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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: I don't get it.
By sviola on 5/21/2010 4:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
If they want more money... why don't they just charge more for the new games?

Because people won't buy it. Not only they won't be able to afford games at the 120 price tag you mention, but I don't think people perceive the value of games to want to pay that amount (also, on a 199 arcade version of xbox, the game would be priced at 60% of the system value)

Simply put, I want the entertainment industry to just be honest with us and charge what they think is fair. If they really need more money; then charge us for it. Someone out there will buy COD7 for $120 (hell, they sell the limited editions for that much now) and I'll gladly pick it up for $60 used. If you want to play the volume game, don't cry about it with these idiotic tactics. Just be honest with us. Hell, I'll buy COD7 for $120 if I need too. But don't expect me to pay $60 for 3 new maps and 2 old maps that I already own.

Well, I'm not sure they'll be able to push $120 games. I for one never buy $60 games, I wait for them to lower the pricing (and nowadays, I only buy games on steam - usually on sale or games that are cheaper than $30). And probably, most of the people won't be able to spend that amount in games (someone that can only buys 1 $60 game in a month would need 2 months to buy the same game if it costs 120, which means that they sales would take twice as long to happen, therefore impacting their revenue and profits)

And furthermore why does it basically cost the same price for a CD as a DVD. '4 guys making noise in a garage' vs. 'Peter Jackson flying to Austrailia and gettting top talent to make one of the most expensive epics ever.' And the movie lasts maybe 4x the CD to boot.

Well, don't know how often you see LOR (or any other movie you own), but mine is sitting on the shelf for a couple of years now. But my Master of Puppets (Metallica album if you don't know what it is), I bought back in the 80's (and replaced for a cd sometime in the 90's) still makes its way to my sound system once in a while (at least once a month). Music usually has a much higher replay value than movies (unless the album is crappy - yeah, I'm looking at you Load).

RE: I don't get it.
By The Raven on 5/24/2010 12:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Point #1
Well then why don't they drop the price even more for a while and then have them complain that they can't raise the price of a game to 60$ because no one will buy it. They are paying that much now. It is only the perception of the public that would make a $120 game unattractive. And that perception has been developed by the gaming industry that has put out more and more crappy games as we go on. So for every game that you lay down $60 for that is good, there is a $60 game that is crap. Look at 2 games that my bro bought for me. Operation Flashpoint and MW2. OF:DR is actually a good game that was half baked. But nevertheless, my bro bought it because of the features and past experience with the franchise. But because of the glitchiness with it (which really doesn't go well with a game where the maps take a long time to complete!) we stopped playing it after 2-3 months.

Now MW2 is a more polished game (despite the bugs) and is a superior product in the opinion of most (though the popularity may be self-fulfilling).

We have enjoyed playing it since it came out and I don't see an end to its appeal any time soon. This is despite the fact that I feel that it is a glorified version of Halo (which I also enjoy).

But anyway, my point is that both games were $60. We only enjoyed one of them. So basically we paid $120 for MW2. My point is that people do this with out even realizing it and that game industry should just shoot straight with us.

It is like when restarants give you double sized portions, but charge you a higher price for it, and people say, "oh its fine because we take the leftovers home so it is like getting 2 meals for the price of one". Fail! They just sold you 2 meals. They are not increasing portion sizes to fatten up and kill their customers. They want to make $$$ off of the volume. And the game companies are doing the same.

RE: Point #2
I also avoid buying games new for the most part. is great for older titles BTW. But this is exactly where you can see where the money should be going. Gears of War 2 (used) is going for half that of a used copy of MW2 on So MW2 is more valueable and has a higher price. I am just saying that the same should apply for new games as well (though it kind of does when you see things quickly go on sale). But these companies know when they make a crap game and they still put it out there and advertise it like there is nothing wrong with it. Why aren't there more people putting out $20 games like 2K did with the NHL/MLB/NFL/NBA 2K5 games? Because I guarantee you that there is less going into the dev of those sports games, than there is going into MW2. And the price should reflect that. And they sold a buttload of those 2K5 games.

RE: Point #3
Music usually has a much higher replay value than movies

Yes this might be true. But I have watched Tommy Boy, Airplane, and Spaceballs more times than any CD. lol
But, music also needs less of your time and attention. You can listen to music while you work on your PC, but you can't watch a movie while you do that. So music should be cheaper based on that, a la terestrial radio.

But my point is not about how much we get out of it. It is about how much was put into the making of it. It doesn't make sense, right? Personally, I would start writing my own music before I bought a CD that was $15 (depending on content of course, but generally speaking here). Plus I can get awesome music from ages ago instead. Like your Metallica example. One day they will be dead or stop putting out albums (with new material, that is). Will you still be buying their CDs then? I imagine that you own digital copies of their music which won't need to be replaced. So will they go hungry now because you already bought the music and have no need to buy any more? Maybe. So maybe they will have to go and get real jobs like the rest of us instead of living in the fantasyland that the RIAA has created. Well not if they are dead, but you see what I'm saying, right?

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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