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Author Topic: Looks like Used Games are going away next gen  (Read 858 times)
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tcweidner
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« on: January 03, 2013, 08:12:00 PM »

As many have predicted, including myself, the next gen of consoles looks to make used game sales a thing of the past.

Sony patent application

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20130007892.pdf
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2013, 08:41:44 PM »

I only wonder whether Microsoft will pull the rug out from under Sony by allowing used games for the next XBox just so they can steal a ton of market share from the Playstation. Going into the next gen race with the only system that doesn't allow used games could be catastrophic. Not only would they be pissing off consumers, but retailers as well, who might choose to not stock the system.
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TiLT
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2013, 09:20:13 PM »

You guys aren't seeing the forest for all the trees here. Retail sales are going to be a thing of the past soon, and with that goes used sales too. I'm not sure what Microsoft is planning, but Sony has been pushing their digital-only agenda for a while now. They offer most (all?) retail games at day 0 in the PSN store, every single Vita game ever can be purchased at a discount online (in Norway the retail stores simply can't beat the PSN prices without taking a loss), and PS Plus means a different approach to game ownership that everyone seems to approve.

Sony is most likely going to slowly try and get rid of retail sales in the next generation, instead funneling their customers over to PS Plus and the game streaming solution that is very likely to be a core part of the PS4. Sony wants retail purchases to look unappealing compared to their digital counterparts. Used sales aren't a big issue because there won't be any used games to sell.

If Microsoft doesn't embrace digital in the same way, they'll quickly start to look like a dinosaur in the coming generation of consoles.

Having said all that, there's nothing indicating that Sony will actually use the technology outlined in the article above. Sony has patented similar technologies before (in 2005, I believe) without ever using them.
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 09:32:55 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on January 03, 2013, 09:20:13 PM

Sony is most likely going to slowly try and get rid of retail sales in the next generation,

Which would be a catastrophically idiotic move (thus making perfect sense for Sony) because then there would be zero justification for selling downloadable games at traditional retail prices. Just look at the price environment on iOS.
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farley2k
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 09:34:54 PM »

True.  On the other hand look at the pricing for ebooks.  Often just as much as their paper counterparts and ebook readers were the hot time this holiday season.

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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2013, 09:37:44 PM »

Quote from: Misguided on January 03, 2013, 09:32:55 PM

Quote from: TiLT on January 03, 2013, 09:20:13 PM

Sony is most likely going to slowly try and get rid of retail sales in the next generation,

Which would be a catastrophically idiotic move (thus making perfect sense for Sony) because then there would be zero justification for selling downloadable games at traditional retail prices. Just look at the price environment on iOS.

And why should they? Their income from digital sales is dramatically higher than from retail sales. They can go quite low in prices before retail starts looking attractive again. Not to mention that the increase in digital sales will compensate for any reduction in price.

I don't believe for a second that AAA games will go down in price in the coming generation by the way, digital sales or not. iOS is not a good comparison. Not in the slightest.
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2013, 12:47:31 AM »

Quote from: TiLT on January 03, 2013, 09:37:44 PM

And why should they? Their income from digital sales is dramatically higher than from retail sales. They can go quite low in prices before retail starts looking attractive again. Not to mention that the increase in digital sales will compensate for any reduction in price.

I don't believe for a second that AAA games will go down in price in the coming generation by the way, digital sales or not. iOS is not a good comparison. Not in the slightest.

Yes, they make more from digital sales. I worry about the long term impact on the console environment. I think prices will have to drop. Right now, people can buy downloads as a convenience, but what happens when that is the only option and they don't have retail stores to use as an excuse for not having lower digital prices?

Here's the thing: it's a slippery slope. Once prices start to drop, where do they stop at? You think iOS isn't a good comparison, and you're right, but not for the reason I suspect you think. It's a bad comparison because the user base for the PS4 will be much, much smaller than the install base for iOS.

And if prices don't drop, you have a different problem. If users can't trade their purchases back in, they are in-effect paying more per title (because they can't recoup part of the investment to put toward the next thing). Now, what Sony COULD do is have digital trade-ins (I think Amazon does this?), which would be very interesting.

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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2013, 12:50:38 AM »

Quote from: farley2k on January 03, 2013, 09:34:54 PM

True.  On the other hand look at the pricing for ebooks.  Often just as much as their paper counterparts and ebook readers were the hot time this holiday season.



Yup, thanks at least in part to collusion on the part of Apple and the major publishing houses. Don't mistake me, I firmly believe keeping those prices up is a good thing. We've already lost one of the largest publishing houses in the last year. I don't want to lose them all.
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2013, 01:15:51 AM »

I would imagine that all retail games will get simultaneous digital releases on the next XBox and PS4, but retail, disc-based games are not going away, at least not in this next generation.  They're just too large a part of the market to disappear that quickly.

