I find it quite humerous that a lot of gamers who are quick to defend piracy and blame publishers for not keeping up with the times, are the often the same ones who cry when publishers use technology to make more money. These same gamers who scream “adapt” to the publishers say “Why change it?” when it benefits them, as is the case with the second hand games market for console games. Just a quick aside, PC gaming doesn’t have this problem since Steam is the main digital distribution platform, and most PC games have some kind of digital tie-in system anyway. So on one hand you have publishers not keeping up with the times (the argument pro-piracy and pro cheaper digital distribution) but when publishers do keep up with the times (single player and multiplayer codes for second hand games) a lot of guys have a hissy fit.
Usually when it comes to these matters, you’ll find me siding with the consumer. But you know what, I’m going to side with the game developers (mostly) and publishers (to a far lesser degree) when it comes to the second hand games market. A lot of retailers are making a killing off trading in games (you only need to go look at the shelves of these stores and see how many second hand games they have). This money never makes it’s way to the publisher, which in turn never makes it to the game developer. Most game developers need large amounts of money, and for most of them, game publishers are the only way to get the funding they need to make new and exciting games.
Yes, in the past a lot of people bought second hand games if they couldn’t afford the game brand new. But if you don’t want to pay full price, here’s a ground breaking idea.
Wait? What? I want it now!
I understand that while it can be frustrating waiting for a game you’ve been dying to play but don’t have the money to buy. This means you can either pirate it (yes, you can pirate games on console), or try and pick it up second hand, which may not be an option for much longer.
However, there is a third option.
Most really good console games are released on their respective system’s budget range at half the price. I will admit that some games take many years before they see a decent discount (most Activision-Blizzard games), but many others (thumbs up to EA on this) often hit bargain prices six months after their release (considering my backlog I’m usually quite happy to wait). I’m not sure how things are elsewhere in the world, but in South Africa I earn roughly R6000 ($780 per month at current exchange rates). After I’ve paid for rent, internet, food and various other minor costs, I usually end up with about R2000-R2500 ($263 to $330) of spending money each month. A brand new console game costs about R500-R600 ($65 to $79) here. So basically, if I want a brand new game I have to decide between going out on the weekend, or buying a game.
Or if you’re lucky enough to have a rich friend, you can abuse this as a fourth option and go play games at his house.