If You Can Legally Buy A Video Game, Publishers Shouldn’t Do Anything That Make It Impossible For You To Legally Sell It
The other day we told you about the fact that DC Universe Online was untradeable because SOE was essentially linking the game disc, key and PSN account together. This means that once you buy the game and play it, the game disc is essentially worthless because the key only works with that disc one time. To be clear on this, if you bought a copy of DCUO from a friend for instance, you couldn’t use his old key of course and you can’t even buy a new key. PC gamers are like this is the way it has always been and that may be so but that doesn’t make it right. In America at least, people have a fundamental right to legally sell anything that they legally purchased for as good a price as they can get. The major problem with what SOE is doing with DCUO and apparently what PC game companies have been doing forever is that it takes away that right. Who is SOE or anyone else to eliminate your ability to legally sell something that you paid for?
I understand the whole DRM issue and that’s one thing but this is something truly different. In cases like this, they make you pay full retail price for the game which on consoles is $59.99, then they charge you a monthly subscription fee on top of that which is bunch of bologna but I am fine with that because it’s completely within their freedom to do so. Where I feel like the line has been crossed is when they deliver a product in a way that makes it impossible for the buyer to ever possibly recoup any of their money for it. Honestly, I am not even sure it’s legal. I mean gamers on both the PC and console side have been known to complain now and then, but on this particular instance I think there is real merit.
Tactics like this are used to try to cut into the used game market that is currently being driven by companies like Gamestop. Developers and more specifically publishers hate the used game market because they don’t get a cut of any resell and that is a significant amount of revenue they never see, companies like Gamestop can sell the same game several times over, each time increasing their profit margin per item. Take a brand new game that starts out at $59.99, the gamer beats it and brings it back in two weeks. Gamestop marks it as used but it’s still relatively new and they price it for $49.99. Next person plays it and beats it in 4 weeks. They bring it back and Gamestop prices it at $32.99 and so on. Gamestop and companies like them can make several hundred dollars per item over the course of its lifetime. Again I can see why the publishers and devs are pissed about losing all that revenue, but it’s not our fault they didn’t think of it first.
So my question to you guys is do you think this is right, to any lawyers out there is this even really legal? Can game companies deliver products in this manner that completely negates a consumer’s ability to sell the item if they so choose? As you can tell, my position is that if you can legally purchase it you and there are no legal restrictions on its resell (i.e. controlled substances) then you should ALWAYS be able to legally sell it.