Has Buying New Games Become Charity??? - mbellacio Blog - www.GameInformer.com
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Has Buying New Games Become Charity???

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So it seems that there is a sizable chunk of the development community, and even gamers, who believe that used games represent an absolute threat to the continued health of the game industry. Even though every used game purchased is the direct result of an initial first sale, developers argue that a used game cheats them out of revenue that they are rightfully due.

Whenever I hear developers whine about how used games rob them of money that they are due, I think of a scene from a 1980's movie with Michael Douglas called Falling Down. In the movie, a beggar approaches Michael Douglas and asks him for money. Douglas' character, William Foster refuses. The beggar of course becomes upset and starts to accuse Foster of holding out on him, to which Foster replies that he is not obligated to give the beggar money. The beggar becomes even more indignant and starts cursing at Foster, even trying to take his briefcase in the hopes that it might contain something of value. Foster gives the beggar the briefcase which only contains a sandwich in plastic wrap. The beggar, outraged at coming up empty-handed, curses at Foster and continues a wild tirade over how cheap Foster is. Sound familiar?

http://www.impawards.com/1993/posters/falling_down.jpg

Try watching this movie, and then see if you still think developers deserve all of your money.

 

I'll give you another example.

I live in an area where there are a series of small to medium sized communities. Some are wealthy and affluent. Some are poor and depressed. Most fall squarely in the middle. Anyways, many years ago certain city officials in a local wealthy community began to realize that many of it's citizens were leaving town to do a great deal of their shopping. Even if the cost of gas was a concern, many people were opting to drive anywhere between 50 to 200 miles to shop in other areas. The reason for that behavior being that the difference in prices and bargains was great enough to make the driving worthwhile, even with the price of gas being what it was.

At any rate, the city began a marketing campaign encouraging people to shop local stores and "support the community". The campaign also carried the lightly veiled implication that not supporting local businesses could have a detrimental effect on not only local business, but the general welfare of the city itself.

It was the same sort of argument that you hear when people try to demonize big chain stores like Walmart and say that they are killing small business. And I'll even be fair enough to acknowledge that Walmart is definitely brutal with it's competitive tendencies. I doubt that there are many retailers who can go toe to toe with Walmart in an all out price war. But there is one crucial point that is always missing from this argument. Business is a two-way street.

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Is this what you want? Some developers act like they do.

 

In any given business, someone is out to make money, and someone will be parting with their money in exchange for desired goods or services. It's a MUTUALLY beneficial transaction. So when I hear someone say "support small business, local businesses, or support your developer", I always think, "Okay, and how are you going to support ME? What are you gong to do for me? How do I benefit from this arrangement?"

You see... it can't be all one way or another. There has to be a balance. Both parties in the transaction have to come out of it feeling satisfied, otherwise nothing will work. That's not only how economics work, that's how HUMAN NATURE works as well.

That town that I mentioned that wanted people to shop locally? They had a bad habit of outright blocking certain discount retailers and chains from setting up shop in their municipality. As a result, most stores in the area were highly priced, and only minimally competitive with one another, because there was no incentive to compete. That's what you call price-fixing, and it just happens to be illegal whenever authorities discover enough proof of it.

Anyways, in response to the high prices, people did what people do. They went elsewhere. And for that, they had become the bad guy. "Oh how dare you shop elsewhere just to save a couple measly dollars!!! You're such a cheap skate! What's wrong with you??? You know you can afford to pay more." Yeah.

And so arises a question. Yes. Yes, you could pay more. But should you have to? Does someone have the right to compel you to pay a higher price than what you are comfortable with spending? It's a question that every consumer/gamer needs to ask themselves the next time they hear someone in the development community crying about the supposed evil that is used games.

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Amen.

 

Here's a simple truth. Some businesses succeed, many fail. The US government gives the average business 7 years to succeed and prove it's viability, during which it is eligible for assistance/support. After that, the purse strings are cut, and the business is on it's own. In the case of major corporations, we've seen the government bail out auto companies, insurance providers, investment banks, and so on. But in the end, when a company fails, it fails. And shedding tears and pointing fingers over who is to blame, or even blaming consumers, is absolutely juvenile.

For everyone of you out there in the GIO community, I'd like you to consider something. Most of us, have jobs. If not that, then we have other responsibilities that place demands on our time and resources. If by circumstance, we should prove unable to meet those obligations, is anyone else to blame? It's true, everyone falls down and needs help at times. And I am a firm believer in asking for help when you need it. But that's the catch. That cry for help is always A REQUEST, not a demand. Charity and entitlement do not mix well.  What's more, when you're talking about a business entity, should the concept of charity apply when considering that business' long-term viability?

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Let developers tell it, every time you buy a jalopy from a place like this, you're screwing every car company ON THE PLANET!

 

I find it ironic that so many developers want to try and dictate the terms and the price at which customers should be paying, but those same people will make scornful remarks about Kickstarter projects and the Indie development community. It's as though many in game development have been seduced by some bourgeois like state of mind where scoff at the proletarian masses and say, "Let them eat cake!" And if you have no idea what I'm talking about, well... just read A Tale Of Two Cities.

Recently, the news was awash with speculation that retail chain J.C. Penny might face liquidation. Now I fondly remember shopping at J.C. Penny as a kid. I loved their stuff. But guess what? If they had ended up closing up shop, I would not have lost any sleep. It would have been unfortunate, and I would have felt bad for anyone working there, but it is also LIFE.

Making or creating video games or the machines that play them IS NOT charity. No developer is entitled to reach in my pocket, or yours, and DEMAND that I give them whatever amount they so desire. When the day comes that they can do that, I might as well move to China and live in a country where at least they are honest about practicing communism. Nuff' said.

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