Discussion in 'Games' started by Kwod, Jul 4, 2012.
In the comments there are good remarks given (see quote).
It's a good idea but as Chevalr1c has pointed out Steam an the likes will surely find a way around this.
Ok, so this is good how?
1) This is about as useless as a ruling can be. It doesn't force publishers to have an avenue for sales, it just says that consumers can't be legally restricted from doing so.
2) The EULA basically says you are buying the license to use the software that is being used. There is no transaction of software, so this ruling doesn't even influence Steam (I can't speak to the other options).
3) Ten minutes. The time that a lawyer will require to change the EULA to completely negate this ruling for any service. Less than 100 words will change the EULA so you are purchasing access rights, and not software. This ruling doesn't specifically deal with access rights.
4) Failure of a law. On paper it's the "Everybody gets free ice cream" law. In reality, the rider is that "Everybody" is defined as anyone with the name William ZZorbiz Weinsten. The basic idea is good, but the actual realization is a cluster of failure.
Not necessary. They may allow this, but they'll raise the game prices significantly. Not that EU already has the most expensive games already...
I agree with lilhas, this would ultimately be horrible for consumers, especially the ones who buy used games.
The law is hopelessly generic and does not cover even basic things like content, assets and services. They will simply splinter everything out as a separate product and make used purchasers pay through the nose.
Buy Diable3 for full price and you get the core game and access to the servers.
Plus, you get the sound tract included in the game free (normally a $20 download)
Plus you get resolutions higher than 800x600 free (normally a 20$ download)
Plus you get access to the auction houses free (normally a $20 download)
Buy Diablo3 used and you get the core game (which includes 800x600 res, no sound and no AH access) and access to the servers.
Pony up $20 if you want sound, and another $20 for hi-res, and another for AH access
The core game would work (thus making it all legal), but it would suck so bad no one in their right mind would buy the game used.
I applaud the sentiment, in any event.
I agree, McC ... people should be able to sell anything they purchase.
The problem is that the legislatures and courts are constantly trying to create digital law based on the existing physical item laws. That just doesn't work.
Why couldn't online distribution services allow people to trade games? The distribution services would force a reduction on the value of it (just like buying used physical games) every time it changes hands. Figure 20% to be reasonable so, for example:
$60 = original purchase
$48 = first resale
$38.40 = second resale
$30.72 = third resale
$24.58 = fourth resale
$19.66 = fifth resale
$15.73 = sixth resale
$12.58 = seventh resale
$10.06 = eigth resale
$8.05 = nineth resale
$6.44 = tenth resale
so on and so fourth
Each time it is resold, the distributor, developer, and publisher make money on it where buying and selling used physical products would not. It's win-win. Consumers that don't insist on playing the game right when it comes out can wait a while and be guarenteed savings just like buying games used. The distributor/developer/publisher could specify how long one person must own it before it becomes transferrable which means it couldn't reach that tenth resale until after the MSRP of the product gets close (usually 3-6 months after the game comes out).
After the original purchase, and on any subsequent sale, how much of the stated price would the seller be receiving?
The seller would be the same seller that sold the original product. Because distribution services are incompatible with each other (user accounts, services, arrangments with publishers, servers, etc.), there's no way to transfer from one service to another. They also can't cut a check to you like you would trading a physical copy because...that goes nowhere good. Instead, that money repaid would be credit towards the purchase of a different game on the same service.
I'm hoping this ruling at least opens the discussion on the possibility of creating a digital trade-in program. For the past 15 years or so, the publishers have been doing everything in their power to halt trades/resales (first serial numbers, then CD checks, then registering serial numbers, then online activation, now full-time online).
I should be able to ask whatever I want for any game I want to sell. The original publisher should not get anything, just as if the original publisher doesn't get anything if I sell a hardcopy book at a garage sale.
I own a SNES game Uncharted Waters, and UW:2, it is pretty rare, I can sell it for more than the original purchase price if I want. Same goes for any digital copy.
What Steam and others should be forced to do is allow us our "backup, or rights to a physical copy. Meaning if we decide we no longer want the game and decide to sell it, we can burn the content to a disc with our key and sell it, but our account can no longer access that game with that key. Once it is registered to another user it belongs to them.
Or the end user has to pay for the physical copy to be shipped to them plus reasonable freight costs and they can sell it, but they have to sell it through the steam or comparable platform and again, can no longer access that game with that key.
One of the biggest issues is the concept of "used" as it relates to digital information.
There is no difference between a new game and a used game when it comes to the data.
There are no manufacturing limitations on the products to affect market value. Digital copies will never be "out of stock", "Sold out" or "on backorder", as they can be duplicated infinitly.
There are no fluctuation in subcomponent prices, due to inflation, to affect cost.
There is no continual revenue stream, like replacement parts or consumables, because nothing wears out.
There is no valid way to compare used data to a used physical entity, which is what they keep trying to do.
There's one problem. How do you track that, and how do you agree on a time frame.
Lets take a look at two relevant examples. Super Smash Brothers Brawl, and Kane and Lynch 2.
In the first case, that game retained 80% of its value for retailers 24 month post release date. The game was a large success, and very few copies were reintroduced to the market.
Kane and Lynch was at about the 20% retail value point less than 3 months after release. The game sold poorly, and could almost never be traded.
Both games started at the same price, but one clearly retained that value (to retailers, and consumers alike) for much longer than the other.
Despite this, 24 months after launch you might be able to have a used copy of the game retail for 64% of the original value, just because copies being resold were rare.
I use extreme examples, but this is what needs to happen.
