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Take-Two: Quality And Support Can Counter Used Games

Used video game sales are a gigantic market, one GameStop has counted on for billions of dollars in profit, and one in which most major retailers have dabbled.

But big game publishers have voiced their displeasure with the system; they're a little unhappy that they only see profits from one sale, while the retailer can turn around and sell it a hundred more times. And each time, they'll make about a 120% profit based on the trade-in rates and price tags of used games. So, publishers like EA and THQ (and soon, Ubisoft) have sought to combat the problem by discouraging the purchase of pre-owned games through one-time online unlock codes. But Take-Two chairman and soon-to-be CEO Strauss Zelnick doesn't believe in this approach. Quite simply, he says "it's irrelevant to be critical of the used-game marketplace" and that publishers need only produce titles consumers want to keep.

"You don't want to use a stick punishing users for buying used; you want to give them a reason to buy new. You want to create something that's of benefit to consumers."

In addition to making a quality product, Zelnick adds that it's important to support that product down the road, thereby giving the gamer ample reason to keep it. These days, this is done via downloadable content, which can indeed come at a fast clip for the well-supported games. "By letting consumers know there's more stuff to come, it stands to reason they'd hang on to their titles," said Zelnick. Lastly, he mentioned that MMOs aren't part of Take-Two's future plans, saying that the idea of spending $100 million to launch something that might not work doesn't sit well with the company.

"How many MMOs have worked in the US market? WoW and Everquest. How many have been launched? We didn't like those odds."

Well, it's certainly a logical answer to the problem. I'd also like to add that if there were more collectors in this day and age - rather than those who wouldn't mind in the slightest if everything went digital tomorrow, and those who never keep a game they wouldn't play again - it might be a different story. Personally, I keep any game I deem worthy of being in my collection. I play most only once but that's hardly the point. The only time I ever traded in a game is when I was disappointed with it, which wasn't often because I knew what I liked and I did my research.

...but clearly, this is a very different generation of gamers and I'm a dinosaur; part of a dying breed.

Tags: used games, game industry, take-two, preowned games

11/11/2010 3:01:00 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (60 posts)

Zorigo
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:20:54 PM
Reply

Now this makes sense... there are plenty of games i happily pay full price for on day one because of quality.

I had to pay 43 quid for Uncharted 2 to get it on release day instore... but i didnt mind. Because my thoughts were simply "uncharted 2 **** yes!!!!!!!".

i plan on getting GT5 day one too. because it has quality written all over it. The same with games like KZ3 and so on...

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kevinater321
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 9:20:04 PM

Strange how all the titles you mentioned are ps3 exclusives...

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Zorigo
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 4:19:00 PM

Well i cant name too many high quality multiplats if im honest... i really cant.

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maxpontiac
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:21:35 PM
Reply

Something so obvious, yet seems difficult at times.

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hellish_devil
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:22:34 PM
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Ben what do you do with the copies of crappy games they send you, like Star Wars the force unleashed 2, Dragon Ball raging blast 2, Power gig, Saw II, etc?

Do you sell them, or give them to Arnorld as a gift?

Last edited by hellish_devil on 11/11/2010 3:23:27 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:16:47 PM

Those are either sold to friends or traded in.

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LegendaryWolfeh
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:43:58 PM

I'll buy some from you for a less than full price :) haha

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 5:02:21 PM

You probably don't want the trash I get rid of; I tend to keep the good stuff. ;)

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LegendaryWolfeh
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 8:17:42 PM

Lol, you never know =) everyone plays different and enjoys different, I love anime related stuff, and I know you don't, so I could take those haha

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Lazytrappin
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:23:21 PM
Reply

CREAM - Cash Rules Everything Around Me

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:00:12 PM

including teh whores

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FatherSun
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 5:24:14 PM

I was in that video. 212 Broad st. SHAOLIN!

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BikerSaint
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 8:47:17 PM

Ben,
I take it that you don't still have Barbie's Riding Academy then, LOL

Anyway...

"One man's trash is another man's stash".
As a collector, I even need those rotten "gag-a-maggot" fish-head stinkers.

So just give me a shout whenever you need the garbage taken out

Last edited by BikerSaint on 11/11/2010 8:48:20 PM

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AlfaChaos
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:28:18 PM
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Amen! I don't buy a game that I wouldn't want apart of my collection!

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Jawknee
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:33:36 PM
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100% agreed. Ill buy a new game if its top notch quality. Stuff like Bioshock and even Red Dead deserve support from new sales. And of course Sony exclusives. I am the same way with all entertainment. Make quality stuff and ill be happy to give you my money. :)

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SixSpeedKing
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 5:28:34 PM

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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bigrailer19
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 9:05:47 PM

It's a very easy thing to ask for yet seems very unachievable all of the time which is the sad part...

