There comes a time in every person’s life when a stand needs to be made. A line in the sand is marked and it cannot be crossed. However what chance does the average gamer stand against the likes of EA and Activision, if any? Long have the arguments for and against pre-owned games raged, without dare I say an as of yet suitable answer (suitable to both publishers and gamers).
For many gamers the pre-owned market is the only way that they can regularly play any form of new games. It is to this end that I challenge any and all gamers to come forward and be knighted if they can with all honesty state, ‘hand on heart and hope to die if telling a lie’, that they have never in any capacity or form purchased a pre-owned game. Of any form on any market. See, I knew it we have all at one point or another made use of the second hand, pre-owned markets. It may have been a purchase at your local GAME, a dabble in the online auctions on EBAY, friends or even at your local Sunday morning car boot sale. Make no mistake I have done likewise and in fact have purchased from all the aforementioned places and then some, therefore I will and never do judge those who make use of the pre-owned markets. It is the dirty pirates and those which purchase pirated material that I truly despise. That is the topic of another feature where I am more that looking forward to spewing forth my thoughts and feelings on the subject.
However back sharply to today’s topic PRE-OWNED GAMES mmmmmm. The topic of pre-owned gaming is a touchy subject however it is one which I can see and appreciate from both sides. The thing is I don’t actually agree with the much touted argument that the pre-owned market harms the games industry by taking cash away from the developers. Surely they are paid a set amount, a salary like every other wage slave out there, and the fact that a game they developed is sold on 3 or 4 times should, in my opinion not make much difference to the ‘artistic process of game development’. The fact that these days every game which has an online component, let’s be honest which game doesn’t these days, seems to come with an online passcode. Why? Surely once the game has been sold it has nothing further to do with the publisher and they should have no say over what happens to it from that point on. Except they do as we all well know.
Here is a little example of how the addition of online passes can incur some rather exceptional costs on the average gamer. I have a very good friend who is an avid gamer, the thing is so are his three sons. This means that every time a game comes out the house needs to purchase at the very least THREE extra online passes so a game which should cost about £40 now ends up costing about £75. How about another one for you. A man and woman are both avid gamers, the man has recently picked up the latest offering from, for example, Ubisoft. He goes out the pub and the woman decides to put the game on and see what all the fuss is about the new. She puts the game into the console which they share, logs in and starts the game. BAM. There it is ‘Please Enter Your UPlay Passport’ or you can of course purchase one, even though the game is not pre-owned or pirated.
Basically at times I know I have felt like I have been strapped over a barrel while the publishers have taken turns on me, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I feel like I don’t even own the game in the fullest extent of what I would define ownership as. I walk into ‘insert generic purveyor of gaming paraphernalia’ and hand over my hard earned cash and walk out with the game of my choice, generally after a lengthy period of time has passed. I have a receipt which says that said game is now my property and belongs solely to me. The thing is it doesn’t 100% in all its entirety belong to be. The single player campaign is mine for as long as I own the game but it is the online parts where things become dodgy. Once the one time use code has been input then the game is for all intents and purposes locked to that console and user ID. I remember a few years ago a couple friends and I thought it would make good fiscal sense to buy alternate games. For example I would buy Assassin’s Creed 3, Chris would buy Far Cry 3 etc etc Once we had all had a playthrough of the respective games we had bought they would then be passed around the group for all to enjoy without spending too much. NOT ANYMORE! It would appear that publishers are not making enough money as the example above would definitely not work anymore. I say its’ poor show publishers for not letting my friends enjoy the game I have already paid for.
This is unfortunately a topic which I feel can keep running and running for a while and the problem is that while you lot, the gamers, put up with it they will continue the practice. It is totally unethical in my opinion for them to do this as we are all aware how easily pirates can and are located and dealt with and sometimes I feel really cheated.
There are however some publishers who don’t feel the need to rob their customers further. So a big and resounding well done to Square Enix for doing the away with the need for a code of their latest blockbuster Hitman: Absolution. There really is not much that we as the consumers are able to do apart from showing our displeasure by keeping our wallets firmly shut and spending where there are no ‘codes required’ and ownership IS 100% ours until we part with the game. If anyone has any reasonable or unreasonable answers don’t hesitate to get in touch, maybe we, together, can mobilise the masses.