I just hope that Microsoft and Sony put nice big hard drives in their next consoles.  Sony screwed up big time with the ridiculously expensive Vita memory cards.  I'm sure they make a nice profit on the cards, but they're also driving people away from digital releases and back to physical copies.  That was a very stupid, shortsighted move that I hope they don't repeat with the PS4.
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« Reply #9 on: January 04, 2013, 09:27:16 AM »

I've always been of the perspective that the used games market is stealing from the developers and publishers. I dont want to open a can of worms, that is just my opinion. When I briefly worked at a GameStop back in the day, I always felt bad at how many times we churned those used copies of various games, especially when you are instructed to drive customers to the used games.

IMHO, used game shops should pass on a portion of those profits to the developer. every time I see a person sell Call of Duty X to GameStop for $25 credit, and then 30 seconds later the Gamestop is selling it used for a paltry $5 discount below full retail, it bothers me.
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« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2013, 01:34:54 PM »

The price should be lower. You dont actually own anything this way. You own a license which can be revoked if you read the jargon.  The reason Ios  games work is PRICE 99 cents 1.99.. if the game license were revoked you would not care. At 59.99 I care a lot.

My game time is precious I often have small time increments to play IE: I have one free hour before I have to go do something else. I have multiple 360's around the house so I can play where I want so I save all my game saves to the cloud. During the holiday the cloud went down for a full day. I could not play anything.

This is entirely unacceptable. This is a paid service. If you cannot play your game for the Durango/720 because the authentication server is down. You are going to be pissed.
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« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2013, 02:39:17 PM »

A digital only model will not work in the US at this point or anytime in the next 3 years. The reason is simple, there is a large percentage of the US population that don't have access to internet service that is fast enough to make the download option more appealing than the disc based option. Until high speed internet is widely available to most of the population this will not change.

Heck I still don't have a Netflix subscription because I have no way of streaming the service at a fast enough rate.

The one exception for me is Steam. I can put up with Downloading a 20 gig game at 120k per second when the game is 75% off.
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« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2013, 02:50:17 PM »

You guys aren't reading what I'm saying in the way I'm trying to say it. Sony (or MS for that matter) won't start the next generation by saying "retail games are dead!". They'll create a heavier emphasis on digital downloads, similar to what we've been seeing on the Vita, but probably also with the ability to stream games directly over the internet. They'll add small incentives, such as PS Plus, free DLC, sales and exclusives to entice people into moving gradually towards downloading all their games, but it won't be an instant thing. They'll also most likely start to make things less appealing for retail sales as an added incentive, such as making used sales impossible or at least impractical.

It may be hard to see right now for some, particularly those of you who live in areas with poor internet coverage, but retail sales are going away. Within the next 10 years they'll be gone for good. The transition will be gradual, not instant. Sony isn't stupid enough to force everyone to go digital, but they're smart enough to reward those who do.
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« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2013, 05:21:54 PM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on January 04, 2013, 09:27:16 AM

I've always been of the perspective that the used games market is stealing from the developers and publishers. I dont want to open a can of worms, that is just my opinion. When I briefly worked at a GameStop back in the day, I always felt bad at how many times we churned those used copies of various games, especially when you are instructed to drive customers to the used games.

IMHO, used game shops should pass on a portion of those profits to the developer. every time I see a person sell Call of Duty X to GameStop for $25 credit, and then 30 seconds later the Gamestop is selling it used for a paltry $5 discount below full retail, it bothers me.

I don't think it's stealing, but it is drastically changing their business model.  That's why we saw the online pass stuff and the emphasis on online gameplay as it was the way that publishers/developers thought of to recuperate their losses from the huge increase in used games.

Candidly I think the business is going to continue moving down the path it is now:
- I think TiLT is spot on in his thoughts on how DD is going to roll out, since it is a way for those publishers to get more margin on their sales.
- More large publishers are going to fail.
- Very, very few AAA titles and even fewer that anyone would consider a risk.
- Lots more of small independent games that will be DD only.

Unfortunately for the publishers it does not seem like the market can handle a higher price per unit, so they're going to have to sort this out another way.
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« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2013, 05:31:26 PM »

Quote from: gellar on January 04, 2013, 05:21:54 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on January 04, 2013, 09:27:16 AM

I've always been of the perspective that the used games market is stealing from the developers and publishers.

I don't think it's stealing, but it is drastically changing their business model.  That's why we saw the online pass stuff and the emphasis on online gameplay as it was the way that publishers/developers thought of to recuperate their losses from the huge increase in used games.

It always seems to get lost in these sorts of discussions that at one time GameStop/EB etc did all of their business selling new games. That changed because of shrinking margins for new product. If selling new product were still profitable the way it used to be, they would still be doing it the same way.

