Fairly Messy Rant: Digital Distribution, Pricing Models, and Digital Resale

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Well, it has been about a week since the annual celebration of the two things Americans love to do, consume food and merchandise while feeling just in both of those activities.  Granted, I didn’t do much of the former, seeing as how I don’t like exercising, and avoiding a lot of foods is a good countermeasure, along with my metabolism.  But I did do a lot of the later, and this is where I get my premise for another one of these, and need to talk about game pricing more, namely about how quickly they depreciate.

Let me begin by listing what I purchased over this annual celebration of Capitalism: Megaman Zero Collection, Golden Sun: Dark Dawn, XCOM Enemy Unknown, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored, Spec Ops: The Line, Resident Evil Archives: Resident Evil, Lollipop Chainsaw, and The Witcher 2.  My total?  $180, which could normally get me 3 titles, got me 8, and an Adventure Time comic compilation, because it was a 40% off.  It really makes me think about just how stupid it is to buy games on day one.  And for what? some minor DLC extras that might give you an extra move, or small area?  They’d be less than $5 afterwards, and they will easily be down that much in no time.  I mean, two of the titles I got came out 7 weeks ago, and they were less than half price.  And what do I lose?  I don’t talk about it when everyone else is.  Oh, boo hoo.  

This genuinely upsets me about the media industries.  Everything is all about leaping from piece to piece, giving everything a second in the spotlight, and barely pondering them, because there is always something else coming up, and then you remember something you missed, and a backlog assembles unless you are always on your ball.  I mean, my backlog is nearly 60 titles long, and I plan on spending nearly all of 2013 working on just that.  Oh sure, I will get some more discounted titles, but buying titles day ones is now something I can just no longer justify for most cases.  

Seeing as how this year is nearly over, let’s look at what I’ve purchased when it came out:  Mass Effect 3 CE($70), Kdicarus Uprising($30), Xenoblade Chronicles($50), The Last Story($50), Darksiders II($60), Kirby’s Dream Collection($30), Code of Princess($30), Pokemon Black 2($35), Virtue’s Last Reward($30), Paper Mario Sticker Star($30), Adventure Time 3DS CE($40), and the Collector’s Edition of TellTale’s Walking Dead game, because 48 comic issues for an additional $40.  Next year?  I plan on getting: Metro: The Last Light($60), Saints Row 4($60), the South Park RPG($60), Luigi’s Mansion 2($30), Animal Crossing($30), Divinity: Dragon Commander(If it comes out to consoles)($40-60), and maybe Watch Dogs($60).  Notice a pattern?  Other than how I got 3DS games for $30? (The answer is Newegg sales.)

I only got 3DS and Wii games, that were either made by Nintendo, or would have limited numbers, and not be very cheap later on.  Yes, there are some sales with Nintendo products, but how long did it take, say, Super Mario Galaxy to drop in price?  

Meanwhile things like Radiant Historia, dropped maybe $5 after over 18 months, because Atlus made very few copies of it, and gave first buyers a bonus CD and a neat box for the game.  Also, I get to bring up how I bought it when people talk about more obscure titles that mostly come from Japan.  

Which also can be applied to how I buy THQ games day one.  Because they are in the pooper, and I want to be standing tall when they inevitably go down in 2014, and EA buys Saints Row, and make it a gritty co-op third person shooter with no customizable characters.  Or maybe a miracle will happen, I dunno.  Oh, but ME3 and Watch Dogs have the “I’m a Fan” excuse, and the “This Looks Too Cool” excuse, respectively.  

While Divinity II was one of my favorite games to ever come from Europe, and Dragon Commander looks to be the accumulation of everything good about games.  For example, you can marry skeleton ladies that use fruit as fake breasts, ride a dragon that shoots lasers at airships, and manage political disputes.  So, yeah.  I’m cool with paying whatever these people need to keep their studio up and running.

However, I must question people who use the “It Looks Too Cool” excuse for games regularly.  Unless you have oodles of disposable income, why bother buying day one?  If it is discounted or you want to support the developer, I get that.  But, at least for me, I need to have my trust earned.  This can also be applied to new IPs.  It is untested, so why exactly should I be the guinea pig?  Sure, I tried that with stuff like Hell Yeah! Wrath of the Dead Rabbit, a $15 downloadable title that I got because I promised myself I would.  And Jet Set Radio HD was only $10 when I picked it up.  And you know what their prices will be a year from now?  Most likely the exact same!

Also, as someone whose schedule has 3-4 hours open to games every single night, I must ask how anyone does not have an accumulated backlog of titles.  Sure, I met a guy who told me about how he did not sleep in order to beat Dishonored in one sitting, but he’s an idiot for doing so.  I know gaming lacks a proper renting service, but come on!  Why bother getting a game day one just to breeze through it, barely remembering it, and forgetting about it a week later?

However, there is an alternative that I have not been considering, because I have never used it in that way, trading in your new game at Gamestop to get the most money back.  I say that, because I am surprised anyone still uses them.  Maybe it is due to how nearly every department store has every noteworthy console game, and I have only bought games off of the internet over the past year.  Yet I have been gradually forgetting about hoe Used games are a thing.  Mostly because all of these sales I’ve been talking about tend to be the cheaper option.  

Oh, sure, I got some games used, like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and Aliens Infestation, by buying them from other people via a shipping network called Glyde, where pretty much the same thing is done.  Yeah, it takes about a week or more to get your game, since the distributor sends the seller a package with a package for the seller to send the game to the buyer.  Yeah, it can easily be a gamble, but if you are buying used games, I doubt that you are really looking for one specific title.  Rather, you have a list of things to try and find, which is what Glyde is good for, seeing as how the users set their own price that the distributor then takes a small portion of, along with shipping costs.  

EIther way, I just felt like bringing this matter up once again.  Now I’m off to go through my embarrassingly large backlog of about 60 titles, which hopefully all go like Stacking, and can be beaten in three sittings over two days.

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