Video Game Companies Fight Piracy by Getting Stingy with Gamers

In the past few years, video game companies have introduced several measures to combat piracy and used game sales. They have stated that these are their biggest obstacles in the marketplace, and now they are taking some dramatic steps to combat them. However, many consumers are frustrated by these (myself included)!

Here are a few measures that video game companies now implement to battle illegal downloading and used game sales:

Digital Download Games

Digital Download Games

Digital Download Games: In addition to being offered in the traditional disc format, some games are offered as digital downloads as well. This helps combat both piracy and used game sales, but download-only games have ZERO resale value! I don’t know about you, but this is a major consideration for me when I buy a game. Download-only games can’t be traded in toward the purchase of newer games.

Passwords to Play Online that Cost $10 if You Did Not Purchase the Game New

Passwords to Play Online that Cost $10 if You Did Not Purchase the Game New

Passwords to Play Online that Cost $10 if You Did Not Purchase the Game New: While this may not seem that unfair upon first glance, it’s confusing to consumers. Some companies charge used-game buyers $10 just for a code to play online. However, gamers who bought the game new have either been confused by the process of entering lengthy codes OR have not seen the code at all and ended up spending extra money just to connect to a game!

Requiring a Constant Internet Connection to Play Your Game

Requiring a Constant Internet Connection to Play Your Game

Requiring a Constant Internet Connection to Play Your Game: Some game companies require that to play their computer games – even offline – you must have your computer connected to the internet and their servers at all times to authenticate your game. The problem? Servers go down! Internet connections fail! Any connection issues leave a gamer with an unusable $50+ game.

These game companies have blamed piracy and used game sales for the high costs of their games. Well, if they’re introducing all these measures that inconvenience consumers, and sometimes lessen the value of their products, then shouldn’t the games cost less? In the case of digital download games, there is no packaging, disc printing, piracy concerns, or shipping costs to incur. Therefore, there is absolutely NO reason that they can’t lower the price a bit.

There HAS to be a better way to fight piracy than to make games not work at all. No one who legally purchases games should have to deal with these issues. One alternative I’ve seen proposed is that if a game can’t be authenticated (just like your music in iTunes) then there would just be regular 1-2 minute un-skippable ads that the user would have to sit through. Another idea is a cap to the amount of time per hour an un-authenticated game can be played. Inconvenient sure, but it’s a far cry from rendering the expensive game unusable!

And why are video game companies fighting used games sales to begin with? Do they not realize a lot of people get the money to buy their NEW game by selling or trading in used games? Do they not realize that maybe someone who tried their game used (because it was cheap) will love it and go buy the next one at full price on release day?

What do YOU think – does it seem like video game companies are introducing poor business strategies with these restrictions?


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  1. Scooby DOO!

    What most people don’t realize is the priacy ends up costing you more money in the long run!

    • Mr. Balls

      Pirates suck balls!

  2. Chase

    This is true, so many older games could easly be stolen or copied. Video game companies, i am sure, lost a TON of money due to this.

  3. QLP Jill

    I don’t think they’re going about this the right way at all. Like you said, why punish gamers who legally buy their games by making them jump through a million hoops? I’d be really pissed off if I spent $60 on a game (which is an OUTRAGEOUS price for a download, mind you) and then I couldn’t play it because my internet went down. What happens when people have another massive Comcast outage like the one we had last week? And let me also say that discouraging the purchase of used games is THE most ridiculous thing that video game companies could do! Stores like GameStop aren’t the enemy…they’re helping to get more people interested in games who maybe can’t afford to buy an expensive game on its release day. All of the authentication ideas you had were good – and every single one would work better than any of the anti-piracy measures they’re currently taking. They need to fix this before it gets out of hand!

    • QLPJPo

      $60 IS way too much for a game. I’ve read that one major company is “considering” moving to a $40 price model, and just offer additional downloadable content to hope to make up the difference in price. A lower entry price would definitely help curb piracy and used sales!

  4. Bret Bonnet

    I miss Funcoland…

    I remember the day that I traded in my old school NES system for a shiny new Super Nintendo. Oh; those were the days…

    As far as piracy concerns go, and the FIGHTING of said concerns, why not make the discs/technology proprietary to the system itself so only THAT console can play the game? If only that system can read the disc and not say your typical souped up mega computer that is often used to rip said games – they wouldn’t have to worry about piracy!

    …. I hate it when I buy something (legally) and it doesn’t work because of stupid and needless precautions put in place my game manufacturers.

    Games are getting more expensive, the QUALITY (note NOT the graphics) are going down, and now this. Way to go. I guess this explain how Zynga has more market cap than the likes of EA Sports.

    Social gaming is where it is at.

    • QLP Jill

      Funcoland was so awesome! I have so many memories of buying used games there! 🙂

      • JJ "Suite G"

        Same here. I used to beg my mom to take me so that I could trade in my games, but she rarely ever did, arguing that I wouldn’t get nearly the amount of money back for my games as I originally paid for them. It was always an ordeal with her. I’m not sure she understood the concept of ‘supply and demand’ and how it related to retail.

  5. Cybernetic SAM

    Ugh… video games…

  6. JJ "Suite G"

    Piracy is definitely taking a bite out of industry revenue these days, particularly when it comes to music, movies, television, and video games. The RIAA and MPAA have obviously been very outspoken and proactive about their efforts to combat illegal file-sharing, but this is honestly the first I’ve read about the VG industry taking measures against the trend.

    I wasn’t aware that there are now surcharges applied to the purchase of used games that must be paid in order to enable online play. That seems unfair. As does the requirement of constant internet connectivity to play at all. Not all gamers (even the ones who buy games legally) have their systems connected to the net. I shouldn’t have to go out of my way to enjoy the games I buy.

    I’m glad you brought this to my attention. It goes to show that the piracy issue is not going away anytime soon. Refinements are going to have to be made in terms of digital distribution and pricing over the next few years. Business models will likely be tweaked and revamped to a certain extent, as will marketing strategies. Not just for VG’s–that goes for all industries.

    The times, they are a-changin’…

  7. Stantz

    Unfortunately, I think download-only games are going to be the way of the future. I’m probably in the overall minority, but I really enjoy having a physical collection of video games, movies, CDs, etc.

    I think download-only games are ok for short, sweet, quick games (i.e., Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game), but I still really enjoy having a collection of the full, retail titles.

    • QLPJPo

      I don’t think you (and I!) are in the minority. I think these companies WANT you to think you are in the minority and that download only games are taking over so that they can have their cake and eat it too!

      • Stantz

        Yeah, physical media forever! 😀

  8. Brian

    $60 is alot of money to pay for a game but those companies know that there are plenty of people out there that will pay that kind of money. It seems the gaming industry is a huge part of society today because games have become so advanced and realistic.. example would be the Kinect for xbox 360, a motion sensor that requires no controllers to play games.

  9. Melva Daprile

    Absolutely! U got this 1 down right man.. This really keeped me entertained!

  10. Joe Reece

    I think this whole thing is ubsurd, I own multiple systems, and there is no way I am paying extra to play the same game I bought 100% legally in the other room. Or if my son wants to play a racing game online in his room I have to pay an extra $10 for that??? F*** that, and f*** the companies that are doing this…. I wont buy the games that do this, just because of this… otherwise I would love to buy and own these games, but this is rediculus!

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