I have long maintained that the way to make this work is to focus on DLC. Let GameStop churn used copies over and over. If I, as a game developer/publisher, could capture a few dollars every time they do by selling add-ons (new content, online passes, etc) then everybody wins, customers included.

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« Reply #15 on: January 04, 2013, 05:40:37 PM »

I've been fine with Steam taking away my ability to sell my PC games because A) the service has worked so well for me, and B) there are so many good sales that I still feel like I'm getting my money's worth. Occasionally I do pay a full $50 or $60 for a Steam game, but that wouldn't be the case if it weren't for A & B.

If Sony can give me A & B, I might be on board.
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« Reply #16 on: January 04, 2013, 05:58:13 PM »

Quote from: Scraper on January 04, 2013, 02:39:17 PM

A digital only model will not work in the US at this point or anytime in the next 3 years. The reason is simple, there is a large percentage of the US population that don't have access to internet service that is fast enough to make the download option more appealing than the disc based option. Until high speed internet is widely available to most of the population this will not change.

Heck I still don't have a Netflix subscription because I have no way of streaming the service at a fast enough rate.

The one exception for me is Steam. I can put up with Downloading a 20 gig game at 120k per second when the game is 75% off.

Try the next 10-20 or more years.  Until something happens to cause the major cable and phone companies to go nationwide with fiber, we're going to have 'below-average' broadband compared to much of the rest of the developed world.   Hell, they're trying to talk people into usage-based billing, which is all kinds of backwards (considering Australia, the bastion of this, is slowly transitioning AWAY from it).  The companies aren't willing to spend to develop their networks other than in dribs and drabs (DOCSIS 3.0 came out over six years ago, and still isn't available in a large percentage of the country).  Wall Street (investors) applies enormous pressure to keep profit margins high and costs (investments in actually upgrading equipment and networks) low.  It's a very short-sighted view, and they're certainly not interested in changing it.  Nor, apparently, is the government. 

C'mon, Google.  Scare the crap out of everyone to push us all forward!
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« Reply #17 on: January 04, 2013, 06:01:33 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on January 04, 2013, 05:40:37 PM

I've been fine with Steam taking away my ability to sell my PC games because A) the service has worked so well for me, and B) there are so many good sales that I still feel like I'm getting my money's worth. Occasionally I do pay a full $50 or $60 for a Steam game, but that wouldn't be the case if it weren't for A & B.

If Sony can give me A & B, I might be on board.

I'd love Steam (and Sony/MS) to give me the ability to sell my digital licenses to someone else.  There's even a way to do it so that the 'publisher' and developer get paid.  Let's say I have Assassin's Creed 3.  It's still $50+ online, so I want to sell my Steam license for $25.  I sell it, which removes the game from my Steam library (removing the license) and the new person gets it.   Take a percentage off the top (say 20-25%) with a portion going to Steam and a portion going to the publisher/developer. 

Sure, they gripe because they're not getting $60 per game 'sold', but that's ignoring the fact that people are generally cheap, and want things as cheaply as possible (one of the reasons for piracy, of course). 

I don't see this ever happening, but it would be a glorious day.
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« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2013, 06:45:16 PM »

Zarkon, why would they ever want to do something like that? Excuse me for saying so, but Valve would be outright stupid if they went with a solution like that. They're already dealing with the cheap market segment by having incredible sales, and they get more money for that than they'd get with your idea.

Used sales for retail at least means you get a used product, with everything that entails, risks and all. Transfer a digital license and the new owner gets a product that is exactly equal to a new one, no sacrifices made. Valve, Sony, MS, Nintendo and everyone else with business acumen out there know that if they allowed such transfers to take place, there'd end up being groups of people arranging to swap games between each other with regular intervals, resulting in the publishers ending up with a fraction of the income while all the customers, lousy as they may be, end up with a perfect product.

It's not going to happen. Ever. There's not the slightest chance they'll even consider it.
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« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2013, 07:26:24 PM »

Quote from: Dante Rising on January 04, 2013, 09:27:16 AM

I've always been of the perspective that the used games market is stealing from the developers and publishers. I dont want to open a can of worms, that is just my opinion. When I briefly worked at a GameStop back in the day, I always felt bad at how many times we churned those used copies of various games, especially when you are instructed to drive customers to the used games.

IMHO, used game shops should pass on a portion of those profits to the developer. every time I see a person sell Call of Duty X to GameStop for $25 credit, and then 30 seconds later the Gamestop is selling it used for a paltry $5 discount below full retail, it bothers me.

Not to derail this thread but do you also believe that about cars?  Houses? Books? etc?  If buying a used car isn't stealing from Ford could you explain why it is different than software?

