A Second-Hand Market For Download Games?

By Alec Meer on January 21st, 2010 at 11:51 pm.

A big part of the industry’s support, such as it is, for game download services such as Steam, GamersGate et al is that it kills the second-hand/trade-in market. A sale’s a sale, a customer’s a customer, and shops don’t end up with endless dusty racks of second-hand copies of Call of Duty: World At War that only confused mothers try to buy when their kid asks for Modern Warfare 2. You can’t very well resell a game that’s bound to an account in your name, with your credit card details attached. Surely you can’t? New service Green Man Gaming thinks you can. Hmm.

Details are comically thin on the ground (the official site‘s just a cheapo holding page, but VG247 has rounded up some pertinent quotes from CEO), so for now we don’t know how it works or which services it’ll work with, but they reckon they’ll have 400 games supported at launch (sometime in Q1 2010) and 2,000 by the end of this year. It could only apply to console games (i.e. XBLA and PSN), but even if so it’s worth chewing over the concept. The idea of making some money back from a game you’re no longer playing certainly promises balm for our bruised wallets, but at the same time some of the appeal of buying something from, say, Steam is that it’s yours forever (in theory). No need to hang onto a bulky plastic box or worry about scratched CDs – you can revisit it whenever you want. With a system like this, playing the game again would mean buying it again. Not that this is a bad thing if you buy a stinker by mistake, of course, but it’s certainly upsetting this young tradition.

Most of all, though, it’s openly absurd, at least by the standards we’ve become used to over the last couple of years of DRM frenzy. How can this possibly work? Presumably, Green Man calculate the value of the game, then give some of it to you and some of it to the publisher. Some poor drone there then removes the serial number from your download account, remotely deactivating it from your games machine and then gives it to Green Man – who then advertise it for a little more than they paid for it. It seems enormously unlikely any publisher would go for this, as potentially every time such a deal is done they’re swapping the profit of a direct(ish) sale for a small kickback from Green Man. In theory, they could make a small wodge of cash they otherwise wouldn’t from people who resolutely refuse to pay full price, but the odds against it all working out seem so impossibly huge.

At the same time, I’m extremely curious see how it’s done and how it works out, presuming it’s something more substantial than a market-gap carrot to be dangled in front of venture capitalists. The trade-in market is such a fundamental part of retail gaming, so it makes sense to at least try it in this new frontier. I’m a bit worried Green Man will only encompass download services and games that no-one’s especially interested in – I can’t really see, say, Valve okaying this. Much more likely and more damning, I’d have thought, is that Green Man will simply have its own online store, with the resales applying only to games bought via that. One more set of login details, one more icon in the system tray – while it’s totally an intriguing idea, it’s going to have to be bloody extraordinary in practice to steal any ground from the already overcrowded download store market.

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68 Comments »

  1. Mashakosha says:

    It’s an interesting concept and one that could be worth expanding on. Some people, like me, or the several thousand other students, just don’t have the money to warrant full-price new game purchases and look to pre-owned for our gaming. In all honesty (I’m getting flogged for this, I know it) I want Modern Warfare 2, but I can not in any way shape or form say that I want to pay the full price for it. I know many people who bought it and were disappointed, so why should they be denied being able to get shot of it and have someone else play it who will enjoy it?

  2. Bonedwarf says:

    Great in theory, but I imagine Steam and the like will say “Feck off” to them.

  3. Vinraith says:

    With the download services offering sales that commonly place year-old games atthe $5 or $10 price point, I’m not sure there’s a lot of room/need for a second hand market on the DD scene. It seems like a happy medium where devs still get paid for their work, buyers get their games at a steep discount, and everyone’s reasonably happy. Granted, I have some crap on my GG and Steam game lists that I’d love to get back off of them, and being able to make a little money (or store credit, even) doing so would be awfully nice, but (I’m surprised to hear myself arguing) it’s just not all that essential to me anymore.

    That said, I wish them the best. More options for PC game consumers can only be a good thing, after all.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      I somehow doubt people could pick up Stalker second hand for less than the $2.99 Steam sold it for over Christmas.

