Video game publishers complain (again) about used video game sales; GameStop defends practice (again)


Help me out here, guys. I have zero sympathy for video game developers and publishers who cry poverty vis-à-vis used video game sales. At the same time, I have zero sympathy for the likes of GameStop, what with its hyperactive employees always trying to sell me some added nonsense, when it claims that used video game sales help expand the video game market as a whole.

The issue is this: video game publishers and developers feel they’re being cheated out of money every time you buy a used video game from GameStop or eBay. At the same time, GameStop defends the practice by saying that people who buy used video games are different than people who buy new video games. In effect, GameStop argues that selling used games opens up the whole industry to new people. It also doesn’t hurt that GameStop can take your game, give you $20 in store credit, then turn around and sell it for only $5 less than the full, new retail price.

In a perfect world, as far as video game publishers are concerned, there’d be no such thing as used video game sales. Failing that, a portion of the money earned from used sales would be diverted to the publishers and developers themselves, rather than just sitting in GameStop’s cash register.

Again, I think both sides here are being greedy jerks, but surely the video game industry doesn’t believe that there’s something inherently different about video games that would necessarily prevent a secondary market? I can buy a car from a dealer, then sell it to my neighbor—does Toyota see any of that money? I can buy a toaster oven, then sell it at a garage sale—does Black and Decker see any of that money? Or maybe I’d like to put a pair of speakers on Craigslist—does Bose see any of that money?