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Take-Two hates second-hand sales

Take-Two hates second-hand sales

Second-hand sales are proving a bone of contention for publishers and retail stores at the moment.

Take-Two has said that it is getting more and more frustrated by second hand sales in stores like GameStop and GameStation, according to GI.biz.

As such, the publisher said, it is increasingly moving towards online authentication systems to try and combat second-hand sales, as well as releasing DLC that encourages players to keep hold of their games.

Second-hand sales have long been a contentious issue for the industry as although they push up sales figures and profits for the stores, the publishers and developers accrue no extra profit from them.

"GameStop continues to aggressively push their used game business, which is having a meaningful negative impact on sales of new games," noted analyst Doug Creutz after consulting with Take-Two CEO Ben Feder.

"Management is frustrated with this trend and is examining ways to ameliorate the problem, which includes strategies around online play and downloadable content which extend the lifespan of AAA titles.

If one of the ways that the company hopes to eliminate second-hand sales is by linking games into online systems like Games for Windows Live and Rockstar Social Club however then we’ll be sorely disappointed.

Do you ever buy second-hand or used games instead of new ones? Let us know in the forums.

27 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Krikkit 30th January 2009, 13:20 Quote
Maybe they should start trying to make games that people want to keep, rather than forcing them...
shigllgetcha 30th January 2009, 13:37 Quote
second hand sales are gamers saying they beleive they are being charged too much for games.
naokaji 30th January 2009, 13:42 Quote
Increase replay value = less second hand sales.
Bauul 30th January 2009, 13:42 Quote
DRM was always about second hand games, not piracy, if you ask me. Despite the fact its completely illegal to prevent second hand sales, (right of first purchase and all that), I can't see the publishers stopping doing this any time soon.
liratheal 30th January 2009, 13:46 Quote
Erm.

Big bag of **** you is on its way to their offices.

Charge me through the nose for a game, and then tell me I can't trade it for something better?

Make a better game :/

I don't recall anyone bitching about the insane PS2 second hand market that was, and still is, quite a large section of my local store..
reflux 30th January 2009, 13:56 Quote
I'm clearly not alone in thinking this is a load of garbage. I really hate how greedy these big games companies have become.
UrbanMarine 30th January 2009, 14:02 Quote
TT hates babies too! The 2nd hand game market has been around a long time and now they complain. I remember buying used PC games back in the day before they got anal about cdkeys and online play.
Nicb 30th January 2009, 14:02 Quote
What!? I agree with Krikkit, make games we want to keep. Almost everything is resalable. If they come up with a "solution" to this "problem" I think what it will do is make more people read Bit-tech and similar places for reviews before purchase not increase sales.

Great..... now they want us to have lifetime commitments to games. When I knew that a game was great I bought it new in pride. (Example: God of War), when games had OK reviews I would buy them used.

I believe the cycle increases sales. How many times have you taken in all your crappy games to get some money for the new game with awesome reviews? So thanks to people that buy used so people with limited money can buy new!

Most of the games I see for sale used with substantial discounts are hard to buy new anyway. If there is a recent game thats used at GameStop with a $5 discount, I'm going to buy it NEW cause I think its worth it. I think most people do this.
WildThing 30th January 2009, 14:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by naokaji
Increase replay value = less second hand sales.

+1

Once I buy a game I want to know I can sell it on incase I don't like it or like naokaji says, it has no replay value.
Kúsař 30th January 2009, 14:40 Quote
T2 is trying to fight disappointed customers and fuel their anger even more...
Flibblebot 30th January 2009, 16:10 Quote
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: every industry has a secondhand market. You don't see book publishers jumping up and down about secondhand sales, you don't see computer manufacturers throwing a hiisy fit; that's because secondhand sales are an accepted and (as Bauul pointed out above) legal part of life. Hell, even the movie studios accept secondhand DVD sales.

In this respect, they're no different to other manufacturers. They may shout and scream about server costs, but if that really is such a burden on your bottom line, you should include the lifetime server costs in the budget for the game, and if that leaves you out of pocket, adjust your pricing accordingly.


In short, my message to game publishers: stop crying and get a life.
skpstr 30th January 2009, 16:12 Quote
I went into my local Game the other day and they had GoW2 in the pre-owned stand for £34.99, yet it was brand new on the shelf for £29.99. They even had the Special Edition in both stands, £39.99 for the 2nd hand and £34.99 brand new.

