Sony Shtuff

May 25, 2006 by Tim

Two things, actually.

First, there’s a rumor floating around (wildly unfounded at the moment, mind you), suggesting that Sony will sell licenses for PS3 games. Basically you’re paying your $50 for the license, and the actual software, digitally downloaded or a hard copy, is just a distribution method. This is to prevent the sale of pre-owned games. Amen, I say.

I believe the pre-owned game industry hurts gamers. Retail outlets buy these used games really low, and sell them really high. I’ve seen pre-owned games on sale for like $3 less than a brand new copy. $50 for a used game they probably paid $20 for. $30 profit, and the video game companies don’t see a cent of it. In fact they’ve lost a potential sale.

Video games nowadays cost nearly as much to make as blockbuster movies. They’re getting expensive, and between pirating and the pre-owned games market, it’s getting harder for companies to recoup the expenses.

I know this is controversial. I know a lot of you are saying “But if I buy pre-owned, I can get games cheaper”. Well yeah, if you’re only looking at the here and now. But if half the consumers are waiting and buying the game used, then the game companies have to charge more on the original sales just to break even. And then the retail outlets are going to see a higher price cap, and take advantage of it to charge more for the used games. So over time you’re contributing to increased prices across the board.

However, I do see a couple of problems with the concept, but nothing that couldn’t be worked around. I don’t buy used games, and I don’t sell my games back to stores. But if I’m finished with a game, I’ll give the game to a friend, and a license system would make this tough…

Unless, there was some sort of one-time license transfer system in place. Where you could directly transfer the game from one person to another, once, so the retail outlets still wouldn’t be able to take advantage. Most pre-owned games sit on the shelf for a while, and a retail outlet isn’t going to put a game up for sale, and then when someone buys it, call the original owner into the store to initiate a license transfer. That’s too much hassle.

I recognize that there are still problems here (What if I want to just lend the game to someone? More than one person?), and no protection method is ever perfect. I guess the bottom line is, whether you disagree or agree, if Sony decided to implement that system (and trust me, I think it is highly unlikely), it’s important to remember that it is completely within their right. Just as it is our right, as consumers, to choose whether or not to buy the product and support such a system.

Also, the Ghost Rider trailer. Brian thinks it will flop, but I always liked Ghost Rider. Fingers crossed.

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