It's a very good ad simple rule though; release a top notch game and you'll get my money and even after I finish I wanna keep it Cus the replay value is high...

Last edited by bigrailer19 on 11/11/2010 9:08:55 PM

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Jawknee
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 12:36:31 AM

The beauty of Capitalism. We get to vote with out wallet.

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Underdog15
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:46:57 PM
Reply

I do agree with this approach more than the fees for online access approach. I still understand where devs are coming from.

I also still believe used sales are the bane of the industry. There definitely needs to be more reform to laws, etc, but for now, I definitely agree with the "then we'll just have to produce something worth keeping" approach from devs.

Taking action against buyers... I get the approach, and I understand why... I just think there are better ways of handling it.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:17:46 PM

I go back and play certain games, too, but most in my collection get played once.

The only thing that bugs me is having a game that I haven't finished. I HATE that. It's why 95% of games in my collection have been completed.

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jaybiv
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 6:46:31 PM

amen to that ben. i've gone back to playing a couple of first gen ps3 games that i haven't finished.

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H8WL3R
Sunday, November 14, 2010 @ 4:10:33 PM

I too would rather have the physical media with original case, booklet and disc. I am gradually building a modest sized collection of games (currently 56 PS3 titles). I also collect movies, virtually all BDs since getting my PS3 Aug '09. I do get the rare DVD, when there is no BD version availalbe and none on the horizon. I still in fact collect music CDs (which I rip in digital format afterwards). I tend to not collect for the sake of adding to my collection however, cost and space for the excess being significant factors. The main reason I keep something though is usually because I'd like to maybe re-play, re-watch, listen to and/or need to rip again. In games/movies I also like to sometimes play/view them again with others. Aditionally, I also tend to not want to part with anything I own (primarily in games, movies and music), so it's best to get very few of things I would rarely, if ever make use of.

Speaking of collections though, WOW, your collection of consoles/games must be huge BikerSaint! It must really be something to behold. Do you have a huge basement to stock it all? I was also wondering if you're an avid collector of movies and music? :-)

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tes37
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:59:31 PM
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I agree with Take Two, and although I have no problem with the way other companies handle the used game issue, I think Take Two is taking a more customer friendly approach.

Ben, if you're a dinosaur, then I guess that makes me a fossil.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 3:59:45 PM
Reply

I always get take two and 2k mixed up. It's like Bill Paxton and Bill Pullman.

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:17:23 PM

Is 2K not a subsidiary of T2?

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Lawless SXE
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:02:48 PM
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Take-Two has it right. Give me a high quality product that I want to hold on to, and I'll gladly pay full price for it, regardless of DLC. In fact DLC usually turns me off buying new. But yes, I wouldn't think of trading in LBP, or KZ2, or RDR, or Demon's Souls, simply because I often get the urge to go back and play an older game, or something different from what I am currently playing without buying a new one.

But many people do not take this view. For example, I once saw a guy trading in R2, GT5Prologue, KZ3 and Halo 3 to get ODST and I think L4D. I was shocked.
Peace.

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A2K78
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:24:31 PM
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Take-Two is WRONG. Want to counter the secondhand game market( and piracy)? Why not actually price game software at a point where gamers would actualy want to pay for the product? Right now it doesn't help that games are $50-60 because in the end prices like those are scaring away consumers and forcing them to go the alternative route e.g. piracy or secondhand.

Anyhow Take-Two notion that quality and support can counter secondhand games is nothing but a flawed piece of logic. In fact it the very same flawed logic publishers used when they embarked on a campaign to lockout import titles.

For the record, I stopped buying games new years ago but instead now buy them secondhand especially when I get them at prices I'm willing pay instead of being shilled into paying $50-60 for the title.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 5:01:50 PM

Explain to me how a used price tag of $54.99 is so much more appealing than the new one of $59.99. I also don't see a whole lot of consumers "scared away" by the $60 price tag of Black Ops. Your crusade against the price of games is getting tiresome.

And if you're making any sort of case for piracy, don't bother to respond.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 11/11/2010 5:03:26 PM

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AnonWTF
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 6:38:03 PM

To Ben dutka psxe. No disrespect sir, your either crazy or don't know how to shop for the cheap deals. A used game just 5 dollars cheaper than the retail price with the retail price basically 60$?! You've checked all the sites and stores?

