Saints Row designer: Bring on the used games lockouts

“I think what most consumers don’t realize,” says Volition's Jameson Durall, “is that every time they buy a used game... all of those profits are going directly to the re-seller.” Guest-posting on AltDevBlogaDay (via CVG), Durall lauds the rise of post-launch DLC as a way of reducing used game sales. However, he calls the current trend toward Online Passes “a band-aid on a large wound,” and suggests that next-gen consoles that refuse to play second-hand games “would be a fantastic change for our business.”

Above: Volition's own Saints Row: The Third provided generous post-launch DLC

“Even though the consumers would be up in arms about it at first,” says the Red Faction: Armageddon designer, “they will grow to understand why [the measure's being implemented] and that it won’t kill them.” He points to the rumors of Microsoft's next console employing such tech, theorizing that Xbox Live already provides the means to implement a new-only lockout. This needn't end the games rental market either, suggests Durall: “I could see Microsoft implementing their own rental service.”

“We put [games] on the shelves for only $60,” points out Durall: “Maybe something as simple as educating [consumers] could help solve the problem.” That problem isn't just the matter of lost revenue for developers, but the inevitable backlash that would result from a console that wouldn't play second-hand titles. Durall's fellow developers and pundits have plenty of counterpoints, as seen in the comments for his post; would you be upset with a console that didn't let you play used games?


  • AqueousBoy - February 8, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    Totally understand their point of view, and it really comes down to cost. I had no problem picking up SR2 when it was $20 and SR3 when it was $40.
  • TheGuy0526 - February 8, 2012 1:02 p.m.

    The game developer needs to look at it from our point of view as well. Not every consumer has access to the large amount of money needed to by new games. Many gamers, including myself, need used game sales so we can continue playing videogames in general. I can't afford to pay top dollar for a game because my income doesn't allow it. To put it simply, if the developers cut out used games, then they also cut out a large percentage of their buyers.
  • DryvBy - February 8, 2012 11:55 a.m.

    I've never wanted to actually pirate but the industry is actually leading me right to it. CD keys? Sure, why not. Garbage online passes? Whatever. Locking out my right to sell a product as a customer? Eff you. I'll still play your games, I just won't give you ANY money. The thing that corporate bull leeches forget is that while used games may hurt the industry somewhat (lol), so does making crappy games. Raise your hand if you ever bought a game brand new and it didn't work, then it never was patched. So, bring on the "lemon laws" with games and I'll agree with the argument that used games hurt people.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 8, 2012 12:19 p.m.

    When did re-selling a game become a right? AAA games (and really games in general) that never work after you buy them are rare. And if you do have a bad experience then you simply stop buying from them. You don't pirate, you just stop buying from them. After all, that would be like saying that restaurant gave me shitty service, so fuck them I'm going to steal my pizza next time, the assholes.
  • Moondoggie1157 - February 8, 2012 10:11 a.m.

    I have absolutely no problem giving up on used games, I'll have to cut down on the amount of games mind you... I'll do my part by buying new, but you developers have to do your part and make games that are actually worth 60 fucking dollars. I think I can count on both hands how many games I have thought were worth full price, and this is going back over 10 years.
  • ScrEAMaPiLLar - February 8, 2012 8:37 a.m.

    Again forgetting about dev teams and how little they make. Also it usually console titles that are over priced. PC does not have this big of a problem. Quit whining.
  • ThisIsMyFuckingThirdAccount - February 8, 2012 7:23 p.m.

    Right? Everyone sees the figureheads; no one sees the hundreds or possibly thousands of people that they employ.
  • SuperUberBear - February 8, 2012 3:45 a.m.

    All I will say is "Boooooo" ...I boo you sir.
  • oz103 - February 8, 2012 2 a.m.

    Atm I live in Australia and the prices are a hell of a lot for a new game. Looking at $100 AuD. The only way I know purchase these games is if I want to support the producer, and really want to play the game other wise I just use my steam account.
  • 435 - February 8, 2012 1:58 a.m.

    Dear Mr. Goulter: Son, I am disappoint. The title of this piece alone is several layers of supreme sensationalism that does nothing but inflame. You call him a 'Saints Row' designer because he works for Volition; should I start describing you as a writer for Cycling News because you write for Future? You then make a leap into supreme trash best left to Fox News when you claim he suggests we "bring on the used game lockouts". Leave that level of horseshit to NeoGAF, TMZ, The New York Post and The Sun. And if the editors who approved this article intend to drive pageviews with this kind of journalistic detritus, not even my long-time friendship with Mikel Reparaz will keep me visiting the site. I've come to expect better judgement from the staff at Games Radar, and this article shakes that to the core. To think, several great people lost their jobs recently here and this kind of nonsense still manages to be pushed through. I am utterly disgusted.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 8, 2012 12:24 p.m.

