You might think Microsoft responded purely to the backlash plastered all over the Internet, and now we have a better Xbox One.

But game design veteran Cliff "CliffyB" Bleszinski says Microsoft wasn't forced into rescinding their used game and online policies because of Internet hostility. Rather, he said Sony deserves the credit. As he posted on Twitter :

"Sony forced Microsoft's hand, not the internet whining. At the end of the day many hardcore dislike what was attempted. You can't do well in that space with many of your core unhappy. Especially when users have a choice. The nature of capitalism encourages competition and Sony played into that."

However, while everyone is celebrating the move now, CliffyB has a very serious warning that we should all acknowledge. There's no doubt that Microsoft is sacrificing some cash in light of these recent policy decisions, but they're going to want to make that money back . Said Bleszinski:

"Brace yourselves. More tacked on multiplayer and DLC are coming. You're also about to see available microtransactions skyrocket. HATS FOR EVERYONE. You're going to see digital versions of your favourite games with added features and content to lure you to digital over disc based.

I have seen the number of unique gamer tags vs actual sales numbers and it ain't pretty. More studios WILL close and you'll see more PC and mobile games. I want developers who worked their asses off to see money on every copy of their game that is sold instead of Gamestop. Fuck me, right?"

At the very least, this guy has always spoken his mind. He's probably not the only developer to think along these lines, and it does make a lot of unfortunate sense. By the way, that's what I want from Microsoft for sales reports- Unique gamer tags vs. sales numbers. For the 360, which was a colossal piece of sh** in terms of reliability, the sales numbers were greatly inflated because a whole lot of people had to buy multiple 360s. Many I know didn't trust MS to fix the RRoD issue, so they just got a new system.

So, how many of those sales went to repeat customers? Just wondering…

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telly
telly
7 years ago

"More studios WILL close and you'll see more PC and mobile games. I want developers who worked their asses off to see money on every copy of their game that is sold instead of Gamestop."

I'm also very, very sympathetic to developers right now. You need only take a look at the massive layoffs throughout the industry to understand the current model is just not sustainable.

But, as I've said repeatedly, Microsoft's approach was totally backwards. You want to get more customers to buy digital copies of games that can't be shared or (probably) pirated? Make an awesome digital store with great, competitive pricing and comprehensive selection that makes GameStop look like crap by comparison. I am increasingly confident that's been Sony's strategy all along. For their sake, the industry's, us gamers', and even Microsoft's, I hope they prove it can work.


Last edited by telly on 6/20/2013 11:57:40 AM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

The problem with the current model is overstaffing and overstuffing of studios and publishers with suits who are there to siphon the money away from the programmers and producers. That's why almost all of Microsoft's game studios collapsed.

ProfPlayStation
ProfPlayStation
7 years ago

You're right. The current model is NOT sustainable. The problem is and always has been a matter of over-spending. CliffyB even said it himself, without meaning to, in a different interview:
"You cannot have game and marketing budgets THIS HIGH (emphasis added) while also having used and rental games existing. The numbers do NOT work people."

The trouble is that people like him are not willing to sacrifice the bloated budgets and insane marketing dollars. This is a problem of their own creation, and used games are not to blame. Publishers need to give up on the idea of only having massive hits and nothing else. The industry was perfectly healthy until they gave up on the idea of a middle-ground.

The film industry would not be healthy with only student films and $300million blockbusters. The book industry would not be healthy with only self-publishing and Harry Potter. The auto industry would not be healthy with only Honda Civics and Porsche 911s. You need diversity! You need a range of products!

Right now, the game industry only has the "indie" and the "massive hit." We need more. And we especially need more genre variety. There is a massive market out there, beyond the M-rated bro-gamer, which all the publishers are ignoring. Family games do not mean bad games. Teen games do not mean bad games. Those people are not being served, so why are publishers crying about not making money? Make decent games for the markets which are aching for them!

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

"Right now, the game industry only has the "indie" and the "massive hit."

Yes yes yes, this is a big problem. There has got to be some middle ground where a whole class of games are made to be good but don't require insane amounts of money to produce and insane sales to succeed.

There have been a few like Telltale's Walking Dead but we need a bunch more. I think the whole JRPG genre could boom again with this strategy.

