Reviewer Rodeo: Used Game Lockout

Reviewer Rodeo: Used Game Lockout

Welcome to the ZTGD Reviewer Rodeo. Each week, we’ll grab on to the hottest issue, hold on for dear life, and wrassle it to the ground.

So, this week I’d like to bring up the widely talked about topic of used games. Going beyond your personal preference toward (or against) used games, consider the big rumors about the next PlayStation and it’s locking out used games. What are your thoughts on this? What do you think would happen if this really came to pass? Are used games on their way out? What could this do to digital distribution?

Justin “KillerWolverine” Testa
Well, let me begin this by saying that this is still a rumor, and I hate speculating about rumors. Everyone is getting their panties in a bunch over this and, at this time, there is no reason to. Has there been an official announcement about this? No. Everyone needs to take a step back, breathe, and chill the **** out.

Land of the free (to buy used games).

If this were officially announced, what I believe will happen is, a whole lot of complaining and comments along the lines of, “what about GameStop?” True GameStop makes a lot of their money on used games and probably would take a good hit, but not one big enough to shut them down. That is not the only way they make a profit. Personally, I think it would be a really stupid idea to lock out used games. I don’t have a job, so I do not have the luxury to go out and buy new games when they come out. So, when I get some money, I tend to go and look at used games first. If there are none that interest me, I head to the new games.

I like to support both the sellers of used games and the publishers/developers (new games) when I can. I don’t always buy new, and I don’t always buy used; I dabble in both areas. And, that’s the thing to remember: we should always have a choice. If you want to buy used, great. If you only want to buy new, that’s your choice. If these rumors do come to pass, then I would imagine digital distribution would become even bigger with Sony. With the release of the Vita, we have already seen the amount of digital content grow. And, again this is my opinion, I do not think that Sony is losing a ton of money from people buying used. I will tell you this, if Sony decides to go this route and lock out used games, then I will no longer support them.

There is no reason behind removing a choice, and if they are that worried about losing money (or whatever the reason will be for locking out used games), then they will lose a customer. I will spend my hard earned money on companies that don’t take away liberties and my freedom of choice. I can sit here and threaten all day, but the current reality is we do not know Sony’s stance on this, or any kind of reason behind it. But I will be watching this closely to see if it does come to pass and, if it does, what Sony’s logic behind it will be.

Kelsey “rinelk” Renella
Though I own a 360 and play the occasional disc-based game, the large majority of games I buy are digitally distributed either through iOS, Steam, or XBLA. Since I’m so used to being out of the used game market, I don’t care about the measures anyone might take to exclude me from it. Furthermore, game-changing patches, DLC, in-app purchases, and HD remakes have become so ubiquitous that the idea of an authoritative edition of a game is already eroding. With it go our strongest emotions about the sorts of pre-order bonuses or feature lockouts for used games which are already in use to push us towards purchasing games new and at full price.

Gamestop's business would suffer greatly with no used games.

I doubt that the next generation will show us a one-size-fits-all, system-wide solution to the used game problem, partly because the available solutions are evolving so fast, and partly because anything truly draconian would alienate retailers, who are still hugely important in making a new console visible and desirable. I do expect Sony and/or Microsoft to give developers the tools to make it easy to implement at least some of the proven incentives for buying games new, and to update those tools over time.

Nick Fox
I definitely see where Sony is coming from with this move, but the execution is less than ideal. We all know the future of gaming is in 100% digital distribution: both the hardware and software companies are keen to this. In order to squash out used games, the focus should have primarily been set on getting their AAA titles sold in a hybrid physical/digital pair. The Metal Gears and Final Fantasies and Resident Evils of today should have been offered in a hybrid model – with both physical disc and digital copies available, with the digital copies offered at a reduced rate ($39.99 would be great). Once this model becomes fleshed out, the physical copies could be phased out. Then, the gamers wind up paying less for their games at the time of initial purchase, and used games become a memory. While $10-$20 off the normal $50-$60 game seems like a lot, it would all be made up in the used-game market coming on board, plus DLC updates after launch. Older games could then see an additional discount, or maybe a game-of-the-year addition, to give the sense of SALE!

I think having hardware ban a used game while physical game copies still exist is pretty lame on Sony’s part. By converting the distribution system to digital, you achieve the same ends without coming off as an ass.

Continue reading our thoughts on the used game lockout…
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