      This service is doomed. Actually not doomed, because doomed implies it had a chance in the first place, but it clearly doesn’t. There are so many obstacles in its way.

      I supposed it could work with Elicense protected stuff. Of course that’ just a transfer of the serial keys and stuff. The game will still be, as far as Elicense is concerned, attached to the original purchaser.

      Rather like this “We’ll stream HD gaming over broadband” nonsense, this is another non-starter.

    • Carra says:

      I immediately had to think of the sales too.

      E.g.: Steam is now running a “Buy Men of War & Men of War: Red Tide” for about 10 euros. Men of war is normally up at for 12 euros and the expansion for 20 euros. If you put the resell value to 6 & 10 euros then you have a problem. I could buy both games for cheap and resell them after the bargain to make a profit.

      Must be a nightmare to set your prices right.

    • Chris says:

      Whilst this does seem like another vapourware internet project there are ways of managing sales prices. You could set an upper limit on the ammount of stock you carry. Say no more than 10,000 copies of Stalker and then you no longer accept new sellers. If you know you’ll likely sell 1,000 copies a month due to the games track record then you can be sure to make a profit, even if the seller is making a profit before you.

      After all not all buyers are savvy enough to know when a sale may be or even that there are sales.

  4. Dan says:

    It’s an iffy idea for the reasons in the newspost, and also because of the Steam sales. Who’s going to go for this when odds are you can have it on good ole Steam for some ridiculously low price within a year anyway?

  5. TheSombreroKid says:

    agreed i doubt it’ll work.

    personally i suspect it might be deliberatly misleading and actually is designed to convert second hand boxed games into digitally distrubuted second hand games.

    I can see the publishers going for that, i.e. the publishers get money fro something they weren’t before, second hand boxed games and it allows them to phase out the boxed serials.

  6. Ricc says:

    I think that the habit of incredible time-limited sales (like Steam’s Holiday Sale, D2D’s Birthday Sale or even GamersGate during Christmas) are only possible, because there is no second-hand market. Otherwise, it would break any potential sales value for a discounted game in the near future. That’s why you don’t see retailers doing it, except those that are really desperate, and certainly not on a scale as large as Steam et al is able to.

    This Green Man idea sounds like more harm than good to me, honestly.

  7. pkt-zer0 says:

    Does such a thing as “used games” even make sense in this context? It’s not really “used”, just “cheaper”. Crazy sales (a la Steam) and refunds (a la Impulse?) would seem to accomplish pretty much the same thing.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      @pkt-zer0: Absolutely. They are not “used games” so what is there to trade, really.

      The game loses some of its value because its physical properties, box, manual, disc may have seen some wear and tear. Digital distribution has removed this pronblem. All I can ever see happening is that you reclaim some cost and hand the licence back to the distributor who is able to resell.

      This might make sense to a third party/reseller but not to a publisher. Why resell a game already purchased for £5 than sell a new game discounted to £5 and add another total onto the “total units sold” figure.

      I think the whole idea of “resell” has been driven to extinction with digital distribution.

    • Carra says:

      Reselling makes no sense indeed. If I buy a second hand book it’s got a few rimples. A cd will have a few scratches. A car will have less kilometers to be driven with. But some bytes? They’re exactly the same as new.

      So the only difference value is in what people give them. And that’s usually just wanting the newest, shiniest games.

  8. Eddy9000 says:

    Ooh interesting. I’m thinking of when I sell and buy books to the ever excellentblack gull bookshop in Camden market. You see a book is a physical product, sold as an object on the understanding that you can do what you like with the lump of ink and paper after you get tired of it.

    I don’t know where downloaded games stand legally, but I don’t see why they would be any different, you pay for the code that permits the experience of playing the game and should be able to give it to who you like.

    However, as the article mentions, download services tie you into personal only use, I buy games as download knowing that I can’t sell them on. A contractual agreement, buyer beware.

    So with no legal right to sell on my download, I don’t see how this service will happen untill download services permit it, which they won’t, unless it makes them profit, whch it won’t.

