discs" and "Unlock Codes"? The end user could re-sell the demo disc as much as they like, but the code can only be used once to unlock the full game .

E Zachary Knight
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You are correct on the AutoCAD thought. The license and all the support that comes with it is not transferred, but the person that buys the disk still has the right to use the software.

As for the EA bit, game companies are already doing this with Day 1 DLC you can get with a one time use voucher with the purchase of a new game.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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I am talking about licensing, which in this context is the same thing as leasing.

license: a legal document giving official permission to do something

You may have wanted to buy the game copy you got from Walmart, but that does not make it the case. I contend that the owner of that game is within their rights to sell you a license. They are clearly within their rights to refuse to sell you a copy.

I am not blind and person attacks do not benefit this discussion. The ruling in AutoCAD case means one of three things:

1) AutoCAD is not legally permitted to lease their property.

2) AutoCAD did not lease their property (although they were legally permitted to)

3) The court ruled incorrectly

Of these possibilities do you assume it must be the first? If so could you give a logical argument supporting that position? I gave an explanation why I think #1 is not the case. Could you point out a gap or mistake in my reasoning?

E Zachary Knight
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Yet, I signed no leasing agreement with any person when I purchased my games. I have an after the fact EULA on PC games that I have to agree with, but considering that consumers have no way to review the terms before a purchase and only after the prospect of return is null and void, their weight in court is minimal if it has any at all. Without my signature you have no proof that I agreed to any kind of licensing or leasing terms.

I do not believe the AutoCAD ruling means any of those things. What the court ruling states is that AutoCAD sold a copy of their software and they have no legal ability to control the transfer or disposal of said copy of software from that point on. Nowhere in the ruling does it say anything about leasing software.

Sorry to offend you. I did not mean to.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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Thank you for explaining your position, it now seems quite reasonable. What do you think would be necessary to make it clear that the store is offering to sell you a license, not a copy? I do not think a signature is required. When you walk into Blockbuster you bring a video up to the counter, hand them money and walk out with the video. You do not then own the video because it was clear that when you handed them your money you were getting their permission to use that video for an agreed upon period of time.

"What the court ruling states is that AutoCAD sold a copy of their software" This would be #2, that although AutoCAD is legally permitted to lease their property what they actually did is sell it.

EULAs are another, quite ridiculous matter. They way I believe they legally work is this: You walk out of GameStop with a video game. You have not agreed to the EULA and are under no obligation to do so. You try to run the game on your computer. If you do not agree to the EULA it does not function. You can then take the game back to the store for a full refund because the game did not function as advertised. This is immensely inconvenient and you may even be able to sue for false advertising; You would probably lose, but I would like to see someone try.

Tim Carter
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Adam, that would never happen because it defies de facto precedent set in general law about the rights of consumers to resell things. Imagine if you had to give Ford a cut every time you took your old Ford into a used-car lot.

E Zachary Knight
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With Blockbuster, I have signed a rental agreement in advance of paying for my rental. I have signed a contract stating that I am renting movies and games and not purchasing them for $5. At Walmart, I have done no such thing.

As for your EULA argument, that is blatantly wrong. As soon as I open the factory seal of the game, it is no longer returnable for a full refund. The most any store will do is exchange it for the exact same game. Considering I have no reason to expect the EULA terms to be more favorable to me in the new copy of the game, it is unrealistic for a game company to expect an after the fact EULA to be legally binding.

Also, I would like to comment on this comment of yours:

"I am talking about licensing, which in this context is the same thing as leasing."

A lease is a type of rental. The person leasing has full use of the product while ownership remains with the lessor. With a lease, the lessee and lessor have a contractual agreement that the lessee will be able to use the product for a limited time. At which time the product is to be returned to the lessor. Apartments and cars are examples of commonly leased products.

With the type of "license" that AutoCAD had on their software, there was no indication of leasing, nor that the software had to be returned to AutoCAD at any point. The courts ruled that their "license" was more akin to a sale than anything.

