It's not true that used games are identical to new. In many ways they degrade in the same fashion as cars. Used games are far more likely to have scratches and other forms of damage, which may make the game skip cutscenes or even render it unplayable. Packaging and inserts are likely to be damaged or missing. The center knob of the case is more likely to be broken, and the case in general is more likely to be in overall poor condition. The older the game, the more magnified the effect. Over time product is lost due to damage.
There's also the issue of the game simply having less overall value even with "identical bits" by the virtue of it disappearing from public consciousnesses or removal of features such as multiplayer, either by fiat or by de facto via abandonment of player base.
If game quality was up to par, we wouldn't be seeing a glut of $5 off used games mere days after first sale. While evil Gamestop may be flipping those games at near retail, the people trading them in are getting a fraction back. Gamers are panicking over a poor purchase and are willing to accept virtually anything back to minimize the sunk cost. If they were motivated to hold onto the game for more than a week or two, there wouldn't be a glut of supply. As it is, these first sale customers are receiving negative value by buying at $60 and selling at $20 a few days later. Also, this $20 is in store credit, so, wow, how bad can these games be when customers are willing to abandon them without even cash in hand?
All excellent points. I didn't feel I needed to go into it because I felt that the condition of these used items was another strawman that the Thurrott lackeys throw out to muddy up the waters. I think they use it as a self-distraction tool to avoid facing the real question of who the he!! do they think they are to set their sights on someone else's private property and what price they sell for. Your point about losing value over time is also a good one, the "window of opportunity" for interest to ( most ) gamers is short. Most importantly, you mention quality of games. Ruling out counterfeiting, just why are so many games being sold back? It's because in the opinions of these first sale purchasers, they suck! That really is the point they are missing, isn't it? Talk about scapegoating. But when GameStop sells a physical work later for some price less than full retail, just where does anyone get off concerning themselves with this? This is the closest thing to a free market to be found in the synthetic economy of software in the Microsoft sector of the PC and console universe.
I neglected to mention something important ( which you and everyone here certainly knows already ) ... None of this is about Steam ... It currently is about GameStop physical media. Don't worry though, they will certainly combine the two different cases into one muddled thought to further confuse the issue. Steam is in itself a product of the current environment. It is a solution solving the problems created by Microsoft and EA and all the many others along the way, and that is precisely why it exists and precisely why they hate it. Without consoles, and DRM, and high priced games, and especially the restrictions on using discs, typing in keys, answering questions, getting placed on SPAM lists, for all these reasons Steam can thrive. It is a drop-in turn-key solution, a virtual console that allows moderate gamers to not have to fiddle with hardware and software settings too much, in short, it lets them play their games. The fact that Microsoft and her fanboys have now developed "Steam-envy" ( credit
) speaks volumes. It's like home builders getting angry at modular homes.
It's really kind of ironic and sick at the same time. The industry created the problem of user confusion, apathy and disrespect in the first place, not trusting their customers, hitting them with DRM and hoops to jump through, then mega-merging of small game studios, killing many off, resulting in a
Big Government Big Hollywood
Big Entertainment cabal. Microsoft is deep in this too by butchering the Windows platform over time, screwing around with Direct-X compatibility, making the PC a moving target for developers. In fact I think they caused the biggest upheaval by even getting into consoles into the first place, through a conflict of interest by having both PC and Xbox under the same roof, and unsurprisingly one huge part ( PC ) gets stepped on by the other smaller money-losing part ( Xbox ). So, in the aftermath along comes Gabe with a pretty good fix for many gamers. Naturally, MicroZealots are green with envy.