Hello Sony? It’s me, Common Sense

Hey there Sony, it’s your old friend common sense. Long time no see right? Well, listen, I know we haven’t talked much since you didn’t invite me to that 2006 E3 conference, and I’d love to reminisce about those times we hung out and you moved to the CD format and revolutionized the industry, or added a DVD player to your system and changed how a game console was viewed as the central home entertainment piece, but the truth is that I came here to talk about something serious.

I heard about your new patent you see. You know, the one that in only a couple of years could theoretically allow you to end the sale of used games by flagging them and preventing the discs from being used on other systems? The one that sent Gamestop’s stock tumbling down 5% at just the idea of it? You know the one right? You do? Oh great man. Great.

It’s just, I thought I should be the one to tell you it’s not a good idea. Take it from me that it just doesn’t make sense. I know you grind your teeth (a practice I also don’t advise) every time you think of the used game market and the money that Gamestop alone takes from it that you essentially don’t see a dime of, just like I know that it makes your blood boil to think of it as anything less than organized piracy. And hey, you don’t need to tell me that if all of those used game profits went back into yours, and the developer’s, pockets, then you could theoretically change the literal fortune of the industry either. Remember, this is your old pal common sense. I get that.

But you can’t honestly believe that you wield a position of unscrupulous power that would allow you to get away with this do you? You do understand that Microsoft and Nintendo (who at least call me for drinks once in a while…just saying) have equal or larger market shares worldwide to boast about , and used the entire last generation for the lone goal of making people forget the name Playstation was once synonymous with video games right? I mean, you know that actually implementing such an idea would only drive gamers to those systems in droves, and as they make the kind of profits you only dreamed about with this act precisely by not implementing it, you could only sit and watch as every loyalist you had jumps ship?

What are you thinking man? Do you believe that you somehow have enough exclusive titles that gamers will still stick with you through this? I got news for you pal, “Uncharted” and “God of War” don’t come out that often. Or maybe you think the massive fan support that the new kid on the block the “Ouya” generated with exactly the opposite kind of philosophy that you are proposing was just a fluke? Or that should Valve release the Steam Box it wouldn’t be the most anticipated console to hit the market in years? Did the Playstation Move, Home, the PSP and Vita, and Wonderbook somehow become amazing successes when I wasn’t paying attention, so you’re not worrying about the repercussions of your actions anymore?

Ok, that was harsh. I apologize.

I Mean, Just Because Someone Else Had It First Doesn’t Mean it Isn’t a Good Idea Right?

But really my point is this. You’ve changed Sony. You used to be cool. You brought people a system in the Playstation that for the first time got the kids who used to beat up other kids for playing video games, playing the same video games. You changed the world overnight by supporting “Final Fantasy VII”, and shaped a new generation of controller design with the Dualshock. You’ve given countless runaway and unwanted developers and properties homes and turned them into favorite sons. Hell, you invented the Playstation 2!

Yet look at you now. Drawing up papers that would screw over the little guy the world over so you can maintain your finger grip grasp on video game mountain, rather than lend a hand to consumers in greater need. You’d rather sink retail stores, and make gamers pay a premium on all titles they buy, and force parents to work harder to afford the games their kids want for their birthdays or Christmas, just so you can theoretically see profits grow without any creative effort on your part. Also, even just selling this technology to developers for their optional use as you’re rumored to do, doesn’t make this any better than peddling drugs rather than using them.

Maybe this whole idea is just a bluff, but let me tell you something most people know. Puffing up your chest to look bigger, doesn’t really make you bigger.

But hey, I don’t want this to be a fight between us Sony. I just want you to know, that I know, that you would never actually do something so monumentally stupid as attempting to ban the sale of used games. I know that, because should you go through with it, there won’t even be the need for a fight, because in every respect in which success in this industry is measured,  you will have lost right out of the gate.

How do I know that? Well, far be it for me to brag, but it is just common sense.


Walmart and Best Buy give up on trade-ins

E-play kiosk in Best Buy.It seems like it was just yesterday that Best Buy and Walmart tried to horn in on Gamestop’s used game profits. As it turns out that little endeavor wasn’t so successful; both stores will be closing used game operations within the month.

In case you don’t recall, it wasn’t actually Walmart or Best Buy handling the used game operations. Both companies outsourced the work to E-play. E-play suspended operations on Monday and will remove its kiosks from the select locations of both retailers within the next three weeks. Neither retailer has plans to branch out with its own system.

It’s a little surprising that things would fall apart so quickly but I never really expected either store to make money. Most of the used game junkies I know have a certain rapport with their local Gamestop employees, who manage to keep the words “we don’t get paid on commission” out of every conversation.

Source: Industry Gamers


Toys R Us has a 3-fer-2 sale this week

Toys R Us.That the video game industry has been in a backward slide lately hasn’t been all bad. Companies are ready to make big deals just to get people to buy, well, anything, so it’s been possible to pick up two or three of the newest titles for reasonable rates. Toys R Us is offering up another deal this week, this time in the form of a buy two, get the third free. The sale applies to both games and accessories.

It’s a pretty sweet deal, though I don’t think you can mix and match accessories. Also not sure if it works with pre-orders, but you could always pick up a new game like Uncharted 2 and trade it back in for Forza 3 (yes, mixing some systems) when it releases later this month. The accessory deal is good on anything up to $100, so if you’ve been looking at a controller and maybe a charging station, now could be a good time to get it. Remember, the deal is only good for a week.


Game Crazy closing 200 locations this month

Game Crazy store.According to a recent post at Joystiq, used game retailer Game Crazy is looking to close 200 stores this month. The company only has 680 stores, so 200 is a massive chunk to shut down. I was especially surprised to read that the video rental locations attached to the game stores will remain open after the game locations shut down.

The company issued this formal statement:

Movie Gallery, Inc. is currently operating in an unprecedented consumer/retail environment. In order for us to continue to best serve our millions of customers across North America we’re addressing underperforming stores and ensuring that there is sufficient [return on investment] associated with each of these stores going forward. The vast majority of our stores will be unaffected by these efforts.

Maybe Movie Gallery should take a look at recent stats for movie rentals. While that industry dies a slow and irritating death, the used game business continues to frustrate publishers with big sales numbers. Perhaps you should refocus your business model?


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