What is it with publishers fascination with second-hand sales? Yes, for every used video game you buy on eBay, the publisher sees zero dollars and zero cents, but are they operating at such razor-thin margins that teens auctioning off their old PSP games is worth their attention? You don’t see Ford or GM or Toyota or Honda or anything complaining about used cars sales, do you? (Actually, do you? I know next to nothing about cars.) Electronic Arts’ “Project Ten Dollar” was concocted to battle against the scourge of second-hand video game sales, forcing gamers to pay upward of $10 for DLC that usually comes for free alongside the purchase of a new video game. Turns out, not only does it hurt consumers and retailers, but it hurts publishers in the long run!
Anyhow, the deal is that retailers that specialize in second-hand sales have explained that, the reason why so many people sell their old games is to fund the purchase of new video games. Little Timmy sells Madden NFL 09 for $10 so he can afford Madden NFL 10. Of course, publishers like EA are far too myopic to see this—all they see is the “lost” Madden NFL 09 sale (assuming the game is sold at some point) and not the enabled Madden NFL 10 sale.
It’s but a part of the same ethic that I complained about, quite shrilly, might I add, the other: exclusive DLC is a menace. Why do I have to buy the game from four different stores to get, say, all of the available weapons and armor in the game? To me, rather than being a “value add” (“bonus armor when you buy from us!”), it’s a removal of functionality. “Oh, so if I pre-order the game from Store A, I won’t get the weapons and armor from Stores B, C, and D? Well that stinks. Way to sell me an incomplete game.”
Not that I buy used video games much—I think I bought a used Castlevania for the GameBoy Advance like five years ago.