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
7 years ago

2 comments to add:

Definitely both Sony and MS need to look at dl pricing. This should be discounted from the highstreet store price not a sizeable percentage more. You don't want me to trade in my £40 purchase for £20? Then sell it to me digital for £20 in the first place.

Secondly, the problem with the spectrum of games is that when you have blockbusters pulling in 9's and 10's you're going to get those middle ground titles you speak of pulling in 7's (due to a far lower budget). Because many gamers see 7=crap then that game just won't sell.

Looking Glass
Looking Glass
7 years ago

@ WorldEndsWithMe

WIth regard to the idea of the JRPG genre booming again with the strategy you describe. There is actually some reasonably strong evidence that suggests that that is actually already starting to happen. Square Enix aside of course.


Last edited by Looking Glass on 6/20/2013 4:49:24 PM

Temjin001
Temjin001
7 years ago

What is this guy doing these days anyway? Didn't he abandon his team for like vacation time with his family but then like 1 month later it's revealed he started a new studio etc?

Anyway, while Gamestop isn't the best presence to have on the market when it comes to used games, contrary to Cliffy's feelings companies DO realize that the used game market is critical to console platforms. It does add value and expand the overall width of a platform for consumers. This in turn DOES help devs. Cliffy is choosing to see things with tunnel vision in this regard so I can only sympathize with him to a limit with the whole developers getting paid thing.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

I don't have access to research but I have access to myself and I know that I went with F.E.A.R. used because of doubts, that opened me up to buying FEAR2 and FEAR3 in a way that got my money to those developers. Same goes with Uncharted, I didn't like the Uncharted demo and got the first game used and fell in love with it, then bought Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3. I have more examples but I doubt I'm the only one who has been introduced to a franchise via used games and then became a contributor. So yeah, there is a tangible benefit to developers. It's almost a form of advertising which you can't get in a demo.

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Yup, me too….I wasn't familiar with Uncharted and was unsure so I picked up a used copy. Loved it so much I bought Uncharted 2 and 3 new AND all of their DLC.

Comic Shaman
Comic Shaman
7 years ago

@World:

What you describe is not at all out of the norm. It's hard for control-minded businesses to accept, but it's generally better for a business in the long run when a customer gets your product in hand, even if they don't pay for it initially.

My favorite example of this is the debate that raged in the first half of the 20th century with book publishers about library. On one side, you had the CliffyB types who assumed that if readers could get your books out of libraries for free, then why would they ever pay? Authors would go hungry, publishing houses would fail, etc.

On the other side, you had publishers who put their books in libraries. And their sales shot up in a big way. Expanding your readership by whatever means meant, ultimately, expanding your sales.

Is that counterintuitive? Only to minds like CliffyB's. Which is why I don't put much stock in what the guy says.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

People are just so short sighted, you need to look at the big picture. VCR's were supposed to bring down the film industry, MP3s and file sharing and torrents were supposed to bring down the music industry; things like that helped those industries expand and grow more than harm them.

Temjin001
Temjin001
7 years ago

It always made me laugh when MS tried to support their DRM and always-on stance by making comparisons to iTunes. I bought my last album on iTunes a couple weeks ago then "right-clicked" the album "show in explorer" then copied and pasted the folder straight into my crappy HTC android phone. ALl the album art and meta-data stuff came right across no problem. Why? Because most stuff on iTunes, like most music anywhere these days, is DRM FREE. The geniouses out there started realizing that DRM was hurting the paying customers more than anyone. So MS's logic here by using iTunes as a reason why you should feel comfortable with XboxOne was totally broke.


Last edited by Temjin001 on 6/20/2013 3:08:18 PM

Fane1024
Fane1024
7 years ago

@World

I posted the numbers last time you made this claim about the music industry, but I don't have them handy ATM.

In short, total sales (including downloads) have dropped every year since the advent of Napster. Only this last year has the plummet levelled to about even with the previous year. Total yearly sales are about *half* what they used to be.

It's good that artists can sell directly to consumers (or via only one middle man), but the industry is *not* in better shape.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 6/21/2013 6:38:53 PM

Shams
Shams
7 years ago

Frankly speaking, I don't care much for the used game industry. I get more selling p2p, and I save more by buying new games on sale or clearances. Anyhow, either way, it doesn't matter much to me. I'm going for the ps4 for the exclusives (the theoretically better multiplatformers will just be bonus this time around).