E Zachary Knight
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Glad to see someone else that is defending the law rather than trying to find a loophole around it.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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Its been a long time since I have been to a blockbuster. I don't remember signing a contract, just giving them my credit card, but its the kind of thing I very well may have forgotten.

The whole point of a license is that the original owner retains ownership, while the licensee has use of the product. I own something, and sell you a license (a legal document giving official permission to do something) giving you permission to use my property.

I assume your paragraph describing what lease means is there to illustrate that this kind of license is (or is extremely similar to) a lease. If this is your point then, as I stated above, I agree with you.

The question in the AutoCAD case is: What did AutoCAD sell? Did they sell a copy of their software or did they sell a license to use their software?

I don't think that a written contract is required to give someone license to use your property without giving them ownership of your property. I think that all you need is an agreement where both parties understand what they are getting. For example, when you pick up a copy of WOW at gamestop, you understand that you are only licensed to play that game for one month until you give blizzard more money for another months license. Because you understand at the time of purchase you are only getting a time limited license, you have no grounds to sue them for the ability to continue playing after that month is up.

Corey Navage
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This will probably get lost in the legal debate going on here, but ...

The CEO said "we don't believe that [] DLC is compelling to a used game buyer"

Then he said "Publishers can participate in our used business by offering [DLC] for the most popular used titles"



E Zachary Knight
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I think some clarifications of the AutoCAD case are in order. This is take from the Latest Ruling (

"Mr. Vernor claims to be the “owner” of the copies of software in the AutoCAD packages in his possession, and seeks refuge in both § 109 and § 117"

Section 109 being the codified First Sale Doctrine and 117 being copyright law as applied to software.

"Autodesk believes that it still owns the AutoCAD packages in Mr. Vernor’s possession. It contends that it never transferred ownership of the AutoCAD packages to CTA. Indeed, in Autodesk’s view, it never transfers ownership of AutoCAD packages to anyone. Instead, it licenses AutoCAD packages without transferring ownership of them, and thus remains the “owner” of the copies of copyrighted material contained therein."

CTA being the company that Vernor bought the packages from.

The Ruling takes place over a number of points coming from precedence in the Ninth Circuit, but the core ruling is as follows:

"Taking direction solely from Wise [ A federal court case involving movie films and who retained ownership of the films.], the court concludes that the transfer of AutoCAD packages from Autodesk to CTA was a sale. Like the Redgrave Contract, the Settlement Agreement and License allowed CTA to retain possession of the software copies in exchange for a single up-front payment. Like the Redgrave Contract, the Settlement Agreement and License imposed onerous restrictions on transfer of the AutoCAD copies."

Because the license agreement did not explicitly state that the copes had to be destroyed or returned to Autodesk, it was considered a sale and thus under the terms of First Sale.

Now for your WOW comment, That is also incorrect. Even Blizzard recognizes the customers right to First Sale of the disks you buy at the store. What that $15 a month goes toward is access to their private servers in order to play the game. You can sell the game disks all you want, what you can't sell is your access to their servers and your account.

E Zachary Knight
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I think you missed what he was saying there. He is saying that customers who buy used most likely are not aware that there is DLC for some of those games and that if the publishers partnered with Gamestop they could upsell them on the DLC right there in the store.

He was not sayign the DLC was worthless and that they wanted to push it on consumers.

John Mawhorter
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I think what Sean seems to be asking is whether it is possible to lease games to consumers rather than sell them so that the industry could make more money. I'm sure that it could be accomplished, but I don't think the consumer would stand for it.

gus one
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Isnt the issue actually the price of games period. As all the internet lawyers above have pointed out it is legal to re-sell without paying the publisher re-sale royalties. So why is it such good business expecially for Gamestop et al...? Back in the day when people paid for music there was still only a few second hand music shops around and probably just scratching a living on high volume low margin merchandise. Why were they not rolling around in re-sale cash piles. I say the price. I don't mind paying a little more if what I get is brand new. The issue is there is a point where the price reaches critical mass and becomes prohibited and then your average Joe will be more inclined to save '5 bux' for a used copy. Add to that the hard sell from Game stores employees and there's your answer. If games RRP came down $10-$15 new sales would increase and used sales decrease. Back to the internet lawyers.

