Digital Video Game Trading Good or bad?
Recently checked out an article from Kotaku on an idea from Microsoft’s survey asking about Digital Video Game Trading. In theory, digital game trading works just like trading in a physical game.
I had a long chat with my colleagues, but first a video sharing my thoughts on this subject.
It was a long discussion with my fellow writers on this subject that I will share with you, so please enjoy this bit of interaction on this subject. Special guests Mr. Trickster and Debbie of VG Tidbits.
Kuma: All right lets discuss pros and cons. We already know how bad selling stuff at GameStop is and how much store credit is worth for a new game only a day or a week old. How could the value of a digital title work?
Mr. Trickster: Well they already converted points to actual money on Xbox 360 and Xbox one awhile back, and since the digital game will always be in perfect condition, it all depends on how old the game is vs it’s original price.
Kuma: See that’s another problem. Because digital vs. physical varies. In the Physical realm, an old game let’s say Castlevania X for the Super Nintendo out of the box goes for $245.99. Digital PS2 game runs on PS4 for 14.99, so how would that go back to digital trade in credit?
Mr. Trickster: Hmm…I believe the reason that the physical game is a lot more is because of it’s rarity. Since they don’t manufacture it anymore, it’s rare to find let alone own a copy, and it takes more money to make a physical copy then it is for a digital copy. Something about the aesthetic of owning a physical copy makes it valuable.
Kuma: True that! So how do you determine the value of a Digital Copy, since it can’t be used technically? Unless they put on a time of use system for the digital game to implement its usage.
Mr. Trickster: That’s actually a good method! Steam does it, if other companies can implement that, they can determine the value of the digital copy by way of how long the user played it, how long they had it for, and how often do they play it.
Kuma: However here is where it comes to be a bit of a problem. The consumer will question a digital copy being used. It becomes a trust issue in the end on whether or not a digital copy is used or not. How would we know? When I worked at GameStop we rented New games and they were sold back as new after we used it.
Mr. Trickster: That’s where technology comes in and shines! It’s all a matter of coding. When a player launches a game, it returns, “Hey, you started the game!” and sends it to the necessary people who need that information, i.e. GameStop (or store the info for later use)
Kuma: That brings us back to the trust situation. You believe that companies wanting to make a profit would enforce it to that point? Yea they might have some games under the digital used area, but how many to say.
Mr. Trickster: That’s a good point, but this is store credit we’re talking. The player is just moving around the money they already spent to give up some games to get other games of equal value. The companies themselves won’t lose profit at all.
Here comes an awesome point from Debbie.
Debbie: Digital titles should get their own marketplace where users should be able to perhaps request a “used” title, but what’s really important is how much users are willing to pay for these used titles, and how much owners are willing to accept as a loss. It’s really difficult to determine whether or not a title is used or not just because it’s digital. It wouldn’t be the same as a physical game with wear and tear.
Another option, which seems more likely and feasible, is whether or not you can “sell” the title back to the developer, but at what ratio/percent/etc? There should probably be a formula that consists of how long the title has been out, what the sales figure has been nationally (maybe even internationally), how many hours were logged on, etc.
The reason why I suggest selling these titles back to the developer is because it’d say a lot in terms of statistical data collection because it’s essentially marketing research. For example:
- Why are all of these folks selling back a newly released title?
- How long do folks wait until they start selling back xyz genre titles, etc.?
- How can folks stay with these titles longer, and how can we get them to log more hours?
- What happens to the reselling rate when more DLC is launched?
These types of questions may be answered and in turn improve future prospects in popular digital titles.
At this point your feedback is welcomed. How well you think this idea will work if it actually becomes a thing?