Yes, quality does have an effect on sales, but as long as there are people who are poor, people who are patient, and people who want more money. Then cheap, used video games will always dominate unless everyone goes digital.

So yes, there are a lot of consumers scared away from black ops price tag if you take into account how many times it is going to be bought used.

Last month I bought 21 video games, 1 wireless controller, and 1 memory card under 200 dollars including shipping/handling + taxes. This is not a bluff and this was done legally. Everything was used except the accessories.

If I were a publisher and/or game developer I would definitely want to go digital. But since I'm a poor consumer, I really want the gaming market to stay like this. Right now though, they are in a damn it you do or damn it you don't situation.

PS
Don't trade in/sell your games to places like gamestop. Sell it on ebay or something.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 9:30:33 PM

Anon: And your point is...? The game sold millions already. It'll sell many more millions, all of which will be new copies. Yes, it'll sell used copies as well, but do you honestly think Activision cares? Do you think they're not making money?

$60 isn't too much to ask. In fact, it's way too low considering the budgets of these games. It cost $60 for a SNES cartridge 20 years ago......by all rights, games could easily cost $100 now.

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Underdog15
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 9:38:44 AM

I really hate the whole "I'm a poor person and can't afford new games so I deserve them cheap because I make no money" argument.

It's really dumb and it implies a heavy sense of entitlement.

Come on people, video games are not necessities. They are LUXURIES... meant for DISPOSABLE income only. If you are low on cash, there is no justifiable reason to say you deserve 20+ games per year. If you manage to save a bit, get a game or two, sure. I have never and still never buy games unless I have some extra dough lying around. Even if a game I really want comes out, I hold off.

Nowadays, I have a little extra disposable cash. But I wasn't always like that. I was a student once too, ya know, and money was little and far between. I might have gotten 1-3 new games per year. Normally, I just rented if I had an extra couple bucks. Sure, I could have prioritized my spending to buy a few more games, but that wouldn't have been responsible given my income at the time.

I dunno, I work with genuinely poor people on a daily business... I think too many people use their lack of wealth as an excuse to not have to examine their habits.

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Jawknee
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 12:16:21 PM

Yea if you're too "poor" to afford video games every now and then, you need to stop playing video games and figure out how to make more money.

Last edited by Jawknee on 11/12/2010 12:18:29 PM

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AnonWTF
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 10:12:28 PM

To Ben: The point is, yes activision cares. Even though they are making millions, they could be making twice as much as they are now. That is like saying rich people don't care to be taxed because they are making so much money. USA current situation anyone?

By all rights, games could be WORTH & cost 600 dollars and it wouldn't matter. If the people you are marketing it to, can't afford it then it is a waste of time. PS3 anyone?

To: underdog "It's really dumb and it implies a heavy sense of entitlement."
I think you missed the whole concept. If your poor, your going to have to be smart and find other ways to get what you want with the money you have or you simply can't get it. Hence why I thought it's insane when Ben said a used game that was only 5 dollars cheaper than the retail price and the retail price was at 60.

And sure jaw, I would gladly make more money if there were more available jobs. I'm not lazy!

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H8WL3R
Sunday, November 14, 2010 @ 4:38:17 PM

Just as another possible avenue of getting a game at a discounted price and still sending a bit of support to the devs/publishers could be to buy it new during a sale you can personally afford. As most are likely aware, the majority after a few/several months after release they are significantly marked down. There's also the possibility of waiting to see if/when they become Greatest Hits to pick 'em up.

To everyone who can afford it though and takes in part of D1P(s) (or soon thereafter), I SALUTE YOU and am VERY THANKFUL.

I admit to occasionally buying used, but this applies especially to movies. For movies I wait usually at least 4 weeks and buy it from my local and very conveninetly located rental video store, although I still get new (except for most of the newest releases, when they have enough copies and I can afford it). I tend to buy games new though, usually patiently waiting and using the methods in the introductory paragraph.

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A2K78
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 4:35:26 PM
Reply

"I also still believe used sales are the bane of the industry"

secondhand games and piracy are not the bane of the game industry, but rather its the publishers and game developers themselves.

" There definitely needs to be more reform to laws, etc"

reforms law like what, ones that favor corporations(publishers and developers) over consumers?

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Jawknee
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 12:18:07 PM

Dude, PIRACY IS STEALING! get that through your thick head.

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DjEezzy
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 5:02:00 PM
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Nice to see that Greed doesn't control every body. This is probably why they'll succeed. This guy has totally earned my respect. Activision, EA, Ubisoft should take note.

