60 percent of gamers wouldn't buy a console that blocks used games

By on February 13, 2013, 6:30 PM

During a recent speech at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference, GameStop CFO Rob Lloyd said that 60 percent of customers said they would not buy a new gaming console if it couldn’t play used titles. The admission comes as we continue to hear rumblings that at least one next generation console maker could be prepared to blocked previously played games.

The executive told those in attendance that consumers want the ability to play pre-owned games in addition to having portability and physicality in games. Not having these elements, he said, would be a substantial reason for potential buyers to avoid purchasing a new console.

What’s more, he noted that only about four percent of their used game sales are for titles that were released in the last 60 days. He likely highlighted that fact to show that their used games market typically deals with older, out-of-print games that are being given another chance at life.

GameStop didn’t elaborate on how they collected information for this survey and as Ars Technica points out, saying you aren’t going to buy a system for one reason or another is certainly different than actually sticking to your guns – especially when a game you really want is an exclusive on said console. Furthermore, one would be forgiven for thinking it a bit suspicious that GameStop, a company that has an obvious interest in used game sales, would issue such a statement.

What's your take on the topic? Would you buy a next genration console knowing it could only play brand new games?




User Comments: 57

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1 person liked this | Guest said:

Other than buying luminess for my psp to downgrade/jailbreak I can honestly say that I have always had problems buying used games. Mostly they are always scratched and freeze.

I stopped buying used games a long time ago.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd really love to see what their polling system was. If they were asking their customers, in the store to buy or sell used games, I would expect at least that 60% or higher. I mean, it's like a cashier at a donut store asking customers if they'd like to continue buying donuts.

If it was an actual, unbiased poll across the entire console gaming demographic, and not associated with Gamestop or their customer base in any way (other than coincidentally), then that would be a very interesting number for Sony and Microsoft to consider.

1 person liked this | Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I know I wouldn't buy a console that I couldn't play used games on. I'm a pc gamer myself, and I download most of my games on steam/origin, but if I had a console I'd be hunting for used games (though probably not from gamestop... seriously, screw those guys).

yRaz yRaz said:

This would put gamestop out of business and be bad for gamers because someone wants to make more money. It would mean a loss of thousands of jobs around the country. If anything, gamestop is standing up for what is morally right. This is bad for everyone aside from the developers.

I really can't tell what side you, the author is on when you say, "Furthermore, one would be forgiven for thinking it a bit suspicious that GameStop, a company that has an obvious interest in used game sales, would issue such a statement."

can you elaborate on what you meant by that?

Zecias said:

The survey was conducted by gamestop with gamestop customers as the population. Gamestop gets most of its business from used games. Probably biased.

2 people like this | Wendig0 Wendig0, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Of course it was biased. That doesn't mean it was wrong though. I'd wager that 60% is even a little bit low.

2 people like this | Benny26 Benny26, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I wouldn't. I feel it's a toys out of the pram maneuver if it does happen.

I like my used games. I like the cheap risky bets I take on with buying used games to see if they're as good as the reviews say they are. Some you win, some you don't. Take away my system of how I choose to play my games and you can ransack someone else's wallet for your console.

3 people like this | ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

I go into Gamestop to see if there is an old-school game that I don't have in my collection. I don't go there to buy a game that came out in the last 60 days. Why would I pay $54.99 for the used version of Far Cry 3 when I could buy the new copy for $59.99? Or the used copy of NHL 14 for $54.99 with an online pass for an extra $10.00 when I can buy the game new with an online pass for $59.99? Gamestop needs to rethink their prices if they want to sell a newish game.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

LOL...what a joke. Gamer's are going to game. It's a huge part of every society's recreational habits now - it's part of modern day culture. They may whine and cry about a scenario that may or may not happen in some worthless poll, especially when they're used to it now. But you're trying to tell me that people are going to stop gaming because they can't buy/sell used games? Yeah right - let's see how that 60% does when the next Madden, Halo, Elder Scrolls, Grand Theft Auto or CoD or comes out.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Only if cheap enough...like $25-$30 ... and games for $10-$15....otherwise I put the money into my PC.

1 person liked this | dennis777 dennis777 said:

Its not all about selling game, its also about sharing a game with a friend. Console dont have demo disk for new games unlike the PC. I wish they stop applying Business Concepts for PC games to Console.

