Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

April 16, 2013 -

In a recent interview with Destructoid, Bethesda Softworks marketing vice president Pete Hines told the publication that used game sales are "absolutely" a concern for his company but that they have handled it by lessening the financial impact through lots and lots of DLC for its various games including Fallout 3 and the last few games in the Elder scrolls series. The reasoning behind this is that users who are buying DLC for their games don't tend to sell their game discs at GameStop...

"Absolutely it's a concern," Hines said. "We have tried to mitigate it by creating games that offer replayability, by supporting them with DLC that's worth hanging onto the game for, or offering tools that let them take things further."

Hines added that Bethesda does not have all the answers when it comes to dealing with used games, and that finding a solution that works for retailers, publishers, developers and consumers might be hard to come by.

"There's no doubt that being a videogamer is expensive. Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make, and people are looking for ways to keep it affordable," Hines said. "I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves."

Source: GameSpot


Comments

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

"Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make..."

So no two games should be priced the same because of different budgets and sale projections?

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

Considering that used games have already been sold once and the company already got their money for it, I'd say Bethesda has no right to complain they aren't getting a cut of used game sales.  I can buy a used car, a used book, a used computer, and the manufacturers never see a dime of that, why are games special?

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

Cars, books, and computers all lose value to time, and wear & tear.  But a used game is functionally identical to a new one.

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

Movies, cds, games,  books, etc. All have clearly defined first sale rights for the purchaser of them defined in copyright law. That has been one of the limits of copyright for well over 100 years. It was an unwritten limit for a long time before that. The lack of wear and tear does not negate that limit.

So far the only thing US courts have let stand as something that prevents the first sale from applying is a license rather than sale model. However, there is disagreement on that matter internationally, much like many other aspects of copyright law.

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

Woah, woah, woah...  The question he asked isn't "Why should the first sale doctrine not apply to games?"  It was "Why are games special?"  And the fact that a used copy is just as good as a new one is why.

Within the launch window, there is a glut of newly-used games pumped into the market by GameStop (and others, but mostly GameStop), and this has a definite negative impact on the sales the publisher could otherwise have made.  You don't see that so much with new books, cars, or computers.  It's pretty unique to games, it certainly harms the publishers' business, and I think they do at least have a right to complain about it.  That's all I'm saying.  I don't think banning used sales is fair or reasonable (or possible), but I don't fault publishers for trying to think of other ways to offset those losses.  Getting a slice of the pie from GameStop actually seems pretty fair to me, since they're the ones raking in money hand over fist at the expense of the people who actually produce the content.

But anyway, tl;dr: your rebuttal is misapplied.  I didn't make the argument you are rebutting.

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

No, emphatically no. The argument that used games are different from any other used good is completely false. It doesn't matter that the game doesn't degrade in value (though the disc does). What matters, according to the mainline argument, is that when someone buys used, they are depriving the OEM a sale.  That's no different from any other goods. If you're buying used, you're not buying new and that means the OEM isn't getting any revenue from it. All other considerations are irrelevant. If Ford complained that used car sales are costing them revenue on new car sales, they wouldn't be any less invalid than game publishers. They don't deserve to demand a cut of the secondary market anymore than game publishers do of Gamestop.

If the games industry wants to get more new games sales, they're going to have to make buying new worth the price in spite of a used market, not break games when they get resold. That doesn't mean on disc DLC that used buyers have to pay extra for when the person who bought new got it for free nor does that mean stripping out features like multiplayer. Ripping out things that came with the game originally is not how you win over customers.

Edit: Or they might want to start their own used games market and compete with Gamestop.

-Greevar

"Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

"It was "Why are games special?"  And the fact that a used copy is just as good as a new one is why."

A used book is just as good as a new one. A used movie is just as good as a new one. A used cd is just as good as a new one. Yet, for some reason those industries don't spend days upon weeks complaining about their used industries.

Also, games do depreciate in value, if not become damaged as well. Just try to sell your copy of Madden 2003 to Gamestop and see how much you will get compared to Madden 2013. Or perhaps Call of Duty Modern Warfare compared to Call of Duty Modern Warfare 17 or whatever we are on right now. The older a game gets, the less it sells for on the used market just like any other user good. Barring collectors' items such as Earthbound and other such games.

"Within the launch window, there is a glut of newly-used games pumped into the market by GameStop (and others, but mostly GameStop), and this has a definite negative impact on the sales the publisher could otherwise have made."

It is the business models of game publishers that have lead to this behavior. Book, movie and music industries spent years building the idea within their fans that owning their media long term was better for the consumer. That you will want to read that book again, watch that movie again, listen to that album again. However, the games industry has spent years instilling the idea that a single play through of a game was all you needed and that as soon as you are done with one game, you should go out and buy another. That is where Gamestop's business model comes in and fulfills what the games industry has taught their players.

"Getting a slice of the pie from GameStop actually seems pretty fair to me, since they're the ones raking in money hand over fist at the expense of the people who actually produce the content."

That would be nice, but it is not required and will never be required. I seem to remember some site pop up claiming it wanted to do just that, but it seems to have gone nowhere. 

However, I would like to raise one concern on that, THQ. It just went under. Along with hundreds of other developers and publishers. While many of the more popular games went to new publishers and the chain of copyright ownership would be pretty easy to follow, but many games have been neglected and it would be extremely difficult if not impossible to find the copyright owner. Who will make sure that the money goes to the right place?  

"
But anyway, tl;dr: your rebuttal is misapplied.  I didn't make the argument you are rebutting."

My rebuttal may not have applied directly, however, you answered for why "games are different" and I responded with why they were the same as other media. Mine may have been a more legal answer than your more emotional answer, but it was on the same page.

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

"I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves."

First Sale Doctrine, bro. Suck it up. 

Glad I never buy anything from Bethesda. Not even used.

- Physical media forever!

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

I'm willing to cut Behesda a little slack on this, since, as they say in the article, they take the effort to provide added value for those who keep the game, through DLC (a carrot - with the added bonus that if you still get money from used game sales for those who get the DLC - and they'll get the DLC), as opposed to using the stick approach and crippling the game for those who buy the game used.

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

Yeah, business models need to revolve around consumer rights.  It's possible that something will need to change to acknowledge First Sale, but frankly, with the introduction of things like steam and the wide spread of piracy, the idea that I install a game and then sell the disc 'used' is dead.

 

Same should go for returning opened games.

Re: Bethesda: Used Game Sales 'Absolutely' a Concern

I don't know I thought he was pretty reasonable, unlike some of the other industry insiders who have commented, he did not (to my knowledge) compare it to piracy or call people who buy used game thieves. Unlike say EA, they haven't resorted to such attacks or annoying always online DRM etc. I'd rather they push DLC as an interm solution than locked down versions of their games that get it in the way of playing them.

They are a business so it's not surprising that they would be at least a little concerned with people being able to buy cheaper used versions of their game not long after launch.

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Poll

How do you usually divide up your Humble Bundle payments?:
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician