You and I need to have a chat. A serious one. We’ve been together a long time, Gaming Industry. We’ve had our highs (Mega Man II, The Orange Box) and our lows (Earthworm Jim 3D, Final Fantasy XII). We’ve grown up together. I remember my first NES like it was yesterday. I can correlate every major event in my life with the console I was playing at the time. I’ve given you piles of cash and done my best to spread your good word to any who would listen. You’ve helped me through boredom and breakups and vacation days with which I had nothing better to do. We’re pals, you and I. Friends to the end.
Friends are there for more than just the good times, Gaming Industry. Sometimes friends have to man up and tell each other when they’ve stepped out of line. If my drinking problem ever became a crisis, I’d want you to tell me. If you caught me creeping on a girl with two kids and more crabs than a Long John Silver’s, I’d want you to speak up. If I accidentally wear white after Labor Day, I’d rather hear about my faux pas from a friend like you than from some stranger on the street.
I’m about to say what I’m about to say because I care, Gaming Industry. I want the best for you. I don’t want to belittle you or make you feel bad. I want you to know you’ve gone wrong because I want you to be the best you you can be, and I want you to hear it from me before some asshole on the Internet sinks his teeth into your sensitive, delicate soul.
All these things you’re doing to try to curtail the used games market? Shove them up your ass. Stop issuing one-time use codes that hide levels, characters, and other content. Don’t even think about forcing me to register my copy of the game with some servers that may or may not work, even when I only want to play offline single player. You’re being an inconsiderate asshole and you need to stop.
You want to get paid for the fruits of your labor. I get it. You sink several years and millions of dollars into developing a game and you want to see a return on your investment. I want to see you get that too. But you’re going about it the wrong way.
Gaming Industry, you need to understand why people are buying your games used rather than paying top dollar for new copies. You know what it ultimately comes down to? $60 is way too fucking much to pay for a single game. That price is asinine. After taxes, that’s roughly what a minimum wage employee makes in a day. An entire fucking day.
You know what else I can get for $60?
- 60 iTunes songs
- A pair of bleacher seats in Fenway Park (with enough money leftover for half a hot dog)
- Three 12 packs of delicious Narragansett beer
- Twenty copies of my new book, “Shotgun,” available now on Amazon.com
- A nice pair of Skechers
- Enough Old Navy boxer shorts to last the entire week
- 12 pounds of Carolina Deluxe Turkey Breast from Johnny’s Foodmaster
- Six bottles of Anal Lube – Original Formula from Amazing.net
- And, perhaps most importantly: 4 or 5 used games from Gamestop or almost four months of unlimited 1-game rentals from GameFly.
Look at that list. You still want to charge your customers $60 per game? Really? It’s a good thing anal lube is so cheap, because you obviously expect us to just bend over and take it.
Let’s add further perspective. I remember going to see Fred Savage’s magnum opus, “The Wizard,” when it came out in theaters. Afterward, there was nothing on the planet I wanted more than my own copy of Super Mario Bros. 3. So did every other gamer on the planet. Supplies were short, but my parents and I tracked down a copy at one of those grimy local department stores all the old people used to love before Wal-Mart cleaned them all out. That store wanted $60 for Super Mario Bros. 3. At the time, most new games were going for between $30 and $40. $60 was absurd. And you know what? It still is, even for one of the greatest games ever made. And if $60 is too much to pay for an absolute classic like Super Mario Bros. 3, you bet your ass it’s too damn much to pay for something like Kingdoms of Amalur or a new version of Madden or whatever crap Peter Molyneux’s vomiting up nowadays.
I’m not an economist, but I’ve read a few Michael Lewis books and I took a few accounting classes in high school. I can debit your assets and credit your liabilities. Although I can’t explain it, I know that there’s a sweet spot in pricing where the sticker value might seem low but where so many people start to buy your product that you make more money than you would have if you priced said product higher. I don’t think you understand this, Gaming Industry, and that’s your problem. If you make quality games and sell them for somewhere between $30 and $40 new, I guar an-damn-tee your profits will go up and the used games market will shrink. That’s all it would take to get me to dump my GameFly subscription, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Good talk, Gaming Industry. You seem a little stunned. I’m sure you need time to process this; it’s never fun to hear you’re being an asshole, even from a friend. I hope you take my words to heart. If you don’t, and instead you go the douche bag route and deploy a new generation of consoles where the games are download only and $70 each, well, it’s been nice knowing you. I’ll be gorging myself on turkey and Narragansett somewhere in the bleachers of Fenway Park.
Hugs and kisses!
-The Yacht Captain