Prash Nelson-Smythe
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My thoughts:

a) I think that as long as the retail game buying process consists of picking up a game from a shelf, taking it to a counter, paying some money and walking away with the game it will be considered a sale. License or no license. And the customer or retailer will have the right to resell the physical product and keep all the money. (This is not to say that the game discs can't be designed to be worthless to a second purchaser, as in the case of World of Warcraft, where the discs are linked to an account. The customer can still resell the discs but they wouldn't because they have little or no value.)

b) It is not a dubious business practice to buy low and sell high. No one is being forced into these transactions. If they are not happy with the price they can go elsewhere. If there is truly nowhere else to go then perhaps monopoloy laws apply.

c) Game makers have no *right* to a cut of second hand sales. The truth is that games have lost a lot of their value for various reasons. It is not the job of the retailer to support all of those extra people who are in the game industry because they love games rather than because they saw a business opportunity. If the money can't be made then perhaps it's right that a studio should close so its employees and assets can be redeployed where they are actually needed, or that the studio changes strategy and produces cheaper, more widely appealing or long-lived games.

d) While game makers don't have the right to a cut of second hand sales, if they use their business smarts they may still get a cut if they wish. They may provide some service whereby internet distributed games (I refuse to call it digital distribution) can be resold and they receive a cut. I'm not sure about the legality of this, since all sales would be locked into a single system. But this is essentially a move into retail, and one that will be desperately defended by the current retail giants and also...

e) There appears to be a genuine need for retailers. Why else would gamers be willing to buy to go to a store to buy or sell their games when they can almost always get a better price online? It's not that they are unaware of the online prices, they just like the convenience, the immediacy, the human contact and perhaps the ritual. This incurs a lot of expenses such as renting and maintaining stores, customer service etc. Game publishers might like to move into this space but again it would be an uphill struggle. Game makers seem to think they are superior to those leech retailers who do nothing useful. I will admit that even as a customer I used to hold this naive notion. I personally am happy to order games online or download them in some cases (though only when I am sure they'll be worth it) but as long as people walk into and buy from game shops, there is a need for them.

f) As people have pointed out, a game's used value will decrease because of the knowledge that the DLC is not included when compared to the new copy. The price difference might not account for the lack of DLC fully since knowledge is not perfect, but there will be an effect. This may make thrifty buyers even more likely to buy the preowned copy.

Nick Damiano
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I don't understand all the analogies involving cars and houses. Specifically how is the sale of videogames similar to the sale of a house? And how is it fair to claim that because a game took 10 hours of non-stop playing to beat that it is automatically worth 20 or 30 dollars? If we're going to talk analogies, does a movie that takes an hour and 15 minutes to watch typically cost half the price of a 2 1/2 hour movie?

It sounds like a shitty cop-out for people who want to justify borrowing or stealing games. Just like the people who use invasive drm on games as the reason they decided to steal the game. To teach the game producer Execs (and all the hard working developers) a lesson!

I don't think that companies should get a slice of the used game market, nor do I think gamestop should be vilified for doing something legal and taking advantage of an existing market niche. It is frustrating that they resell games for 4 times what they pay for them but they are a business and found the most efficient price point that works for them based on what people will pay.

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@Ephraim---Followed the link because I'd never heard of that law or case. Great read, and I can see your point. I have family members that work for the government, and I can't find a viable loop hole in that law.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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I suppose I should explain why I think licensing as opposed to sale is good for the industry (and good for gamers): If I want to keep my old games why should I have to pay an inflated price that includes the resale value?

Imagine the following hypothetical:

Gamer 1 buys a game at GameStop for $50, plays it and sells it back for $20.

Gamer 2 buys the same game used for $45 and sells it back for $15.

Gamer 3 buys the same game used for $30 and keeps it.

Net payout by gamers: $90

Sales that developer gets a portion of: $50

Second Hypothetical:

Gamer 1 licenses a game at GameStop for $30 and is not permitted to sell it.

Gamer 2 licenses the same game for $25 and is not permitted to sell it.

