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Today used game trade-in kiosks maker e-Play announced that they have suspended operations, and consequently will be shutting down all of its kiosks at Best Buy and Walmart locations. Some of you may remember, way back in May, when e-Play announced that it will be testing these kiosks at various Walmart and Best Buy locations around the U.S..

Upon investigation of the e-Play website, all I found was the statement, “e-Play, LLC has suspended operations. Thank you to all our customers. For more information call 1-866-602-6014.”

While this news may not be the most shocking or exciting, I still feel that it’s very important. Much to the chagrin of videogame developers and publishers, used game sales make up a huge amount of videogame transactions. The sad thing is, when someone buys a used game, almost all of the money goes to the retailer, leaving those who actually produce the games out to dry.

Recently, in an attempt to increase non-used game sales, many publishers have been including “free” DLC with the purchase of a new copy of a game. Major titles including Mass Effect 2, The Saboteur, and Dragon Age: Origins have all utilized this method.

As you (probably) can already tell I’m against buying used games. I feel that this practice blatantly exploits game developers, allowing retailers to control 100% of the profits. Instead of feeding the GameStop machine (sorry GameStop, nothing personal but you’ve become the poster child for used game sales), I try to use game trading websites like Goozex. At least this way retailers are not able to exploit both the consumer and the producer.

Enough of my self-righteous rant. What do you guys think? Are used games really that big of an issue for the videogames industry, or am I blowing it completely out of proportion?

Source: Shacknews.com

  1. I feel as though you’re completely right regarding this issue. I’m not very up on the number of sales and whatnot, but those who get the money should be those who develop and produce the game. Those who sell used games aren’t putting nearly as much work in, they’re exploiting the hard work of the original creator for profit.

    All games I buy are new, and they would be even if used games weren’t such a problem. However, as far as this issue goes, I’m proud to say that I support buying new games, rather than settling for used.

  2. I buy new games when they are available, but most of my old school collection requires me to purchased used items. I try to do as many person to person transactions as physically possible to achieve my used game needs. I feel that I’m at least helping out a fellow gamer by doing that. Amazon, Craigslist, Ebay, etc. are great ways to do this.

    I’ve purchased used games for this generation of consoles simply because I cannot always find a new copy. I still try to maintain the p2p transaction goal though. I agree that it’s not a good thing for developers (used game sales) but sometimes I just don’t really see any other way.

  3. Such a shame: competition is nothing but good for us consumers.

  4. @Chris

    Yes, I agree with you there for sure. It’s kind of difficult to have any type of competition when you have the monopoly structure in place.

  5. As someone who makes art, I’d want people to pay for it if they can; but on the other hand, I think if someone wants it bad enough, I want them to have it, too. I think it’s crazy that this is such a huge deal in the gaming industry. I may be ignorant on the subject, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the music industry taking severely drastic measures to halt used album sales. In fact, there are stores I’ve seen which exists specifically to sell used Albums and games:

    http://www.newtosandiego.com/Music-Trader/

    I dunno. I just think it sounds unreasonable. Game developers are already making enough money, so I think it’s a little crazy when I hear things like the developers of Gears of War are considering taking countermeasures to punish people for buying their games used – which would include Goozex. As ‘hippie’ as it might sound, they should be happy that people enjoy their game enough to buy it, especially if they’re already making crazy amounts of money anyways.

  6. I don’t know. If I can get the exact same product whether used or new for half the price, I’m going with the cheaper one. The whole economic exchange between developer and retailer is between those two.

    I know not every game is a multi-million dollar smash hit, but when it comes to games like Mass Effect 2, it’s a bit undermining what the developers do to ensure they get a piece of the used game profit.

    There are ways to get their games out to consumers at compromising prices that don’t screw the consumer.

  7. @Jamie

    The RIAA is too busy trying to stop piracy to worry about used music sales. Either way, the consumer (or pirate) is going to be the one in the end who makes the final decision by their purchase (download) of any content. If gaming companies start punishing people for purchasing used, and everyone stops buying their products because of it, they will change. It’s the foundation of capitalism.

  8. @Curtis

    Does Gamestop not have the right to send back unsold products to the manufacturer if they don’t sell? I was always under the impression that they did. If their deals are not structured in that way, then I really don’t see a problem with buying used at all as a retail chain has already met the sales goals for a particular game before the consumers even enter into the picture. However, I kind of feel like that’s not how it works.

  9. @Darko

    I suppose you’re right, but that begs the question: why are game development companies more concerned with people buying used games than they are with game piracy?

