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The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

The award-winning news site of Cosumnes River College

The Connection

Opinion: Digital distribution destroys the used game market

If console gaming continues down the path that it is, people won’t pay for the new consoles and games.

I will be one of those people refusing to buy the next systems.

The used game market is being corrupted; it has always been a part of the equation, and recently it’s been argued from every side.

Games have always been available to buy used—codes weren’t implemented in PC games, discs weren’t locked, the internet didn’t exist and cartridges had no security on them.

My first experience with video games involved a friend of my dad’s and a cardboard box with a Nintendo Entertainment System and a handful of games.

My game collection built up steadily from second hand shops and friends who would give me games they didn’t want.

In the future, this won’t be possible.

As it stands, most new games are $60; buying used games used to be perfect for people who didn’t want to shell out the big bucks.

Currently, used games are still available as a viable option, but it seems that could be changing.

Some big-ticket games, including “Madden 2012,” “Saints Row: The Third” and “Battlefield 3,” are including online activation codes.

Each code is account specific and is not available with used games; without them, you cannot access online features of the games—something that is the biggest selling point for many people who buy the games.

While it’s possible to get these codes when you buy a used game, you would have to be willing to pay extra.

Doesn’t this defeat the purpose of buying used at a lower cost?

One of the biggest arguments against the used game market is that developers get cut out of the profits.

Does that really matter? The game market has only grown since it started, and used games have always been around.

Most recently, rumors have been circulating about the future of used games for the next generation of consoles, which are tentatively named the PlayStation Orbit and Xbox 720; the rumors have been published on popular sites such as Wired, IGN, Forbes and The Huffington Post.

These rumors speculate that used games on future consoles will either be unavailable or heavily restricted.

If restrictions are as tight as they are being rumored, then it will be impossible to buy a used game that hasn’t been purchased and linked to your account.

Other rumors say that used games will merely be restricted—that unless you pay the developers a fee, gameplay will be limited to certain aspects of the game.

These rumors may be just that: rumors.

However, the rumors are enough to already have the comments section on each article  filled with people protesting the new systems.

The video game market is already working towards a future with the online activation codes, and the handheld PlayStation Vita.

The Vita does not use physical media; the games are digitally distributed.

You can’t get used games digitally, now can you?

If the game industry continues down the path it’s on now, then I’ll be the first person to stop buying new systems and play what I already have.

I know I won’t be the only one to make such a decision.

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About the Contributor
Stephan Starnes
Stephan Starnes, Former Staff
For seven semesters Stephan served on the staff of The Connection in various capacities, holding almost every title possible during that time. Everything from Editor in Chief to News Editor to Copyeditor and even Visual Editor were titles that were attached to his name at some point. As a veteran on the paper, Stephan shared his experience and skills with everyone that joined during his time there. Finishing his degrees in Journalism, Liberal Arts and Photography in spring 2014 he graduated from CRC and retired from the newspaper. Semesters on Staff: Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

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Opinion: Digital distribution destroys the used game market