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Ubisoft is on a secret mission to assassinate their customers' wallets with used game fees.  (Source: Ubisoft)
And retailer Gamestop is perfectly fine with it; they say they don't care if customers are charged more

One hot current debate in the video game industry is the topic of used games.  While this may seem surprising as used game sales -- both private and commercial – have been around for years, video game makers are now turning on the time honored practice, looking to make some extra money.  Some developers have said used games are worse than piracy.

Electronic Arts unveiled a controversial plan earlier this month to lock players out of online content in used games unless they paid a $10 fee.  Now Ubisoft CFO Alain Martinez CEO comments, "Regarding ... monetizing used games or downloadable content … most of the games that we will release next year will have downloadable content available from the start.  We are looking very carefully at what is being done by EA regarding what we call the '$10 solution,' and we will probably follow that line at sometime in the future."

With Ubisoft, publisher of the best-selling 
Assasin's Creed and Splinter Cell franchises on board, many think the industry could shift as a whole to charging users anywhere from $5-$20 extra on used titles, on top of the $10-$40 they already pay for the game itself.  Publishers are also looking to use a transition to digital downloads to make customers less able to sell titles in the first place.

Some customers are circumventing these restrictions by creating one time accounts on services such as Valve's Steam and selling them to effectively sell the game.  This technique is less effective on consoles like the Xbox 360, though, where month billing is attached to your account.

GameStop's Paul Raines praised EA and Ubisoft's decision to charge customers more.  He states, "We support the creation of added downloadable content for popular franchises, as we see that as extending the life of titles and broadening the base of game players.  We do not anticipate an impact to our used margins due to this program. The amount of used game buyers currently playing online is low, and as it grows, our proprietary models will manage trade and sale pricing to reach margin goals."

He adds, "Lastly, we believe that the online pass process will allow publishers to better leverage their IP content through DLC sales to both used players and new game buyers."

GameStop owns IP related to an online billing and content delivery system for used titles.  The company posted record sales in the first quarter of 2010.

While game companies have vowed to utilize the new used game markups to provide "extra content" to the customer, they have provided no hint to what that content might be or if it even exists at all.

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By iFX on 5/21/2010 9:44:34 AM , Rating: 5
So I have a game and I sell it to someone else, a private transaction. Ubisoft, an unrelated third party feels that although it has no interest in this transaction it deserves an additional $10 just because. Sounds a lot like government sales tax.

Hey Ubisoft - shove it. You have lost a customer.

RE: Heh...
By leuNam on 5/21/2010 9:57:29 AM , Rating: 2
it's all about the money... and they say "it's for the environment! You do not need to dispose things you don't's much greener earth" - green $$

RE: Heh...
By Mitch101 on 5/21/2010 10:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
They are reducing the value or used games and GameStop is happy with this? Does GameStop expect to sell more new games because of this?

How many users will return a used game they purchased because they didnt, arent expecting, or werent told about the back end fee when they try to activate it?

The only way to send a clear message to the game companies is dont buy them. They will run off and blame piracy but just wait until the game is $10.00 on steam or one of the 48 hour deals on GoGamer.

RE: Heh...
By quiksilvr on 5/21/2010 11:05:47 AM , Rating: 3
It's pretty obvious that GameStop is getting paid under the table to approve this. They are one of the biggest game stores in the country.

RE: Heh...
By raumkrieger on 5/21/2010 1:02:03 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think the payoff is under the table at all. Gamestop has really sold out and it's sad.

But that doesn't shock me. The "Preorder now at Gamestop to unlock xyz" proved that neither game developers nor Gamestop actually care about their customers, they just want to become filthy rich while continuing to produce substandard content.

They pull crap like this and then they complain about pirates...

RE: Heh...
By Taft12 on 5/21/2010 1:36:12 PM , Rating: 3
The only "payoff" is the delay of a transition to online-only purchases. That will be the end of Gamestop (and make no mistake, that day is coming) so of course they will support any move that doesn't completely cut them out of the equation.

They have no choice but to be the lapdog of the content industry.

