Second-Hand Games and the Digital Revolution
Before secondhand games became the massive industry they are now, trading in games for others seemed to be one of the best ways to afford newer, more expensive titles. Some video game specialty stores such as GameTraders would offer gamers a certain amount based on the games they brought in, how old they were, what condition they were in and/or whether or not they had many copies of that title in stock.
Gone are those days.
Today, chains like EB Games and JBHi-Fi allow second hand game trade-ins with some deals such as ‘Trade 3 and Get this new-title-here Free!’. While that still happens in some cases, particularly JBHi-Fi, stores now have a set amount per title that is rigid and stays constant throughout the nation.
Here at LUNA, we’ve all traded in games at least once and have been left a little dissatisfied by how little some of our titles are now worth in the eyes of the trade-in. Games such as Mirror’s Edge and the Prince of Persia have sold for a trade-in value of $1 and $3 respectively and seeing them resold to others for $15 – $25. While some people may not be phased by this as they no longer play these games, it seems like the pittance we’re offered doesn’t justify the $14 – $22 mark-up these companies make on the titles.
Further, those profits don’t go back to the industry, just into the shop’s pockets.
While this is good (we get cheaper games!) and bad (developers miss out on this money, making it harder for sequels to happen. Mirror’s Edge 2 anyone?) , there are things that the industry is changing.
Companies are now putting failsafes into their title which alter the title when bought and registered by another user. Take 2011’s Rage for example: should one purchase this game secondhand, they’d have to fork out some more cash in order to gain access to other content within the game.
Other games then have other alternatives for this such as paying for online passes to play and utilise a game’s online content. Naughty Dog, for example, allows consumers to who have a secondhand copy of Uncharted 3 to purchase a PSN Pass which grants them access to the online multiplayer side of the game. This is to cover costs such as paying for the server and general maintenance.
With a shift to moving toward all things digital and downloadable, secondhand game trade-ins may become a thing of the past. But if games are distributed online without having to pay packaging, shipping, a cut to stores, and shelf space, digital titles should be cheaper than their physical counterparts. PSN and XBLA, if you’re reading this, please take this into consider. Steam, though, you’re doing it right.
Image via Explow – JBHIFI