I'm not getting the time I want to be as active on the blog, but I still find time to browse forums and occasionally post; here is my latest in respone to Scott Miller on downloadable content and pre-owned games:
I don't know how US law stacks up, but this is a decent article for the European perspective.
I'm a developer and a gamer; my opinion is that resale should stay. I'm afraid your comments sound like the familar script, Scott. Its a script that doesn't quite stand up to scrutiny.
Take the pricepoint issue: Xbox360 games sell at £49.99 ... thats $92 dollars at current exchange rates. Consider than on average Xbox360 games are being developed for £5 million to £10 million; now consider that key titles for Sega Dreamcast, Playstation 2 and Xbox were developed for between £2 million and £8 million but sold at £35.99. How can the industry justify costing £15.00 more for a 360 game created with the same team size and in the same development time? Something is awry.
What about the book anology? Well, books are a fixed format ... paper and ink. Videogames however have no such plateu in sight. The five year console cycle is what hurts the industry. The five year cycle is what stunts creativity as we attempt to grasp the technology and what it can offer; and when we do, it moves. Game Design has failed to mature becuase of the agressive attitude toward new hardware that a consumer neither demands or needs. While PC's delivered beautifully realised environments, the PS2, with its inferior graphics laid waste to the PC market. The PS2 was also one of the most innovative carriers of content.
Lost revenue: Look at the facts of the story and its the publishers who rallied the cry. Its their bottom line that is hurt. Developers already suffer at the hands of the publisher. The resell market is a scapegoat for a lack of strategic planning and greed. The publisher continues to establish ridiculous recoupment clauses in contract which sees them turn profit long before the developer. The publisher has consistently fails to do its homework and invests in market saturation, why? Greed. They want a slice and will invest in inferior product which fails to establish an IP. An IP they own, why? Greed. The publishers consent to release products in two key windows > November through December and March through to May. Products get lost; marketing spend gets contralised and tens of games fail to make a profit. What digital distribution allows is a developer to become a quasi publisher. You also lose brand presence with Digital Distribution is among one of the highest consumers of video games ... parents.
And to messsage to gamers that they are the 'real' losers is wh
nothing more than patronising. Consumers are aware; they want quality
product at a reasonable price. They want flexibility at retail; hence
the download market co-existing with the retail market and hence the
demand for pre-owned games.
As developers, our core responsibility is to deliver an experience a consumer would not want to relinquish ; like the books you move house with, the films you re-buy on DVD. We clearly need to make better games more consistently than we are now.