The opposite policy is to have games lose value in steps, over the course of years. Again, we run into the issue of having some games retain value better than others.
The only logical solution is an online auction house, where the demand from the market sets the price on games. The problem here is that giving games to your friends for a more reasonable price will negatively impact the value of the game on the free market, if that was even an option.
So,yeah. There's no solution that easily satisfies all the requirements. This is a complex issue, and people are still struggling with it related to physical copies. The fact that this is online makes somewhat inadequate laws seem like a blessing, at least in comparison to the utter failure of laws in the digital age.
Distributor (e.g. Steam) does and publisher (e.g. Electronic Arts) sets limitations and the like in their arrangement with the distributor.
Super Smash Bros Brawl is a Nintendo title that is exclusive to the Wii. We're talking PC gaming where there is a ton of competition. Distributor and publisher have to agree to that teired licensing agreement for it to happen. Publisher ultimately makes the decision because it's their product the distributor is selling.
Supply and demand are irrelevant to digital distribution.
Exactly. What I detailed is a compromise. It simulates physical trading when there is no physical product to trade.
After careful consideration and a couple of beers (it's stinking hot outside and it is a holiday here ), I've come to the conclusion that there is no "all inclusive" solution to the variety of digital gaming models on the market today.
There are so many variables that it would be impossible to write a law that adequately addresses all the issues.
Given that the laws are being contemplated and put forth by the people who probably know the LEAST about computer gaming, we as consumers are going to get the shaft.
Supply and demand are very relevant to digital distribution once you add resales to the mix.
There is a good that does not degrade over time, but the price of said good does. Imagine if a car would last forever, but the price you could sell it for decreased every time it was sold.
Someone who has traded a good a dozen times could only sell it at a certain price, but an equally aged copy of that same good can sell it at a much higher price if you hold onto it.
This is the problem that people can't understand, and why people believe there should be a simple solution. The ability to resell digital good necessitates a way to price them, which currently does not exist. Once we have a Kelly Blue Book for games, then I might see this as a reasonable thing.
I guess where we differ in perspective is that you see the good in resales (which I agree with), but we don't agree on how pricing schemes might tackle the problem that you are generating. Hopefully someone has a better grasp of the situation, and can offer something more concrete. As I see it, this is a debate without a clear answer or good result.
No. Only demand. Supply is not in the equation as there is no limit to supply.
This is one of the reasons that using typical market metrics are worthless for assessing resale value.
You are right, though .. at this point no one has a clue how to address all the issues.
I hate to say this, but we may find that it is in our best (financial) interest if digital goods be exempted from resale laws.
The outcome could be much harder on our pocketbooks.
Perhaps I'm missing it, but supply is infinite only for new copies.
There are x number of copies that are sold digitally. The finite quantity of used games for sale, at any one time is x. At any time there are y available games; we assume that y is less than x, but the actual number of y is inconsequential.
If you view it in those terms, there is a very definite supply and demand for used copies of games. The quantity of digital copies is infinite, but the amount of used copies is a very finite number.
Agreed we the people should have a right to sell our games if we choose to do so if we dont want it anymore, it wouldnt be hard to set up a used online sales site for people to sell there digital copy of a game at a price of there choosing. Its like buying a car online and then saying sorry you cant sell it now :shadedshu
When one views a used item in the physical realm it usually means that some measure of the life expectancy of the item has lessened (it's used and has garnered some wear or in some way is inferior to a new version). This is why laws prevent people from reselling used items "as new".
Even if the item is returned unused, there is no way of determining if it has degraded.
In the digital world there is absolutely no difference between a used copy and a new one.
The used copy (and key) are every bit equal to a new one, and thus the used version looses no intrinsic value based on the fact it has been used. The concept of a "used" digital copy has no real meaning other than what might be arbitrarily applied to it.
Unless a digital copy of something is no longer available, it's just another copy.
People try to equate digital resales with resales of physical items, but you can't. The comparison has no meaning.
Fair, I can see where you're coming from.
While I made the distinction of used versus new copies, you are correct that it is artificial. The only differences is how they are sold. Thank you for the insight.
I always wondered what might happen to my Steam account one day.
I'm all in favor of having the benefit of trading games which I bought on Steam. I have quite some games which I bought or which were gifted to me and after finishing them I have no intention to re-play.
Had they been physical disks I could have re-sold them, or even gave them for free. But Steam doesn't allow even giving them for free.
I'm all in favor of such transactions being allowed, even if Steam were to charge a fee for doing so. After all Steam's a business enterprise doing a pretty good job...
Otherwise, as I was going to say in the first sentence of this post, I'm going to hold on to my username and password tightly and when I'm of pensionable age (and by then have like 5000+ games in my account! ) I'd make a will to pass on my account to somebody else who would enjoy the games Just so they wouldn't get lost.
Imagine the richness of that account... spanning from 2004 till.... say the latest games of the year 2055!
(Anyone wants to be included in my will?)
I do. Please leave me your hair brush.
That way I can extract your DNA and clone you so you can make me sammiches.
If the digital age (so to speak) had progressed at the same rate and the industrial age, the laws might have been able to keep up.
With the advancement in computers and technology happening almost daily, the laws will become obsolete at about the same rate as digital devices.
There is no way that a governing system that moves at a glacial pace will ever be able to stay ahead of the curve.
This is why you see so much litigation these days, especially when it comes to patents.
The current system is hopelessly outdated and there is really little hope that it could ever cope with the rate of change of new tech.
My solution is free beer and pot for everyone. It won't solve the problems, but no one will care and they'll stop fighting.
The market determines the worth, otherwise they'd never have sales and price reductions.
Separate names with a comma.