It has come out this week that Sony has registered a patent that would tie any new video games purchased to a persons gamer profile as soon as they start the game. Essentially this would stop the sale of second hand games on all next generation consoles as if this were to go ahead Microsoft would have to use a similar method in order to not be at a disadvantage in the marketplace.
Obviously the internet has reacted in the same calm, well thought out way it normally does by FREAKING the F*** OUT hard. Comment sections full of HOW COULD THEY DO THIS TO US??! WHY DON’T THEY MAKE GAMES CHEAPER!?! GAMES COMPANIES SHOULDN’T BE PAID FOR THE WORK THEY DO!!!!
Firstly I don’t think this will matter a huge amount within five years. A lot of games are being released for download on release day and direct to your console, within ten years I don’t think we’ll have a need for retailers selling games.
Secondly this whole situation could have been sorted if the retailers had not been as selfish in the first place. If they had put the price up on each second hand game by £1 and that amount was given to the producers behind the game then not only would they profit from the sale but we would also be able to see other sales figures related to the second hand market. Games companies would then not be as worried about second hand sales at it would benefit them also.
Thirdly I think this speaks to a larger problem that the gaming community has about how entitled we seem to feel and how much value we place on the games that we play.
Now most of the games I buy on disc are new and on release week. I’ve planned to play them, have followed the development of them and saved some money aside for them. Very rarely will I buy a game because it’s cheap or on a whim. The last game I did that with was Mass effect and that was because I wanted to play it with my wife as I thought she would enjoy it too as she loved playing LA Noire as a team and really enjoyed the choice aspect that was central. The reason I buy the vast majority of my games new is because I believe in video games as a medium of entertainment equal with all others. I believe that video games should be supported and as such the companies that produce them should be supported. I honestly think most of the people who play video games don’t think about how many man hours go into producing a video game. Games take upwards of a year to produce, often with dozens of people programming or designing. All of those people have to be paid in order to live. If the game is not successful or sell well then those companies shut down. We’ve seen this happen over and over in the last couple of years and many creative companies with excellent track records have fallen.
At the same time as these creative companies are going under, companies like Activision are doing well thanks to the yearly releases like Call of Duty (I actually like COD but that doesn’t change the point) which do not push the medium forward as much as others. One of my favorite song lyrics is from Mike Skinner’s The Streets and reads thusly
“You say that everything sounds the same, Then you go buy them. There’s no excuses my friend, Let’s push things forward.”
If we want games to move forward and become as accepted as other types of entertainment then we need to support them. If all you’ve even done is buy second hand consoles, second hand games and never purchased any dlc or digital content then you haven’t supported anything other than the shop you bought it from. You are part of the reason games cost what they do, use similar story lines and characters and why people who want to create for your enjoyment are losing their jobs.
If you call yourself a gamer then I would hope that none of this was new to you. If You call yourself a gamer and you’re currently on your 10th prestige in Black ops 2 that you got second hand having traded in your copy of modern warfare 3 that you played all of last year and this is all news to you then you are the problem and you need to sort that out.