Retailers Warn "Project Ten Dollar" Will Hurt Consumers

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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Retailers Warn "Project Ten Dollar" Will Hurt Consumers


Retailers are warning that Electronic Art's [http://www.ea.com] new "Project Ten Dollar," designed to help curb the used game market, is more likely to result in angry consumers and ultimately do more harm than good.

You may have noticed how recent EA releases like Dragon Age: Origins [http://masseffect.bioware.com] feature launch-day DLC that was comes free with new copies of the game but must be purchased separately by anyone who buys them used. That's Project Ten Dollar in action, an attempt by EA to take back some of the revenues it's losing to the pre-owned market by offering an incentive to buy new - or, depending on your perspective, a punishment for not.

It's obviously a blow aimed directly at retailers who sell used games but according to some of them, it's the customers who will feel the greatest impact. "The person you're pissing off the most is the consumer," GamesIndustry [http://www.chipsworld.co.uk/home.dept]. "This affects [them] directly - they pay the same amount of money and yet the resale value is much reduced. From a retailer's point of view, they'll just readjust [the price] bearing in mind you have to buy the voucher."

An unintended side effect of the program could be a reduction in new game sales, added SwapGame [http://www.swapgame.com/] CEO Marc Day, as customers suddenly find it harder to afford their habit. "EA's Project Ten Dollar move is aiming to stifle pre-owned games sales, but what they don't factor in is the damage this could have for them in relation to new sales," Day said. "The majority of customers who trade in for cash or credit do so to acquire new games they could otherwise not afford. Through trading in, we aim to help the customer make gaming more affordable, providing them with a way to buy new games."

This could be especially, and rather ironically, troublesome for a company like EA, which publishes regular iterations of many of its most popular releases, particular in the Madden [http://www.easports.com], all of these are effectively the same title upgraded each year," McCabe said. "And people trade in last year's for this year's. You go anywhere and you'll always find second hand copies of FIFA 07, 08, 09 - it's one of the ones we get the most of."

"People want a system that's as simple as possible - if companies start going down a variety of different routes to block second hand sales, online access - the thing Ubisoft are doing [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/98452-Ubisoft-Clarifies-New-Online-DRM-Scheme] where you have to be online to verify the game - it's just going to turn people off," he continued. "If they try to block pre-owned sales, they will see a reduction in those titles."

It's definitely a risky move for EA and any other publisher that follows in its footsteps. GameStop [http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=23396] maintained a 48 percent profit margin on the sale of used videogames in its 2008 fiscal year, more than double its margin on new software sales; in other words, even if used retailers are forced to reduce their prices of pre-owned game sales by initiatives like this, it will likely remain lucrative and thus undiminished.

"Will customers simply cough up the full retail price to get the exclusive content and online play on day one, or will they wait to buy it pre-owned at a low enough price, then pay the additional $10 for the same content?" Day asked. "If so the publisher could well shoot themselves in the foot. It is the publisher who is giving the customer the short straw."


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thenumberthirteen

Unlucky for some
Dec 19, 2007
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My friend runs a small used games store. This is going to screw him over. There is no margin in new games sale for him as he can't buy in the bulk required to make a profit.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
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I can see the point of retailers here, it can be annoying.

I however tyhink it might work out, for me anyway, as I dont mint getting new. At least means its quality.

They may need to tweak it slightly however.
 

Andy Chalk

One Flag, One Fleet, One Cat
Nov 12, 2002
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thenumberthirteen said:
My friend runs a small used games store. This is going to screw him over. There is no margin in new games sale for him as he can't buy in the bulk required to make a profit.
wow that must suck

I can understand developers/publishers wanting some cash. But couldn't they strike a deal with gamestop to give them at least 30% of what they make a used game back to developer/publisher
 

Wigglyman

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Dec 14, 2009
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Stop charging like £60 for brand new games and then. Even around £40 I'd be able to afford to buy most games I want brand new.
 

SnootyEnglishman

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May 26, 2009
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devs and publishers must really be wanting money for their games if they want to install this program they should realize that they also get money from Used games sure it maybe a little bit less then the shiny new game sales but it's money nonetheless
 

Woodsey

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Aug 9, 2009
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"People want a system that's as simple as possible - if companies start going down a variety of different routes to block second hand sales, online access - the thing Ubisoft are doing where you have to be online to verify the game - it's just going to turn people off,"

I wish publishers had this much sense.

