EA to Kill Second Hand Games Market

Just as I was getting to like EA again it seems that they’re still the money grabbing, Fagan-Shylock, penny pinchers that they’ve always been.

What are they planning on doing now? Charging people who have the audacity to purchase one their games second hand, and then have the front to actually want to play the whole game! As it stands, game companies only get a cut when a game is purchased new…… just like every other industry.

When a game or other item is sold second hand then the vendor keeps the profit – if there is any. This is an “issue” that has been considered by most industries for a long time, but in general the second hand market has not really been a cash cow worth the hassle of milking.

However, as the popularity of video games increases the greedy green eye has swivelled its unerring gaze in the direction of the second hand games market.

Apparently EA is planning to charge second hand owners roughly $10 (which will most likely miraculously translate into £10 here in the UK) to play their sports titles online. To be honest – this isn’t an issue for me as I don’t play sports titles, just as I don’t play Guitar Hero – I’d rather do the real thing. But where one company leads, all are bound to follow.

So logically, EA will first start with sports titles, and then move on to their other genres while the other publishing companies look on thinking: “Well, if it works for them….”. I can see this being the beginning of the end for the second hand games market (and after the paltry amount I got for my games recently it may not be a bad thing) – but it’s another step in removing control and choice from the consumer.

As we move towards the electronic market place, the second hand market becomes more and more marginalised. You won’t get any bargain bucket wonder finds any more because every purchase you make will be full price and permanent (and don’t kid yourself that prices will come down due to lower production costs – have you seen the price of e-books?). If you don’t like a game – tough. You won’t be able to return it, sell it on, or trade it in, your only option will be to delete it – is that value for money?

Let’s hope that book publishers don’t get a similar idea otherwise we may find ourselves being blinded by spring loaded hot pokers if we don’t pay the publishers extra within fourteen days of buying a second hand book.

Here’s the source from hothardware.com (via)

Peas and loaves.

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9 thoughts on “EA to Kill Second Hand Games Market

  1. Software is moving more and more towards being a services industry rather than a product you buy one copy of. I think this is one stage in that development.

    As a consumer I don’t like it but I think I’ve already said it here already, as a software developer I think it’s a positive step forward.

    Ironically, it’s the decrease in console piracy that has created a second hand market. That and the ridiculous 50 Euro/Sterling/Dollar price tag on most games. Can you imagine a second hand market for 8 bit titles? I remember doing a double take when a C64 game cost 14.99 Irish Pounds back in the day.

    • The main issue I have is that I don’t think we’ll see a reduction in the price point despite a major reduction in production overheads.

      Another point is that high prices have traditionally been partly “blamed” on piracy. If as you say the nect gen console market has reduced this for console games then surely the console games should be cheaper than they are?

      • They should be cheaper but it costs a lot more to create the AAA titles in HD these days than standard definition titles of the PS2/Xbox era. High def graphics and 5.1 surround sound are expensive to make.

        Most of the costs of a game go into creating it and marketing it. The cost of producing boxes and burning DVDs is fixed has probably gone down in recent years.

        Anyway, people don’t seem to be as price conscious as they used to. The MW2 maps sold like hot cakes, and the next map pack probably will too. People pay what they’re told to pay and grin and bear it!

  2. The piracy argument on the ps3 is complete crap. I have not yet seen a single ps3 retail game pirated. Minis – yes, all of them but no store bought ones.
    Minis are also easy to wreck on a psp-1000.

    The problem is not the 2nd market. That is their excuse. The problem is that a game will be bought with a VIP code, have “exclusive” dlc soon after, more after that. And yet the very same game released 3 years ago would have been a single complete game. Imagine GTA 4 being released now – they would have locked certain areas, limited cars. Games will be written with retail first, quality second, creativity third (if that).
    The adding of VIP codes for first time buyers drives the game for sale and into the charts so Mr Gullible with his kids doesn’t really know what he’s buying but hey it must be good because it’s there.
    By making that VIP code time limited (Dragon Age: Origins does) you are being sold something that it stickered as having free DLC but might not have – that’s plain deceit. The companies will say read the small print but right now we don’t because we expect the honesty we have had over the last 20+ years.

    They are screwing us now because they can. If it were piracy they would make attempts to give money to previous devs but they are not.

    The people I blame 100% are Sony. There isn’t a gamer in their organisation because a real gamer would not have imposed this ridiculous plan.

    Next: each disc has a unique ID and is per account locked. It works for Windows. That will kill secondhand stone dead. And I hope at that point piracy does take off.

    • Chances are this will drive people to piracy, or at least to key generators. That will make things worse as the keys could be for boxes copies of the games.

      An unsuspecting player buys the game, enters the VIP code and the code will be rejected. I wonder how long it is before a search like this returns a valid keygen site?

      • Good, I hope it does.
        The warez forums have PC versions, xbox, ps1, 360, some ps2, n64, ds, psp. And NO ps3 versions. None. Not one.
        So why are we paying? because Sony let the studios charge us on the as yet unpirated games console. They have zero excuse.

        What they should do is not let them and get people to switch to the cheaper ps3 version.

        But Sony will let this happen and I sincerely hope this bites them and they will yet again blame piracy without seeing that their actions caused the new wave. They are pure, we are bad, we will be punished is their way of thinking.

      • When I first used the VIP code I thought it was associated with my EA login. That was on the Xbox 360. Then when I got BC2 on the PS3 I entered my EA login details again (I think), and I still had to enter a new code.
        That was disappointing.

        A halfway house would be for the game to send a unique identifier from the machine to EA, thus allowing anyone on that machine to use the game. They’d still reduce the second hand market but original (family) owners would be happy.

        This reminds me of the “Enterprise Software” pay-per-seat licenses you have to buy for databases, Windows, etc. I suppose it was a matter of time before it came to gaming.

      • There are numerous BFBC2 “keygens” linked through from YouTube if you search “bfbc2”.

        Don’t know if they work, what they entail, or what flavour of scam they are though as it’s not my thing.

  3. Pingback: Weeklyish Update #8 « evaDlivE Blog

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