I’ve been online for a very long time, and read some incredibly stupid things. This used games for the XBone discussion from Penny Arcade Report is damn near the top of my Apparently serious list of insane bullshit from an arguably sane source.
Now, to be clear, Penny Arcade is no stranger to favouring developers over logic or common sense, as I’ve discussed before but this new article on the Penny Arcade Report (by Ben Kuchera) sets a new standard. He says that a total block on used games would be good for gamers.
In that first link I said That’s so wrongheaded I have a hard time being coherent with my reply. I’m not having an easier time of it this time. Everything I said the first time applies this time as well, but there are some new issues that are not, you know, sane.
There’s still some confusion about how exactly this will work (<bVork> at this point MS has been so inconsistent with their drm description that I’m not even convinced that they’ve figured it out yet) but I am compelled to address what PAR thinks will happen: “…you’ll be able to “sell” your used games, but no one except Microsoft will buy able to buy them. Microsoft becomes the entity that controls the entirety of the transaction…”
Because that can’t go wrong. <- sarcasm, yo. "This is good news for a few reasons. The first is that piracy will likely be reduced." I agree, because if fewer people buy the console, fewer people will pirate. It's possibly a byproduct of my demographic's waning interest, but a lot of people are swearing off consoles this time around, because of dumb shit like this. Never mind us, how happy will you be if Microsoft – who is your nemesis, don’t forget – forever controls the price you pay and receive for all games on your XBone? Can anyone point to a centrally controlled market that succeeded?
The next thing is that the used-game market all but disappears. GameStop may not be able to aggressively hawk used games for $5 less than the new price to customers under these new controls, which is great if you’re a developer or publisher. Once that secondary market is removed you can suddenly profit from every copy of your game sold, and as profit margins rise it’s possible we’ll see prices drop.
I’d really like to hear from anyone who can point to the creation of a monopoly that lowered prices. Removing used games removes competition, and that never, ever leads to lower prices. I’m just… It’s… I mean, is he trolling us!?
As a side effect of being able to simply borrow a friend’s disc and pay MS the full retail price to install it on your console so you both have a copy, PAR says “Also, the idea of artificial shortages will go away overnight.” What do you mean, artificial shortages!? As if somehow the idea of producing fewer physical discs, manuals and cases than the market demanded was intentional!? Maybe Nintendo skillfully releases just enough to whip up demand for rare things, but with the rest of the industry? You don’t get a second chance at launch day sales.
Removing the concept of buying a used game will lead to more sales for publishers, more control for Microsoft, but it could also lead to changes in how retail sells games, where the margins can be found in this business, and lower prices across the board.
More sales: wrong
More control: right
Changes: well DUH, change means change.
Lower prices: No, fuck no.
At the end of the article he says the only things that really make sense:
Of course, Sony also told us that we would be able to trade in our old PSP games for some kind of credit on the PSP Go, and then the company just kind of dropped the entire idea. At this stage in the game the situation is likely fluid, and could change at any time.
The possibilities are fascinating though, and potentially good for both gamers and publishers. I’m excited to see where all this goes.
tl;dr Things are changing; everything I like about this change worked against me last time; things could end up different than I think; these changes might be good.
Well, this was a total fucking waste of time.