New Resident Evil Title Allows Just One Save--Ever

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News Posted: Mon, Jun 27 2011 9:36 PM
When it comes to video game sales, there's no love lost between game publishers and game retailers--particularly GameStop. Nearly half (48.1 percent) of GameStop's profits come from sales of used games. The company's entire business model is built around the acquisition and sale of previously owned games.

Such sales are pure profit to the company. GameStop has never released an estimate of how often the same copy of a game passes through a store, but the combination of a popular title and good location could easily lead to multiple resales.

Game publishers hate the fact that they're completely cut off from this revenue stream; a member of Lionhead Studios made headlines last May when he declared used game sales cause more financial damage than game piracy. This is arguably true, provided we assume that people who steal games wouldn't have bought them if the free copy wasn't available. Those who buy used games are demonstrating a willingness to pay for a product--but the people who created it aren't being compensated. It should also be noted that the majority of game publishers and studios don't seem to be against the inherent existence and resale of used games--their gripe is that they have no share of the proceeds.  



Here's where Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D ties in. The new 3DS title, according to Capcom, has a unique 'feature:' It can't be reset. How much this matters depends on what sort of game features the player cares about. "The Mercenaries" title refers to stand-alone arcade-style mini-missions that can be completed for time, high scores, or achievements. There's no campaign as such, which means gamers who pick the title up second-hand aren't technically missing out on anything. The minigames themselves originally shipped with RE4 and RE5.

When Eurogamer asked Capcom to explain why the company had chosen to damage the game's resale value, the company responded: "The game's value at second-hand in the UK is not affected by whether or not the game can have its data reset. Customers in the UK will not experience a reduced second-hand value should they wish to trade in their purchase."


We call bullsquid.

This is precisely what it looks like:  Capcom is testing the waters to see what the blowback will be and to what degree their decision will have on the game's primary and secondary sales. The company's frustration is absolutely understandable, but its attempt to limit the game's resale value will hit Resident Evil enthusiasts first, GameStop second. Maybe game developers and publishers deserve a share of used game sales--but gamers shouldn't be the ones being punished.
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omegadraco replied on Mon, Jun 27 2011 10:24 PM

Personally I don't think this is right of the game companies to impose this type of limit. No good capcom don't punish the players and this may backfire on them because I know I personally would not buy the game on principle.

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Manduh replied on Mon, Jun 27 2011 10:59 PM

When did it stop being about providing enjoyment for your consumers/customers? Or was it ever about that?? Obviously not with this company.

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coolice replied on Mon, Jun 27 2011 11:41 PM

wtf... if this happens, then EVERY company would be allowed to do this:

example: Ford says you cant sell their car once you've bought it...

I might as well just rent games then, lets see how much that hurts the industry. For example, whenver i buy a Brand new game and finish it within 2 months, i sell it only to buy something else. I bought Portal 2 for the 360 about three weeks ago, played it, Finished it (Great game by the way!) and sold it yesterday for $38 to the next person who wants to play. Cost me ~$20 to play the game for 2 weeks... I could have just rented the game for two weeks, would have cost me the same.

Now i'm going to take that 38$, and invest in something else that comes in the near future.

PS I'm not a gamer... I enjoy the good stuff once in a while.... but i do appreciate the fact that I can sell my stuff.

How about make all these second hand stores pay a small premium on each sale they make?

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AKwyn replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 12:08 AM

I don't know... It doesn't seem like it's going to affect the person who just wants to play the games.

Maybe if they had an option to contact Capcom to get the reset code for a small fee, then it might make sense for those who care about the high scores, achievements, and other stuff.

If it doesn't affect the game then basically it's not as huge as a deal as they're making it out to be, though it's still low.

 

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"Its an intentional early cut-throat business move or cutting out the middle man move, however you may look at it, which you can also be compared to EA recent move that created Origin and cut ties with Steam. I don't like the idea of me investment in a game(or anything else) and then having its value reduced to pratically nothing when I take off the the plastic wrapping."

-Optimus

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AKwyn replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 9:13 AM

OptimusPrimeTime:
which you can also be compared to EA recent move that created Origin and cut ties with Steam.

I don't think that's exactly what happened. Crysis 2 was pulled off of Steam by Valve themselves due to their policies and EA and Valve still maintain a great relationship.

It's all in the interview below:

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/06/the-state-of-origin/

 

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jonation replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 11:12 AM

Haha "used games are destroying the market more that piracy"

Stop blaming everyone but yourself, you are failing to meet the right price point - so no one is buying. You are not providing value and a service, so you want yo force us to give up the value so you can get all the profits...

Remember when businesses used to embrace the market, instead of fighting it, every step of the way.

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RTietjens replied on Tue, Jun 28 2011 11:23 AM

As far as I am concerned, this is Capcom's way of saying, "Don't buy any more of our games, we're sick of having customers, just push off."

I will accommodate them. Capcom is now on my list of "never buy" vendors, along with Sony and Apple.

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Joel H replied on Wed, Jun 29 2011 5:10 AM

Jonation,

You've missed the point entirely. Say EA sells 10 million copies of Game X at $59.95 each. That's $600 million in gross sales. Let's simplify the math and assume that game retailers like GameStop and EA both have a 10% profit margin.

EA earns $60 million. GameStop earns $60 million. Except...GameStop buys back 4 million copies at an average of $15 each. It then resells those 4 milllion copies for $35.99.

Of those 4 million copies, it buys 2 million back for a second time at $10 each (time has passed--the game is now worth less). It sells those 2 million copies for $24.99.

Of the 2 million copies, it buys 375,000 back for $7.50 each. It then resells those 375,000 for $15.95.

Here's how the math breaks down:

+$60 million (Initial Profit)

-$60 million (cost of first buyback)

+$143.96 million (profit from first used sale)

-$20 million (cost of second buyback)

+$50 milion (profit from second used sale)

-$2.8 million (cost of third buyback)\

+5.6 milion (profit from third used sale)

Using these figures, GameStop ends up earning $176.76 million--nearly 3x what EA made--for doing nothing but offering bad deals. My hypothetical numbers should *not* be taken as indicative of actual results or margins, but they illustrate what has game developers frustrated. Ironically, this is a problem caused by the "market" you claim provides solutions.

Game developers aren't against used games. They're against being cut completely off from the revenue stream GameStop earns.

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