Gamer 3 licenses the same game for $20 and is not permitted to sell it.

Net payout by gamers: $75

Sales that developer gets a portion of: $75

When you sell a used game that you have the slightest desire to still own it is a waste. You lose a game that you want, and nothing is actually gained. The next gamer gets a cheaper game, but the developers would rather sell him a new copy for the same price. The only way gamers could not benefit from a switch to licenses instead of selling copies, is if the publishers have all the power and keep all the savings for themselves. At first glance it may look like the publishers have all the power, but they don't. You have the money. They want your money and if you decide not to give it to them they will die. There are so many high quality games out there that you can't play all of them even if you could buy all of them. Give your money to those that offer the best value, and you will get a good value.

Look at the prices on Steam. The new releases are still tied to retail prices, but once the publishers are no longer worried about pissing off gamestop you see sale prices on par with bargain bin used games.

I would love to see 2 licenses next to each other on the store shelves: one transferable, but more expensive, the other non-transferable, but cheaper.

I am ignoring the issue of platform royalties, but its a moot point for PC games and the console platform owners could make just as much money with lower royalties if there were no used game sales.

In summary, GameStop is a leach on the industry. The service it provides is not worth the amount of money it removes from the system. Gamers and developers can split the savings and both be much better off. If developers refuse to split that savings with you, don't give them your money.

David Serrano
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@ Ephriam Knight.... Hallelujah! The first sale rule and possession of property laws couldn't be more clear. But in our new global "free market" economy, big business must always have the deck stacked in their favor. So this subject really burns their ass, laws still exist which place personal rights above corporate profits. Blasphemy! It's also the height of hypocrisy when the big game developers claim the used game market damage them while they simultaneously pay their CEO's and board members multi-million dollar salaries along with performance bonuses, incentives and stock options.

David Serrano
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@Sean Francis-Lyon - When people work with something for a long period of time, they often lose their perspective on the big picture. Then when problems appear, they can't see them or they can't correctly diagnose them. Because they've become so hyper-focused on some issues and completely oblivious to others. So with all due respect, you my friend have clearly lost your perspective along with your grip on reality!

Think about what you said, "At first glance it may look like the publishers have all the power, but they don't". Um... yes, they would! You're trying to make a rational argument that people should surrender their legal rights to their personal property and give it to corporations. So they can earn even higher profits on top of the billions they already earn?

To quote Allister from Dragon Age "Really? Wow... I mean... wow".

Joshua McDonald
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I'm going to give a couple other hypotheticals that often apply to me when I'm looking into purchasing a game:

Situation 1:

I'm looking at a game that I've heard good things about. As a picky gamer myself, I don't like risking $60 on a game. However, I know that I can buy it for $60 and if I don't like it, I can sell it on ebay for $50, so I'm only going to lose about $10 if it's a bad purchase. I buy the game:

Sales that developer gets a portion of: $60

Situation 2:

I'm looking at a PC game that I've heard forces steamworks integration or such and thus, prevents resale. If I spend $60 and don't like it, I'm out the full amount. Not willing to risk that much money, I decide not to buy:

Sales that developer gets a portion of: $0

There's a lot more to the used game issue than simple lost money for the developer.

Sean Francis-Lyon
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@David Serrano: I am not saying that anyone should surrender any rights. The right to resell under the doctrine of First Sale, applies to goods that you have purchased not some one else's property that you are paying for the right to use. The question here is weather or not (and in what context) someone has the right to charge money for the use of their property without giving up ownership of that property.

As for who has the power, could you explain how the group with the money has less power than the group with the easily replaceable luxury good? If you don't buy their games they will quickly cease to exist.

@Joshua McDonald: Short answer: Demos and reviews. Long answer: The situation you give is one where everyone is better off and if gamers only sold their used games to other gamers that would remove 90% of the problem I have with used sales. The crux of the problem is not that the developer gets less money, but that money is removed from the system. Most gamers are limited by money, and if each game cost less would buy more games. So long as the savings goes to gamers all is well, but most used sales go through an intermediary like GameStop, that keeps the lion's share of the 'savings' for themselves.