RE: Heh...
By naris on 5/21/2010 11:08:27 AM , Rating: 3
GameStop knows that the Publishers are going to do something about used games. They are happy that the "solution" is a fee and not doing something to shut down used sales completely, which would put GameStop out of business...

RE: Heh...
By MrBlastman on 5/21/2010 11:24:00 AM , Rating: 5
Perhaps they should be a little wary of a fee like this after all--both Gamestop and the Publishers...

I have a lot of games that I have bought over the years, too numerous to count actually. Many of those games I haven't even beat yet, as generally one or two multiplayer games dominate my time (Team Fortress 2, StarCraft etc.). If they start forcing ever increasing methods of fees and DRM on us, what am I going to do?

Play all those older games I have sitting around, that is what. Oh wait... I paid for those years ago, that means no more revenue going into their pockets.

What are they going to do about that?

Suffer. I have enough games to play for years and with all the user-made content on older PC games (mods etc.,) I can literally go years playing new content on these older games that in many instances, bring these games up to modern spec... for free.

Piss of your customers and you piss your revenue down the drain.

RE: Heh...
By bodar on 5/21/2010 8:25:34 PM , Rating: 2
I'm with you. My back catalog is pretty steep, and I don't even buy that many games -- usually just the Steam Specials. I just have less time than I used to.

RE: Heh...
By erikejw on 5/22/2010 7:28:17 AM , Rating: 2
"Oh wait... I paid for those years ago, that means no more revenue going into their pockets.

What are they going to do about that? "

Time expiration?
You do not own the game, you have bought a license to use it for 1 year and then booom, it will selfdestruct.
You better not try to use it after one year, then your console or pc might get bricked due to your refusal to comply with our terms.

Our solution to your problem is then to buy new hardware.

It wouldn't surprise me if we end up there one day.

RE: Heh...
By Chocobollz on 5/22/2010 2:48:29 PM , Rating: 2
Time expiration? You do not own the game, you have bought a license to use it for 1 year and then booom, it will selfdestruct. You better not try to use it after one year, then your console or pc might get bricked due to your refusal to comply with our terms.
Our solution to your problem is then to buy new hardware.
It wouldn't surprise me if we end up there one day.

No no. If that's the case then he wouldn't have bought it in the first place. And if that's our future, I'll just play the good ol' ping-pong with my friend! :D

RE: Heh...
By Zoomer on 5/25/2010 12:30:30 AM , Rating: 2
Step 1. Set the date back in BIOS.
Step 2. Play Game
Step 3. ???
Step 4. Profit!

RE: Heh...
By The Raven on 5/21/2010 11:34:54 AM , Rating: 2
Good point.

This will invariably reduce the number of games out there and simultaniously reduce the amount of crap we have to wade through to find a great game. It will be more quality and less quantity.

RE: Heh...
By geddarkstorm on 5/21/2010 1:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
Somehow... I doubt that. But it is a beautiful dream.

RE: Heh...
By sp33dklz on 5/21/2010 7:40:55 PM , Rating: 3
I'm done... seriously.

I will not buy Ubisoft, I will not buy EA, and I will not buy from Gamestop. I will purchase games through Steam from now on and if something comes up that is worth playing, I'll buy it from a different store.

I swear, they make playing games more complicated than it's worth...

I buy a 360. In order to play online, I need to set up an xbox live account. In order to use this account with the correct package to play online, I now need pay for this account. I purchase a used game from EA / Ubi, and now I must set up another account and pay $10.00 just to play the game on my 360 that I'm already paying a monthly fee for.

No wonder they're doing shitty... People are already too broke to buy games with the economy in a mess, lets charge more and screw it up a bit.


RE: Heh...
By MozeeToby on 5/21/2010 10:03:20 AM , Rating: 3
They lost me for PC titles when they started requiring a constant internet connection to play single player games. I pay for a high speed, always on internet connection but that doesn't stop the neighbor from turning on his microwave and destroying my wireless signal.

RE: Heh...
By Mr Perfect on 5/21/2010 6:42:25 PM , Rating: 2
Good point. They've already pissed the PC buyers off with their DRM, I guess they had to after the console players too.