It made no sense to me or maybe I'm just getting old and I'm not "with it" when it comes to pricing. :)
Krikkit 30th January 2009, 16:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicb
Great..... now they want us to have lifetime commitments to games. When I knew that a game was great I bought it new in pride. (Example: God of War), when games had OK reviews I would buy them used.

I believe the cycle increases sales. How many times have you taken in all your crappy games to get some money for the new game with awesome reviews? So thanks to people that buy used so people with limited money can buy new!

Most of the games I see for sale used with substantial discounts are hard to buy new anyway. If there is a recent game thats used at GameStop with a $5 discount, I'm going to buy it NEW cause I think its worth it. I think most people do this.

QFT.

Many times in the past I've bought a game which had OK reviews simply because I knew I could trade it in afterwards if I hated it. I've also taken a big stack of old games to get them traded in for something new and shiny too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by skpstr
I went into my local Game the other day and they had GoW2 in the pre-owned bin for £34.99, yet it was brand new on the shelf for £29.99. They even had the Special Edition in both stands, £39.99 for the 2nd hand and £34.99 brand new.

It made no sense to me or maybe I'm just getting old and I'm not "with it" when it comes to pricing.

The trouble with a lot of places is that the pricing is crap. Very often there's no saving on used games compared to new games, even months after the new games are out. If you ask me, that's a stupid way to do it.


I sympathise with developers, I'm sure piracy is an issue, and they're trying to squeeze every penny they can from their releases, but something as draconian and daft as this can't and won't work.
johnnyboy700 30th January 2009, 16:37 Quote
I find the second hand market a great way to pick up old games I missed first time round. Its also helpful for replacing lost or damaged games thay have been deleted, I got System Shock 2 for a tenner after I loaned my original copy to someone and they trashed the disc.
lewchenko 30th January 2009, 16:41 Quote
Ive often seen 2nd hand games in the GAME store for more than the new price! Lazy staff dont update the 2nd hand prices when they have a special deal on the new games (which tend to be time limited)

I rarely trade my games though... they give you £12 and then sell it for £30-£35. You are probably better off selling them and buying them on ebay in that case.

Ive noticed that HMV are also doing it now as well.
Lepermessiah 30th January 2009, 17:11 Quote
GREED, when you buy a second hand car FORD does not geta second sale, please. this is ridiculous, it is amazing how greedy game devs are becoming (Right Epic?), between this, DLC ripoffs and MS charging a fortune for stuff that should be free on Xbox live (Like changing your gamertag).
devdevil85 30th January 2009, 18:53 Quote
ameliorate = the act of making better; an improvement

c'mon, I'm not alone in this....
Ninja_182 30th January 2009, 20:34 Quote
I generally buy new anyway but surely decreasing the gap between cost new and cost used is going to help a bit.

I said it in the Epic thread as well. Games manufacturers need to grow up. Car companies dont go about getting all arsy about the 2nd hand market where arguably most of us get our cars anyway.

Stealthy edit: Sorry Lepermessiah didnt see your post up there :p
metarinka 31st January 2009, 02:39 Quote
the only other market I know of that tries to limit second hand sales are textbooks which increasingly use online portions of content that has to be unlocked and is time limited (the length of a semester) preventing second hand sales, but lets not get started into the cash cow that is collegiate text books.

back to the issue, I agree it is strange that devs are trying so hard to stiffle the sale of their product on the second hand market. I don't think it's fair to make a broad jump to other markets such as cars. AAA title games are huge capital investments (50+ million USD) that only have a very small window where they generate returns. There is a huge risk of taking a triple AAA to market from a strictly buisness perspective. Which is why you see so many sequels and canned Ideas, no one wants to dive in the deep end of something experimental. From a buisness perspective they are trying to increase profitability which Is the goal of just about every buisness.