    The second hand market for data has been replaced by the budget download sales of steam et al and pirate bay, you can wait for a couple of months if you want a legal copy and (yawn) acheivments, or pirate it.
    So slow news day if you ask me, thisll never happen, and if you want to get your arse in a twist about consumer rights then don’t buy downloads or drm games like spore that tie you up, you dint have the god given right to play them and do so on the sellers terms!

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Eh… Good luck green man, I won’t be buying any shares in you. But who knows.

  10. dadioflex says:

    Wasn’t this one of the things Stardock said they’d be doing with their DRM system, GOO?

    Ah… http://www.shacknews.com/onearticle.x/57857

  11. the wiseass says:

    Didn’t most publishers degrade the second hand market to the same dark depths than piracy? I do not see this being successful with all the general whining about the influence of the second hand market on the greedy money making corporate first hand game sales.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      Yep. They loathe the second hand market, hence the move towards including DLC on release day (Forza had a bunch of cars, Madden had online franchise mode) that uses an included code meaning someone who buys it used has to spend money to get the DLC the NEW buyer got on release day.

    • RogB says:

      >>I do not see this being successful with all the general whining about the influence of the second hand market on the greedy money making corporate first hand game sales.

      yeah, the absolute cheek of them to charge you for the game thats just cost them millions to develop. SICKENING!

  12. Blather Blob says:

    It certainly sounds like they’re planning to offer trade-ins on 3rd party DD games (Steam, Impulse, etc.)… but they never actually say that. It could be this is just yet another DD site, with strict enough DRM to allow you to “sell” (a.k.a. return) games you’ve purchased back to them for a trade-in value. Which would also let them get around the problem of $5 sales, by never having any.

  13. Lord_Mordja says:

    Does no one else watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia? >B(

  14. Dean says:

    You can’t sell ‘second hand’ digital games for cheaper online. At least not next to ‘new’ ones, because there’s no difference. I can’t be the only one that pays a few quid extra for new games (because the price on Play new is generally nearly the same as in Gamestation second hand) just because I don’t want a grubby box or a scuffed disc. A small difference, but a difference.

  15. The Walker says:

    Did anyone else think that the green guy was sodomising a pastry bag?

  16. Miles of the Machination says:

    The idea is fundamentally flawed, although with good intentions. All Green Man are going to turn into is a Steam/ D2D/ Impulse etc with limited stock. The idea that they will be able to offer this service, let alone compete with the pricing that is available to digital distribution is just… impossible. They cannot justify selling second hand digital games for irregular prices because a) they are always going to be the same, b) gamers will always prefer the security and accessibility of a client, like Steam – something that will probably cost the buyer the same price.

  17. Bhazor says:

    Oh good, another DRM heavy online service. But now I can get back 5% the value of my purchase then? But really how would second hand downloads work? Its digits! They don’t get scuffed, they don’t have sweet tea dribbled on their instructions, they’re just numbers! unsullied by grubby human fingers. Like lovely blank paper nobody has ruined by writing on.

    I’ve always been against second hand purchases anyway (the exception being obscure games that you couldn’t get anywhere else like Faus7t).

  18. Sp4rkR4t says:

    If this sort of thing was going to be allowed to happen by the publishers the likes of Steam would do it in house, not work with a third party outfit.

  19. Eli Just says:

    Most likely they work just like Steam, where you buy the game and it’s yours forever. However, if you want to, you can sell the game back for much less than you bought it for. This would save me from having bought Call of Juarez. Then, they simply remove it from your account. Why sell a used game when you can get money from a trade in and keep selling the game for full price?

  20. Redd says:

    No. A tube of toothpaste.

  21. Nickosha says:

    I wonder if they are trying to make it so they can get back the license when it is sold back, and then sell it a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc time while only paying the publisher once. If so, they won’t have much luck getting any publishers to sign with them. Even if publishers did get a cut every time, I doubt they’d be fine with the whole thing.

  22. LionsPhil says:

    “…but at the same time some of the appeal of buying something from, say, Steam is that it’s yours forever (in theory).”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    I say again.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    No, dear Alec, that is the appeal of buying it on a little shiny compact disc, which has not been crippled need to consult anybody else’s machines on the Internet in order to work. (Ideally, it hasn’t been crippled to complicate making backups of the disc, either.)