[small]Petition against Ubi's DRM here: http://www.petitiononline.com/mod_perl/signed.cgi?ew15dl94 [/small]
 

Vie

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Nov 18, 2009
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Provide a CD with all the DLC installers burned to it when you trade your game in.

Problem solved.
 

addeB

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Oct 2, 2009
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Ouughh, damn you EA!!! Damn you!

Seriously how low are EA going to go?
 

Nimbus

Token Irish Guy
Oct 22, 2008
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Vie said:
Provide a CD with all the DLC installers burned to it when you trade your game in.

Problem solved.
I... I honestly can't tell if you're being serious or not.
 

Jhereg42

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Apr 11, 2008
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Ok, I'm not so hot on this either, but I am going to take on the role of Devil's Advocate.

The main counter arguement is that these "Project Ten Dollar" DLC items are not in any way necessary to play either of these great games. The Stone Prisoner is a fun sidequest and Shale is a useful tank, but you can make it through Dragon Age without either. They just add a little to the experience. The same is true of Mass Effect 2. The game can easily be played without any of the Cerberus Network DLCs and it in no way detracts from the game, although Zaeed's loyalty quest does provide a rather enjoyable encounter.

When these are viewed in the same way as post launch DLC, they are not really all that daunting for Used Retailers. While it does give an incentive to buy new, there is no requirement for the buyer of the used title to invest in it. The game is just as good either way.
 

Earthmonger

Apple Blossoms
Feb 10, 2009
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Am I missing something here? I'm not sure I've read everything correctly. Is EA now charging $10 to activate the games prior to any form of play, or, are they charging $10 for the DLC content? If it's the former, I can see why this is an issue, and it's appalling. If it's the latter, well, here you go, here's a tissue; why is DLC necessary to play a game?
 

RooksEye

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Mar 17, 2009
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I really don't think this will work too well. I work at a store that sells used games. I was curious about the cost for some new titles that came out. The cost for my company to buy a new or used version of, let's say Mass Effect 2 or Dante's Inferno:
New: $50.82
Used: $10.29
And we usually sell a used copy for about $50. So, there's about $40 dollars of profit per used game. We could drop it by $30 dollars and still make a profit.
 

ultimateownage

This name was cool in 2008.
Feb 11, 2009
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What they don't seem to understand is that the price reduction of buying it pre owned is probably more than the value of the dlc anyway. Kinda defeats the point really.
 

JaredXE

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Apr 1, 2009
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Actually, this will make my want to buy the game new even more. I DISPISE used games, and the upscale pawnbrokers that sell them. Oh sure, if I want a classic cartridge or something it will more than likely be used, and I have no problem with that; it's just places like Gamestop(and since they've about run everyone out of business, they are the ones I will be picking on) that annoy the fuck out of me by charging what, $4-5 under the new price? Ooooh, such savings! And NONE of that money goes to the publisher and developers. Not to mention the quality. Many used games come without the original cover and/or manual, and of course will be scratched to high hell, because Gamestop doesn't check nor do they have a disc cleaner on the premises and they rely upon the customer to check their games for them.

I dislike EA, mainly because they forced the delay of ToR, but I side with them on the early DLC plan.
 

ItsAPaul

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Mar 4, 2009
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Am I the only broke college student who will never trade in a game? Aside from that, I'm down for whatever keeps Bioware making games, and I always buy new assuming the game's still being made so this doesn't bother me at all.
 

GL2814E

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Feb 16, 2010
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I haven't bought any games pre-owned in years. I dislike how little used games go toward in credit or cash. (Especially considering how high many used games sell for.)

I have a question though, does Ea or any developer make any money from used game selling/trading? I can't imagine why they would. And if they don't make money, why should they care if the used game customers who aren't lining their pockets with gold are not playing their games? (Obviously if the used game market makes them a significant profit I can understand, otherwise...)
 

Onyx Oblivion

Borderlands Addict. Again.
Sep 9, 2008
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thenumberthirteen said:
My friend runs a small used games store. This is going to screw him over. There is no margin in new games sale for him as he can't buy in the bulk required to make a profit.
Well, so what?

What makes him more important than the developers of games who deserve to earn a profit for their work?
 

Destal

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Jul 8, 2009
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I don't really see the problem here. It's not like the game becomes unplayable without the DLC they are giving away for free. Blaming EA as money grubbing is also a falacious argument, because they still are still losing money hand over fist in the current market.