GameStop's Customers On: Blocking Used Games
VG24/7 has word that GameStop's surveyed its customers, and they're saying that 60% of gamers won't be buying a console that blocks used games. First, it's important to point out that right off the bat, it's tough to trust GameStop's objectivity on this considering how much profit they make off of used games. But there's something else here, and it's really important to disbelieve these results. Ready for it?
The reason these results are bunk is that they were obtained at the point of minimum hype, as the surveying was done in the weeks leading up to the announcement of the next console generation. No one knows what the next-gen games will be or what they look like, but I guarantee you that between Sony's February 20th press conference through the end of E3 in early June, Sony and Microsoft are both going to come out and show off some great games that will generate a ton of hype for the next generation and people are going to go insane for it. And if Sony and MS do decide to talk about the possible blocking of used games, I think that will do little to derail the hype train.
Simply put, when people think about used games right now, they're not thinking of Halo 5, Gran Turismo 6, Uncharted 4, or the many other still-unannounced games. They're thinking of the games that have already come out. And they love new, big budget spectacles - this is the vast majority of the millions of gamers that buy consoles and AAA games - and when they see what the next generation offers, I doubt they'll care if it comes with some new caveats.
Sure, the internet forums are filled with the enthusiast gamers that understand terms like "sub-HD" or "latency" and they're going to get rightfully angry about new ways to limit gamers' freedom, but it's important to remember that they're a vocal minority. They're generally right about the good and bad things about video games and their opinions should be listened to, but the vast majority of gamers don't hang around on forums discussing games all day. The casual masses often make buying decisions based off of TV ads rather than immersing themselves in months of hype. They learn a game exists after the release date and they may not even look at reviews before buying.
Should those masses care about the blocking of used games along with the escalating overall cost of playing AAA console games? They most definitely should. Will they? I'm thinking no, or at least, not for quite a while still.
The casual console gamer isn't going to see what the next generation looks like during the February 20th Sony livestream (and whatever Microsoft sets as its coming out party for the next Xbox), as they don't do stuff like tune in at a specific time to watch some video game announcement thing. But they will see it eventually. And when they do, they're going to go crazy, as after all, this video was actually made for these gamers from the beginning. (It's why every RPG trailer and demo has a ton of action in it.) After being sent a link to a new trailer on YouTube or seeing a TV ad or hearing about that new PlayStation from a friend and all the badass games coming, their thinking will change. They'll see this new way to play video games as the only way to play video games. (They don't really care much for indie games or PC games, and iPhone games aren't enough.)
And if they see the next console generation as The Only Way You Play Video Games In The Future, like the majority of console gamers will after the next-gen media blitzes in the coming weeks and months, then issues like on-disc DLC, serial codes, RFID chips embedded in discs, or not being able to take the game back to GameStop to get half the game's original cost in store credit is just not going to matter to them. Well, it won't matter yet. Not in 2013. Maybe not even in 2014. Eventually I believe this kind of runaway money-grabbing from publishers will cost them as predatory practices turn more casual gamers into enthusiasts, but it won't happen this year, and probably not next year.