The games industry does not like the used-games industry.

The used-games industry quite likes the games industry, but likes selling games it got for nearly nothing at a high profit more, and often points to the fact that the car industry and the used car industry are fine.

The used car industry doesn’t kill the new car industry, partly because cars degrade, so people want used cars less. But also, because they *all* degrade, and while a car manufacturer won’t get a penny from the sale of a used car, they do get a steady income from people buying parts for one. In fact, there is a trend towards custom components and apple-style sealed engine units so that not only do mechanics have to get the parts per car, they also have to be specially trained in how to repair each new model.

You could argue that DLC fills in this niche somehow, but until you require DLC to continue your game, I’m not sure it fits. The things that fit into that “must do this to use the software” hole would be patches.

So, by this logic, they sell the new games, don’t care about the used ones, and charge per patch. Or per league update (hello, EA Sports).

The argument usually boils down to “Used games mean the developer doesn’t get paid” vs “New games are too expensive for me”. This is not a solvable argument because both sides are completely true, it depends on whose side you stand on, and you won’t generally shift people across the line.

Personally, I stand on the no-used-games side of the line, not because of any copyright issues, but simply because if games producers aren’t getting money for selling games, something is wrong.

So, as as a thesis: game producers should get some money out of used games sales.

How should that happen?

Below the producers, there are three transactions. The producer sells to the distributor, the distributor to the store, the store to the customer.

A used game sale is between the store and the customer, the distributor has done their job, and so isn’t on the hook here. This leaves three people to possibly give the producer money for a used game sale: Producer (zero sum game), the store or the customer.

Currently, the producer is attempting to get it out of the customer by one-time DLC charges (Project $10) that don’t negate the game entirely, but do provide an incentive to buy it new (and, by the side, a disincentive to buy it used. Most games multiplayer community doesn’t last long enough for the used discount to be more than $10, so used game + multiplayer >= new game inc. multiplayer.)

Other ways they could do this would be with a non-transferable code that gives you a permanent 30% off all DLC and downloads for that game. So there’s nothing in the box you that changes between free and used, but the new buyer has an incentive to be so apart from the aesthetic “Shiny clear film to open” reason.

The second option would be to charge the store, the producer to get a cut of every second hand game sale. This would enable the publisher to track used sales (and possibly prove to each other that game prices *really are* too expensive). On the plus side, this takes the cost out of the consumer and means the evil corporations don’t make as good a profit from selling second hand items, but on the minus side it’s completely illegal in most places due to the aforementioned legal rights to resale, which mean that the store is under no obligation to enter into such an agreement, cannot be contracted to do so, and therefore won’t.