Used Games - Frugal Spending Or Development Theft?
The ramblings that follow are just my opinion, not those of anyone like my employer (who I tend to leave out of my blogging.)
First, I'll admit that I had never given this issue much thought, and even thinking about it there are still two sides and I'm not 100% behind either.
On the developers' side, I can see their point. They invest money in developing a game, not a cheap endeavor, on the hopes of selling enough copies to make a profit. Used game retail undercuts that model. And while the buyers of used games may use "being on a budget" to justify buying used instead of new, if they are that hard up maybe they shouldn't be spending money on a video game. The same justification is leading to the death of brick-and-mortar specialty retailers in favor of mass online retailers.
There are a couple of ways to end a large chunk of used game retail. An online verification model or digital distribution model would eliminate the ability to use used games. The people that will howl the loudest are the ones that, as THQ put it, aren't their customers anyways. Of course the latter model will kick the legs out from under video game retail as a whole, a very big Eff You to the retailers who have been peddling these companies wares over the years.
If you know me, you'd think that this would be the end of it. I'm all about being willing to pay and extra buck to make sure the right people get the money. I buy my comics from the same comic book store for years even though it would be cheaper to get them online.
Here's the dilemma. If we endorse this sort of restrictions on this type of media, how long until it spreads like wildfire to other media formats? Will I no longer be able to take a blu-ray I bought to a friend's house? Will someone not be able to take music from home to work? While these may seem like a stretch, it's a slippery slope.
Regardless, developers are already introducing disincentives to buying used games and it's not like second-hand shoppers can vote with their dollars. Actually, their refusal to buy the games used would help the publishers' cause. If you have Gamestop stock, you might want to reconsider.