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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 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
quote:
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!


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