RE: Heh...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 5/23/2010 7:05:19 PM , Rating: 2
Unfortunately, they have you ANY TIME you need to download something to make the game function. ANY DRM is evil. If they mess up your download, I doubt they are on the hook to refund your cash. Buyer Beware.

RE: Heh...
By mmntech on 5/21/2010 10:03:06 AM , Rating: 4
Ubisoft lost me as a customer after the Assassin's Creed 2 DRM Hunter scandal.

It's not right to be charging people extra. As a friend of mine put it, them saying used games are killing their business is like GM saying used cars bankrupted them.

I'm seriously considering just stopping gaming all together with all the BS legitimate customers like me have to deal with. Not worth it IMO.

RE: Heh...
By Golgatha on 5/21/2010 10:25:26 AM , Rating: 3
Although I'm not defending this BS from EA and Ubisoft, I would just like to point out the analogy would be more fitting if it was used car dealerships selling new cars at used car prices. It's not like the bits of data on a disc are going to become used and break down completely over time.

I seriously think this issue of including codes and such should be challenged at the Supreme Court level. This is a blatant disregard for the First Sale Doctrine and it stomps all over the consumer's right to resell a copyrighted work, a right which we as consumers have enjoyed since 1976.

RE: Heh...
By naris on 5/21/10, Rating: -1
RE: Heh...
By Jaybus on 5/21/2010 12:24:09 PM , Rating: 5
You are mistaken. US copyrights, trademarks, and patents were established by Article 1,Section 8 of the US Constitution, giving federal courts jurisdiction over copyright law. Federal law 17 USC 109 codifies "first sale doctrine", and basically says that the owner of a legal copy is entitled to sell or otherwise dispose of that copy without the consent of the copyright holder. A case based on 17 USC 109 would begin in a US District Court, which after appeals could indeed be heard by the US Supreme Court.

RE: Heh...
By zmatt on 5/21/2010 12:50:21 PM , Rating: 2
owned! I look forward to the big game trust being put in their place. Not only do they sell a non essential commodity, but one that quickly becomes obsolete at that and loses it's value. if they want to make more money how about stop making bad games and make ones that I want to buy. It's been awhile since I have bought a new title actually.

RE: Heh...
By Thelookingglass on 5/21/2010 1:32:54 PM , Rating: 2
Read the whole thing. There are special exceptions for computer programs. AKA video games.

RE: Heh...
By iFX on 5/21/2010 1:33:56 PM , Rating: 2

RE: Heh...
By NullSubroutine on 5/22/2010 2:11:32 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong, Timothy S. Vernor v. Autodesk Inc

RE: Heh...
By afkrotch on 5/24/2010 12:54:38 AM , Rating: 2
They aren't stopping you from selling or disposing of the copy. They are simply making the game not play online, but it can still play offline. From a legal standpoint, my guess would be that EA and Ubisoft would be in the clear.

They are simply charging the next owners the right to use EA or Ubisoft's resources to play online. While the original owners already paid that price in the original MSRP.

I still think it's a stupid idea. I'm already shying away from Ubisoft with their persistent internet connection crap and EA seems to be wanting to move to that too.

RE: Heh...
By JediJeb on 5/21/2010 11:37:58 AM , Rating: 5
Although I'm not defending this BS from EA and Ubisoft, I would just like to point out the analogy would be more fitting if it was used car dealerships selling new cars at used car prices. It's not like the bits of data on a disc are going to become used and break down completely over tim

But that would be like saying that Win95 is just as good now as it was back in 1996. Just because the bits of data don't degrade does not mean that the software they make up does not depreciate with age. Would you even pay the same price now for WinXP as for Win7? Or even the same price for WinVista as Win7?

RE: Heh...
By chagrinnin on 5/21/2010 2:06:04 PM , Rating: 5
FOR SALE: Windows Millennium Edition, Grandmother's computer; Played Solitaire every other Sunday; Must sell; Like new! $139.99! :p

RE: Heh...
By theArchMichael on 5/21/2010 3:16:46 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed... almost all products experience a devaluation after they've been released because it is assumed that newer products released thereafter are more advanced, updated... and therefore better... unless your the lucky owner of a shelby mustang of course :-)
But for a video game I think especially with the crap they put out nowadays they should be grateful to get $10.00 on steam a year later. Its almost a novelty item since some of the games just take advantage of more updated and prettier graphics.

