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EA charging second hand users to get online


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Games are being made with the budget of blockbuster movies but aren't selling to anywhere near the same size audience. This is quite dangerous and risky for all but the surest successes and the biggest publishers.

film £10

game £40

so why would they need to "sell to anywhere near the same size audience"

:)

is it because 1 cinema ticket = one bum on seat

and two bums = 2 seats = £20

whereas 1 game = 2 or 3 owners

and the publishers want extra monies for extra owners

?

I think so.

They're applying the wrong model. Again.

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Games are being made with the budget of blockbuster movies but aren't selling to anywhere near the same size audience. This is quite dangerous and risky for all but the surest successes and the biggest publishers.

But what are these 'ever greater graphics' he speaks of? Also: games don't always have to cost squillions to sell.

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Are you for real?

To be honest i care as much for developers and publishers as they care about me.

Given the chance they'd bleed me for every penny they could get.

The pre-owned market is whats driving the price of new games down so quickly so i support it.

If you don't like buying pre-owned then don't but i'll do what the hell i like.

As i said before, its business so deal with it.

Enjoy paying £32.99 for preowned copies of games that have been out for months and cost £15 online. :)

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The PC, leading the way as per usual with a lot of trends in gaming. Once games go digital only, your practically at the same end result anyway.

Being primarily a PC gamer, I find all these outbursts quite funny, I've been buying games on Steam since November 2004 and I'm quite happy and comfortable with the process. The thought of going to a shop, paying for a PC game in a box, installing it and then being able to sell it on afterwards is completely fucking alien to me. It's frankly annoying to have to do it with a console, I'd much rather set a download going with a few clicks and have the game a few hours later (preloaded if possible!) It's really only a matter of time before the consoles follow suit and go digital only, at which point the preowned debate is moot and all you bargain basement bottom-feeders will have to find something else to spend your dole money on. :)

The only problem with a full switch of this nature is that it could grant the digital distributor the ability to charge whatever they liked for the product, so there needs to be some kind of trade body that recognises a monopoly of this nature. I sometimes worry that Steam has the PC market so sewn-up that they'll start charging outrageous prices for everything, but then they do a Christmas sale or weekend special to keep their customers sweet. The digital model needs more competition, but it is in itself a grave threat to brick and mortar game retail.

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Big companies in "wanting to make some money" shocker. Pre-owned games are throttling the industry's profits, everyone knows that. It's not exactly a shock that they want to protect their profits.

I've heard this all before and, frankly, it's not true. Did piracy throttle the industry's profits during the Playstations reign, or the DS?

Just because it's second hand that doesn't mean the industry doesn't see any of the cash. There is a subsidiary value in second sales, part of which reach publishers.

Are second hand car sales ruing the car industry, second hand furniture, clothes etc etc?

If they want people to buy new at a premium then they should be prepared to give them something in return, not take something away from those who choose second hand. Otherwise, they need to take a good hard look at how much they're spending, and whether their pricing works.

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film £10

game £40

so why would they need to "sell to anywhere near the same size audience"

:)

is it because 1 cinema ticket = one bum on seat

and two bums = 2 seats = £20

whereas 1 game = 2 or 3 owners

and the publishers want extra monies for extra owners

?

I think so.

They're applying the wrong model. Again.

Films also sell on DVD, and make loads on merchandise and stuff. It's not as simple as the price of a ticket versus the price of a game.

Even so, are the audiences for blockbuster games even a quarter of that for blockbuster movies?

It's clear that publishers are looking for other ways to make money of the sale of a game, with 'special editions', downloadable content, codes in the box... even just adding a fiver to the RRP.

But what are these 'ever greater graphics' he speaks of?

Don't you think graphics tech is still being pushed? Look at Halo Reach compared to Halo 3.

Also: games don't always have to cost squillions to sell.

True, but there is a continued demand for that sort of big-budget game.

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N'Gai "Marmite" Croal's column this month kind of explains the why about the problems with the current industry in terms of the traditional console business, despite the $$$$ being raked in revenue, why is it that most companies seem unable to generate a decent profit after all that? Something's gonna break at some point.