    I can perhaps see this working if publishers decide it can be turned into another stepping stone in the transformation from game ownership to perpetual game rental. But I’m not really sure how.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      @Lionsphil

      Are you complaining about new Steam or old Steam? I agree, old Steam was awful. But they patched it and fixed a lot of bugs. Now it’s worth using.

      I think the hatred of Steam is a lot like complaining about Windows 7 because it’s a lot like Vista. Y’know, because it’s a Microsoft OS and not made by Apple.

      Or something. The logic is about appropriately insane.

    • Vinraith says:

      @DJ Phantoon

      You missed the point, there, I’m afraid. The point was that owning something on a client-required, phone-home digital download service isn’t owning it at all, and the idea that such an arrangement has any permanence is overtly funny. Steam can remove your ability to play or download a game at whim, literally, it’s right there in the terms of service. That’s to say nothing of long-term changes in the service, the service’s ownership, or anything else of that sort.

    • arqueturus says:

      According to most Eula’s you never own software anyway do you? Regardless of the media it’s stored on. You just have a licence to use it.

    • Bhazor says:

      I would probably care more if games didn’t drop in price so quickly. When Steam dies in 2XXX the games you have now will be 50p each or 10 for £3.50. Besides we’ll all be too busy fighting off mutants in our jet packs to care.

    • bookwormat says:

      @arqueturus

      According to most Eula’s you never own software anyway do you? Regardless of the media it’s stored on. You just have a licence to use it.

      That is correct, but you can own the license to use it. As if you buy a book,: where you never own the rights on the content that is in the book , but have all rights to sell or read or burn the book (== the “license to read”) as you please.

  23. Jad says:

    Is there anyone out there who is like me, and has never sold a game? I mean, I try really hard to only buy games that are good, or at least okay — I’ve played very few Rogue Warrior-like stinkers — and my natural pack-rattiness leads me to hold onto any games that I possibly might want to play again. Those which I don’t care enough about just … get lost after awhile. (and some games that I really love get lost too … I once owned Planescape! Arg!)

    Constantly trading in games always seemed like a much more console way to do things anyway … I mean, for forever there was either no disk check, or an easily by-passible one, so trading in a used PC game would still allow you to play it as long as it stayed safely on your hard drive, unlike load-from-the-disk console games …

    • James G says:

      Barely sold any (two, I think), and those that I have sold, I’ve brought again later when their cost price drops below the price I got for trade-in. Have donated a few to Oxfam, but that was only because my parents were complaining that I was taking up half the loft with old games. (One of the main draws of getting a decent size place is that I can finally move all that stuff to my place. I’m also strangely tempted to also get my A600 permanently hooked up somewhere.)

      Talking of packrattines, anyone in the Edinburgh area interested in about four years worth of PCG UK? I’m not particularly keen on shipping them all back down south when I leave here in a couple of months, but absolutely hate binning stuff that may be of use to someone. (Yes, I know about freecycle/freegle)

    • Carra says:

      I’m a collector. I don’t have the heart to throw away/sell old games or books.

  24. Witek says:

    The second-hand digital resell system works for a few years in Poland already at the CDProject supported website gram.pl

    While the system concerns physical CD/DVD’s, each one of them has a CDProject registration number in the box, that you plug in online. Then, the game (with a lifetime warranty for the disks) belongs to you account “forever”. However, have you got bored with the damn thing, you can always re-sell it to another user of the service and, after the transaction is complete, the digital registration is reassigned under the buyers account.

  25. i saw dasein says:

    at least one potential way it could (conceivably) work would be by forming a market for licenses. Steam, Direct2Drive, etc, do have a limited number of licenses they can sell of various games (as we saw over Christmas, some games on Steam “sell out”). When the supply of licenses is limited this actually makes some sense.

    I purchase a license for 30 dollars on Steam. Green Man will buy that license from steam for 25 dollars. Steam will remit me 10 dollars of that license leaving it with 15 dollars profit. Green Man sells that license for 26 dollars. So Green Man makes 1 dollar, Steam makes an additional 15 dollars off the same license, and I recover ten dollars. Steam gets 15 bucks without needing to pay the developer for a new license, since no new license has been issued. This is pretty much exactly how the used goods market works right now.

