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Are game developers and publishers entitled to used games profits?


Used games...they are everywhere. Everyone wants a piece.

Let's say you have a copy of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 in your possession. You bought the game, played it, and are now done with it. You place the game on Craig's List, eBay, or any other means of selling your already played copy. Next thing you know, you sold the game and got a fraction of your money back.

Does Activision have a right to a portion of the money you claimed in selling their game? You collected funds for their product to someone who didn't have the game before you sold it. So how about you owe them?

For months and months now, gamers, publishers, and everyone in between have been ragging on establishments like Gamestop, a business that thrives on the used games market. Publishers and game developers have been trying new ways in getting consumers to cease their purchases of used games, doing all they can to push the sales to new copies.

Is it wrong that publishers want consumers to buy new games?

Absolutely not, but they have to realize that once they sell the copies to Best Buy, Gamestop, Wal-Mart, Target, etc--that is are not entitled to any more royalties from the selling of the game at a secondhand shop. Once you collect your money from said businesses, you got your money. So why would these publishers want to harp used game stores? Simply, it is greed. Gamestop's profits continue to grow and much of it comes from their used games side of things.

Who wouldn't want a piece of that pie? But the only person that is entitled to that profit is the company who resold the game, rather it be Gamestop, Mom and Pop's Used Games, and so forth.

Are Harper Collins and Random House tearing down Half-Price Books' front door asking for royalties on their books so they can get paid and give more money to the authors?

How about Ford Motor Company? Are they scouring the land at every used car dealership with their hands outstretched for a piece of the profit on that 2004 Ford Focus they recently sold?

I am sure you heard about Warner Brothers looking at Blockbuster Video, wanting profit sharing on those used dvds they That's because it didn't happen.

So what makes the video gaming industry different?

What can game publishers do to profit on their new games?

Games like Gears of War 2, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age: Origins, etc came new with codes to download extra content if you bought it new....and this is a good thing. Give the consumer more incentive to buy it new and to buy it when it first comes out. This will maximize their profits with more orders from places like Gamestop, Best Buy, etc to buy more copies when the game first comes out. Make the free code a timed exclusive deal and if the consumer doesn't buy the game in the first 90 days or so, take the code out. You have to express a limited window....a limited time offer. This drives some people to get it before the free content is gone.

Game developers and publishers have to do all they can to make the best game possible and make the packaged game the best deal they can. Give it all you got.....that, or you might have to raise your prices if you are that greedy. This way, when you sell it to the stores, you get more money per new copy.  Raised prices, however, might steer your customers away.

True that digital downloads for new games is starting to take off with things like Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN, but we are not a the point where we are ready to abandon the disc formatting of games quite yet. If publishers are so concerned about killing off the used games market, just give it time and they will mostly go away. Hey, then you have won that battle.

But until then, the used games market is here and people are playing your games, rather it be new or used. Just be glad someone spent their hard-earned money to buy your game by whatever means they could find it.

Game devs and pubs: You are only entitled to the first round of profits from your new game. As for the used games, you cannot touch it. Stop being so greedy and enjoy the releases of your products. I know some of them are.


  • Tim Baker - Orlando Writing Examiner 5 years ago

    I understand the concept - but I think they make enough money selling it the first time.

    As far as I'm concerned - once I've paid for it I can sell it, destroy it or use it as an ash tray if I so desire.

  • Chris Bowsman 5 years ago

    This is one of those silly issues where common sense says one thing, but the fine print says another. When the average consumer buys a video game, he thinks he's buying a circular piece of plastic. What the print on the back of the case says is that he's actually buying a license to use that piece of plastic under certain very stringent conditions.

    I get what the law is, and understand it, but like all things, I'm going to err on the side of common sense. If I buy a CD, I'm damn well gonna do what I want with it. I have an iPod Touch, but Apple doesn't want me transferring things via USB without iTunes. I don't like that, so I jailbroke it.

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