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« Reply #20 on: January 04, 2013, 08:40:17 PM »

Quote from: farley2k on January 04, 2013, 07:26:24 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on January 04, 2013, 09:27:16 AM

I've always been of the perspective that the used games market is stealing from the developers and publishers. I dont want to open a can of worms, that is just my opinion. When I briefly worked at a GameStop back in the day, I always felt bad at how many times we churned those used copies of various games, especially when you are instructed to drive customers to the used games.

IMHO, used game shops should pass on a portion of those profits to the developer. every time I see a person sell Call of Duty X to GameStop for $25 credit, and then 30 seconds later the Gamestop is selling it used for a paltry $5 discount below full retail, it bothers me.

Not to derail this thread but do you also believe that about cars?  Houses? Books? etc?  If buying a used car isn't stealing from Ford could you explain why it is different than software?

I would recommend that nobody answers this question or the thread will get permanently derailed. This particular discussion has no winners, only losers. Let's stick to the subject. smile
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« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2013, 08:44:14 PM »

I doubt a lot of people trade in or sells a car or a house after using it for a week.

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« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2013, 09:20:07 PM »

Quote from: CeeKay on January 04, 2013, 08:44:14 PM

I doubt a lot of people trade in or sells a car or a house after using it for a week.

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« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2013, 09:28:17 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on January 04, 2013, 08:40:17 PM

Quote from: farley2k on January 04, 2013, 07:26:24 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on January 04, 2013, 09:27:16 AM

I've always been of the perspective that the used games market is stealing from the developers and publishers. I dont want to open a can of worms, that is just my opinion. When I briefly worked at a GameStop back in the day, I always felt bad at how many times we churned those used copies of various games, especially when you are instructed to drive customers to the used games.

IMHO, used game shops should pass on a portion of those profits to the developer. every time I see a person sell Call of Duty X to GameStop for $25 credit, and then 30 seconds later the Gamestop is selling it used for a paltry $5 discount below full retail, it bothers me.

Not to derail this thread but do you also believe that about cars?  Houses? Books? etc?  If buying a used car isn't stealing from Ford could you explain why it is different than software?

I would recommend that nobody answers this question or the thread will get permanently derailed. This particular discussion has no winners, only losers. Let's stick to the subject. smile

You are probably right but if Dante wants to make it a new topic I would be interested in trying to understand his viewpoint but your right probably not good for this thread.

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« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2013, 10:03:22 PM »

Quote from: TiLT on January 04, 2013, 06:45:16 PM

Zarkon, why would they ever want to do something like that? Excuse me for saying so, but Valve would be outright stupid if they went with a solution like that. They're already dealing with the cheap market segment by having incredible sales, and they get more money for that than they'd get with your idea.

Used sales for retail at least means you get a used product, with everything that entails, risks and all. Transfer a digital license and the new owner gets a product that is exactly equal to a new one, no sacrifices made. Valve, Sony, MS, Nintendo and everyone else with business acumen out there know that if they allowed such transfers to take place, there'd end up being groups of people arranging to swap games between each other with regular intervals, resulting in the publishers ending up with a fraction of the income while all the customers, lousy as they may be, end up with a perfect product.

It's not going to happen. Ever. There's not the slightest chance they'll even consider it.

Green Man Gaming does it.  I'm not saying Steam or Sony are going to jump at the chance to join in, but it is at least possible.
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« Reply #25 on: January 04, 2013, 10:05:47 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on January 04, 2013, 10:03:22 PM

Quote from: TiLT on January 04, 2013, 06:45:16 PM

Zarkon, why would they ever want to do something like that? Excuse me for saying so, but Valve would be outright stupid if they went with a solution like that. They're already dealing with the cheap market segment by having incredible sales, and they get more money for that than they'd get with your idea.

Used sales for retail at least means you get a used product, with everything that entails, risks and all. Transfer a digital license and the new owner gets a product that is exactly equal to a new one, no sacrifices made. Valve, Sony, MS, Nintendo and everyone else with business acumen out there know that if they allowed such transfers to take place, there'd end up being groups of people arranging to swap games between each other with regular intervals, resulting in the publishers ending up with a fraction of the income while all the customers, lousy as they may be, end up with a perfect product.

It's not going to happen. Ever. There's not the slightest chance they'll even consider it.

Green Man Gaming does it.  I'm not saying Steam or Sony are going to jump at the chance to join in, but it is at least possible.

Green Man Gaming is a very minor actor in the market. They need to pull off stunts like that to keep customers interested. This is not something the major actors (Steam, Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo) need to consider, and they won't.
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« Reply #26 on: January 04, 2013, 10:14:10 PM »

Right, I'm not disagreeing.  By "it's possible," I just meant that a company is doing it, not that I think Steam/Sony/etc. are ready to join in.  Just wasn't sure if you'd heard of them.
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