    The real question is why developers would go along with this, and the answer is pretty clear- if you want to sell PC games Steam is your only option.

  26. Urthman says:

    but at the same time some of the appeal of buying something from, say, Steam is that it’s yours forever (in theory).

    What?!

    NoNoNoNo. The appeal of buying something from Steam is that it’s so damn cheap, that you aren’t going to be too upset if someday the game disappears because Steam dies or your account gets screwed or stolen who knows what.

    I basically view Steam as a rental service. If there’s a game I know I really want to own forever, I buy I disc.

    • Alex says:

      That would be nice, if true. Unfortunately, unless you can pick up the game you want in one of their sales, Steam are almost invariably more expensive than buying the boxed game from an online retailer like Amazon or Play.

      The only reason for buying a game from Steam is if it isn’t available as a physical copy, if it’s in one of their brilliant 75% off sales, or if you simply can’t wait the couple of days for it to arrive (and your internet connection is fast enough that you can download it in less time!)

      That’s not even considering the additional irritation of having to run Steam to run the game. The difference between click->run and click->load steam->connecting to account->launching game->run is not trivial.

    • Urthman says:

      Yeah that’s what I mean. The only time I buy games from Steam is if they’re 1) a Valve game, or 2) so crazy cheap that I wouldn’t really care if I lost access to them.

      Who needs a used game market if every Christmas I can pick up a year’s worth of fantastic games for $5 each?

  27. Wulf says:

    i actually hope they get this going, because it opens an interesting can of worms. That being: is refusing to do business with Green Man on the grounds that you’d get less profit, thus denying an avenue for second-hand sales actually unfair and improper trade? There might be a case for that, and it would be hilarious if the EU ended up with a hand in this, since the EU seems to obsess over fair trade practises.

    Anyway, I wish them all the best. Should they succeed, I’ll finally be able to get Dragon Age out of my Steam Games list and actually get some money back on that. Right now it stares at me from the Uninstalled Games section as a constant reminder of my folly. :<

  28. bookwormat says:

    but at the same time some of the appeal of buying something from, say, Steam is that it’s yours forever (in theory).

    I’ll finally be able to get Dragon Age out of my Steam Games list and actually get some money back on that.

    Ohh, come on. Now it becomes really absurd.

    You signed a contract that clearly states that it is not yours forever and that you can not share it with someone else or sell it. And now we discuss if we can keep it forever, share or sell it?

    Is anyone here reading contracts? No? Will you help me get my money out of Nigeria?

    Valve hereby grants, and you accept, a limited, terminable, non-exclusive license and right to use the Steam Software for your personal use in accordance with this Agreement and the Subscription Terms. The Steam Software is licensed, not sold. Your license confers no title or ownership in the Steam Software.

    You may not reveal, share or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account.

    I payed for a pass for my local gym, but I do not expect to be able to sell it to anyone else, or that the gym will be there forever.

    • Vinraith says:

      @bookwormat

      But isn’t that just the beauty of it? Digital download services are, by nature, built on the idea of impulse purchases and instant gratification. Who’s really going to stop and carefully read those terms of service when they flash up on the screen? It’s brilliant, really, Valve (or any other DD provider) could write in a demand for your firstborn child and most people would not only agree, but continue singing the praises of the service right up until they tried to collect.

    • bookwormat says:

      @Vinraith

      Valve (or any other DD provider) could write in a demand for your firstborn child and most people would

      True, but it is not Valves fault if customers try to guess what they put their money on instead of reading the contract.

      I personally like Steam and I subscribed to many games so far. As a consumer I considered value, price and conditions for each offer before I purchased it. Someone who cannot do this should not own a credit card IMHO.

    • CMaster says:

      It’s also worth pointing out that such a demand would be illegal. In fact, it’s generally agreed that most of these online services T&C and the vast majority of EULAs probaby have elements that are not legal. There has been some conjecture on whether this makes the whole contract invalid or merely the elements that are themselves outside the law.