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

selling p2p is the used game market.

Shams
Shams
7 years ago

I meant one doesn't save much buying used at p2b/corporate (gamestop, etc), though it is understood DRM would inhibit both p2b and p2p used game markets.

Killa Tequilla
Killa Tequilla
7 years ago

I think that Microsoft just showed weakness. They had a vision, and they destroyed it. It's like entering the fight well prepared but running back before you even make your first move. I don't know what to say…(?) This kind of 'holes in the boat' are fixed before you put the damn boat in the water, in other words, in the case of Microsoft: they should have thought about it long and hard when on the drawing board. Now we just wait and see. At this point, looks like Sony has the upper hand, but how long is that going to last?

We will just have to wait and see.

I always did like what Microsoft showed. I like the technology in the Kinect, even though I wouldn't use it, though I have seen some projects that use the original Kinect for all sorts of awesome stuff. I also like the multitasking it can do… switch between TV and games, etc. But I just didn't like the restrictions.

Anyhow, I'm tired of seeing ghost towns on Ps3 versions of games. Like with MoH, it's completely dead. Hopefully, Sony wins this gen. We all want to see that Sony, is again, at the top.


Last edited by Killa Tequilla on 6/20/2013 12:10:03 PM

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

MoH probably needed to have better reviews to have people on it.

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Actually being a better game would have helped too me thinks. The problem doesn't lie with Sony or the PS3. It's just not a good game.


Last edited by Jawknee on 6/20/2013 12:43:32 PM

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
7 years ago

It appears MS intended to offer something completely different to the PS4 in its overall offering in which case no amount of negative gamer reaction should have changed that. It's just that they saw that future pile of dollars shrinking and the money men forced a rethink. I disliked a number of the XB One policies but I guess I'm not it's target market.

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

Somewhat off subject:

I keep reading about how the Xbox One is now ahead of the PS4 on the preorders at Amazon. Do people reporting this news realize that within the top 10, there are 4 different PS4 purchase options? Of the top 10, Xbox One holds the #1 spot, while PS4 bundles hold spots #3,4,5,8.

As for intent on purchasing next-gen systems, if you look at the most wished for item, it works out like this:

1. PS4 Launch Day
2. PS4 Standard
3. Xbox One (Day One)

18. Xbox One Standard

I think some people are missing the whole picture.


Last edited by Nynja on 6/20/2013 12:11:26 PM

WARxWOLF
WARxWOLF
7 years ago

yup… we to thank ps4 for that don't we?

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Yup, F*ck you. Used games do not equal Gamestop.

He could be right to some extent in any case, not about Sony forcing their hand (if that were the case MS wouldn't have brought DRM to E3)But the fact that there could be more crapola shenanigans pulled by MS, and I say go ahead and bring it. Those of us who will fight and die for our physical copies to the bitter end are ready to do so until even against the inevitable tide of history.

Temjin001
Temjin001
7 years ago

I wonder if everyone in Gamestop corporate and Gamefly got a paid day off today =p

All those lost used game profits of the next-gen are now back on the board BABY! Celebrate.

Kryten1029a
Kryten1029a
7 years ago

I don't think that Gamefly and Gamestop got the day off but I'd guarantee that there were high-fives all around.

Temjin001
Temjin001
7 years ago

maybe cake or a free 'used' game of their choice then.

Akuma_
Akuma_
7 years ago

I think they are all passed out on their desks right now.

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

Back on subject…Why hasn't the game industry taken cues from the movie industry? Restrict used game sales and rentals to 30 days beyond a title's release date. Offer significant discount on digital versions of games that cannot be traded. A digital version of a movie is usually 50% or more cheaper than a disc version.

I found a long post from someone on Eurogamer that explained something most people may not be aware of. Long post, but great info. I'll post as a reply to this comment.


Last edited by Nynja on 6/20/2013 12:22:13 PM

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

Rogueywon wrote:

"There's something that always gets missed out of used game debates – risk.

The systems for determining how money actually moves around the games industry is more complicated than is generally acknowledged. You might like to think that you can take a new game sold off the shelf and do a breakdown of how much goes to the developer, how much goes to the publisher, how much goes to the retailer and, if it's a console game, how much goes to the platform manufacturer.

