InstantAction CEO: Retailers Are "Parasites and Thieves"

Tom Goldman

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Aug 17, 2009
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InstantAction CEO: Retailers Are "Parasites and Thieves"



Louis Castle is back with more vitriolic criticism to lay down on retailers that sell used games.

Just as in the past [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/99977-InstantAction-CEO-Says-Retailers-Horribly-Abuse-the-Industry], InstantAction CEO Louis Castle has some strong words for videogame retailers that participate in used sales, and this time they're even worse. He believes that stores such as Walmart and GameStop are destroying the industry.

"They're parasites and thieves," he says of the retail chains. "Because they don't let the publisher participate in the used games business. They take all the money. They take a game from somebody for $10 and then turn around and sell it for $30, and they don't give any of that $20 back to the original copyright holder. Something would be ok, but zero is not ok."

He admits that the used games business is legal, and that there's nothing anybody can do about it, but compares selling used games to the "statistical theft" of gambling, saying "just because you can legally steal doesn't mean it's not stealing." InstantAction [http://www.instantaction.com/] is a digital distribution platform, so Castle isn't personally losing money to used game sales, but Castle seems protective of the industry and thinks used games are seriously harming it.

He uses an analogy to describe his point: "If we make something like woolen blankets and we start eating the sheep, pretty soon, we have no more woolen blankets. It's taking from the one thing that's making you money. If we stop making games, they stop being able to sell them." To Castle, shrinking margins in retail are not an excuse, because used games are "shrinking the publishers' margins so we're all shrinking and are going to go out of business."

"Publishers are the ones who are taking all the risk," he believes. "They're paying for development, pay for the marketing - the retailer has zero risk. It's all consignment anyway: if a product doesn't sell, they box it up and send it back to the publisher. I'm sorry their margins are eroding, but that's not the publishers problem. To use a loophole in the law to just gouge them is just unacceptable."

Castle thinks there are other ways to retain customer loyalty rather than selling used games in a way that cuts the developers and publishers out of the loop, such as with rewards programs [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/100891-GameStop-Test-Drives-PowerUp-Rewards-Program] or by stores becoming known as places with knowledgeable employees. But would this be enough to keep them in business?

GameStop says no and that it posited [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/102040-GameStop-We-Wouldnt-Be-Here-Without-Used-Sales] that used game sales correlate with a new game sales decline. Even with all of the analysis in the world, and opinions by industry veterans such as Castle, we'll never truly know the impact of used games on developers and publishers because there are too many factors. Used sales will continue, and on a widespread scale until the industry shifts to the point where it creates a mandatory direct route from publisher to customer.

Source: Edge [http://www.next-gen.biz/news/louis-castle-retailers-are-parasites-and-thieves]

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Apr 28, 2008
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Maybe people buy used games so much because you charge so much damn money for games. And you say you charge so much because you spend so much on development.

Have you tried not spending so much on development?

Also, buying used is good business sense. We get more for less, and can trade in the copy when we're done with it.

So its good business sense, kind of like for you guys good business sense is apparently to fuck us over.

Hurts don't it?
 

JeanLuc761

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Sep 22, 2009
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Why is it only the gaming industry, one of the most profitable industries in the world, bitches about used sales?

I don't hear ANY of this moaning from used car dealerships, used DVD sales, used books, nothing. Someone had to have bought the game new in order for used to exist; you already made your money.
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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Maybe if games didn't cost me $70 fucking dollars after tax I would buy them new?
Seriously, I'm so sick of publishers and developers whining about this shit.

Publishers dick the consumer around to no end. They do! Let's take EA's games; every game now has to be some sort of DLC platform that pushes and pushes you to buy their DLC which is 95% crap. Take Activision who raised the prices of their games and releases map packs which should be free for $15. Take Ubisoft with their absurd DRM!

These assholes push us and squeeze us for every fucking penny and we endure it because we believe we're "supporting the industry". So you know what? Now that publishers have been in turn dicked around as bad as the consumers, they sit there and whine and whine about it to no fucking end. "Bawwwww we aren't making all this money, bawwwww how dare people give gamers discount prices!" You know what? DEAL WITH IT. I'm tired of this shit and if you want used game sales to stop hurting you could STOP TRYING TO JUICE YOUR CUSTOMER BASE.

Are publishers under some kind of spell where 2 billion dollars of profit a year is just not good enough? No other industry complains this much and they seem like a bunch of toddlers who weren't allowed to have a piece of candy less it spoil their dinner.
 

uppitycracker

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JeanLuc761 said:
Why is it only the gaming industry, one of the most profitable industries in the world, bitches about used sales?

I don't hear ANY of this moaning from used car dealerships, used DVD sales, used books, nothing. Someone had to have bought the game new in order for used to exist; you already made your money.
It's because this sense of entitlement that's come about since the piracy issue started to become big talk. It's all really retarded, and honestly if these developers would focus more on creating quality games over what they put out now, they wouldn't be impacted too badly as a result.

The funny thing is, and I know this after working game retail, is that the real parasites and thieves seem to be the publishers and developers pushing out hte new games, as well as the console manufacturers. There's hardly any incentive to sell new, when almost all the money goes to them, and hardly any to the store. If it weren't for things like warranties, new hardware would hardly be pushed at all by most of them.

Ultimately, they really need to look at both sides of the fence and decide how to take action from there, because until they make it profitable for the retailers to sell games new, there's not going to be any incentive to change things up so everybody wins.
 