      The odd thing is that customers never seem to actually ever challenge software developers legally when the software developer fucks them over and then says “oh, but it was in the EULA”

    • Vinraith says:

      @bookwormat

      Valve is simply an example there, virtually every EULA in existence is pretty clearly drafted under the assumption that 90% of the customer base will never read it. Digital services can be even more certain of this because of the “instant gratification” factor, but it’s known widely enough that no one reads these things.

      Good thing, too, as CMaster’s right about the questionable legality of many of them.

  29. bill says:

    I always wondered why Valve didn’t do some form of trade in scheme. Nothing amazing, but for example: get 10% of the value of the game back.

    It’d remove the game from your steam list, and credit you with that value in “steam points” that could be used only on steam to get a discount on prices.

    It’d probably be good for them as it’d encourage people to buy more games with their points, and i suspect a few people would end up buying the same game again later. Impulse, or any of the other client-based stores could also easily do the same.

    If they wanted to get technical, they could even have varying rates based on different factors: get 90% back on games you’ve never downloaded. Get 50% back on games traded in within 24 hours (for example if you can’t get it to work). Get 10% back on older games.
    By having everything tied to the client, and being able to track your time and progress in-game, they should be able to prevent people exploiting it, and in some ways it’d be like having a permanent Free-to-play day for all games, where they make a profit if people don’t decide to keep it.

    • Dan Lawrence says:

      I always wondered this as well, it seems like it would do just enough to assuage the compulsive trade in crowd while probably ending up generating more money for Valve (as long as they made the average trade in amount less than their average cut for each sold game). They could also cut the publishers directly into this scheme to get some bigger trade in amounts with special deals (trade in FIFA 9 get FIFA 10 for 10% off).

      I’d guess why it hasn’t taken off is that the incentives aren’t as good as regular trade ins for either Valve or the trader and perhaps the difficulty of securely and conveniently removing traded in software remotely.

      I wouldn’t be suprised to see something like it pop up eventually though even if it does just serve to counter one of the advantages of boxed retail.

  30. morbug says:

    @rogb

    Well, it IS a bit greedy since you can sell almost everything else in existence second hand: dvds, cds, computers, books, furniture, paintings, etc etc. But when it comes to games, the second hand market is evil and must be destroyed. If you don’t think you can earn enough money selling the game in the first place you shouldn’t try to publish it at all instead of making life more difficult for your customers IMHO. On the other hand DLC & Digital Downloads are more of a carrot than a stick so I guess it isn’t so bad after all.

  31. MedO says:

    IANAL, but as far as I’m aware you have to be able to sell games second-hand according to EU consumer protection laws, at least those you buy as a physical copy in stores. The digital download kind is not so clear, but it’s just possible you can also apply the same rules to them.

    That it doesn’t work in practice because of DRM is a different matter, and I’d welcome lawsuits upholding consumer rights in that area.

  32. Brumisator says:

    Well I’ve never really been into the sellback of old games, my steam game list is over 100 games long now, and it’s just so convenient to re-download an old game I haven’t played it a while (with fast internets anyway), and I like going back to games I haven’t played in a while.

    I remember a speculation thread about this idea Steam resell, and sorry for the hopeless romantics out there, but this seems like a fever dream, and not a very good one at that.

    As Bookwormat put it, the legality is set in stone, used games sales are an aberration when the data is nothing more than a digital copy, it just can’t work.

    If someone was dedicated anough to this idea, I guess you could make a different steam acocunt for every game you purchase, and then resell that account on ebay or something, but that’s just pushing it.

  33. AbyssUK says:

    Please work, I want to get rid of “Speedball” from my steam account! it’s so embarrassing…

  34. matte_k says:

    The shop I work for practically runs on second hand games, very big on the consoles but it’s probably the only place I see a decent PC game selection, considering Game and Gamestation have all but given up on 2nd Hand PC as “it’s too easily pirated”. The only problems we ever have with the things people bring is if it’s either too scratched to play, missing a necessary keycode in the case/booklet, or if it uses Steam. In the case of the latter, we will buy it if the game is still sealed in shrinkwrap, as the Steam account hasn’t been created. I’ve managed to get some interesting finds from there that would otherwise require considerable net browsing on ebay. (For instance, we had 6 copies of Hostile Waters come in, they ended up being sold for 50p. I bought two and gave them to friends as a recommendation!)