I think MMO's or games with integral online content are seen as a way to increase sales and profitability, look at blizzard's World of warcraft, nearly impossible to pirate, and it generates millions of dollars a month in subscription fees, I bet it is probalby the most profitable computer game ever made.

final note, there is not always a legal right for second hand sales. Contracts and services can be legally binding and may not be transferrable to a third party, for instance a single seat of some custom engineered software may be $100,000 and as part of the contract stipulations it may not be transfered or sold to a 3rd party without developer approval. I doubt it would be legal in the average EULA for consumer software to prohibit second hand sales, but you technically don't "own" any games you have the cd for, you own a limited use liscence and your proof of purchase is the physical disk.
Elton 31st January 2009, 02:55 Quote
Really though this is a childish comment from a company. And it really shows exactly how much effort they even put into making a game. You don't need insane amounts of money to make a sucessful game, all you need is innovation(to an extent), and polish.
BlackMage23 31st January 2009, 11:20 Quote
Just imagine if the Car market tried to pull this rubbish off.
Phil Rhodes 31st January 2009, 13:03 Quote
The "lifespan of AAA titles" is short because "AAA", at least on the PC, seems to be games industry shorthand for ports of console-originated adolescent drivel. Usually first-person shooters. Usually with very good graphics. Usually "balanced" for the hopeless clumsiness of a gamepad. Far Cry 2, I'm looking at you.

Gaming, like television and film, has a growing quality problem; a tendency to rely on marketing rather than gameplay to support the order books. This can be corrected by perhaps pulling back from the very large budget games in the way that some movie studios seem to be avoiding hundred-plus-million budget films on the basis that such budgets cannot be allowed to fail. This attitude promotes one-size-fits-all blandness and a complete lack of imagination because it aims to create products that are inoffensive to everyone at once. This is obviously impossible, but they still try, so we get uninteresting games and they never quite get the figures they were looking for. Only under capitalism does this system seem sensible.

Unfortunately, as in the film industry, no matter how clear it becomes that nobody is buying the product because the product is ****, the last thing that'll ever happen is for anyone to admit it's **** and do something about it.
Edvuld 31st January 2009, 18:04 Quote
Whenever possible I buy 2nd hand games in good shape, beacuse they reflect more what I'm willing to pay for them.

As other have pointed out, the game industry is pretty much alone in wanting profits of 2nd hand sales.

It's kinda interesting that when someone pirate a game, they "steal", but when someone buy a game, he/she doesn't own it according to them.

It doesn't make any sense to me...
Nictgsf 31st January 2009, 20:29 Quote
yet another way developers and publishers want to punish people who buy legit copy's of games. The music industry has realized DRM was pushing people down the piracy route as the pirated product was of better quality (i.e free of DRM so the user could do as they please with their music), but the gaming industry continues to punish people who buy legal with Securom/Games for windows and rockstar social club. They have to understand they will never ever have complete control over the market and the more they try, the more they alienate customers
Saivert 31st January 2009, 23:26 Quote
To Phil Rhodes: What a great post. I agree 100% with you on all points.

Valve knew this a long time ago. Hence they made the Steam system with online verifications. It minimizes the second hand sales and they also continuously patch and update most of their games (heck even Half-Life 1 got an update not too long ago).
Yes you can still sell your games if you bought retail (you got a CD-KEY to sell that way), but it means the one who is buying your CD-KEY (which is what actually happens) must get this claimed to his account. Might take some time depending on the workload on Steam support.

Once again Valve is ahead of the bunch, and many people applaud Valve for what they are doing. Maybe Take Two makes worse games than Valve and thus doesn't deserve to get away with the same stunts.
Cupboard 2nd February 2009, 01:44 Quote
For me I see second hand games as a route to getting the games I want cheaply without resorting to piracy. To me, bearing in mind I am a tight *******, £20-30 seems a lot to pay for a game, but £10 is much more reasonable. In my case, if they were to completely stop second hand games then I probably would download more even though when I think about it I think piracy is completely (I don't know what word to put here, but bad anyway)
cjmUK 2nd February 2009, 13:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil Rhodes
The "lifespan of AAA titles" is short because "AAA", at least on the PC, seems to be games industry shorthand for ports of console-originated adolescent drivel. Usually first-person shooters. Usually with very good graphics. Usually "balanced" for the hopeless clumsiness of a gamepad. Far Cry 2, I'm looking at you.

Unfortunately, as in the film industry, no matter how clear it becomes that nobody is buying the product because the product is ****, the last thing that'll ever happen is for anyone to admit it's **** and do something about it.

QFT.

And it's good to hear people speaking out about Steam - don't get me wrong, I have a dozen Steam titles currently, but I resent the fact that Valve are trying to lock me in. If I can, I'll buy retail - just so I can resell when I choose to.
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