I’ve often stated that pre-owned titles (either movies or games) have been a regular purchase of mine.  I have had difficulty seeing the argument of “games are too expensive” (in respect of defending piracy) when in fact there are a wealth of titles which can be bought at low prices pre-owned.  There have been many titles (both in the game and movie genre) that I didn’t think were worth the price at the time of release, so I simply waited and picked up a good deal on a pre-owned title.

With that in mind though, it appears certain developers for Sony’s platforms are not so hot on the idea.  With the justification of piracy removed for charging high prices for products, it now seems that online gamers who buy a pre-owned title may have to register it for play and ergo incur an extra cost.

The pro/anti piracy argument seems to bounce off itself since those who support file sharing often say that prices are too high, whilst the companies themselves say the prices are high because of file sharing.  So is this the answer?

In respect of Mass Effect 2 and Bad Company 2, it is being reported over at Slashdot that

anyone buying a pre-owned copy of the game will be forced to cough up $20 to obtain a code to play online.

and that will certainly not do anything to bring sympathy to the damaging issues of piracy.  Consumers these days are more fussy about spending money and rightfully so (times are still difficult), the industry has a tough job convincing people that file sharing/piracy are wrong and ideas that prevent consumers from saving money is not going to help that cause.

Looking at the other side of the coin though, you can see why a software house and indeed Sony might want to remove the pre-owned culture.  After the initial sale, are they going to make any money from the title as its subsequently sold on? – It seems we find ourselves in a position of (to coin an old WWE phrase) “the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object”.

Until an agreement/concession is found between the software houses/file sharers we will continue to see high prices being justified by one group and the right to share data being championed by the other whilst in the meantime “the person in the middle” who doesn’t believe in sharing copyrighted material will suffer.

This Xmas I wanted COD2.  I saw no point in getting it brand new so it was bought by my wife at Game pre-owned.  Is this new scheme the beginning of the end for the pre-owned title?

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com