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Wednesday, 1st February, 2012, 12:45 AM #1
Scout (Lvl 6)
Selling Used Games (an un-derailment)
Sorry I don't know how to quote across threads properly however I want to stop derailing someone elses topic.
In a different thread Agamon said "So you can't sell DLC? That's like saying you can't sell your iTunes songs or Steam games. Not really what I was asking, because that's obvious".
Why is it obvious? I can transfer a $1000 license from one copy machine to another with a quick trip to the internet...why not a $5 DLC download? Why shouldn't you be able to sell iTunes songs or Steam games? Why would you ever buy a digital song on iTunes you can't sell when you could buy the CD and rip it and be able to sell it at a later date? Why should you have to go through all that work just to be able to do something you should be able to do anyway?
If a code comes in EVERY COPY sold of a game...that makes that content part of the game....not an extra. By rights I should be able to sell that content along with the rest of what I bought that day.
Wednesday, 1st February, 2012, 12:54 AM #2
Superhero (Lvl 15)
My guess would be because there's nothing stopping you from continuing to use said content after you've sold it. There might be a way to ascertain that, but it must not be simple, or it would be allowed, right?
I dunno, maybe its just me, but I just see a dividing line between what's digital and what's physical. I can do what I want with something physical, but not with the digital. I know that going in and can make my spending decisions with it in mind. Unfortunately, video games are digital content that are often distributed physically, and therein lies the problem.
Wednesday, 1st February, 2012, 01:41 AM #3
Scout (Lvl 6)
I can't speak for Steam (Civ 5 required I register on steam to use the game but I never use the service) nor iTunes (because I have a Sandisk MP3 player) but I can speak for Xbox Live. When I download a game or DLC for a game on Xbox Live it keeps a record of what I have downloaded based on my Username.
When I got a newer 360 I was able to go on Xbox Live and redownload content I had paid for previously. The servers already know exactly what I have paid for and exactly who it belongs to.
How hard would it be for Xbox live to be able to transfer the ownership from my username to another username? It would be as hard as me filling out a form saying Transfer XContent to YUser and the Xbox Live servers updating themselves with the new ownership. Then even if I had a copy of the game or DLC on my console it wouldn't be useable by me anymore since it's not owned by me.
I'm no programmer by profession, but I have had several years of classes on the subject. I am positive this functionality could be added with about a days worth of programming. The question is WHY won't they add it?
Wednesday, 1st February, 2012, 02:15 AM #4
Defender (Lvl 8)
Microsoft and the game publishers have no incentive to create a system to allow you to do it.
The game publishers don't want you to be able to transfer content because they won't get any money. MS has no incentive to push the issue because they get a cut of every DLC purchased on their system.
I'm pretty sure this is all it boils down to. If the company felt that there was an upside for them in allowing it, they certainly could. For instance, Adobe lets you sell your license to someone else, and actually allows you to return software. Clearly, Adobe feels the good will they get from allowing this will help keep those people who pay for it as customers. After all, their software is pirated all over the place.
Wednesday, 1st February, 2012, 02:16 AM #5
Superhero (Lvl 15)
Did you know that once you get a game achievement, it can't be removed from your account? That sounds even easier, but go ahead and try, it can't be done.
The point is, no one, not just MS, allows this. It might be a conspiracy, but probably not.
Wednesday, 1st February, 2012, 07:07 PM #6
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I think part of the issue of digital rights management is trying to tag anyone with purchases they've made. The easier it is to transfer those digital goods, the easier it is to hack.
And transfering AutoCAD, Copy Machine or Adobe In-Design licenses is easier because...they have rediculous encryption and charge an absolute arm and a leg for their products. My copy of AutoCAD Civil 3D 2012 was...drum roll...$7200 and then I pay $1000/year to allow me to use the most current versioning from here on in. Then I can transfer a license from one machine to another, but it removes it from the previous one. Same thing for copy machines or other similar transferable products. You can export it, but you then lose the rights to use it.
Allowing people to transfer things like their iTunes to another user would be easy, but they'd lock you out from that content. I mean technically you're not supposed to copy a CD and then sell it...and we ALL have...as every mix tape/CD of mine can attest to. The digital transfer of goods will increasingly crack down on people sharing products with one another.
I am whole-heartedly in favor of being able to sell digital materials 2nd hand (iTunes, video games, apps, digital books, etc). But I don't think we'll ever get our cake and eat it too in the sense of selling digital content AND being able to continue to use said content. If I could have retained a ghost copy of some of the comic books I sold in college...I'd be a happy old man right now. But I sold them to someone, and only have the fond yet faded memories of owning them now. It'd be pretty silly for me to contact Image and Marvel and tell them they were jerks for not replacing my copies for me.
Thursday, 2nd February, 2012, 03:42 PM #7
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
Here's part of it: Remember that when you buy digital materials, you're usually not actually buying the content, but a license. Licenses are not always transferrable.
In general, the original publisher gets nothing out of transfer of licenses, and may pay a cost (in the support realm, usually - the license has now generated two or more new users with questions, rather than the expected one). So, the publishers don't generally support the activity.
If the item is a paperback book or a game cartridge, the publisher doesn't support the activity, but it happens because there's no practical way to discourage it. So, we do it anyway, and get used to the practice.
For digital content, however, if the publisher doesn't actively support it, we're more stuck.
Mind you, there's some signs of change. For e-readers, for example, there's a growing field of "lending" features. If I read a book, and like it, I can "lend" it once to another user, who can then have access to it for a couple of weeks.
Someone like Microsoft or Sony might well open a "second hand store", where folks may sell older used games that aren't generating sales of their own any more, where they take a cut off the top of every transaction. But only when the market has shifted less to the "need new content NOW" and more to games with higher replay value.
Thursday, 2nd February, 2012, 06:06 PM #8
Superhero (Lvl 15)
Thursday, 2nd February, 2012, 06:15 PM #9
Time Agent (Lvl 24)
In order for this to work, there has to be an aspect of it that goes beyond what the publisher could do just by cutting prices on older games. If tied to a social network, for example, where your contacts help sell you on the game, and you buy it from them, you might generate more sales than just cutting the cost on a new sale.
Mind you, it'd have to generate enough more sales that the cut off the top covers the costs of running the marketplace/social network, and still has room let for some profit. That might be a tall order, which may be part of why you don't see it happening now.
Last edited by Umbran; Thursday, 2nd February, 2012 at 06:34 PM.
Thursday, 2nd February, 2012, 06:27 PM #10
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
I think it'd be a pretty decent idea to combine social networking concepts with game networks. Allow people to share a number of the games they own with people on their friends lists for example. Tag a few games as sharable and then you can "lend" it to your pal for a while. I'd even be in favor of something like that if it blocked me from access during their useage. If people want to play together, then it makes sense to sell two games. I just think there is more to be gleaned from the "try before you buy" concept as game prices and service costs rise. It's going to get harder to convince someone to fork out the cash for a new game if they have to rely on 2nd hand information.
Having a 2nd hand distribution (even for a limited pool of "greatest hits" type games) could work in the same way. The game companies could just charge a transfer fee for either party depending on how the "sale" was set up (gift versus selling).
Sure it makes for more of a tracking hassle and further network headaches, but they are already going to start charging more to simply access their online features anyway...why not at least disguise it behind something cool like a "premium" account that lets you share games with others.
Anyway...wild wishing is wild wishing...I just think that from a marketing and business standpoint, that the various game platform companies will work in some fringe benefits here or there as things become increasingly more virtual and digital.
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