In fact, that can be an interested exercise and I've seen some good attempts at doing it before. But it's also basically "lies to children". That's not intended as a morally loaded term; it's what we use for describing the a lot of the teaching of science in schools. Actual atomic theory is horribly, horribly complicated; you don't have a hope in hell of teaching it to teenagers. But the version that is taught in schools – the "lies to children" – is actually the best way of introducing the subject.

Now, games retail isn't quite as complex as atomic theory – but it's certainly more complex than is acknowledged. You'll notice that there's often a big discrepancy between the number of units of a game that a publisher "ships" and the number that the retailers "sell". What's basically happening here is that retailers are buying the games off the publisher and then selling them on to the public.

But that's not really what's happening. Retailers generally don't have much ability to tolerate the financial risk of an unsuccessful title. So they have stock insurance details in place to ensure that if a particular title undersells against expectations (because the game is poor and it gets hammered by word of mouth, or because the publisher markets it badly) a lot of the cost of that failure gets transferred off the retailer and back to the publisher/developer. This is why stock insurance is a big thing for retailers – when GAME went into administration, the loss of this insurance cover (because GAME had become too expensive to ensure) was a key part of the vicious cycle and made it much, much harder for GAME to stock titles.

Retailers can still be hurt badly by a poor season, or if an uber-mega-title that they'd pinned a lot of hopes on underperforms. But for new game sales, they're generally quite well protected from the odd turkey.

That's for NEW games sales. And it's quite a "safe" deal for the retailer, which in turn helps explain why their margins on new titles get squeezed so thin by unsympathetic publishers.

The used market is very different.

When a retailer buys a used game back, it is not protected by any kind of insurance. If it can't sell that used game, it is the retailer alone who is out of pocket. And if the money/credit it gave to the customer for that used game is used to off-set the purchase of a new game – then that is no skin off the nose of the publisher/developer of that new game. It's just one less unsold copy for them to get stung on by the insurance deals in place. If anything, it's helping to offset the risk that those insurance arrangements pass back to them. The trade in value that was used to purchase that new game has come out of the retailer's hypothetical cut – probably eliminating it entirely and quite possibly turning that new game sale into a "loss" for the retailer.

Retailers manage their risks by micromanaging the trade-in value they offer for titles. And because they're taking all the risk, they put a large margin on each used game sale.

But in essence, used games sales are NOT just a means for retailers to lock publishers/developers out of the profits loop. Yes, retailers keep used games sales profits to themselves. But in doing so, they actually transfer some of the whole-industry risk away from developers/publishers and onto themselves – people are more likely to buy a new game (where the developer/publisher are most at risk) if they know they can hand it back into the used game economy (where the retailer carries all the risk).

Developers and publishers crack down on used games at their peril. If they're seeing this purely in terms of where the per-sale profits go, they're missing a huge part of the picture."


Last edited by Nynja on 6/20/2013 12:20:28 PM

Gabriel013
Gabriel013
7 years ago

Fantastic read mate.

Akuma_
Akuma_
7 years ago

Definitely works at Gamestop.

Xombito
Xombito
7 years ago

Oh so now its Sony's fault?

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

CliffyB is an Xbox fanboy. He'll spin news anyway he can to make MS look like the good guy.

He must own Microsoft shares.

Xombito
Xombito
7 years ago

For sure. Plus his arguement about MS doesn't make sense. Would Microsoft change their policies if there wasn't as much backlash as there was? No. Because they show a product and introduced new policies and everyone from the gaming community to the freaking military hated it. All Sony did was give what the consumer wanted and MS, because of the backlash, 180'd because they saw they were losing their fanbase. How many comments have you seen at various sites where xbox gamers said they were a making switch over to PS4?

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

Couldn't agree any more. What I don't understand is with MS' track record in the PC realm, why are some people so surprised over their attempt at moving towards 'licensing'? This is where MS makes most of their money on software licensing. Of course they want to bring that into the console industry.

This isn't the last time we'll see them try something like this.

Fane1024
Fane1024
7 years ago

This isn't the last time we'll see them try *THIS*.

Any claim made by M$ must be taken with many grains of salt. Most are half-truths and prevarications. Many are bald-faced lies.