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Gordo
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 5:14:13 PM
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In Ausralia (Game and EBGames) sell the new games for $100. JB HiFi sell them for around $90.

A few months down the track JB HiFi will put them on special new for $60. At that point you can usually get the game used for $30 to $40.

You can also trade in 3 decent games and get a new one free. You can also usually get $20-$40 trade in value for most newish games.

So, unless you have a large budget for games (which I don't since I have two kids, a wife, a mortgage and two cars to run) the options are either 1. Don't buy new games, 2. Only buy new games when they hit that $60 mark after a few months or 3. Buy used/cheap, play and trade back later.

The same money is just circulating in the pot. If I buy a few games used or cheap then I will play them and trade them in later and always use that trade in value to purchase more games.

I would never buy a game for RRP $110. $70 is the most I would ever spend and even then I would usually trade in a game or two at the same time to bring the price down to $35.

New games have a resale value which diminishes with time. For average games there is no point having them sitting on a shelf. Sometimes I've bought three 3 used games and traded them back without even playing them for a new one!

Cheap? Probably.
Realistic? Definately...

Hurting the games industry? Not as badly as they make out.

The used game sector helps stimulate the games economy especially in the non-US games market where prices are more expensive.

Cut it out or go totally digital then the whole games industry suffers. (in my humble opinion!)

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Underdog15
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 8:58:56 AM

While I agree that the number of transactions with the retailer are certainly much higher due to used sales, I tend to disagree that it actually stimulates the games economy. The reason is, only the retailer makes an overhead on all that stimulated trade. True you occasionally buy a new game on store credit, but in the long run, it hurts the gaming industry or at least limits potential production values.

As is, you could certainly make a case that there are minimal sales increases due to the used sales, however, you could make a similar case about diminished production quality. Budgets are limited to ensure more money is made than dished out. If those budgets had more wiggle room for the entire industry and not just blockbusters like CoD, you'd see far more competition. In the end, I just don't think you can totally win either way. You just have to decide which is the lesser of two evils, really.

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PasteNuggs
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 6:51:01 PM

This is one reason I love living in a small town. We don't have a Gamestop/EB store but we have a store that is kind of like Walmart but smaller that sells some games and they don't know how to price them. I just bought a 360 last week and I picked up Gears of War 2 Alan Wake and Halo 3:ODST for $75. They weren't used copies either.

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RaGeQuiT
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 6:40:15 PM
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finally T2 makes perfectly sense of used games not EA,thq,ubi those bastards is punishing us. making us pay 10 bucks to play online.

Last edited by RaGeQuiT on 11/11/2010 6:40:56 PM

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jaybiv
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 6:55:58 PM
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i gotta give this guy a "a" for attitude. i don't understand the the anti used market folks. there's a used market for everything expect condoms and beer. i wonder why sony and microsoft aren't complaining about the used hardware market? give folks a reason to buy new and keep their game instead of inventing fees to line the company's wallets. sounds reasonable to me.

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GuernicaReborn
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 7:07:33 PM
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T2 is spot with their attitude towards the used game market. There is nothing wrong with it, and if the game is good, it will bring in profit for the game studios with new sales anyway. Just stop making crap games.

The console gaming industry has it easy. Just imagine if pirating was as big of a problem with console gaming as it is with music and movies.

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Snaaaake
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 7:10:51 PM
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Yea, if a game is good and has great replay value, there's no reason to sell it.

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Gordo
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 8:21:01 PM
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Re: Spam

"We need your support and trust!!! Dear friends, please temporarily stop your footsteps To our website Walk around A look at Maybe you'll find happiness in your sight shopping heaven and earth You'll find our price is more suitable for you. "

For the love of God if you are going to Spam at least let a native English speaker look at your wording first.

"Please temporarily stop your footsteps to our website"...

I love it!

Apologies if this is off topic but it ranks my craw... :-)

PS:

"Quality is our dignity".

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BikerSaint
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 8:58:43 PM
Reply

Take-Two,
You're a class act!



Hey got a question for those who have bought used & then paid that $10 on-line fee.

Does that $!0 fee cover all of that publisher's games, or is it a frigging separate $!0 fee for each game???

Just wondering how it works

Last edited by BikerSaint on 11/11/2010 9:02:46 PM

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BattleFox21
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 10:30:01 PM
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As for me I hate to play into gamestop, but the very sad fact is I can't afford to pay a full $60 every time I pick up a game, although most the time I do, there are times when I can't afford to pay it and have no choice, but to trade it in to get a new game. It is really sad that games have to be so high priced, but I do understand the developers reasons for the price. I only wish they won the case against the game traders that would of helped the prices alil and possible helped to increase my gaming library. I only hope one day the gamestops die out, but seeing as Best Buy and Walmart have joined the club I don't see that happening. I hope they atleast pay royalties to the game developers.

