Pulse Cannon (10.04.05)

Recently Best Buy announced that they will soon be accepting trade ins and selling used games, very much in the same way that EB and Gamestop have been doing. I for one can see nothing but bad things coming from this decision, if they choose to pursue it on a large scale.

At the moment it’s just a few stores, a pilot project really. It has come about thanks to the very company’s that are going to suffer from Best Buy pursuing this strategy. They being the soon to be one company EB/Gamestop. These two companies have shifted their sales almost entirely to used games as much as possible. They’ve done it because they make far more money off of used game sales than they would from new game sales. And when someone starts making money, other companys want in on the action.

So, anyway, here’s why I think it’s probably bad for us. The competition for customers for the used titles will force the prices of those to go down. Which would normally be good, but thats only if you look short term. More people buying used mean games that should be millon sellers wont make nearly that much. That will force developers to reconsider their business model, and if they decide its not worth the money, bang, no more game industry. This competition will also eventually drag the other big box stores into the fight, and eventually EB and Gamestop will learn how the tiny independent stores felt when they decided to get in on that piece of the pie. This could eventually drive them out of the business altogether, or at best being bought out by someone else trying to get in on the market. Imagine going into your local Wal-Mart and heading not to the electronics section, but the Wal-Mart Electronics Boutique.

At least one developer has mentioned that this is causing them to wonder why on earth they are even bothering to make games any more, as they don’t seem to be allowed to make any money. The developer is David Jaffe, and in a recent post on his blog he vented, to put it mildly, about the decision.

“You know what?

Why the f*ck should we even try anymore?

Used games being sold pretty much everywhere now….rental services making it possible to keep a game for 30 days by only paying 10 bucks….

…and the game industry just sitting back and going: excuse me, but did you say you wanted to f*ck us up our ass or in our mouth? We were not sure and wanted to make sure you had the best possible orifice in which to stick your cock.

I’m just saying…

…and to all those whiny bitches who are like: waaa! waaaaa! A game has to be 40-60 hours before I pay 50 bucks for it….to them I say: FUCK YOU. 8-15 hours of play for 50 bucks is a good f*cking deal compared to other forms of entertainment and yet we can’t seem to change people’s minds…and then shit like this BEST BUY thing happens….

…tell you what, you can’t blame the consumer. If was buying a game and I could rent if for 5-8 bucks or buy it used and pay less, why the FUCK would I ever buy a new game? I sure as shit would not…

…ah well, it was fun while it lasted :)

see ya’ll!

Gloom and Doom David :)”

So thats the developer’s take on things, or at least one developer. There are some obvious solutions. One approach could be the Japanese route, which bans all reselling of games. That would require some serious changes to the laws though, and i doubt many people would go for it. Another solution would see games downloaded via the net like Half-Life 2 was, among others. This isn’t the most elegant of solutions right now either, as it would limit what you can do and even how many games you owned. Of course that could be avoided if the next round of consoles included dvd writing capabilities, but that wouldn’t fly either, I’m sure..

So whats the best solution? Well, we should probably boycott Best Buy’s pilot program. Not because Best Buy is some evil company. Instead, it’s just so the program fails. If the program fails, no worries. It won’t happen, because people think we should boycott Wal-Mart too, but they are the biggest for a reason, and it’s not their high prices. Instead we’re likely to run into a new distribution model for game developers. One where they get a cut of the pie for every game sold, new or used. It’s either that or every game you buy will be downloaded and companys like EB won’t have a say in the matter.