Much gamer rage was built up back when the current generation consoles were prepped for release. As the dawn of a new generation was building Microsoft aimed to address the booming Used Games market by presenting their alternative.
They decided that what was best was to lock games to users accounts, preventing them from selling their copy and made the disc a sort of key to unlocking the game that would melt into the console making you unable to share a game, give it away or sell it outright.
And I get why they wanted this, Games aren’t like most entertainment industries where there are several avenues to earn money from their releases.
Movies, for example, they earn big when the film comes out in theatres, but they also make money on physical and digital release’s. VOD, Cable and premium cable airings, and I think even when they play it on airplanes. Developers and Publishers only get money when they sell a copy of the game. I mean rentals aren’t really a thing, and the last time I checked you can’t play a game in a theater for a few hours. That limitation causes developers and publishers to look for ways to cover used games losses through DLC and Season Passes. Even the now vanished online passes were a way to make up for revenue they were losing from used games sales.
Places like Gamestop thrive on this state of things, they earn pure profits from used games. Nothing from the process of selling off a heavily or barely used game goes back to the people that make the damn things.
When reselling games aren’t a thing, developers are able to give gamer’s deals like the ones found on Steam. But if you get a game that you hate or just doesn’t jive with you, why can’t you resell it? Why does Gamestop have to be the sole beneficiaries from selling a used game? Why can’t selling used games benefit game players and game makers?
So here’s my solution. Reinstate a Game Registration system. But here’s how it would operate.
Say you buy a copy of the hottest new game, let’s go with Call of Duty: Burning Shit Up Land… 2. Once you purchase the game either physically or digitally, the game would become linked to your account. This would be a digital mark that this copy of the game is yours.
If some douche broke into your house, stole your copy, and popped it into his console. Error message on his console and a notice on your console allowing you to send them a message, it’s not his to play.
Which is awesome when you get a game you love and want to hold onto until the arthritis sets in. But say you hate the game, you throw it in and it’s just more generic military nonsense. You might want to sell the damn thing or give it away!
The Registration system allows you to alter your ownership anytime. You simply select within an option window that you want to give away your copy.
Then you would have the options to sell it for a price or give it away. Depending on when you decide to sell the game, certain price windows will be available to you. If you decide to sell it out of the gate, within the first week of release. The highest amount you can select to resell the game for is ten dollars less than a new copy. The amount changes depending on the time of sale. The following month is $15 less, Following month is $20 and so on until you hit the maximum deduction amount of $40.
Of the money that you would sell it for, one-third goes to the game store and to the developer. The remaining amount is added to your account’s wallet. Once you fill in the resale form, you will then be provided the option to send it to someone on your friends list, or generate a promo code that users can input and be brought to the store to complete the transaction.
What’s nice is that this allows users to still make more money from their used games even at a very low resale price, and the maximum price restrictions at their highest amount will provide a competitive price point between games that are resold six months after release and games on sale. It’s up to you to reduce the final sale cost on your own to as low as you want, knowing that whatever you choose, the store and developer split a third of the sale.
This would dissuade the development of people buying copies, playing them entirely or just a bit and then selling them for full price. This way, they get more than any Gamestop would give them, and the developers get some return on another player getting a copy of the game.
But if you just want to give it away and earn nothing on the game, you can put the resale value all the way down to zero. Then just send it to a friend that you like or a family member, or that guy with the cool metal gear shirt that you want to like you so you send him a copy for free in the hopes that the next time he sees you, you get a friendly nod.
But if you just want to provide it to a friend to try out. Perfect, they can take the physical copy, pop it into their console and when that error message happens and sends a message to you. You have the option to allow the game to be used for a given timeline. Up to a week, and then you would have to reauthorize to extend the timeline. That way renting is not limitless and there is a restriction in a time limit. Additionally you could do the same with a digital copy by sending it to someone on your friends list.
One last advantage to my brilliant plan, since a physical game is linked to your account, you can get access to a digital copy. If you’re lazy and don’t want to keep throwing in discs, it’s perfect. Even if you misplace or damage your physical copy, you can still download it digitally thanks to it being linked to your account. All the while still having access to the whole selling and trading system mentioned before.
Funny enough, before posting this I reviewed exactly what Mircosoft had outlined and it’s not too far off from what I’m suggesting. Hopefully, I’m breaking it down a little better but from my perspective it looked promising. Instant reactions caused the whole idea to be shut down rather than refined, so it was in the best interests of gamers and developers.
I know we can have a better system where companies like Gamestop aren’t holding all the cards for the game’s industry, and the gamer’s have more power over content that they purchase. Numbers, can be finessed and the system can probably be better constructed, but the idea remains. Why can’t we have a better system in place so that developers are supported, more than those stores that give you spare change for your copy of Smash Bros?