Posted May 27, 2013 by Shamarri Miller in Editorials

There is a movement going on at NeoGAF to enlighten Sony on how gamers feel about the  blocking of used games next generation and the potential DRM issues. This movement has been spurred by the recent Xbox One reveal, with Microsoft all but confirming that the Xbox One will block used games in some manner. Early reports are also leading gamers to believe that the console will have a 24 hour DRM check, though the penalties have yet to be illuminated to the press and gamers. PlayStation fans have taken to twitter in a move to discourage Sony from potentially following suit behind Microsoft.

I empathize with both Sony and Microsoft…

360vsPS3Microsoft, and potentially Sony, are literally taking one for the team by trying to eliminate used games and piracy on their consoles. Microsoft and Sony both make the majority of their money from royalty fees they charge Publishers( Activision, EA, Ubisoft) to release software on their platforms. When places like GameStop sell used games they take away  money from Microsoft/Sony and their publishing partners, because a second-hand sale of a game is revenue lost to them. I’m sure Microsoft aren’t purposely trying to rile potential customers up, but they have to try and appease their publishing partners, as well. And hamstringing used game sales helps funnel some of that money back towards the actual people making games, Publishers and Microsoft. I’m certain Sony reflect this sentiment too.

Economically times are hard, just look at how many studios and publishers have closed their doors in just last year alone; THQ, Sony Liverpool, Zipper Interactive, BigBig studios, and I’m sure I missed more. Also how many time have we heard about the sky rocketing cost associated with game development? Something has to give. I’m just not sure hamstringing used games is the answer.

I Sympathize with gamers more…

Why? Because I’m a gamer first. Firstly, I would like to tackle the blocking used games topic. While I know the Platform holders ( Sony & Microsoft) and their publishing partners eyeball the iTunes model enviously they fail to realize that the iTunes model is an anomaly. Apple controls not only the content, but the Hardware that their users use; but they fail to realize that even Apple’s model is open to competition. Users can still by CD’s or Digital copies of movies at big box retailers ( Walmart, BestBuy, etc…) or from other online retailers( Amazon) and load them into iTunes. Same thing applies to Steam on PC, they are open to competition from outside sources ( Origin, Amazon games, and Direct2Drive).

Now if we look at PS4 and Xbox One’s stores they are walled gardens, there is no competition. And one needs to only look at either the PSN or Xbox Live digital stores to see that The Platform holder’s online prices for big retail games, grossly out price games that are available at stores like Gamestop. I’m going to only look at new games to highlight the pricing disparity between PSN and Xbox Live online stores Vs. retail stores.605051_177705_front PSN/LIVE Bioshock Infinite is $59.99 on their stores vs. $39.99 at Gamestop.  Same Story applies with Crysis 3 $59.99 on PSN/LIVE vs. $39.99 at Gamestop. I will give credit to PSN and Xbox Live stores where their prices will sometime match retail stores, but often times they prove to lackadaisical to adjust their prices, in a timely manner.

This procrastination to drop prices of the games on their respective stores have led to a distrust from gamers and who can blame them? Both Sony, Microsoft and Publisher have shown that their pricing models are out of touch with not only gamers, but the market in general. Steam may have DRM, but they have shown a willingness to at least drop the prices on their games, in order to stay competitive with market demands.

Then there is the whole trading in games debate. I don’t want the 2nd hand market value of my game being dictated by Sony or Microsoft. Also most times when gamers trade in games at GameStop they use it toward a new purchase. I’m “No rocket scientist,” but it seem like this will hamper new games sales where Platform holders and Publishers make the majority of their money.

Blocking used games also takes away users ability to share their games with family members and friends. I know sharing a game with a friend is frowned upon by Platform holders and Publishers, their is a positive to this, exposure for their game. I know plenty of my friends picked up Killzone 2 to play online, after I actually got them to try it. And in the event of sharing games with my family its horrible to think that I may not be able to share a game with my brother in the next room. When I buy a game it’s for my household in the same way I buy a movie for the family.

on the topic of DRM, I respect publishers and platform holders wanting to block game piracy, they run the risk of alienating and punishing paying customers in some scenarios. If a persons internet goes out its usually beyond the realm of their control, natural disasters, ISP provider updating their servers, or the Platform holders themselves doing maintenance. Many gamers and myself don’t want our consoles to become an expensive toaster.

This really is a delicate situation for all parties involved, but ultimately either gamers have to roll over or Platform Holders and Publishers have to change their business models because honestly they appear broken. They already asked games at the start of this generation to foot the bill by raising prices to $60 dollars a game which should be enough coupled with the season passes and DLC they offer. One thing I do know is that I’m going to protect my rights as a consumer and not let Sony or Microsoft infringe upon them. When I buy a physical game its  mine, but I do empathize for them and Publishers. I may not be the most qualified person to write this but. I feel like I captured everyone’s concerns.

Warning: And to the bigger sites with the more adept writers, the way you all are handling this for the most part is appalling. While I know you guys want to express the Platform holders point of view, it seems like some of you are saying we should support this movement wholeheartedly. I know you guys have relationship with these publishers, but you should value your relationship with gamers more. Sure the casual market may be bigger than the hardcore gaming community, but I can guarantee you that they aren’t paying attention to you guys either, No matter how big some of you bigger gaming site are the majority of your page views come from us hardcore gamers you’d all do well to remember that, because your website will never be mainstream and “the casuals” as you guys say shouldn’t be your target audience. If they are only buying 1 or 2 games a year how often do you think they visit your site?





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Shamarri Miller



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