Console use to be "PURE GAMING ONLY"

Rippleman Rippleman said:

With the math I am using, gamestop and other stores like them are 100% leeching profits from game developers. Not sure how many times a typical average games gets bought and sold, but guessing 3 times? So that's 1 sale for the developer, 2 sales for gamestop. Not really fair I don't think.

1 person liked this | TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

Same here. There is no way I will purchase this new console if it blocks second hand games, not a chance.

I am in control whether I decide to purchase a new console and if I have a problem in regards to not being able to purchase and use second hand games then tough luck to Microsoft & Sony if they decide this will be the case. It will be their loss not mine.

I really can't imagine that they will block this second hand game scenario as it's just nuts on their part but if they do then bye bye consoles, back to PC gaming it will be.

3 people like this | psycros psycros said:

Cool, maybe this will finally kill consoles and we can start seeing games that take full advantage of the PC again.

Seventh Reign Seventh Reign said:

Bye Bye GameFly and their idiotic commercials.

4 people like this | Tiberath Tiberath said:

With the math I am using, gamestop and other stores like them are 100% leeching profits from game developers. Not sure how many times a typical average games gets bought and sold, but guessing 3 times? So that's 1 sale for the developer, 2 sales for gamestop. Not really fair I don't think.

How much do you give to your car manufacturer when you sell it used?

Rippleman Rippleman said:

How much do you give to your car manufacturer when you sell it used?

I see the comparison but their entire industry is built selling that one one model... and profit is factored in for that. Think of games like software in the sense of a license per user.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I only buy NEW games, so I guess I dont care except for the fact that I cant giv my brother or friend to play on his console...money hungry animals! I hope they pirate the system to death!

misor misor said:

I wouldn't bet on the"unofficial" poll results.

once the latest generation of consoles are out in the market and the supposed improvement in graphics rendering are affirmed, gamers will flock to buy the consoles and the accompanying gaming titles.

for the gaming industry, low fee subscription (10-20$/game/year or 100$/all games/year) is the way to go.

no more issues of governments interfering in the "used games business"

Lurker101 said:

Well I currently have no plans to buy a console that blocks used games. It's thanks to the used game market that I've had some of the most fun on a console. When it comes to games that cost £40-£60, you're only going got buy the stuff you're completely sure you'll enjoy. You might not always be right and when you're not, the buyers remorse is pretty bad.

If a game's only gonna set you back something like £10, you're more willing to take a risk, and your initial expectations are going to be set so high. Chances are, you'll either like the game or not be too bitterly upset by your purchase.

I know it sounds silly, but I've enjoyed a much greater range of games than I would've without the second hand market.

misor misor said:

With the math I am using, gamestop and other stores like them are 100% leeching profits from game developers. Not sure how many times a typical average games gets bought and sold, but guessing 3 times? So that's 1 sale for the developer, 2 sales for gamestop. Not really fair I don't think.

How much do you give to your car manufacturer when you sell it used?

...nice idea there.

cd keys are supposed to be bound to the gaming cd/dvd title bought so anyone can buy/sell their games.

however, I have no idea how to manage (or sell) gaming titles bought through download.

Scshadow said:

With the math I am using, gamestop and other stores like them are 100% leeching profits from game developers. Not sure how many times a typical average games gets bought and sold, but guessing 3 times? So that's 1 sale for the developer, 2 sales for gamestop. Not really fair I don't think.

How much do you give to your car manufacturer when you sell it used?

You've got to be kidding right? You are mostly paying a car company for the manufacturing of the product itself with a profit margin that includes taking care of design and other overhead. Once the car is bought, the company has been paid off for their services. Why the hell would they need to be paid again? Software on the other hand is a completely opposite dynamic. You aren't paying $60 for the production of the disk, you are mostly paying $60 for the development of the software stored on the disk. But that game didn't take $60 to develop, thats just your share of the development cost. The only way to fund software is to share the development cost between all users. But when gamestop resells a game who is paying that share to the developers? No wonder they charge $60.

I still have issues with the video game industry price fixing the $60 price point but it can't be easy to deal with the issue of getting paid properly for your work in the software industry. What the game industry really needs to do is block the sale of used games and half the prices of games. Will they? Probably not. I'm not holding my breath. They are inherently greedy. But if they recover their costs quickly maybe they'll be more willing to reduce prices quicker.

