Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Don’t Buy Used Games, Pirate Instead

My very first actual post on this blog dealt with the issue of piracy – or rather the point that it isn’t much of an issue at all in my opinion.  What is an issue is the sale of used games, resulting in my support for EA’s Project Ten Dollar (and similar schemes.) And look, it’s official:

“Piracy these days on PC is probably less problematic than second-hand sales on the Xbox” – Mike West, Lionhead, via Eurogamer

This result is really quite obvious from a logical point of view. Both piracy and second hand sales result in people getting access to games without paying any money to the original developer (but also without any additional costs to the publisher in most cases.) While there are pirates who would have bought the game in question if piracy had not been an option, there are a lot more pirates that simply pirate games because they are free and would rather not play the games at all than playing money on them (for various reasons.) The actual loss to the developer is therefore only a small percentage of the total market value of the pirated software.

Used games on the other hand are far from free and many people who buy them are willing to buy the game either way, just decide to go for the less expensive option (used) when presented with the choice. While I will not deny that there are people who will buy a game used but would not have been willing or able to spend the full price for it, this number has to be far smaller than that of pirates who are unwilling to pay for games.

In both cases, players are acquiring intellectual property without any of the profits going to the owners of  said IP. One case is publicly advertised by third parties (Gamestop & Co.) who make money on these sales while the other is not. Sure, buying used games might be legal – but when you think about it is no better than flat-out stealing them.

That said, console game prices are insane and i can hardly blame people for buying them used. This is a chicken & egg problem though.

DISCLAIMER: I do not actually advertise piracy, unlike the title might suggest. Maybe it should rather say “Buy first-hand, damnit.” If in doubt, go for shock value though.

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