RE: Heh...
By fic2 on 5/21/2010 12:46:18 PM , Rating: 3
The analogy is more fitting with new and used books. I buy used books all the time. Also one of the reasons that I won't get a kindle since AFAIK they don't allow you to sell a used e-book to someone or even give it to someone.

RE: Heh...
By Aikouka on 5/21/2010 1:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
Golgatha, I don't like what EA and Ubisoft are planning as much as the next guy, but the problem with your statement on it possibly infringing upon our right to sell the product is that... well, it doesn't.

You are still selling the original product that you paid for, but the extra code has already been used. This is no different than when you buy a new game that comes with some shiny extra (like the Golden Guns with Red Dead Redemption) and you use this. When you sell the game, this extra cannot be sold with it, because you have already redeemed the code.

So in other words, the original game is still being sold as-is, but as per the usual, you are unable to transfer DLC with the game license/medium. Unfortunately now, the DLC in question is something we almost expect to come with a game.

Also, we cannot forget that technically EA and Ubisoft own the game servers (we definitely know EA does with their recent closing of old game servers). I haven't exactly gone and read any of EA's ToS/EULAs lately, but I'm fairly certain that there's nothing in them that state that you will get online play by default nor that they must provide you with it.

I think one negative aspect that has been overlooked in regard to using the online component as DLC... DLC DRM mechanics. In the case of the XBOX 360, the DLC is locked via two methods: the registering user and the console it is registered on. To actally use the DLC, you must match at least one of those credentials. If you bring the game to your friend's house, you must log in on your XBL account to play multiplayer. If you switch to another 360 in your own home, you must ensure that you use the correct account.

Some users may never run into an issue with DLC DRM mechanics (and I'm not sure what the PS3 does), but there are some people that may simply be screwed over by this.

RE: Heh...
By Thelookingglass on 5/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Heh...
By iFX on 5/21/2010 1:44:40 PM , Rating: 3
Uhhh, no.

DRM is a huge PITA especially for PC users. I don't pirate games, but I would like to be able to install the game more than a handful of times before I max out my installs. Lots of gamers are changing their hardware OFTEN and reload their OS OFTEN.

I also hate having to have an Internet connection for some games OR have some satellite/content manager open to play games (like Steam - it sucks ass).

As for stopping gaming? Uhhh, you betcha I'll stop buying games with ridiculous DRM.

RE: Heh...
By derricker on 5/22/2010 6:29:52 PM , Rating: 3
If you are a legitamate customer there's hardly anything you have to deal with.

No, on the contrary, as a legit user I have to deal with all the crap they care to throw in my face.

Now if you want to make illegal copies, illegally share it, illegally sell it, buy it in a way that get around paying the company for their property or anything else that breaks copyright and intellectual property laws then yea you will run into some problems.

daaaaa!!! wrong again!!! it's so much easier to use an illegal copy of whatever media you can think of.

There's a large difference between a car and an intellectual property.

Some would like to make the rest of the world believe so, the fact is, there is none.

When "legitimate" customers complain about things only pirates deal with then I can't help but laugh.

Well, when you care to crawl from under the rock you have been living for the past 20 years or so, maybe you will notices that legit user complain because pirates don't have to deal with a single thing.

And you're not going to stop gaming. Stop being melodramatic.

No, he won't, companies will, stop being so melodramatic.

RE: Heh...
By Omega215D on 5/21/2010 5:05:38 PM , Rating: 2
I wanted to pick up the new Splinter Cell having been a fan since the first one but I decided against it once I saw the new restriction: "A Permanent Internet Connection Is Required"

So basically if my internet ever goes down for whatever reason I will not be able to play the single player campaign until my connection gets back up. Ubisoft is being a prick in this one.