Ciler

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I buy used games for $15 or less because they aren't the "must have" games that I would have wanted to purchase for $70 when they first came out. If I could buy them "new" for $15 within 12 months of the game's release, then I would do that too. My Steam library is huge thanks to all those amazing sales they put on.
 

Weaver

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Ciler said:
I buy used games for $15 or less because they aren't the "must have" games that I would have wanted to purchase for $70 when they first came out. If I could buy them "new" for $15 within 12 months of the game's release, then I would do that too. My Steam library is huge thanks to all those amazing sales they put on.
Exactly, I think more people should look at steam numbers for possible evidence that games simply cost too much. If games were like $20 I'd be buying a hell of a lot more of them.
 

Gindil

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Nov 28, 2009
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Thank goodness Alien Swarm came out for free on Steam.

Thank goodness TF2 gives me free maps, free skins, free new weapons everytime I play and free everything for $20 bucks.

AC10, yes your argument is a valid one. It's Louis Castle that doesn't want to change. He has a scarcity mentality that just isn't true at all. He sees the gaming industry collapsing when it's really diversifying and he can't jump on it. His company has two facebook games right now. You have the PC, PS3, Xbox, and Wii forgetting the console market. Quite frankly, there's so many options available it's not funny. But just because the money supposedly isn't better than it was a few days ago, he's gotta hate on retailers for selling games.
 

Booze Zombie

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I just imagined this whole article in Andrew Ryan's voice.

"The parasite sees invention and says 'where's my share'!"

He, he, he!
 

Macgyvercas

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Feb 19, 2009
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I would think piracy has a bigger impact than used game sales. At least with used games, it was sold once and the publisher's got their cut. If the game is pirated, they get nothing period.

Focus on piracy and leave used games along, Castle. Unless you can convice retailers to sell new games for less money, I'm supporting used games.
 

QueenWren

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Apr 7, 2010
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People buy used games because they're cheaper QED. Or because they're ancient and no longer available new. Enough new games get bought that it doesn't matter that much.

JeanLuc761 said:
Why is it only the gaming industry, one of the most profitable industries in the world, bitches about used sales?

I don't hear ANY of this moaning from used car dealerships, used DVD sales, used books, nothing. Someone had to have bought the game new in order for used to exist; you already made your money.
And as for the other industries. I'm fairly sure less people buy used DVD's and books than games. Cause you don't have to shell out £40 for a new DVD (unless it's a boxset). This doesn't justify the game industry whining however. Expecially those members of the industry that are in no way affected by used sales
 

bladester1

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Feb 5, 2008
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What the game industry needs to do what the automotive industry does when it comes to use products and then give incentives to customers to buy the used games from them. (That needs tweaking I know.) Two other things they can to is make games cheaper so people don't worry about getting the game for cheaper or have the price of the game decrease at a steady rate. Like after 6 months drop the game by X% of original retail price. Another idea is to have "sales", like on steam, that the customer can print out a coupon for the game or whatever.

To me it seems that making games more affordable could curb the used sale market.
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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Gindil said:
Thank goodness Alien Swarm came out for free on Steam.

Thank goodness TF2 gives me free maps, free skins, free new weapons everytime I play and free everything for $20 bucks.

AC10, yes your argument is a valid one. It's Louis Castle that doesn't want to change. He has a scarcity mentality that just isn't true at all. He sees the gaming industry collapsing when it's really diversifying and he can't jump on it. His company has two facebook games right now. You have the PC, PS3, Xbox, and Wii forgetting the console market. Quite frankly, there's so many options available it's not funny. But just because the money supposedly isn't better than it was a few days ago, he's gotta hate on retailers for selling games.
Well, I'm glad someone could decipher what I was getting at :p
Sometimes I just fly into a blood rage and just spew my swirling thoughts out into the comment box in no particular structure ;)
 

BloodSquirrel

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Jun 23, 2008
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I can't help but feel that part of the used game problem comes from the industry mentality that games should be disposable.

If you're going to pump out a new COD every year with a 4 hour long campaign, don't be surprised when people don't feel the need to hang on to it after one playthrough. Don't sell games that can be completed in an afternoon and maybe used copies won't show up on store shelves quite so fast.
 

Worgen

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Apr 1, 2009
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Whatever, just wash your hands.
you guys love to ***** about used game sales but I dont see you doing anything to entice customers to buy new ones, hell most companies are cutting back on the things that make me want to buy new like getting rid of nice instruction booklets, chances are I already know how to play your game but I still like a nice book that gives me some more game back ground instead of a single sheet of game play instructions. Also you charge too much, a new game is 60 bucks, if you factor in the ability to trade in a title then its only like 30-40 bucks, with out that chances are you would see alot fewer new game sales since people wouldnt have the money for them
 

Weaver

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Apr 28, 2008
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BloodSquirrel said:
I can't help but feel that part of the used game problem comes from the industry mentality that games should be disposable.

If you're going to pump out a new COD every year with a 4 hour long campaign, don't be surprised when people don't feel the need to hang on to it after one playthrough. Don't sell games that can be completed in an afternoon and maybe used copies won't show up on store shelves quite so fast.
This is a good point, and maybe we'll see game rentals coming under fire next :p
If I can rent a game and then beat it overnight and never want to play it again I have to wonder what, exactly is my incentive to spend $70 on it new?
 

Jared

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Jul 14, 2009
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Ohhh! someone really is not taking his medication! I cant believe they wont let this arguement lie down. Its certainly not gonna win him anyfans in the retails sector...