    To be fair GR, the guy's fairly well known as working at Volition on Red Faction, not Saint's Row. I wouldn't agree with the extreme response this guy gave, but he's right about the title being incorrect.
  • ZenPhoenix - February 7, 2012 3:44 p.m.

    I've been playing on my PC more often lately, what with the massive sales through digital distribution and the wealth of indie titles. Have rarely touched my 360 other than to finish games I already have, as I've had to be budget conscious. With that in mind, if the next gen does pull this crap, I'm out, especially considering the price will inevitably go up. There have been some pretty draconian measures on the PC to combat sales loss, but this is getting horribly carried away. Will be the easiest decision I've made in a while.
  • Zixor - February 7, 2012 12:49 p.m.

    If Microsoft were to implement this anti-used-game strategy, used game retailers like Gamestop could file a massive lawsuit against them, and I'd bet they'd win too. Antitrust Laws in the US make underhanded tactics like this illegal, as they eliminate competition and fuck up the market.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 8, 2012 12:27 p.m.

    Except Microsoft and GameStop aren't in competition with each other. People who make shit aren't in competition with the people who sell it.
  • ca0656 - February 7, 2012 12:46 p.m.

    Game devlopers make about 30% of the price, so by that logic, your not going to make the 18$ off Saints Row 3 when I buy it used from gamestop this weekend.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 8, 2012 12:37 p.m.

    I think you've missed the entire point of this debate. Game developers and publishers don't make anything off of used game sales. Yes, on NEW games the retailer gets about $12 or so of the final retail price (not 100% on the exact numbers, but they're irrelevant to the point), leaving the publisher just shy of $50 to split with the developer and the console manufacturer (for licensing fees; that's how Sony, MS, and N make money off their consoles) as they've agreed on. You're right. But the whole reason that $48 goes back to the publisher to be split up is because the retailer bought it from them, then marked it up for resale at $60. Used games aren't bought from the publisher, they're bought from consumers (hence, you know, used), so that $48 doesn't go anywhere but the retailer's pockets, minus the $10-15 or so they agree to pay the consumer as the trade-in deal. At no point does the retailer send any of that money back to the publisher. Really, why should they? They have no legal obligation to. The behind-the-scenes wish is to strike a deal with retailers like GameStop to agree to some kind of a split anyway, but of course the retailers have the upper hand big-time, so that's not likely to happen. That's why publishers are doing things like selling online passes so that they can make some money at all off of used sales, since it is their product that's being sold. You can argue it's not their business, and many certainly have attempted to liken it to, say, the used cars business, but that's not an accurate comparison. Apples to oranges. Physical, tangible products that degrade in value are okay to be sold in principle because it's accepted you're getting an inferior product than what you could get new. Video games are essentially completely digital, as in non-phsyical. A copy of Final Fantasy X today plays the exact same and looks the exact same as a new version did when it came out. More relevantly, a "used" copy of Modern Warfare 3 looks and plays exactly as a new copy does.
  • Fiirestorm21 - February 8, 2012 12:38 p.m.

    Goddammit, I misread your post. GR, why no edit or delete button? Seriously. Oh well, if anyone wanted an essentials breakdown, there you go.
  • Ravenbom - February 7, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    FYI, he never actually said: "Bring on the used games lockouts" This is very inflammatory journalism. I know you didn't directly attribute the headline as a quote but it is implied. At best, it's something a NeoGAF user would title a tread to encourage trolls, at worst it's something even TMZ wouldn't do because they actually show you the Q&A on video even if the editors start joking around and taking a quote out of context they start by showing the context. It's just very trashy journalism.
  • 435 - February 8, 2012 1:44 a.m.

    Hear hear. I thought GR was above this.
  • skivir - February 7, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    1st - this is a stupid idea that will not work. unless the blocked part is the online part, then whatever as i play offline. however, it isnt fair for the ppl that do, and hopefully i will. (i also disagree with post release DLC because i currently cant get broadband where i live) 2nd - at some point, someone smarter than myself will figure it out and hack and pirate. and i will be a loyal pirate.

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