1 person liked this | penn919 said:

LOL...what a joke. Gamer's are going to game. It's a huge part of every society's recreational habits now - it's part of modern day culture. They may whine and cry about a scenario that may or may not happen in some worthless poll, especially when they're used to it now. But you're trying to tell me that people are going to stop gaming because they can't buy/sell used games? Yeah right - let's see how that 60% does when the next Madden, Halo, Elder Scrolls, Grand Theft Auto or CoD or comes out.

I don't know about 60% , but the ones who can't afford to shell out $60 a pop won't have a choice but to change their habits. When I was a teen, my parents sure as hell didn't buy me video games. I had to buy them with my own money and I basically lived off used/borrowed games. Had I been forced to pay $60 a game I'm almost certain it would have pushed me away. Games are great, but I had a tank to fill.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

I can't believe I'm saying this, but for once, I'm on Gamestop's side...or rather, they're on my side. Maybe not for the same reasons, strange bedfellows, etc.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I'd be first to not buy any new console because of nothing grabbing my attention... but then again, I've recently started playing some older PS1 games on my PS2 (since my PS3 can't play them) and a lot of those games were bought as "greatest hits" or used.

I will admit though that a HUGE reason to buying the Wii was because of backwards compatibility with Gamecube. That was absolutely important for me back in '06/'07.

Guest said:

I'm sure the author means that the results are probably biased towards GameStop because they would stand to gain from fixing those poll numbers a little.

I wouldn't really say GameStop has any moral high ground. They take recently released games that are barely used and take off like $5. So they sell them at pretty much retail, but just enough under were people will buy them. I wouldn't call that moral.

LukeDJ LukeDJ said:

If consoles aren't going to play used games, they had better lower their prices. I don't mind not having second hand game son the PC, because they are so much cheaper (and better!).

Guest said:

I don't see why people are so up-in-arms about this. PC's have been doing this for a very long time, and they have no issue with it. Steam is by far the best way to get old games and they constantly have them dirt cheap. I myself would absolutely love to get a Steam-like program on consoles, because then used games would be much more reasonably priced than the current system of paying $5 less for a used copy of a game that has been out for over a year. Here's looking at you Bad Guy GameStop.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

If I owned a console & upgraded it to the newer gen & it didn't play the games I already had in my collection I wouldn't touch it. That being said, I wouldn't buy any gaming console anyway so I'm pretty indifferent. Playing used games in the PC world has been a no-no for years now & it doesn't bother me.

Guest said:

Eliminating the used game market will mostly affect low income earners and also have a detrimental effect on the environment due to any said disk's ability to be recycled either as a sold item or hand me down.

Guest said:

Hell no I wouldn't buy a game console that won't play used games. If I already bought the game, why should I have to pay for the game again if a console maker offers it? Microsoft, Sony, and a few of the game makers are turning game playing into a big ripoff. It's one thing to stop piracy, it's another thing to expect the customer to pay for the same thing more than once.

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Eliminating the used game market will mostly affect low income earners and also have a detrimental effect on the environment due to any said disk's ability to be recycled either as a sold item or hand me down.

Do you really think console makers care about the low income earner? As long as they make astronomical profits, can own mansions, condo's, fancy cars, designer clothes & sparkly jewellery who cares about them. Their motto is "We'll milk the suckers for all they're worth". The fancy term is 'consumerism".

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So, here's a question to ponder... Wonder how many of that "60% of customers" polled would buy a new gen console if rentals were blocked, but all titles were half the price?

In theory, blockage of rentals should be a huge boost in licensing fees that the console manufacturers will be receiving, and a dramatic increase in potential profits for the developers... If they put that money back into the ecosystem and made games much more affordable, it might be interesting. But, you can pretty much guarantee the prices would remain high and the console companies would just be stuffing all that extra money in their pockets.

Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

60 percent? I'm sure that once console gamers really know the details, that number would increase to somewhere around 90 percent.... because I'm guessing about 98 percent of gamers have played used games, either by borrowing from a friend or rental.

1 person liked this | m4a4 m4a4 said:

I don't know about you, but some of my favorite games I bought used because they are from my childhood. And I still buy the occasional used game (or rent the occasional game) so I know that I am 100% opposed.

So as I have said before (even if this is biased or not), the new consoles will not block used games. ~60% of gamers is a lot of people, and the companies know that their consoles will not be successful if they do this.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

Disclosure that used games may be blocked should be mandatory, and in red bold letters, when you buy both a used console, and/or a used game. People should be prevented from going home with their newly acquired goods only to find out they've been owned by [insert your brand here].

