September 2005

Best Buy and… used games?

September 30, 2005

The used game market has long been dominated by EB and Gamestop who are now owned wholly by Gamestop. Blockbuster’s entry into the market with their Gamerush stores has been successful. The markup on used games versus new games is a huge reason that these companies turn profits in the areas of gaming. With that said, they could have an 800 lb gorilla of a competitor on the horizon. Best Buy is currently running a 4 store pilot program of selling used games. It seems they are ready to get a piece of the pie in the used game arena. My latest Sound Off column addresses this very issue and will only serve to make things very interesting in the future. If retailers like Wal-Mart and Best Buy start selling used games and that drives the cost of new games up and irritates developers, how will that affect us consumers?

Source: [url=]CNN Money[/url]


September 30, 2005

[floatleft][/floatleft]It’s just a regular old day at Volks Lab. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and everybody’s just dandy. Oh yeah, there is also the business of a spirit running amok, inhabiting everything in sight and leaving destruction in its wake. It’s a good thing that spirit is you. Welcome to Nintendo/N-Space’s new first-person-something for the GameCube: [i]Geist[/i]. A tale of intrigue, conspiracy, death, and just a little bit of voyeurism.

Early previews of this game left many lost as to what exactly it was. Is it a first-person shooter? Is it an adventure game? What’s with the frame rate? These questions now have really good answers. Much like [i]Metroid Prime[/i], [i]Geist[/i] is played from the first-person perspective where you shoot thingsA


September 29, 2005

Episode 10 (damn we have done ten already) will be recorded on Friday, and since it’s the tenth we will be taking a 2 week break from the podcast. However this time when we come back we will have new formating and hopefully a new show for you guys too. The crew is still brainstorming how to come back with a bang, but dont you kids worry, we WILL be back. Either way get those emails pouring in, and keep them clean (WAMPA I’m looking in your direction).

We are okay

September 26, 2005

In case anyone was worried about us, we were spared any type of weather change due to Hurricane Rita this weekend. In fact, we hit 105 on Sunday. Sounds pleasant doesn’t it?

I made some minor changes to the grey column to the left of this post on the front page. Just some minor tweaks and layout changes really. I also published the newest podcast for your entertainment as well as some new content that you might find enjoyable.

The shindig in NYC with Miyamoto was apparently a success with well over 2,000 people showing up to meet him. There are some cool pictures over at [url=]PA[/url] and GAF.

This week is not nearly as action packed in the release department as last week, but there are a few gems in there. Evil Avatar has a full [url=]list[/url].

This particular feature actually started out as a news post on the front page of Snackbar Games, but I later decided that I didn’t want a single news item taking up the entire front-page real estate for most of our readers.

Recently, Evil Avatar posted a [url=]link[/url] to an [url=]interview[/url] on Computer and Video Games with Mark Rein from Epic Games. The interview got on the topic of why Mark thinks pre-owned games from stores like EB and GameStop are hurting our industry. At first glance, I agreed with Mark and felt like he had a valid point. It wasn’t until my ride back to work today that I realized Mark had apparently lost his mind.

The reasons Mark cites include the fact that EB and GameStop typically try to sell used copies of games over new copies. While this is true sometimes, ultimately the consumers will make up their own minds before purchasing either copy. Retail stores do have a much higher profit margin on the used copy versus the new copy, but last time I checked, the consumers are not interested in the stores’ profits as much as they are in their own bottom lines. I also realize the developer and publisher make money on the new copy of the game, and while that does matter in the grand scheme of things, consumers, again, are probably not that concerned.

Mark went on to say that EB and GameStop should share the revenue from these pre-owned games in some sort of neato marketing partnership. He actually alluded to an official refurbished game policy. Right. The fact is that the games utilize server resources and sometimes even tech support. They cause activation and registration problems which might otherwise not occur. The interview states: “It costs us money. Those customers think they paid for it, and they’re entitled to support. The reality is, we didn’t get paid. They didn’t pay us.” Well, the reality is that you [i]DID[/i] in fact get paid, Mark. You got paid the first time the game was sold. This isn’t an issue of people pirating copies of your game and reselling them. This is a case of one customer transferring possession of a game to another customer. There are no additional copies being produced. You are simply being asked to support a product you originally manufactured and sold. Should we send you a check anytime we give a game to a friend for good? Would $20 do it?

An Evil Avatar member brought up an analogy that paralleled this to Ford getting paid when someone resells their car. Why should the manufacturer be compensated multiple times on the same product without doing any additional work? Are they somehow entitled to retain permanent ownership?

While many people loathe what Valve has done with Steam, it really solves the issue of reselling games because Valve charges $10 for the new owner to re-register the game. They came up with a way to get a piece of the pie on resale copies.

To be fair, Mark went on to talk about wanting game prices down around the prices of DVD movies, which I would love but we all know won’t ever happen. Mark Rein and Epic are looking toward the future and hoping for huge growth in the industry, but I think the idea of publishers and developers getting to double-dip on profits is the wrong way to stimulate that growth.