Not content with telling developers how to do their jobs, I’m now second-guessing the publishers. Go read the whole thing to see what I’m talking about.
After I wrote the article I realized a couple of points that were likely to attract objections:
1) Digital downloads have actually been following the model I suggest in the article for a while now. Games of yesteryear – even just one or two years old – can be found dirt cheap. It’s retail prices that resist falling, and I think most of the dysfunction is found there. That’s also where most of the sales are.
2) I know the retail market is more complex than I make it out to be, particularly with places like EB Games where it’s in their best interests to keep prices on new games as high as possible. EB Games might simply keep the price high, even if (say) Activision lowered the MSRP. (It is a suggested retail price, after all.) However, I think outfits like Wal-Mart and Target – places where they don’t trade games – would likely lower the prices. This might possibly result in a rewarding scenario where gamers buy new at Target and unload used at EB Games, which could have all sorts of hilariously bad effects on EB Games.
3) I know this is mostly guesswork outside of my assigned area of game design. If I really botched my analysis, I’m sure people will… let me know. At any rate, I’d at least like to see them experiment with prices a bit, instead of trying to come up with tricks to impede second-hand sales. Gamers are not the villains in the second-hand games market, but predictably they are the first target of the publishers.
4) That last line was a good one. I should have put it in the article.
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