CDWhenry CDWhenry said:

I have three kids, I have always bought used games, since I don't have the 59.99 or 69.99 dollars to through around on a new game, I will wait six months a buy a used copy, If the new game systems are going to block used games, Then my kids will have to learn to play on the PC.

Guest said:

If they go ahead with eliminating used games from consoles, it's also going to kill the 'Try before you buy' market. alot of video rental stores rent console games.

Ma_ga said:

The console is going to sell, no matter what the poll say, when they see that both consoles have this "feature", People will bend over, and so apply jelly and "enjoy the ride" like always.

cmbjive said:

With the math I am using, gamestop and other stores like them are 100% leeching profits from game developers. Not sure how many times a typical average games gets bought and sold, but guessing 3 times? So that's 1 sale for the developer, 2 sales for gamestop. Not really fair I don't think.

How much do you give to your car manufacturer when you sell it used?

You've got to be kidding right? You are mostly paying a car company for the manufacturing of the product itself with a profit margin that includes taking care of design and other overhead. Once the car is bought, the company has been paid off for their services. Why the hell would they need to be paid again? Software on the other hand is a completely opposite dynamic. You aren't paying $60 for the production of the disk, you are mostly paying $60 for the development of the software stored on the disk. But that game didn't take $60 to develop, thats just your share of the development cost. The only way to fund software is to share the development cost between all users. But when gamestop resells a game who is paying that share to the developers? No wonder they charge $60.

I still have issues with the video game industry price fixing the $60 price point but it can't be easy to deal with the issue of getting paid properly for your work in the software industry. What the game industry really needs to do is block the sale of used games and half the prices of games. Will they? Probably not. I'm not holding my breath. They are inherently greedy. But if they recover their costs quickly maybe they'll be more willing to reduce prices quicker.

I believe you missed the point of the other respondent's post.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

With the math I am using, gamestop and other stores like them are 100% leeching profits from game developers. Not sure how many times a typical average games gets bought and sold, but guessing 3 times? So that's 1 sale for the developer, 2 sales for gamestop. Not really fair I don't think.

In WA if you buy a motorcycle the state gets 9% (approx sales tax), and if you sell the motorcycle later on the state gets 9% again. Life's not fair. Why should a hammer be treated differently from a piece of software when it comes to resell rights? Nobody thinks it's wrong the hammer manufacturer doesn't get a slice when a used hammer is sold/bought a second, third, fourth time and so on, but man, do we ever make a big deal out of exactly the same thing if it's software what's being sold/bought. If I buy a hammer the hammer's mine, if I buy a piece of software (a game for instance) that piece of software's mine, and if mechanisms are in place to sort of prevent me from really owning something even after paying for it, then I'm not f'n buying their krap.

Cota Cota said:

They will buy it and will buy the new games, such a waste of time to discuss this, after all most of gamers that use console wouldn't understand the PC gaming or would like it.

JC713 JC713 said:

I go into Gamestop to see if there is an old-school game that I don't have in my collection. I don't go there to buy a game that came out in the last 60 days. Why would I pay $54.99 for the used version of Far Cry 3 when I could buy the new copy for $59.99? Or the used copy of NHL 14 for $54.99 with an online pass for an extra $10.00 when I can buy the game new with an online pass for $59.99? Gamestop needs to rethink their prices if they want to sell a newish game.

^this... my friend got a console and all he buys is used games because he doesnt want to spend much on games. This is probably true with others also so this decision will stink. but I guess someone has to do it since in the future there will be no such things as CDs and DVDs and therefore no more "used".

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

I'd be first to not buy any new console because of nothing grabbing my attention... but then again, I've recently started playing some older PS1 games on my PS2 (since my PS3 can't play them) and a lot of those games were bought as "greatest hits" or used.

I will admit though that a HUGE reason to buying the Wii was because of backwards compatibility with Gamecube. That was absolutely important for me back in '06/'07.

You sure? The latest ps3 models I've tried all play ps1 games. I've seen it posted in a lot of places that newer models can play ps1 games but not ps2.

Rippleman Rippleman said:

In WA if you buy a motorcycle the state gets 9% (approx sales tax), and if you sell the motorcycle later on the state gets 9% again. Life's not fair. Why should a hammer be treated differently from a piece of software when it comes to resell rights? Nobody thinks it's wrong the hammer manufacturer doesn't get a slice when a used hammer is sold/bought a second, third, fourth time and so on, but man, do we ever make a big deal out of exactly the same thing if it's software what's being sold/bought. If I buy a hammer the hammer's mine, if I buy a piece of software (a game for instance) that piece of software's mine, and if mechanisms are in place to sort of prevent me from really owning something even after paying for it, then I'm not f'n buying their krap.