We shall see if all these money making measures being introduced will reverse the long term trends.

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Can I just ask all those that think this is a good idea... do you all buy new cars, or do you occasionally use the 2nd hand car market?

This situation is comparable to new cars coming with free insurance for a year and second-hand cars not, isn't it?

If we're doing analogies, that is.

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Don't you think graphics tech is still being pushed? Look at Halo Reach compared to Halo 3.

True, but there is a continued demand for that sort of big-budget game.

Graphics tech will always be 'pushed', but I believe that is an entirely natural process.

Big-budget games are also fine - especially now that they can co-exist quite happily among games that cost far less money, but offer something a bit different.

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This situation is comparable to new cars coming with free insurance for a year and second-hand cars not, isn't it?

If we're doing analogies, that is.

I dont think so. The proposal is that games have these features built in, and are disabled unless you buy new. Its like having to buy an unlock code for the radio in my 2nd hand car

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Graphics tech will always be 'pushed', but I believe that is an entirely natural process.

So do you not the cost of this advancement is also increasing? Because surely it follows that, if it is, and the price of games isn't, and the size of the audience isn't, then it's not especially natural or sensible thing to pursue.

Big-budget games are also fine - especially now that they can co-exist quite happily among games that cost far less money, but offer something a bit different.

But a lot of them aren't fine! It's riskier than ever to make them now.

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So do you not the cost of this advancement is also increasing? Because surely it follows that, if it is, and the price of games isn't, and the size of the audience isn't, then it's not especially natural or sensible thing to pursue.

But a lot of them aren't fine! It's riskier than ever to make them now.

I'd imagine if a hell of a lot of new staff were required, then advancement would require a tad more cash - but surely all these developers have their super-awesome teams in place, pushing their tech as a natural obligation of their job?

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I'd imagine if a hell of a lot of new staff were required, then advancement would require a tad more cash - but surely all these developers have their super-awesome teams in place, pushing their tech as a natural obligation of their job?

Sure, to some extent. But it must come down to a question of man-hours eventually.

An extreme example would be GTA4. The upgrade in tech and graphics meant an increase in art / model / texture assets that would have have required an increase in team size to get it all made in time, or an increase in development time with the same team.

I don't know, of course; I wasn't there. Just seems inevitable to me.

But, like I say, maybe you're right to some extent. Maybe Halo Reach wouldn't have been any cheaper to make if it used Halo 3 tech.

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No-one has explained why this is different to the used car market. Car manufacturers pour billions into the R&D of cars, then see diddly squat from the 2nd hand market. Can anyone explain why the games industry is magically different?

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Even games which don't look it are costing a lot more than they did last generation to make, case in point, Tim Schafer's last game (dropped by Activision after being asked to fork out another "alledgely" $8 million to finish it) ended up costing $24 million to make, with a staff of 83 people and 4.5 years of development time (knock off 0.5 years if you think the lawsuit impeded their rate of progress much). If the average cost of projects are rising at a faster rate than the financial returns on an average project, your going to be having problems, just ask EA :)

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No-one has explained why this is different to the used car market. Car manufacturers pour billions into the R&D of cars, then see diddly squat from the 2nd hand market. Can anyone explain why the games industry is magically different?

This is about the online side of things, it costs money to provide that service, do the car manufacturers also do the roadways? even with 'free' PC game servers, someone is footing the bill somewhere to provide them.

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This is about the online side of things, it costs money to provide that service, do the car manufacturers also do the roadways? even with 'free' PC game servers, someone is footing the bill somewhere to provide them.

There's something in that argument, but when it's Xbox Live, the user is paying anyway - just like road tax.

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This is about the online side of things, it costs money to provide that service, do the car manufacturers also do the roadways? even with 'free' PC game servers, someone is footing the bill somewhere to provide them.