  10. @ Jamie

    Because piracy of video games has yet to significantly affect video game producers as much as used video game sales have. Sure, piracy has had a negative impact on any number of companies’ bottom line, but I highly doubt it’s anything even close to the amount of revenues hypothetically lost due to used game sales.

    Gamestop reported $507,000,000 in used video game products in their latest 10-Q (quarterly statement as of 10/31/09). Even if $200 million of that was due to used hardware sales, that means that the company sold approximately 7,675,000 used games at an average price of $40/unit (which is probably a high price estimate). If those games were sold by a manufacturer for $60 a piece, that would total $460,500,000 of revenues going back into the producing industry. If 1 million pirated copies have been downloaded in the same amount of time, that’s only $60,000,000 lost (13% of what is being lost to used sales). Sure, it’s significant, but not nearly as much as the cash flow deficit due to the used game market.

  11. I think the question of why aren’t they as concerned with piracy is slightly missing the fiascos you see with DRM, they are seeing it as a concern, but it is a very tricky issue to countermeasure without draconian laws.

    “especially if they are making crazy amounts of money” Erm, this year alone has seen massive “restructuring” which is loosely translated as “lots of people losing their jobs” in Sony, Rebellion and Namco to name a few and wage cuts in others. A myriad of slumps, dips and falls. Not to mention some revealing of the inner workings of what drastic (and possible labour law breaking) measures some studios are going through to stay competitive. So with all that going on, it’s a little crass to see the games industry as Scrooge McDuck swimming in money, whilst high street retailers get to make money for no other reason than “we have shelves”.

  12. This is why I will forever support digital distribution like Steam. Sure, Valve gets a cut of the profits here and people will bash them for that, but when you purchase a game on Steam, its yours. You can’t trade it, and you can’t ask for a refund.

    With the sales that have been going on over the past six months, there’s no reason NOT to use a digital distribution platform, if you’re a PC gamer. Sadly, there’s no way to do this for console gamers.. yet.

  13. I think game traders need to continue to exist, just to provide consumers with a choice. If digital distribution takes over and we stop seeing games packaged in boxes, then whenever one purchases a game for themselves they won’t actually own it like they used to. Once I buy a game I should have the option to do what I want with that game as it is now my own property, and that includes the ability to sell the game off to someone else if I so wish.

  14. @Ashley

    Digital games are fine unless you’re a collector. No box + No Physical Disk = No Go.

  15. The days of the game collector are numbered!

  16. avatar Marr

    You know that most of the industry’s customer base has a limited budget, right? They take played out games back to the store, trade them in for credit and drop that straight back into new games. Preventing this wouldn’t increase the amount of money spent, just reduce the overall number of games purchased. Bad for customers, bad for smaller developers, great for Football Manager, The Sims, file sharing networks, music, movies and fast food. Why would anyone other than an EA shareholder support this?

    The publisher’s sense of entitlement here is pathetic. How would you feel if any other industry claimed fraud because you treated the car, book, toaster or beer they sold you as your own goddamn property?

  17. avatar Holden

    The E-Play kiosks were JUNK!!!!

    • avatar Bilal

      Just search on the direeffnt factors that affect the heart rate, and blood pressure.Much of it is due to adrenaline. When you are stimulated with a video game, it sends signals to your brain to speed up your heart and increase your blood pressure so your brain gets more blood and you become more alert for your game. Consider video games to be an emergency you have to be alert for. Fight or flight. It’s the body’s basic instinct for survival.I’m just trying to explain it in simpler terms so you know what you’re looking for. You can get a much better explanation if you know what to search for online. Sure heart attacks can be a part of it. As the heart is stressed out by a precipitating event, (getting mad, emotional) it can suffer a heart attack too. You can pretty much make up a whole lot of things if you just search risk factors for heart disease. If you’re creative, you can link obesity, videogames and heart problems together. I can go on but I’m sure you already got the picture. More pros: You can also do videogames as a sort of therapeutic pain regimen, as an effective diversion for chronic or acute pain management. It’s a totally direeffnt topic. But I find this one quite interesting because not a lot of people are aware of this. If you want more input, my husband is doing this as part of his therapy.As a con, videogamers are apt to be lazy. They will not cook or care about their hygiene and settle for cup of noodles to stay alive. Relationships also tend to suffer as they become addicted to the videogame of choice and let everything else (job, health, family) fall apart. Think of it as an addiction, much like any substance such as alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

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