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Bethesda: Pre-Owned Games "A Concern"

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Bethesda Softworks, DLC, Horse Armour, Pete Hines, Pre-owned games

Bethesda: Pre-Owned Games "A Concern"

Bethesda's Pete Hines has stated that pre-owned games are "a concern", but that additionally the industry has not yet found the best way of balancing consumer expectation and valuation of the products they buy, retail interests in securing profits from traded second-hand games, and the needs of developers and publishers to recoup some of the money that they're losing on pre-owned sales.

"Absolutely it's a concern," said Hines. "We have tried to mitigate it by creating games that offer replayability, by supporting them with DLC that's worth hanging onto the game for, or offering tools that let them take things further.

"There's no doubt that being a videogamer is expensive. Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make, and people are looking for ways to keep it affordable. I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves."

Of course, Bethesda haven't always gotten it right. Oblivion's infamous 'Horse Armour' debacle caused a rather large outcry at the time. The irony, of course, is that what was controversial has now become de rigeur and Bethesda are now trying to find ways of going above and beyond what other companies are peddling in terms of DLC.

"Horse Armor was really the first time anyone had tried any real DLC, and was us taking a shot in the dark as far as what DLC might look like or include. We obviously evolved from there both in terms of what we offered, and more importantly what we charged for it. So I think it was partly what the very first one happened to be and how everyone reacted to the very idea of any DLC. If the first DLC had been 'Fighter's Stronghold', we probably still would have seen a reaction, but I don't know if it would have been the same kind of reaction.

"[...]We do like to try to make DLC a bit more substantial and haven't done the things a lot of other folks have tried that you mentioned. There are a lot of ways to do DLC, we've tried to stick with what feels right, what fits the game, and what can be successful. Every game is different and the size of the DLC and timing is always going to change based on what the team wants to do, how long that will take, what other project(s) they need to move onto, etc. I can't say what will or won't work for anyone else, just that we're very pleased with the reaction to the DLC we've done over the years and we're going to continue to try to do things that fans want and enjoy." [Destructoid]

Add a comment7 comments
Late  Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:27

"There's no doubt that being a videogamer is expensive. Games are not cheap to buy because they're expensive to make, and people are looking for ways to keep it affordable. I'm not sure anyone has figured out a solution that works for everyone, and there simply may not be one until someone figures out how to include developers and publishers in the loop on used games sales instead of keeping it all for themselves."


Supply and demand, my friend. Lots of folk only pay full whack for a game because they know they'll recoup half of it by selling it on. They're effectively only willing to pay half of what you're charging.
If there were no pre-owned market most of those people wouldn't buy your games.
What's the point of exerting tighter control over the marketplace and ensuring you get to keep a portion of every single sale if a massive chunk of those sales disappear?

And that's without getting into other aspects such as earning new fans who never would have played your game if it weren't for the fact they found a second hand copy. I never saw the appeal of Call of Duty from the adverts/trailers and reviews.
Decided to give it a look when I saw a second hand copy of COD4:MW going cheap a month or two before it's successor came out. And fell in love with it.
If it weren't for me picking up that cheap copy I'm fairly certain I wouldn't have bought COD:WaW, COD:MW2, COD:BO, COD:MW3, and COD:BO2 (all on release day) - not to mention almost every piece of DLC since then.
Sure, Activision missed out on a few quid because I bought their game second hand. But thanks to that purchase they've had literally hundreds of pounds more from me than they would've had if the second hand market weren't there.

I firmly believe the second hand market supports the new games market significantly more than it harms it.

DivideByZero  Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:36

Being a PC gamer, 95% of games I play are through some sort of client (Steam etc.) and you forever lock them to your account.

There is no PC used games market.

PC games are also much cheaper than console games.

Then again as Late points out. I have took a chance on some dirt cheap 2nd hand console games that I loved and would never have tried otherwise (de blob for one) and so they have now gained a series fan.

Late  Apr. 16, 2013 at 12:43

PC games are also much cheaper than console games.

Aye, that's the only way it'll work. If there's no used games market the new games need to be cheaper.
I've always been a console gamer, but the cheap prices on Steam etc. are enticing me toward the pc market (especially with n00b-friendly features such as Steambox/big picture appearing).

davidpanik  Apr. 16, 2013 at 16:13

Consoles games I'll buy (almost always second-hand because of the price) and unless I absolutely love them will then trade in as soon as I've completed - both to get some money back but also to save physical space.

PC games on the other hand, take up no room and are far more affordable so I tend to go a bit nuts. I also know that, even though that game may locked into Steam (or whatever), I'll have it forever. I don't need to worry about the disc getting scratched or the next generation of hardware not being backwards compatible.

An example - I played Deus Ex:HR on the Xbox and then got rid of it and bought it for £3 on Steam just so that I have copy should I want to play it again in the future.

hurrakan  Apr. 20, 2013 at 11:22

I don't see why are pre-owned games are a concern?

Movies cost even more to make and no one seems to mind about pre-owned DVDs.

DivideByZero  Apr. 21, 2013 at 23:11

That would be because movies sell cinema tickets, go to DVD rental, go on DVD to buy, go on Sky, go on regular TV, go on streaming services and other things like airplanes and oil rigs etc. Loads of ways to make money - not just DVD purchase.

Games you rent or buy new or 2nd hand. There are a couple of tiny subscription services too, but not enough to make proper money.

But yeah... used cars are OK to buy but it's dirty and harmful to buy used games... give over. Adapt.

JonLester  Apr. 22, 2013 at 10:55

In terms of pre-owned analogies, I've always thought that games have most in common with books. They're not destroyed in the act of consumption (like a sandwich is), and their intrinsic value lasts forever. If it's an actual book rather than an ebook, it is a tangible object and a commodity, and can be passed on and enjoyed by anyone after its first owner consumes it (unlike a sandwich).

So, erm, videogames are not sandwiches. I really want a sandwich.

But that's not the point. If you buy an ebook (a digitally downloaded game in this analogy), you make some sacrifices for convenience.But you don't burn half of a book before selling it on or lending it to someone, or rip out half of the pages and only hand them over once the new owner pays the publisher $10. Why shouldn't you, as the rightful owner, have the right to keep, lend or sell it?

I'm going to go make a sandwich.

Last edited by JonLester, Apr. 22, 2013 at 10:55

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