EA: Used Game Sales Represent 'Critical Situation'

Jens Uwe Intat has declared the sale of used games "a very critical situation."

Speaking to GamesIndustry, the Electronic Arts Europe VP denied that the current cottage industry for used games can be compared to the highly developed industries for second-hand cars or books.

"We are actually giving away the rights to play," said Intat, "and if you just pass it on, pass it on, pass it on, that is not comparable to second-hand sales in the normal physical goods area where you have physical wear-out."

On solutions, Intat was vague but optimistic. "We're not going to be overly confrontational [with retailers], we're going to solve it with better, more interesting and online offerings going forward."

Intat echoes other industry leaders in his concern that used game sales are potentially dangerous to publishers and developers, as sales of new games at retail generally make up the sole revenue stream for games. Meanwhile, game retailers like GameStop make significant portions of their earnings from the sale of used games.

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    August 28, 2008 4:04 PM

    stop telling what i can or cant do with my shit after i buy it.

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      August 28, 2008 4:09 PM

      That's not the entire issue. The problem is Gamespot pushing used game sales over new games at the same time and undercutting the new ones. Games don't degrade with time. A copy of Halo 3 that has been sold and resold 10 times is just as functional as an unwrapped version.

      If Gamespot just sold new games or just sold used ones this wouldn't be an issue, but they sell both.

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        August 28, 2008 6:22 PM


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        August 29, 2008 12:20 AM

        More than that, you can usually buy a used copy of the game within a day of launch and only the retailers see a penny of that. DVDs don't suffer from that issue anywhere near as much.

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      August 28, 2008 4:10 PM

      The VP in question specifically stated they're not going to be overly confrontational with retailers, they're going to try and add value through non-retail means.

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        August 28, 2008 4:16 PM

        so instead of fighting them, they're going to boycott them?

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          August 28, 2008 4:21 PM

          Yes, clearly that's what they're saying. What?

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            August 28, 2008 4:32 PM

            if it's non-retail, it's not going to be sold by Gamestop. Therefore, it would follow that these non-retail games would not be sold by Gamestop, right? Isn't that almost like a boycott?

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              August 29, 2008 12:43 PM

              they said they're adding value to the games [that gamestop are selling], with additions like.. look at burnout paradise's free updates and BFBC's conquest. they're talking about stuff like this, continued additions to a game Valve-style.

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          August 28, 2008 4:28 PM

          seriously, guys, read the damned article. it's not that long. she's saying they are looking into ways to incentivize users to NOT sell their games back. i.e. make games have a longer life so you want to keep them and not sell them back.

          that has nothing to do with laws or DRM or boycotts. it's a GOOD THING FOR YOU.

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            August 28, 2008 4:29 PM

            when you come out with a new version of the same sports game every year you really shouldn't be surprised when people sell their old games

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              August 28, 2008 4:38 PM

              i'm not sure what that has to do with the article or my comment. i'm not talking about whether selling or buying used games is evil. i'm saying that the EA person stated that they would try and get cool stuff into games that would help people want to keep their games. i'm sure that goes far beyond their sports division.

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            August 28, 2008 4:36 PM

            I'm sorry, I couldn't concentrate on that article due to the HUGE FLASHING TOWER AD on the right-hand side (until I shrunk my window).

            "What we're trying to do is build business models that are more and more online-supported with additional services and additional content that you get online. So people will see the value in not just getting that physical disc to play at home alone, but actually playing those games online and paying for them."

            So this means that games would come with 2 maps, and you'd have to buy the other 18 via downloadable content, which requires an online login, and perhaps a paid subscription. Sounds like they're drunk on the XBox Live kool-aid.

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              August 28, 2008 4:41 PM

              i think that's you assuming a whole lot of stuff. you seem to be saying that now developers will take content out of their games so they can sell it later. and that's a pretty gigantic leap to make. first, no one said anything about making games smaller so they can make more DLC. and also no one said anything about it all being paid DLC. in fact, they just said they'd have online support and more content.

              don't damn them before you actually see what they're going to do. you're just contorting this really simple and general statement into something you can hate. and it's weird, because the article says nothing about that.

