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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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RE: Heh...
By TSS on 5/21/2010 11:04:52 AM , Rating: 0
Actually, you can only sell the medium since you only bought the medium. Since you license the stuff thats on the medium and then procede to sell that licence, of course ubisoft is entitled to a cut if they do not want the licences sold of the product they own. Afterall, your not buying the software, your buying the right to use said software. Copyright, yknow.

Who are the pirates now, i wonder....

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.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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