Yeah but:

With this system though, EA already have the money. If I sell FIFA 11 to somebody, I'm no longer playing that game online. They are. That online provision is paid for, so the "charging users to access it" argument doesn't hold up quite as well. As far as EA should be concerned, exactly who is playing online with one "license" is moot.
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Then don't attack the consumer. This is what EA are doing. It's us who will get fucked by this. No longer will we be able to use Lovefilm and co to try out games. No longer can we sell games on ebay, amazon, amongst friends without the game's value being dramatically reduced. If you think trade-in prices are bad, just wait until this bad boy comes into play.

This whole idea fucks gamers more than it does the second hand market.

Everyone gets a 7 day trial without the code anyway so that's the rental market all fine and dandy. As for the rest of them, well you'll have to sell your game for less now but they can pick up the online mode if they want. Not sure what the problem there is as it's not like they aren't making it available to everyone.

The only issue I have with it is what others have mentioned and that's other tags on your xbox not being able to use that content which is only an issue with EAs system at the moment.

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There's something in that argument, but when it's Xbox Live, the user is paying anyway - just like road tax.

EA host their own servers, they did some wierd deal with Microsoft ages ago as they initially refused to provide their games to XBL, and online for console games is a relatively new thing, it's essentially being provided for free to the enduser on non-Microsoft consoles (As Sony/Nintendo pick up some of the tab at the moment), but somebody is paying for all those servers and bandwidth regardless and eventually, they'll expect some sort of return on that service. It's an extra cost burden which is being absorbed into the current retail price and it just seems like EA want to try and get some return on their outlay.

Don't like it, don't play online or buy it new.

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EA host their own servers, they did some wierd deal with Microsoft ages ago as they initially refused to provide their games to XBL, and online for console games is a relatively new thing, it's essentially being provided for free to the enduser on non-Microsoft consoles (As Sony/Nintendo pick up some of the tab at the moment), but somebody is paying for all those servers and bandwidth regardless and eventually, they'll expect some sort of return on that service. It's an extra cost burden which is being absorbed into the current retail price and it just seems like EA want to try and get some return on their outlay.

Don't like it, don't play online or buy it new.

That's EA's choice though. They could have used the perfectly good infrastructure that is Xbox Live. But they wanted control. So the end user is forced to pay his 'road tax' and then they go and tax his feet as well.

And as someone else has pointed out, there are only ever 'x' amount of retail games in circulation being played which have all been paid for at full price at some point. There is no extra burden to EA unless you count unused stats of the players who've sold their copy on.

A lot of people choose to buy second hand simply because it's cheaper i.e. they do not perceive full price to be good enough value. Now if EA start penalising these customers they won't force them to buy new next time, they'll just lose a customer.

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If I'm really looking forward to a game and want to support the people behind it, I'll buy it new. My pre-owned purchases tend to be for games that I don't have a lot of confidence in upon release, games that I missed first time around and can no longer find on the shelves. That said, I do prefer the Project $10 thing as that was at least an optional incentive (buy new and get codes for additional DLC, rather than buy new and get online functionality)...

According to EA, the content can include anything from title updates and downloads to features like online league

...and given that many game updates are compulsory these days, I think this is perhaps a bit much. Besides, won't it just mean more trade-ins when people find that their preowned games won't work?

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I dont see anything wrong with what EA are doing. I would rather see the money go to the developers than to companies like GameStop or in the UK places like GAME or Gamestation. If you think GAME and Gamestation are bad then believe me they are nothing compared to GameStop/EB Games in the US/Canada, usually they sell preowned games for about $5 less than the full retail price, theres no real special deals like you find in the UK like the 2 for 20 or 4 for 20 pounds and the trade in prices are just plain awful, for example I asked about trading in Resistance 2 which they sell used for $27, the price I was offered was 50 cents, Assassins Creed 2, a game they sell for $55 preowned and they offered me $7 trade in. Companies like GameStop make huge amounts of money by fucking over the consumer and theyre the only ones making the money, the developers dont see a penny and the consumer is only saving around 5 bucks per purchase. Obviously its a bit different in the UK but EA are an american company so I imagine this is being thought up more with the american market in mind.

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