As is it stands right now, yes, you are correct. As soon as this concept goes to market, the ULA will be updated to deal with your "purchase" and you will no longer own it but license it.

madboyv1, TechSpot Paladin, said:

You sure? The latest ps3 models I've tried all play ps1 games. I've seen it posted in a lot of places that newer models can play ps1 games but not ps2.

Holy crap, you're right. I just checked it with Crash Banticoot 2. I still have a number of PS2 games I put time into now and then so my position doesn't change much, but many thanks for the information. =)

Since they're halting production of PS2s in most countries they should totally put out a firmware update to add back PS2 playback in software emulation mode, just so they can say they did it "for the fans." Considering their recent track record, they could use some more player support. Plus it could open up people to buying PS2 games from the playstation store. Sounds like a win-win to me, even if the emulation is far from perfect.

Duckula22 Duckula22 said:

As is it stands right now, yes, you are correct. As soon as this concept goes to market, the ULA will be updated to deal with your "purchase" and you will no longer own it but license it.

I reserve the right to apply patches and cracks that give me back my rights, regardless of what them manufacturers may want to impose on us. For instance, only now that I know that the latest iOS has been jailbroken, only now I would dare to buy a device with iOS, now that I know I can make it truly mine, despite of what Apple may want. Same goes for SONY's stuff, I'd much rather wait until someone cracks the krap out of all DRM and lock-ins, etc.., all the baddies.

AdamantianGilga AdamantianGilga said:

LOL...what a joke. Gamer's are going to game. It's a huge part of every society's recreational habits now - it's part of modern day culture. They may whine and cry about a scenario that may or may not happen in some worthless poll, especially when they're used to it now. But you're trying to tell me that people are going to stop gaming because they can't buy/sell used games? Yeah right - let's see how that 60% does when the next Madden, Halo, Elder Scrolls, Grand Theft Auto or CoD or comes out.

You are not thinking what if you buy the game for someone or you buy the game to check out how it plays you do and now you are completely screwed now you cannot return as the game is now dead and also some cannot buy the game at that time and the game sells out and no more is shipped they can bye off the net but have to pay shipping which makes it cost more or someone learns about the game from a friend and finds out it is a couple years old and they cannot buy the game except from the internet and the ones selling it jack up the prices making you have to pay more! Most games play a new game and sell it off when they are done to get back money to buy another new game take that away and games for that system will drop as no one wants to drop 60 dollars into a game that ends!

AdamantianGilga AdamantianGilga said:

One thing to remember when the PS3 came out how many people complained as they had games from the PS2 that they played over and over again but the PS2 died out and no new ones could be gotten but only used and they were sometimes not play the game! I had a PS2 and a game had a glitch point and would lock up I got 4 or 5 of the same game and still messed up there I tried to get a new PS2 but none where to buy here and so I am screwed there as the PS3 will not play the PS2 but I have found out they will play PS1 games and I am happy about that! Another thing is your game system gets damaged or something kills it and you buy a new one and already a lot of money gone but all the games you had is now used and cannot be played some finished and want to play again others are not you would have to hunt to buy all the games you had and that would be thousands of dollars gone also what if you buy the game for someone or you buy the game to check out how it plays you do and now you are completely screwed now you cannot return as the game is now dead and also some cannot buy the game at that time and the game sells out and no more is shipped they can bye off the net but have to pay shipping which makes it cost more or someone learns about the game from a friend and finds out it is a couple years old and they cannot buy the game except from the internet and the ones selling it jack up the prices making you have to pay more! Most games play a new game and sell it off when they are done to get back money to buy another new game take that away and games for that system will drop as no one wants to drop 60 dollars into a game that ends!

DriverJ said:

I wouldn't consider purchasing a console I could only use downloadable games or be blocked from playing used games. I have no issue buying pre-owned games at all. I would say about 50% of my game purchases are pre-owned. I shop carefully and only purchase discs that are in good condition. It's a great way to find a game I may have missed earlier on or felt wasn't a $60 title and waited until the pre-owned price was in a more reasonable bracket.

If MS and Sony block pre-owned games on the coming generation I guess I'll stick to the games I have on my current systems or go back to PC gaming.

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