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April 2012 Retro Gaming Article


April 11, 2012 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

Nuclear option boosts developer revenue at the expense of the used game market

So, the used game market has come to this, has it? A nuclear option? Are you fucking kidding me? The allegation that used games cut into the new-game market isn't a recent argument. It's just one that has become a rallying point for demanding that customers pay $60+ per game or go fuck off!

The nuclear option seeks to boost developer revenue at the expense of the used game market

The current economy is horrible and developers are shrinking as costs rise, not to mention that each new generation console adds more cost to development. So consumers need to make up the difference? Developers need to realize that price ceilings are very real and consumers dictate them via their purchasing decisions.

Change or be left behind

Home owners suffer the same delusion. Sure a $100,000 house in the early eighties could easily quadruple in value over 15 years. Do you really think it valued-up to 8 times it's original worth in the following 15 years? It's still the same $100,000 house! Have you ever purchased a $30 hamburger from Ronald McDonald? Fuck no! PRICE CEILING!

Perhaps developers need to change with the times. If it takes an 8-figure budget to produce a game, maybe you're doing something wrong. That isn't to say they aren't making exceptionally awesome games. But it may be necessary to achieve this awesomeness via different means. Multi-million dollar movies often do very well and take in an incredible amount of box-office money before the flick even hits the DVD market. Then some dudes make a kick-ass indy flick with a camcorder and it makes the same insane profits as the Hollywood blockbuster. Hmmm...

I've purchased and played some outstanding games that obviously had enormous budgets behind them. I've also played some phenomenal games that were brought to market on a shoe-string budget. Hey, didn't the US Government bail out General Motors because they were filling car lots with gas-guzzling SUVs when consumers wanted eco-friendly vehicles? Plenty of people were content to see GM sink like a rock. My tax dollars? Fuck that noise!

How many of us remember 2008's Game Of The Year? How about 2009's?
It wasn't THAT long ago.
Raise your hand if you remember the joy of playing Space Invaders?
We live in a disposable society where everything has an expected duration. There has been an obvious shift in gaming from games being a lot of fun whenever you chose to play them to having games with endings and conclusions. Space Invaders never ended... keep shooting at shit! It was awesome! These days we've been trained to know that games have endings. When you finish a game, stop playing. You're done. Go buy the next expensive game in the series.

Benefits of the used game market

The used game market opens up both hardware manufacturers and developers to new audiences that may have just been introduced to a great title and want to check out the other titles in the series or other games by that developer. Shifting everything to the here & now eliminates a lot of consumers and opportunities for the retail gaming industry.

Nuking the used game market is like telling folks they can't have yard sales.
"Sorry, you have to keep all your old shit."
Selling off old or unwanted games has always been a help to those who need this scenario to buy more games. Used games give gamers a less risky way to try a game. Maybe that inexpensive used game will prompt them to buy the latest $60 game from the same developer. Conversely, no one likes to be told what to do. If the used game market is nuked by retail greed and an inability to change with the times, consumers aren't going to shrug it off. They're going to find other outlets.

Smart-phone game proliferation = wake up call

Who owns a smart phone? Anyone wondering why these games are taking off at an epic rate? They're free or a few dollars. Would these phone gamers rather have an immersive PS3 experience? Probably. Angry Birds is no Skyrim, but the price difference makes a casual game of Angry Birds a new and different sort of gaming experience. Sure, that's a simplistic example, but the trend in cell phone gaming is taking off at a rate that console devs can't compete with under their current regime of spending millions to bring a game to market over a long dev cycle.

A horse used to be a good way to get from one place to another. Not many horses on the turnpike these days. Wake up!
Change is good and so are used games.

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