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

you say potato, i say potato…thanks grammar nazi 🙂

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Pft, whatever Clifford. Developers need to make games with better replay value that are worth keeping. I personally don't buy used games unless its one i can't find new anymore and I rarely sell my games but when I do it's third party junk that's only worth playing once. Why aren't Nintendo or Sony so worried about used games? I suspect it's because they have more confidence in their product. Not my problem Clifford makes mediocre games that people want to hawk after a short while.

Nynja
Nynja
7 years ago

Ding! Ding! Ding! Nail on the head.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

My copy of Last of Us has an online pass. Clearly, Sony cares about used game sales. They will definitely stop the pass, though, now they are going to have the PS + revenue stream for any online play.

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Are you dense Kid? Online passes are going bye bye. Used games waren't the main reason they started online passes. It was to help maintain the costs for multiplayer servers. Not to restrict used games. Otherwise they wouldn't sell the online pass on PSN separately. Enough with the straw men. Why keep arguing about something that is irrelevant at this point?


Last edited by Jawknee on 6/20/2013 5:57:23 PM

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

The passes are here now and still in use. I've already addressed why they are stopping. Remember when every one suggested that EA's sudden change of heart was because of the DRM? Yeah it's always been about nickel and dimeing us for used games. Same reason used Arkham City copies would not play the Catwoman levels.

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

I should say the restriction of used games wasn't the reason for online passes. If it was, it would lock you out of the whole game (just like MS was attempting to do with their asinine DRM). Not just the multiplayer that requires constant costs to maintain.

Edit: and EA has already stated they have no plans to bring it back. Stop trying to shill for MS. You keep arguing non sequiturs to justify your support for this DRM nonsense.


Last edited by Jawknee on 6/20/2013 6:08:34 PM

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Clearly, my argument is against ANY DRM, which online passes are. If I pay for a game and that grants me access online, why should my friend have to repay for the access if I give it to him. I no longer can access it so it's not as if the load on the servers has been added to in anyway. Not sure why you can't grasp that, why this simple truth eludes your thought processes so deftly, but oh well.

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Are you kidding me? You signed up during E3 with the with intent to defend these asinine policies when MS was pushing them now you're saying you're against it because of the online pass that DOESN'T lock you out of the entire game only the online portion of it that has a continued cost to Sony and the developers? If you want to loan or give your friend a game let him log into your PSN account and download your pass. Simple as that. What don't YOU grasp about this? This isn't hard and is irrelevant because as I said before, which you seem to ignore to make your asinine arguments is the online pass is bye bye! The only likely reason the online pass was shipped with the Last of Us was because the game had already gone gold before the policy change was announced.

Seriously dude, get a grip.

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Let me clear this up for you. I've been visiting this site, reading articles and comments for a very long time. Since, hell, when Arnold got to do the UC2 review instead of Ben, back when Beamboom had a Spider woman avatar, since Kraygen had Deadpool, changed it to the games he won, and then right after finding out he had been affected by those terrible tornadoes. You, sir, cling to this site. Here you feel like you are somebody. I've seen you on other sites trying to spread your extremely limited knowledge of gaming. In terms of collection, you're not in my league, in terms of knowledge, you're not in my league. You want to compare PSN IDs or Wii/ Wii U play time counts? You couldn't compare.

This is where I finish this. If it's okay for a company to limit access for ongoing costs, why is it not okay for a company to limit access for initial costs? One is not more justified than the other. DRM is not good. If my stance was not crystal clear after saying this umpteen times, it should be now. So, hurl your insults, try to insult people's intelligence just for a different point of view, do whatever you want. I'm done with you, man..

Temjin001
Temjin001
7 years ago

Arnold did the Uncharted 2 review because the copy showed up at his house instead of Ben's. Man, of all games that year NOT to get for free heheh

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Then stop replying to me Kid with your non sequiturs and strawmen. You seem to love knocking down strawmen and arguing about topics that has been rendered irrelevant by Sony's policy changes.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
7 years ago

Microsoft disagrees with him. They very clearly stated that this decision was made due to fan feedback (code for former fan hate). So he either has to accept that it was the people who changed things or that MS is a big fat liar.

Jawknee
Jawknee
7 years ago

Hard to take some one with his level of arrogance seriously. I knew he was arrogant but to call yourself the Tony Stark of gaming when your achievements are the mediocre Gears franchise and a bug ridden engine, it goes beyond simple arrogance. Dudes dancing on the edge of narcissism.