    Digital Download purchases covering recent games should nearly always have some form of Demo, as that way you can make a reasonably informed decision as to whether you buy it, since when you do you can’t really resell it if you don’t like it, or are tired of it, or whatever reason you may have for no longer owning it. Physical copies being resold have the advantage of a little cash incentive, rather than just giving or throwing it away.
    I think there is space for a decent second hand trade in PC Games, i’m just not sure how you would go about the digital side of it. It will be interesting to find out though-if it works people will use it, if not it will disappear.

  35. Don says:

    The idea is fine but the implementation almost certainly won’t work. This kind of thing should be baked into Steam and equivalent systems. One thing Steam lacks is any real community, I have a bunch of ‘friends’ who I occasionally stumble across in multiplayer but otherwise don’t interact with much. With RL friends you tend to swap stuff so it would be nice to have that facility in Steam – Valve could charge a nominal fee to cover the cost of re-allocating keys and bandwidth. Similarly with retail games when I’m finished with them they often go off to a local charity shop, would be cool if you could do with the same digitally by chucking them into an auction where the proceeds go to good causes.

  36. Mike Arthur says:

    Heh, this is cool, nice to see it go public. My friend is the CTO and a incredibly talented developer and manager. If nothing else, the team are going to produce something impressive and pretty different to the other download services you’ve seen. I’m now half-wishing I took him more seriously when he talked to me about a job there…

  37. l1ddl3monkey says:

    Does anyone else think that graphic looks like the green guy is getting head from a rabbit?

  38. Smurfy says:

    They aim to have more than double Steam’s catalogue by the end of the year.

    Good luck.

  39. Jimbo says:

    There isn’t a second-hand PC game market to be killed in the first place. The EULA prevents you from transferring the license to a retailer (or anybody else), meaning they can’t sell it because they can’t own it. Console games can be resold because the user doesn’t have a EULA shoved in their face before being able to use it.

    Publishers would be insane to endorse any kind of second-hand PC game market, and we would be insane to encourage it because it just takes even more money out of the developers pocket. If publishers were somehow forced to accept it -eg. if EULA turns out to be worthless- either new prices would go up to account for the future resale value, or they would just decide the PC version is no longer worthwhile. Either way we lose.
    —-

    As for a digital second-hand market – why would a publisher ever agree to that? I just can’t get my head around how this is supposed to make sense for either Green Man or the publisher concerned. OK, so the publisher makes some money out of the sale, but surely they’d have been better off just making that sale at the same price on Steam and getting a bigger cut?

    The only way this makes sense is for the Green Man price to be less than the Steam Price, and for the Green Man cut + Player cut combined to be less than the Steam cut. But if that’s possible, why wouldn’t Green Man just sell a ‘new’ digital copy for the hypothetical second hand price (ie. less than Steam) and split the now-non-existent-Player cut between themselves and the publisher?

  40. Hrmmmm says:

    That pic looks NSFW to me.

  41. heartlessgamer says:

    @carra

    You can already buy gift copies of Steam games during sales and resell them to your hearts content.

  42. Chris says:

    Sorry…of course there is a second hand PC game market. There are no laws preventing reselling of PC games in the first place.

    Also there is alot of talk on here about the price of the games, but just doing a quick comparison on Steam for the latest games with HMV, Amazon and Play.com and Steam costs more….on all counts.

    Go figure.

    For a license.

    Seriously?

    I would expect if these greenman guys have any sense they will also be looking to at more than just PC games since Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo all have online games available for download now and it will only be a matter of time before all the latest games are wholly available for download off of Xbox Live for example.

    Publishers may be fighting the second hand games market but I can assure you the developers would love to see some more of that money come back to them to cover their ever spiralling costs.

  43. ayreon says:

    Just another good example: Gladriel
    Not mentioning GameStop and others earning billions per year from this market

  44. Fraggle says:

    Until contracts presented to the retail public take less than 10 seconds to read and understand, there is nothing moral about them, regardless of how legal they are. The reason nobody reads them is because they are designed to not be read.

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