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                August 28, 2008 4:49 PM

                I'm assuming that game developers will want to maximize their return on investment, at all costs, even at the cost of their own image. That's the upside of being a cynic: you're either proven correct, or pleasantly surprised.

                "More and more online-supported" says to me "tethered", i.e.: "you must be online to play this game". For single-player games, I don't want that. I don't want that for multiplayer games, beyond connecting to the actual server, and perhaps a master server to get the server list. But I'm a bit old-fashioned in this MMO and web-2.0 crazed world. Or maybe it's because of all those negative stories I've heard about Verant / Sony screwing up EverQuest, or about Valve's Steam authentication cluster not having physical redundancy ($20 says that they still don't have physical redundancy).

                I'll try to stay positive and/or quiet about the future, but I've seen it crushed and spat out so many times, that I'm starting to lose faith in the gaming industry's ability to understand its customers (instead of their wallets). Sometime, I'd like to have a comprehensive (but civil) discussion to an actual game developer on my fears for the gaming industry. An online forum isn't the proper medium for such a discussion, and it seems that no one wants to talk anyway (but if you do, shoot me a SM).

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                  August 28, 2008 4:55 PM

                  any time you want to talk, go for it. i engage in these dialogues all the time and they are actually really important, at least to my company. i whole heartedly disagree with the statement that developers want to maximize cost even at the cost of their own image, and i know from my own personal working experiences this is not true in the slightest. it may be for some companies, sure, and some instances, and even in some instances crap stuff happens, but i think there's a difference between being cynical and wary and having a ridiculous chip on your shoulder where you distort facts (like in this article) and go on random tangents and draw strange assumptions out of statements that have nothing to do with what you are saying.

                  anyway, if you want to write me up all your fears, i'd love to hear them -- i'd use it, actually.

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                  August 28, 2008 4:59 PM

                  why would anyone want to talk to you? you are making insane, sweeping assumptions about everything and completely fail to see any success stories. when exactly has any company ever made an incomplete game and then sold you the remaining bits as DLC on XBL? DLC is always optional material and in many cases there are new maps that start out costing money and then are made free (if they are not free immediately). Gears of War did this, R6: Vegas had free maps... DLC is an opportunity to make additional money on top of what you would normally make but there aren't any cases of selling shit that's not totally optional. I mean you can bitch about Oblivion horse armor and similar all you want but the fact is that was an optional and entirely ornamental thing, and the majority of similar DLC is the same way.

                  you just seem to be demonizing everything to the point so that you can hate it and put whatever conception you had of the games industry from the past on a pedestal.

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                    August 28, 2008 5:54 PM

                    I cooled off for a bit after posting all that. I guess it could be summed up in one word: fear. Fear that the industry is forgetting why they make games, and is trying to turn into a "peak on the profit curve no matter what" industry. Fear of the worst examples of new methods of "revenue security" becoming the norm; particularly DRM (CD checks -> limited activation -> mandatory online for all games, requiring a daemon to connect to the auth server and turn the host computer into its bitch) and DLC (extra songs on Guitar Hero -> "monetary leveling" in MMOs -> first 2 maps by game box, last 18 maps piecemeal by DLC). Fear that the publisher executives have no more fear.

                    I don't have much of an mental sample of all of gaming since I'm PC FPS only; what I hear about other platforms and genres comes from articles and posts, which I shouldn't be taking at face value. I do have a chip on my shoulder about Crysis, but I'm guessing that Crytek is doing as much feedback analysis on their games as they are on their dialogue to the press (I really wish they'd say something GOOD about PC gaming sometime; maybe start talking about new engine features?). I love CoD4 for what it is, though I haven't played online yet since I've been too damn busy at my day job (and I'm probably projecting a bit of the stress into my posting lately). Portal was outstanding, though short; I run through it from time to time.

                    I'll try to coordinate all of this stuff into a more comprehensive document, and proofread it multiple times (unlike the posts above). Sometimes venting lets some frustrations known, and alerts others that there may be something wrong, but sometimes it just irritates people. I have to remember that the worst 2% of the industry is not an indication of the remaining 98%.

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          August 28, 2008 7:05 PM

          The major publishers have been itching for the day to completely dump retailers.

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            August 29, 2008 1:15 AM

            It's funny because developers think the same thing about publishers.

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