Pre-Owned Worse Than Piracy

alphadog 101 Jan 26, 2012 at 16:48

Is pre-owned something to be feared for indies/small studios? Discuss. :)

7 Replies

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Vilem_Otte 117 Jan 26, 2012 at 17:00

I definitely don’t think it is something the indie/small studios should fear. In my opinion large companies should fear a lot more (as they lose lots of money in this process, and I personally don’t think whether it is fully legal in our country).

fireside 141 Jan 26, 2012 at 17:44

That just calls into question the whole definition of software ownership. What is it? I don’t really know. In the end, companies are going to try to maximize profits. If that means allowing some piracy, they will do it. If it means not allowing any piracy, if that’s actually possible, they will do it. We’re kind of in a new business model right now and haven’t really established rules that work very well. I think it’s heading toward a Steam type deal, myself. You sort of own it in the cloud, but you can’t lend it or resell. I think we’re coming to the end of boxed games. I would say 5 years from now, they will start to be considered antiques.

tyree 102 Jan 27, 2012 at 05:01

to fireside, bill gates was saying that after the first xbox came out. hard copies wont be around much longer. really the only problem with used is the people who make the game. dont get a portion of the resell. if the creators recieved any portion, even a small percent. it wouldnt be an issue.

its reasonable to say the cost of the game may not be as high also. if resell was bringing in income. until that happens, creators should consider renting thier games out. and not just selling them

but you can look at it like this. if you came out with an electric car that could drive for a year off a 1 day charge. its bought and someone decides to rent it out to the general public. the person that made the car wont see any portion of that money.

if you want to keep explicit ownership over something you cant sell it. you can rent it out but not sell

alphadog 101 Jan 27, 2012 at 13:41

The problem with the car analogy is that the object is very physical versus the ephemeral nature of digital things. I

Also, if the game should be treated like a car, then theft is back on the table for the “piracy is infringement, not theft” camp.

TheNut 179 Jan 27, 2012 at 14:49

I don’t think indies and small studios have any need to fear about preowned or not. Most of the successful indies I know distribute on the Steam network, which already enforces a 1:1 ownership of the purchase. People complained at first, but with Steam’s success and ability to offer games at unbelievably low prices have pretty much put an end to that argument. Indies also have one significant advantage larger studios don’t, and that’s budget costs. A two man team fresh out of university can build a million dollar product and it only costs them time. A large game studio on the other hand has a lot of mouths to feed. An indie developer would be more accepting of piracy or second hand gaming since they still walk out in the black. Large population + $1 each = profit (remember the penny scam?).

Ultimately everyone will have to embrace a digital distribution system which comes with strict ownership rules. The Black Friday videos that surfaced from last year clearly show why it’s a bad thing to continue retailing games.

tyree 102 Jan 28, 2012 at 08:52

alphadog I dont know how you drew the line from used game to theft. but letting the user rent or lease the game. tells the user you dont own it. your only borrowing it. once you have that established, people tend to think a little differently about what they can and cant do

and its true no one is making large studios hire 20+ people and spend 2+ years making a game. but its the risk many want to take. it really is only a problem for large studios that relase hard copies. some have said because of the size of games. that may be a reason for hard copies to stick around. for large companies that may be the reality. but smaller companies its not an issue

Stainless 151 Jan 28, 2012 at 09:56


Preventing piracy is impossible. I worked for a company called Freeloader who bought publishing rites for games that were about 1 year old.
I was given a copy of the game (usually from HMV) and had to remove the anti-piracy code, split the game into downloadable modules, insert our own code, then upload it to the website.

It took me between 5 minutes and 5 days to remove the copy protection depending on how seriously the coders took the problem.

Interestingly the companies that went for a commercial anti-piracy system were the easiest to hack. Once you had worked out how the system worked on one game, you could use the same principles on the next.

On the resale issue, I think if developers wrote better games, there wouldn’t be an issue with resale. If the game was good enough, you would want to hold onto your disk, not part exchange it on the next game.