I absolutely hate caving into it, but when it's a choice of new game or being bored with the title I've already beat well you can guess which one gets beat out. :(

Last edited by BattleFox21 on 11/11/2010 10:34:40 PM

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G8GTdriver
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 10:22:06 AM

Do you check craigslist? I've bought and sold a game or two on there, sold it for more than what GS would have given me and I charged less than what GS was charging, the buyer and seller both won.

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Highlander
Thursday, November 11, 2010 @ 10:40:01 PM
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With all due respect I think that the TakeTwo dude is utterly wrong, and is deluding himself into believing that people won't trade games they've finished because they're good.

Whatever. I said I'll no longer participate in discussions of used games, and I'll try to keep to that.

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Phoenix
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 5:53:25 AM

I think he's on the right path here, I never trade in a good game, heck I rarely even trade in the bad ones, and most gamers I know are the same way, so if they really put effort into a game and it shows, then it shall stay in my collection, and they shall have my money.

Most of my games are near d1p, the ones that arnt have a reason for it, like it becomes hard to find, or I simply didnt know about it when it came out. So, say one of those situations came up, and I had to pick up used, should I then get hit with a fee to go online with it?

It really comes down to what T2 guy said, if a company puts out a quality game, no need for the buyer to sell it after they have played threw it. Replay value ftw.

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Underdog15
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 8:52:27 AM

I guarantee many people trade in games that are good once they finished them. My ex-roommate's brother trades in every game every time he beats them. Guy has 19 platinum trophies... then he trades them. He's definitely not the only one.

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Jawknee
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 12:15:07 PM

I dont trade my games if they are good. I keep all the ones i have liked. Its the mediocre stuff i have sold. Stuff that i thought was going to be great and turned out to be a dud. Like MoH and Assasin's Creed 1.

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Nerull
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 12:52:34 AM
Reply

Personally, I keep any game I deem worthy of being in my collection.

This, and thankfully I'm not old...yet.

Last edited by Nerull on 11/12/2010 12:54:24 AM

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___________
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 1:06:47 AM
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sadly they know neither of those!
preach what you teach for a change.......
maifa 2 is one of the best games ive played in a long time, sadly its also one of the buggiest!
i can play metro 2033 in 3D with everything maxed out and get a average FPS of 30.
i cant even play mafia 2 in 2D with medium settings without the game slowing down because my frames drop to around 10.
when a 4K PC is struggling to play a game on medium settings, thats when you know you have one lazy a$$ developer on your hands!!!!!!!!

at least they communicate well.
unlike EA, they actually responded to all my emails, though as usual not to fix any problems.
just release a patch already!!!!!!!!
if they release a patch so i can run the game properly ill buy all the DLC, if not.......

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spiderboi
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 5:46:10 AM
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While I admire what he says, its him looking at things on an ideal state. Sure, people will buy out of game quality vs. 2nd hand. That is, if they have the money. But when money is scarce, you just buy the top games, then scrounge up funds to even buy 2nd hand games w/c are top 2 onwards...

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frylock25
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 9:11:53 AM
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GT5 RELEASE DATE IS NOVEMBER 24TH

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Amazingskillz
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 4:03:43 PM
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@ Jawknee - No disrespect meant, but you're smoking if you think Assassins Creed 1 was no good. That game was slick, unique, and captured the feel of the time era very well. Plus the story was excellent. Yeah the missions were somewhat repetitive but overall that was a very good game. I never got tired of the panoramic view you got every time you synched at the top of a tower. It was different than most games you'll find.

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SmokeyPSD
Monday, November 15, 2010 @ 1:45:27 PM

Captured the feel of the time well? Bad accents, same people again and again, same animations.

It felt like such a game. Hands down. I never got immersed in that turd for 4 minutes, let alone being able to finish the thing. What it didn't deserve was the initial praise for how pretty it looked overall when you got high enough and weren't bothering to actually play what was under the hood.

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LightShow
Friday, November 12, 2010 @ 5:21:16 PM
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i hardly ever buy new games anymore. its like a week-and-a-half's worth of gas (for my commute) for a new game! if i'm dropping 60 clams on a disc, it deserves it. and i won't be letting go of it any time soon.

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SmokeyPSD
Monday, November 15, 2010 @ 1:42:50 PM
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Wow, an intelligent point made about used games from a developer for once. Not omg they are evil!@!@!@!2!

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