Soren Johnson, Spore and Civ 4 designer, has trashed the notion that the used games market is an evil monster out to get developers.
In his blog essay, The Case for Used Games, he argues it's very important actually to help keep "price-sensitive" gamers away from piracy. Digital copies "need to cost less" than boxed retail too.
"Many factors come into play when a consumer decides if a specific game purchase is worth the money, and one of those factors is the perceived value from selling it back as a used game," explains Johnson in his .
"In other words, people will pay more for a new game because they know they can get some of that money back when they trade it in at the local Gamestop. Importantly, this perceived value exists whether the consumer actually sells the game or keeps it."
Personally I always feel a little dirty having bought a pre-owned, I don't know why but a nice crisp copy always sooths the gaming soul more for me.
"Of course, the greatest threat to the used games market comes from digital distribution. Games purchased over Steam, Impulse, PSN, or Xbox Live are tied to personal accounts, which means they cannot be resold," he continued.
Digital distribution is becoming increasingly more popular, well for PC gamers anyway as console owners don't have much in the way of choice as its retail or nothing. The problem then is that publishers keep their boxed product mentality switched on and the price remains high, even higher than retail copies sometimes.
"Games purchased digitally need to cost less than their boxed, retail counterparts. A digital version of Civ 4 currently cost $29.99 on Steam, yet the boxed version costs only $24.25 at Amazon."
"Thus, with various volume or loss leader discounts, the retail version can often be cheaper than the digital one! Because the ability to resell my boxed copy of Civ 4 increases its value to me as a consumer, digital distribution has limited appeal unless publishers are willing to give me an appropriate discount to make up for that difference in value," says the designer.
Clickto read Soren Johnson's 'The Case for Used Games' article piece.
Used games aren't "ruining the industry", digital must "cost less"
20 November 2008 | By Simon Priest