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Talking Point: Used Games and Durango - An Advocate

Posted by Jordan Marsden

Maybe It Wouldn't Be So Bad?

Following on from our previous talking point regarding the used games speculation, we thought we’d leave no stone unturned and revisit this argument from the other side. What do we as gamers stand to gain should this speculation prove to be accurate?

It seems like not a day goes by without some faint murmurings of another established game developer’s struggle to stay afloat. The THQ affair had been stretching on for months, maybe even years, before finally coming to a head in these last few weeks. For a company with some big name games in their arsenal (the WWE games and Saints Row to name a few) to see them collapse so spectacularly is sad for everyone involved in gaming. While there are far too many circumstances involved in the THQ case to pin their downfall entirely on any one factor, it’s safe to say that the profit devouring used games market is among the top culprits.

As an industry, video games are experiencing a golden age of content. Never before have games been as polished as Call of Duty, or as vast and grandiose as Skyrim. Indie games are also an incredible asset to the industry and provide us with some truly innovative experiences, but we need the gaming epics to sit alongside the more intimate affairs for the occasions when you simply want to lose yourself in another world for a couple of hours.

Therefore, taking a few bank notes out of the cash registers at GAME and putting them into the pockets of the people that actually create these experiences seems like an attractive proposition. Increased profits for the likes of Bethesda and Valve will allow them to create games that are even more accomplished than what we are already seeing, and the stream of AAA titles will flow more readily in spite of gaming’s deviation towards bite-size app store experiences. Sure, a few kids will have to save their pocket money for a few extra weeks, but gaming is an expensive hobby and that comes with the territory. Is it really a bad thing if they have to settle for some of the more inexpensive offerings in the Xbox Live Marketplace? Surely, that would be a plus for the smaller developers and gaming as a whole.

We're only just dipping our toe into the digital whirlpool, but 2012 saw one of the games of the year - The Walking Dead - receive a digital only initial release at a price that is a fraction of what you’d spend on a title like Halo 4 or Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The barrier to entry has never been lower, and should developers reap the financial rewards of such restrictions imposed by a video game Illuminati, then we would see a parity in pricing that would further lower the barrier to entry and ultimately make gaming more accessible in the long run.

It doesn’t take much foresight to realise we’re heading into an era where the focus on digital is going to increase at an alarming rate. Physical sales will dwindle just like they have done for both movies and music, storage space will become cheaper and - combined with new innovations in cloud computing - digital will quickly become the preferred distribution method for the majority of consumers. This will see the choice and quantity of used games naturally reducing regardless of any restrictions imposed by Microsoft and/or Sony, as there would be very little resale value in a SanDisk loaded with Bioware’s latest epic.

Regardless of any points for and against this argument, we’re still firmly of the belief that nothing will come of the speculation and the industry will continue as it always has done. With gaming rapidly heading towards an all digital future, the PR repercussions of hindering consumers would just not be worth the hassle for either Sony or Microsoft at this time, but with Sony’s announcement coming tomorrow, we certainly don’t have long to wait to find out what the future holds.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Be sure to let us know by venting in the comments below.

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User Comments (2)

davahsa

#1

davahsa said:

Good luck with this new site! I like how you make a counterpoint about your previous article....gives me reason to keep checking back. My thoughts? I DEF don't see used games being blocked. They could even charge you to unlock certain content and some probably will. The really important point that goes unsaid is that "if" we were to see a block on used games for the nextbox, than we should be able to trade or sell them within xbox live

jordanmarsden

#2

jordanmarsden said:

@davahsa I think a worthy solution would be to lose your 'rights' to a particular game in exchange for a percentage of the game's value in credit on the Xbox Live Marketplace, although I just don't see this happening. It would be like Apple offering you an exchange on iTunes purchases.

Digital is what it is... You gain convenience and an experience that is immediately accessible in exchange for of the privileges that physical media offers.

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