RE: Heh...
By jonmcc33 on 5/21/2010 10:29:20 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I tend to throw my used games away if I no longer play them. An example is the Aliens vs Predator (PC) game that came out recently. Nobody plays it online, the games doesn't support dedicated servers. So I just gave up on it and threw it away.

RE: Heh...
By TSS on 5/21/10, Rating: 0
RE: Heh...
By iFX on 5/21/2010 11:10:49 AM , Rating: 3
Actually you do in fact own the license and said license is fully transferable under the law unless specified at the time of purchase.

RE: Heh...
By HotFoot on 5/21/2010 11:18:38 AM , Rating: 2
Even if it is specified otherwise at the time of purchase, such specification is not lawful.

RE: Heh...
By iFX on 5/21/2010 12:09:35 PM , Rating: 2
It depends wholly on the licensing agreement and the intended use of said copy.

RE: Heh...
By HotFoot on 5/21/2010 11:17:39 AM , Rating: 5
First-sale says otherwise, as have the courts, so far. Legal president is that you have the right to sell used copyrighted works. The EULA may include a term contrary to this, but such a term has not stood up in a court of law.

Copyright says you may not copy and distribute. You can always re-sell a legal copy you own.

RE: Heh...
By tmouse on 5/24/2010 8:53:21 AM , Rating: 2
Your right although Timothy S. Vernor v. Autodesk Inc is a better example (I believe it's still in appeals though).In Bobbs-Merrill Co. v. Straus it was a book so the issues of license versus sales do not apply. Now even under Vernor these companies could remove the ability for online play. The "rights" as it were would only apply to the first holder and just as EA could not stop the sale the new owner has no rights to make EA honor online play, they would have to deal with the first owner who can do nothing. The key is the courts deciding the absence of a use or yearly fee and the ability to keep the program in perpetuity constitutes a sale which is perfectly reasonable. I think most software manufactures will move to a yearly fee or a use fee with the software being on their servers or on a cloud distribution. This would clearly be a license and not open to first sale provisions. Personally I like owning my software but I fear that will be going the way of the dinosaurs.

RE: Heh...
By room200 on 5/21/2010 12:36:15 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this the "Free Market" at work that so many on this board champion so often?

RE: Heh...
By Steve1981 on 5/21/2010 12:49:03 PM , Rating: 5
Yup, and this is the free market's response:

Hey Ubisoft - shove it. You have lost a customer.

Works for me.

RE: Heh...
By room200 on 5/21/2010 1:16:45 PM , Rating: 2
Then why are some of the same people talking about laws, constitution, all the other things they're complaining about?

RE: Heh...
By Steve1981 on 5/21/2010 1:28:00 PM , Rating: 2
Presumably because Ubisoft's plan may be against US law.

RE: Heh...
By bug77 on 5/21/2010 1:23:20 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong from the very beginning. You do nit have a game. You have licensed the right to use the game, on Ubisoft's terms.

You see, that's the big scam these days: while you have games, music and video "stores", you can't actually buy anything from them. You may only license stuff.

RE: Heh...
By gorehound on 5/21/2010 4:50:14 PM , Rating: 2
I will never purchase a game that makes you pay extra money as in downloading content and paying additonal money as in what this post is about.
P2P is what i will do for the few games i actually play in a year.this behavior is wrong.if i buy a used game i play it not pay more.

RE: Heh...
By Hiawa23 on 5/21/2010 5:54:12 PM , Rating: 2
Thank the housing crisis for this. The economy is bad, gamers are looking for more deals, buying used games more, & devs want their cut as they are scrounging for every nickel now, whereas in previous years when the economy was better used games sales really wasn't that big of an issue as they are now. I buy most of my games from Gamefly, I guess I understand where the devs are coming from, as their profits are down, & many are just trying to keep the doors open, so this is not an issue with me, but it seems this may backfire. Saw it coming.

RE: Heh...
By trumpeter001 on 5/21/2010 10:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't this the same thing as an automotive manufacturer saying,” Wait a minute, you can’t resell that car unless you give us $1000.” Well guess what, I bought the game, short of copying it and redistributing copies, I can do whatever I want to with it.

We’ll see if this even flies. I have a feeling there will be legal battle over this one.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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